Ericson 35 Mk II Oscillations

Glenn McCarthy

Glenn McCarthy
Bought a tired one, got is sailable and went out in 3'-5' seas and 18-23 knots.

Going upwind, the bow swung left and right 40-degrees endlessly, it didn't make a difference who was on the wheel (2 different great drivers), the boat just swung non-stop.
Going downwind, the bow swung left and right 60-degrees endlessly, it didn't make a difference who as on the wheel (two different great drivers), the boat swung non-stop.

Observations:
1. Boat was taking on water (resolved now) by end of 3 hour sail water was above floorboards.
2. We see the mast is tilted forward of plumb.
3. The mainsail is undersized (probably close to 2' short on the hoist and 1.75' short on the boom).
4. Once hauled for the winter, tied the wheel tight in place, went to the ground and grabbed the rudder to see if it would spin left or right, but is as solid as a rock.

Has anyone else experienced this with an Ericson 35 Mk II, and what was your solution?
 

markvone

Sustaining Member
Hi Glenn,

You didn't mention what size jib you had up. I'm assuming it was a #3 (~ 100%) or smaller in 18 -23 kts.

Sounds like the wheel steering is connected to the rudder like it should be. I would still check the cables and linkage for proper operation since it's a new (to you) boat.

The E35-II has a reputation as a good sailing boat. I would also check that nothing has been significantly modified from the original design by a previous owner doing a cheap repair (i.e. smaller rudder, shorter mast, longer (shorter) boom, mast step location, etc.).

Assuming the boat is original with no steering issues my guess is that you had several hundred pounds (or more) of water sloshing around inside the boat and probably putting her trim bow down. This combined with the mast raked forward and a smaller than normal main with some 5 kt gusts to unbalance the sail plan and you would have some serious influence on the boat's center of balance which would be constantly moving around. If you were using an old, blown out 135 partially furled genoa it would make it even harder to steer. I'd also wonder if the rig was tuned tight enough for the conditions. Add in some 3 - 5 foot waves and you don't just have a small balance problem but the situation you experienced.

Mark
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
What headsail did you have up that day? What sail combinations did you try?

Going straight in such conditions is pretty subjective. Allow me to ask if the helmsmen were fully experienced, and if so, what they thought was going on and what sail combos they tried.

The owner's manual should suggest a mast rake. I think the E38, for example, wants 6" or so aft.

(typed simultaneously)

mast.JPG
 
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Glenn McCarthy

Glenn McCarthy
Full (undersized) mainsail and #3 which is not a blade, but a shorter hoist with a longer foot were used this day.

Boat/blades/spars are stock.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
My 38 would be overpowered with full sail over 20 knots in an active seaway--and that's with brand new sails (which don't bag out).

Too much sail up for the conditions makes a boat unsteerable.

And...what Mark said.
 
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markvone

Sustaining Member
Hi Bill,

A "blade" is a tall, thin (like a knife blade) working jib (#3) of around 100% of the boats LP (perpendicular distance from mast to forestay). This shape is pretty efficient and powerful for its' size, so is typically used on race and/or performance oriented boats where you are trying to maximize performance (even when it's getting really windy). Often it will have leach battens to add more sail area in the roach. You need a jib track far enough forward to sheet it and it usually sweeps the deck so it is hard to see around.

A shorter hoist and/or high clew typical working jib has the advantages of being easier to see under, usually sheets further back on a shorter, standard genoa track and the foot sets higher above waves coming across the deck. It's used when it is windy enough for even the heaviest cruiser to make hull speed, so ease of use and reduced sail area are priorities over max performance.

My #3 is a 105% fiber path "blade". It sweeps the deck and the low clew sheets inside the stays to my long genoa track. It has vertical leach battens to add area to the roach which stops just forward of the spreaders. The vertical battens allow it to furl. My sail was designed fuller to work between 10 - 18 kts. My 150% #1 is maxed out at 12 kts. and I skipped the #2.

At 18 kts upwind with a flat, full main and max backstay (no rail birds) it is at the top of its' range. In gusty 18 - 23 kts I would likely have a double reef or just use the #3.

Mark
 

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beachologist

Member I
My 35-2 is a difficult boat to steer well with a wheel. It is easier with a tiller (I switch back and forth). The rudder is undersized and many have replaced it with a larger more modern one from Foss. Someday I will too.
 

e38 owner

Member III
FWIW
I tend to agree with above.
our family had a 32-2 many years ago.

Poor tuning, to much sail causing the problem
Hard to steer because
1. underpowered fall off the wind
2. overpowered boat begins to round up
3. boat to close to wind becomes underpowered then fall off
4. etc etc etc
5, Did you have the same problem broad reaching or just when the wind was forward of 90?
 

