BABA-30 SAILING CHARACTERISTICS
(thanks to Charles Yingling for this document)
Going to Windward
Going to windward with Genoa and Main in less than about 6 knots of wind generates too much lee helm. The boat will not lie closer to the wind than 60 degrees. (A very light 180% Drifter Genoa might go in 2-6 knots). 8 to 10 knots balances the helm with Main and Genoa. This combination can be carried to at least 17 knots without strain, and with slight weather helm in more than 10 knots.
In the range from 12 to 17 knots there is very little difference between the drive of the Genoa and that of the Working Headsails. 15-18 knots requires a single reef with two headsails but the full Main may be carried with the Genoa. Beyond that point extensive shortening down is necessary. A single reef and Working Jib is sufficient in 15 to 25 knots. 22 to 30 knots of wind requires one reef and the Staysail. Two reefs will be necessary if the wind sustains 30 to 35 knots. Beyond 35 knots on the wind is the range of the Storm Trysail with the Staysail or Storm Jib.
For every sail combination there is a particular wind strength that gives a neutral helm. The point of balance depends on sail trim and sea state.
In flat seas:Genoa and Main about 9 knots
All plain sail about 12 knots
Jib and Main about 15 knots
Jib and reef about 18 knots
Staysail and reef about 22 knots
Staysail and 2 reefs about 28 knots
According to the books, a small weather helm is better than none at all to windward, so slightly more wind than is listed would be preferable. Head seas tend to counteract weather helm. The boat must be sailed rather full in a head sea with as much sail as may be shown without going rail down. (The engine at slow turns helps keep the way on when she starts to pitch). The angle of the seas to the course has a large effect on helm balance to windward. One tack may have lee helm while the other has weather helm.
While sailing to windward the Main should be sheeted flat and trimmed with the traveler, in all but less than 10 knots of wind. The traveler should be to windward of the centerline in light airs, with the sheet eased to increase the camber of the sail. The Main halyard should be eased in light airs to eliminate wrinkles parallel to the luff. Generally, the Main sets best with the boom at a 7 degree angle to the centerline (or less). It is not advantageous to pull the boom to windward of the centerline.
The Main alone does not provide much drive but it is cooperative on a number of points. Close to the wind, the boat will find a course to suit whatever weather helm is provided. Care should be taken not to allow the course to wander too far off the wind, as this might cause a sudden change of status.
The Main should be trimmed with the traveler down to 60 degrees off the wind, and secured with a vang at greater angles. The Main must be sheeted almost amidships while close reaching with a reacher, due to backwind.
Reaching and Running
In less than about 12 knots of relative wind the Reacher is our best sail for reaching and running. It may be carried to 60 degrees by sheeting flat and allowing the tack to rise slightly.
In less than about 6 knots of wind, the Reacher will fly alone with 150-180 degrees of apparent wind. However, this sail is almost impossible to take down without the full Main to blanket it. If the Main is hoisted on a run or broad reach the battens will foul on the lower and intermediate shrouds unless someone pulls the leech aft as the main is hoisted. In any case, a sharp weather eye is useful while flying the Reacher alone.
The Reacher benefits from the pole on beam and broad reaches, as well as wing-and-wing. Sheeted well out and high on the tack, the Reacher will fly on the same side as the Main to about 150 degrees relative wind. Beyond this point it will be blanketed unless the Main is jibed. On a run the Reacher fills best with the Main slightly by the lee (less than 10 degrees). The helm is somewhat sluggish on a run. Large lee helm may be generated by the Reacher on reaching courses in light winds. This lee helm is also present, but less powerful, with other headsails.
The combination of full Main and Reacher will cause a broach in more than about 15 knots of relative wind. If the wind should increase beyond this strength, the Main must be brought to the same side as the Reacher. Run directly down wind to blanket the Reacher. If it will not empty, rig a snatch block at the mast end of the pole track (on front of mast). Lead the lazy sheet through this block and pull the clew inboard. Secure the clew end of the lazy sheet to the staysail halyard cleat on the mast. When the Reacher is empty, gather it in along the foot as it is lowered away.
Extreme weather helm is developed by rolling in a following sea. This condition is aggravated by the Reacher and Full Main. With the other headsails the Full Main may be carried to about 18 knots of relative wind, broad off. It should be stressed that the Reacher will not blanket behind a reefed Main. about 15 knots relative does not appreciably reduce speed and it relieves the weather helm. The single reef balances better with bothWorking Jib and Staysail, but the Jib does not draw well beyond about 130 degrees relative wind. The Jib alone with the single reefed Main will fly to about 150 degrees relative wind.
The Working Jib poled to windward with Main and Staysail to leeward allows a point of 150-160 degrees relative. There is some weather helm at 8-12 knots but this can be somewhat eased by oversheeting the Staysail. Without the pole, the Working Jib is very tender wing-and-wing. It will fly only when the Jib is between 0 to 5 degrees by the lee. The Genoa poled out wing-and-wing with the Main draws best on this same point and is well behaved in this range. The pole is most useful when the spare halyard is used as a topping lift. (We need to middle a long line and make a snap shackle fast at the center to use as permanent fore and aft guys).
Heavy Weather Notes:
The critical area of yaw when rounding up seems to be between 150 and 120 degrees relative wind. The yaw accelerates quite rapidly due to increased heel. This is aggravated by gusting winds and quartering seas. Large amounts of weather helm are usually needed to counter this. If the boat is run off beyond 150 degrees the amount of weather helm is reduced and the rudder must be eased to prevent a jibe. Most of the turning force is generated by the Mainsail. The Genoa alone has not been tried in more than 8 knots relative wind but it is doubtful that it can be flown in more than about 22 knots.
In winds over 35 knots the Working Jib alone is a real driver. So far the Staysail alone has not been tried nor has the Storm Jib or any combination with the Trysail. The double reefed Main also offers possibilities.