How to avoid and get out of a broach
If you are pushing to high wind angles with the gennaker, you will inevitably lose control at a certain point. Two rudders give you a bit of additional grip on the boat, but they have their limit as well.
Some of my tips to keep control:
- Reef early: mainsail is the main contributor to broaching (turning into the wind without control). You can easily use the fractional kite with two reefs.
- Actively use Vang: Yourself or crew member should keep the vang control rope in their hand and release it the moment he feels the boat is losing control. On bigger boats, they have “panic” button next to the helm which releases hydraulic in the vang which is used for the same purpose.
- Make sure the Gennaker is eased enough. If the luff of the gennaker is not curling backwards every 5 seconds, you are over trimmed. If you start to lose control, ease the gennaker sheet first for few meters so that gennaker partly collapses and if this doesn’t help all the way immediately.
- The same time crew is easing the gennaker sheet the main sheet should be of course released as well.
This should allow you to keep the boat on her track.
If you broach, make sure your vang, main sheet and gennaker sheet are eased. Then pump the tiller with few vigorous pumps (like you would be rowing) to bear away and off you go.
Below is an interesting video (at 2min and 10seconds) in 20-24kt of the wind with Norwegian crew losing control and regaining it in seconds. They lost control since the crew slipped and pushed the tiller to turn the boat to windward.