Coromandel won't come off the wind and is hard to tack

  • 21 Nov 2021 19:54
    Reply # 12140982 on 10974452

    Thank you for all your comments and suggestions.  I have added some stiff battens and cleaned / painted the bottom. I have also shifted the rig forward a few inches. I has a brief trial today and she tacked well.  I plan to do more trials soon. The old battens were pvc pipe and had become bent. She needs a new sail but this will have to wait. The current sail is quite rotten.  Thank you again for your help and ideas. John.

  • 07 Sep 2021 12:15
    Reply # 10996265 on 10974452
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    On Mingming (a Coromandel) , while experimenting lambda sheeting, I had very flexible battens. I had some S bending (fig 1-8 in PJR) and she wouldn't tack unless I free the sheet completely before the tack in order to stop the S-bending. The forward third of the battens must be very rigid (I added some 1 meter kite carbon rods strapped with gaff tape to the forward part of the battens).

    I didn’t experience problems going off the wind but, as the bilge keels are shallow and flat, when the speed is too low (under 2 knots) the boat drifts sideway and the rudder is inefficient. I free the sheet and ease the sail as much as possible to take some speed, have some efficiency of the keels and recover some control.


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    Last modified: 07 Sep 2021 12:16 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 02 Sep 2021 21:13
    Reply # 10977079 on 10974452
    Deleted user

    Just reading Mark's comment re bendy battens. If your battens are very bendy that will create all sorts of problems - been there, done that! When we first got Footprints and with the original sail, the battens were just bendy plastic pipe. The sail was hopeless and led to all sorts of handling problems. In fact even on a reach when a gust of wind hit the sail the battens would curve inward at the aft end and the boat slowed down rather than increase speed. So the first winter I made up a whole new set of battens from cedar timber and with unidirectional fiberglass on either side. I also added an extra batten to the sail. These battens were very stiff and completely changed the character of the boat handling. Then when we made our new constant camber panel sail I reused those same cedar battens. With the extra loading in the camber panel sail the battens were terrible, they bent so much I was surprised they did not break, it was probably the unidirectional glass which stopped that happening. So, we made up another set of battens. These were a mix of carbon fiber tube, and for 3 of the battens aluminum tube. These new battens were very stiff with almost no curvature over the 6.5m length, and once again the sail and boat became controllable, although it would still not tack properly until I raked the mast forward, as I mentioned earlier. 

    So, if you have bendy battens that would probably be a good place to start with your handling problems. On a junk sail battens should be very stiff, producing only a slight curve in stronger wind conditions.

    Last modified: 03 Sep 2021 05:49 | Deleted user
  • 02 Sep 2021 18:37
    Reply # 10976795 on 10974452

    Hello John,

    our Coromandel has a Sunbird-rig with hinged battens.

    We have no problems to go about or to gybe but Mai Poy has a strong tendency to weather helm.

    In courses on the wind we should trim the sail forward, but we can´t because our battens will s-bend.

    If you sail her in light winds it may help to sit in lee, so the heeling will support the sail to flip to the new side.

    Good Luck and keep on trying, the Coromandels are great little ships!


  • 02 Sep 2021 11:16
    Reply # 10976084 on 10974452

    I had no problem when I had mine, sailed in all conditions.  She had a flat sail.

    i suspect the issue is your bendy battens moving the centre of pressure back.  Stiffening the rear half of the battens may help.  Have you tried using a down haul?

    if it is the battens bending, then she should be fine in light airs.   I assume she has a good clean hull.

    a side point, beware of the offset outboard,  she won’t turn to starboard without some way on.  If you can make it so you can steer the outboard a bit. 

    have fun. 

  • 01 Sep 2021 21:49
    Reply # 10975200 on 10974452
    Deleted user

    There will no doubt come lots of suggestions to help here, but my guess would be that the CE is too far aft. But what is the boat like on the helm, is there much weather helm?

    On our junk rig yacht Footprints we had a lot of trouble tacking, she just would not go round, although there was never a problem getting the boat head to wind. The same occurred after we fitted the new camber panel sail. Then on David Tyler's suggestion I raked the mast forward by about 3 degrees which had the effect of moving the CE forward. This solved all of our problems and I never had any trouble tacking after that. Footprints had a quite low aspect fan shaped sail.

    So as an experiment you could try moving the sail forward on the mast, if you are easily able to adjust the sling point on the yard further aft.

    Of course there could be other factors at play as well. You do have an advantage in that there are a number of junk rig Coromandels so it would be worthwhile comparing your sail set up with that on other boats of the same design.

  • 01 Sep 2021 15:33
    Message # 10974452

    Hi All. I have a Newbridge Coromandel that I hope to do some cruising on. I sail her in a small harbour most of the time and she has 2 issues that make it all a little interesting:

    1) She won't come off the wind even if I ease the mainsheet and put the rudder hard over. This is obviously concerning in a small harbour with lots of boats.  If I want to go from beating to running it is nigh on impossible.

    2) She won't go through the wind when I tack. I have to keep a paddle in the cockpit to paddle myself round.  

    I have spent quite a while on the boat with the sail in various degrees of reef.  I believe these boats are know for having a small rudder so this may not help but it feels more signifcant than that.  The sail has bendy buttons that were fitted when I bought her but when reefed I can get the sail fairly flat.

    Could the sail be to far back? I guess that would keep her from bearing off.

    Any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated.  I want to sail with out an outboard at some point but daren't do that with her sailing as she is.

    Thanks in advance. John.

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