Sailing in strong wind condtions

Just got myself into this hobby once again after a long holiday ( many many years ).
And I found a site to sail in but the wind conditions are very strong ( the same lake is used for windsurfing training).
Right now i have a fairwind but the sails are changed to Walrus sails , the deck has been reinforced , all lines changed (50lb fishing line) .
The weight is about 4kgs.
The wind is pretty huge and i do not have to close the sail that much and the boat just heels and picks up a lot of speed.
I am afraid that i will tip the boat over. Possibility?
Any tips for sailing in windy conditions ?? what to do and not to do would be helpful??

I know this boat is not the perfect fit for such conditions , any new boat recommendations are also welcome as I will be needing a new boat as my son ( 9 years) is also starting the sport with me.


First, Welcome aboard…

Back to wind…What do you call very strong??..anyway, if its really “over”, I would make some storm suit, I read you use Walrus, if you still have the kit’s sail, you could make a strom suit…thats what I did with my Seawind.

Something some people had, dont know about the Fairwind, but the hatch from the Seawind wasnt water tight at all…keep an eye open for that…same maker.

Some people here sail the Fairwind, I am sure they will give you some more specific idea.


_/ if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! _

Bobi -

watch for a reply, or Instant Message Will Gorgen, as he is the Class Secretary for the Fiarwinds, and probably has a wealth of information and/or contacts for issues, questions or concerns dealing with the boat itself, setup, modifications - and I am sure, sailing in heavy air! Just go to the “members” list at the top of the forum, and enter Will Gorgen’s name. He is here often, and may send you a direct note as well.

welcome back
if you are looking for a good boat the fiarwind is a good boat. but i would suggest if you have any building skills. i would suggest building an us 1 meter or an IOM. both boats can handle strong winds and are easy to sail. i have both boats i have 2 us 1 meters and 2 IOMs. contact me if you need some more information or help
long live the cup and cris dickson


I tried to reply to you earlier, but my message did not get through. This new webinspector program at work is really starting to bug me!

Anyway, here’s what I can tell you:

  1. As wis suggested, you might want to make a set of storm sails. If you want to retain the scale appearance of the boat, you might want to add “reef points” to your stock sails (if you still have them). Then you can reef your sails for the conditions. The ripstop stock sails should tolerate this sort of reefing pretty well. Otherwise, you could cut down the stock sails. If you cut area off the foot, it will save you the hassle of having to re-sew the leach seam and batten pockets.

  2. You can add ballast to the boat. If your boat is right at the class minimum of 8 lbs, it will be a bit light for stronger winds. I carry 2 0.5 lb bags of extra ballast in my tool box. I have removed that wood beam across the top of the keel well, and I can stuff the bags of lead down into the keel for heavy wind days.

  3. The hatch cover does leak - especially at the forward edge (where the cover butts against the coachroof). I have added a strip of the gasket material to that forward joint and that keeps water out under most sailing conditions. Under the most extreme conditions, I will tape over the cover joints with white electrical tape.

  4. The boat (like all boats) will tend to round up when over-heeled. You can counter this tendancy by easing the main relative to the jib (or even having a smaller main by reefing). If you can keep your jib full, this will push the bow away from the wind and counteract the tendancy to round up.

The boat actually handles waves and wind pretty well. It is heavy so it has momentum to carry it through the waves, and it has a lot of freeboard which helps keep it from being overwhelmed by the waves. I have sailed my fairwind in 20-25 mph winds and 2 foot waves and was able to make progress to windward (downwind was a wild surfing ride down the face of waves that were 2/3 of the boat length)

But if the wind conditions are really extreme (30 mph or more) then you are probably better off learning to windsurf or fly a stunt kite as these would certainly be a lot more fun that trying to sail a model boat in such conditions.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Bob Sterne’s:

How to sail fast:

The rig selection might interest you

_/ if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! _

When I had my Fairwind, I would add ballast to the bottom of the keel by attaching a weight with strong packaging tape. A teardrop shaped “zinc” (used for anodic protection on outboard motors, etc)worked nicely. I realize this is pretty crude & not in compliance with the class rules (sorry, Will), but in combination with a set of storm sails it made a big difference.

As others have mentioned, make sure your hatch is watertight. I lost my boat while sailing in big waves on an open lake, with no rescue boat available. I noticed it looked a bit low in the water & was bringing it back to the dock when the electronics failed & it sailed away, never to be seen again. I figure that water must have gotten into the receiver & shorted it out. Too bad, I really liked that boat. [:(]

Thank you everyone for chipping in . I really appreciate all the comments.

I have done some more work on the hatch and i will test out this weekend.

re: ballast :- i have some and will carry it to the lake also.

i have some pics of the boat n the lake , so posting it here.

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Hey Bobi
I know this is not a FAIRWIND, but you will find some interesting pictures here:
My first boat was a Fairwind
Wonderful boat. Keep it

You must use an almost storm flat sail and a bigger ruder
water tight is a must