Hello all, here is an intresting video about handling multis in strong winds:
there is a whole thread in Sailing Anarchy « TS5 capsize » with good comments on this vid. Some extracts:
There’s a transition where depowering is turning up or turning down. That transition is at about 90 degrees. We’ll call out “out is down” or “out is up” just so all crew are on the same page. If “out is up” you generally hold the sheets. If “out is down” you have to let the driver down. If conditions are marginal we’ll sit solidly on one side or another of that transition (75-80 TWA or 105-110 TWA). When things are really bad on my F40 there almost isn’t an “out is down” because the bows are getting pushed down too much and you’re on the verge of a pitchpole.
There is also another reason to first reduce the foresails on ocean-going high-performance multihulls:
For structural reasons, you need the main sail supporting the mast where the corresponding forstay of the foresail you are using is in the lock.
Thus, on our Lorima carbon mast, you cannot use the mast head lock (for the spinnaker) or the one between the J1/Solent and masthead (e.g. for the screecher) with a reef in the mainsail, or the J1/Solent with two reefs in the main.
Really valuable video, everyone should watch it.
We capsized a multi doing the exact opposite as explained in the video ie eased the main, heady took control of the boat 40kn gust could not head up quick enough ..... slow sideways capsize.
The whole capsize was caused by not easing the heady. Any depowering now is done with Heady first.
Before we actually did it I would have never thought the heady would have been able to capsize the boat.
The other point made was not to bear away when reaching when flying a hull. Reason for that is that hull is already under pressure supporting the whole boat and it does not have as much reserve buoyancy so there is a danger of it nosediving.
In the video, Charles Caudrelier is talking about "l'angle mort", the dead angle; between 95° and 105° TWA. More upwind, you head up to let go some power in a puff. More downwind, you bear away to let go some power in a puff.
But in that range, there is no hard rule, and depending on the sea, the reaction of the boat, it is up to the helmsman to figure out what is best (or not worst...). He explains that on the new foilers like Gitana 17, it is not really a problem: more wind = more speed = more righting moment from the foil...
But on the other hand, with the ORMA 60 trimarans, there were some conditions where NOBODY would sail at those angles. Just too dangerous...
As noted by others, interesting to see that he would reduce head sail first. That is not what they were doing there with the organized daysail with the shipyard people, and he was politely saying that it is not what he would do. He said that on fast trimaran, they go all the way to J3 with full main before taking a reef.
On top of what EartBM explain above on the reasons to do so; Charles added that to reduce your headsail, you need to bear away to furl it anyway. (He said that if you go upwind and let your jib flock to furl it, you are going to ruin it...) If the headsail is not the first reduction of sail area you do, it means that when you want to reduce headsail, you are now maybe in a squall, and you will have to go through that 95 to 105 dead angle range to do so, with too much headsail, not safe...
Racing and Cruising