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Wind strength and comfort

Started by VROUW KIRSTEN, April 22, 2017, 07:22:37 PM

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Hello you,

the new saison has started, unfortunatly each weekend with strong wind up to 5 Beaufort, guts up to 7 Beaufort. To be honest, not my preferred wind force.

Today I ´ve been again at my boat bridge and looked sceptical to lots of sea spray over the waves, again 4 to 5 Beaufort and strong guts.

My question to the one´s with more experience: Am I correct if I think the range of 2 to max. 4 Beaufort is the most comfortable and definitly reasonable range of wind for a Winklebrig single handed and fitted with standard sails (hight peak gaff and foresail).

May be I am a little worried but it is my second season and I am still leraning.

Thanks a lot for your points of view!

Life is happy, life is sweet, on a gaff rigged boat of 16 feet!


The only answer is whatever you feel happy with! The wind strength alone is not the only factor - wave height is more important, flat water with high wind can be marvellous, but rough water with little wind is awful!

The other thing is that the stresses on the boat and rigging is dramatically increased, so beware chafe and any weaknesses - breakages can be dramatic and expensive.

So I suggest you just start safe and gradually work up to where you feel unsure. Also try sailing with someone else in a larger boat to get experience of heavier weather.

David Bone

Rick's advice is very sound.

I think you will get different responses, depending on how people set up their boat and what rig they employ.

I have the more common low peaked gaff with topsail but also have about 80kg additional internal lead ballast and a 20kg battery installed under the companionway, so my comments don't really apply to your vessel.

Sailing alone, I carry full jib, mainsail and topsail up to fc.3 but with anything other than an occasional fc.4 gust, I drop the topsail alongside the mainsail.
I am o.k. with full mainsail and jib in fc.5.
Fc.6, I will take a reef in the mainsail but keep a full jib. (With a reef in the main, upwind performance is somewhat affected.)
I have sailed comfortably in fc.6 with a second adult onboard, setting full mainsail and jib, in fact I find the boat goes really well powering up into the wind but I have to pay attention.

I have sailed in gusts to fc.7 with two onboard and a reef in the main, when in company with other boats we fared quite well but I didn't want to be beaten and had to stay alert.
Last year I got caught out with gusts up to fc.8, which was too much. We had 4 onboard at the time, which helped but also hindered, as there was too much weight aft, the boat wasn't well balanced and we took a lot of water onboard.

All of this can be greatly affected by how much sea is running and how comfortable one is pushing the boat hard.
(Following Martin Cartwright's lead, I have strengthened the boat by installing an inner forestay, 2nd mastband with a 2nd set of shrouds and a mast compression post.)

This year I have fitted a high peaked gaff mainsail, without topsail and am looking forward to seeing how the boat sails.

David Bone


Last sunday we did it at 4-5 Beaufort, some squalls up to 6 Beaufort. With a crew of 4 men we had really wet feet but enough ballast.
And a lot of fun!
Life is happy, life is sweet, on a gaff rigged boat of 16 feet!


 Just to complete my post: Since my first post in May I had some trips at my home area and the Baltic sea and got more experience with the good-tempered character of my VROUW KIRSTEN. It is not a problem to sail at 5 to 6 Beaufort, unless you have enought space and listen to the boats knowledge. She still shows whats to do and I felt very comfortable in several situations wth strong wind and whitecaps around me. All nautical manoeuvres, properly accomplished, promoted  my confidence with this boat.
Maybe the bulwark is a little low, I will think about that, especially at sea it is very comfortable to have a little more support.

Kind regards

Life is happy, life is sweet, on a gaff rigged boat of 16 feet!


Good to hear you are having a good season Gerold.
For sea sailing I found the bulward was a little low and had a stainless steel rail made. Quite expensive and not for everyone I know, but it does the trick and has kept me safe in some quite big seas here on the North Sea coast. (You can see the rail on some of the pictures on the web  site.)