Glenn McCarthy

Glenn McCarthy
We didn't broad reach, it was a race, windward / leeward. Funny, after sailing all that extra distance (bow wagging back and forth, many wipe outs, etc.) we ended up mid fleet. I expected to be DFL!
 

bradh

Member II
I have never had oscillations with my 35-II. It does (properly) round up when over powered. I do follow the general rule of reefing early on the main, but I have found that this always needs to be matched by furling the head sail (it's really a head sail driven boat). If I don't balance the sails, it will still sail, but it's not pretty. Too much head sail and she will heel and eventually turn up. Maybe the short main compounds this?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
There is a good chance that a "tired out" older boat will have tired out (stretched out) sails.

When, in due time of course, you put a new headsail on the boat will probably sail waaaaaay better.... like a new boat.
:)
 

garryh

Member III
the e35-2 manual calls for NO rake in mast (and no bend)... but it sure should not be raked forwards.
Gotta think hundreds of pounds of water moving side to side had a lot to do with the boat veering all over.... not helped at all by a too small rudder.
 

garryh

Member III
FROM THE MANUAL

Mast

Rake

E-30
none
E-31C
13"
(33
cm)
E
-32(std)
5"
(13
cm)
E
-32(tall)
2"
(5
cm)
E-34
4"
(10cm)
E-34T.9"
(23
cm)
E
-35(all)
none
E-36C
none
E
-36C
(ketch)
Main
9"
(23
cm)
Mizzen
15"
(38
cm)
E-39
8"
(20
cm)
E -39B
9"
(23
cm)
 

p.gazibara

Member III
Cinderella is a 35-2 and we haven't experienced such issues. Even in 35ish kts to windward on a double reefed main and storm jib in about 6-8' seas. It's a really bumpy ride, but she just tracked true as can be without any weather helm.

I'm pretty glad we don't worry about going to windward too much these days (the margaritas in MX are pretty great btw).

Without knowing more, I would guess there was too much sail up / sails weren't balanced very well. Going to windward, we hardly have to touch the tiller on Cindy, she just goes.

Was the boat excessively heeled? I have noticed that letting her go past about 30 degrees close hauled just creates excess drag and reefing can do wonders. Less sail shockingly meant going faster for us. We also have a largely oversized rudder, which helps keep her on track pretty well. (Though that matter much more going downwind with kites up)

My old boat had these issues when she was overloaded with bagged out old sails. It was a Newport 28 which had a much more IOR hull shape.

I would start by looking into sail/rig tuning. Something doesn't seem to be set right. If that doesn't answer any questions, might be interesting to pull that rudder and see whats going on.

We also have a non-stock rig so we aren't 100% the same.

-P
 

Glenn McCarthy

Glenn McCarthy
Ya'all have been very helpful, we'll try the easy options first and keep whittling away until we have a solution. When I looked at the underbody from the back, 1/2 of the rudder is behind the shape of the hull, 1/2 is in alignment with the keel. And that's a pretty small part. I do like the idea of a deeper rudder. But reality is, so many of these boats sail just fine without this conversion, so it must be one or two of the other factors presented here.

Thank you!
 

steven

Member III
Glenn,

Just saw this thread. Sorry for late reply.

Did you figure it out ?

In my experience, the oscillations you describe are not at all normal on an E35-2.

If you have not found the cause, could be loose rigging.
That might cause the mast to gyrate out of column, alternately filling and spilling - pulling the nose every which way.

Also, if the mast step is soft might have much the same effect.

--Steve
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
The issue of wild oscillations, lack of control, exhausted helmsmen and everybody cursing the boat is almost always the result of too much sail up.

And it is usually blown-out sails that are up, which in a good breeze turn forward motion into sideways motion.

Ericsons are not concrete barges, they are responsive to sail cut and sail area, and require reefing and refinement of leads.

A Beneteau 42 with battenless mainsail furled inside the mast does not have these expectations. Its mainsail is hardly a foil at all, rather a decorative bedsheet, and the hull form resists heel.

To some degree, many modern forms are more forgiving than Ericsons, which really do have to be sailed, and do not sail well with bad sails.

On a broad reach in strong air, a very small change in the position of the boom can make the difference between out of control and a pretty straight, fast track. It may also mean a reef.

When the mainsail is set correctly on a given course, inattention to the set of the genoa will also screw everything up.

This doesn't come up in 10 knots, it begins to come up in 20 knots.

When the boat doesn't track, reduce sail. Steering will come back.

To carry more sail in heavy air, buy new sails. It is why sailmakers are busy in summer.
 
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