Latest News: Forums Racing Beating to windward in light airs.

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  • #4227
    Roger
    Participant

    I have been out sailing today with my new crew, and I would like some advice on how we can make the boat go to windward better, in light flooky wind.

    Can you help?

    Roger.

    #9696
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    – Heel the boat a bit, just enough to keep the sails full so that when that puff hits its energy is not wasted on filling the sails but gives you forward motion immediately.

    – Keep still, stay where you are and be patient. Too often speed, if any, is lost due to rocking the boat about. It may also destroy your sail shape.

    – Think ahead, decide on the best course and stick to that decision. Don’t try to tack just because that other course seems a bit better. Tack only for a reason.

    – Don’t try to luff on every puff, make sure it lasts before you try to luff. Often it is better to keep the boat steady on a general course rather then responding to each and every puff.

    – As a racer be patient, you will get there, eventually. If there is no wind there are no legal ways to get anywhere.
    As a cruiser and If you get bored, get the ores out or start the engine.

    – Bring beer and crisps, preferably Grolsch, but that is another story…..

    #9698
    Robin
    Member

    In light and flukey conditions, I tend to bear away a little in the gusts, easing the main slightly to get maximum boat speed, and as the gust dies, I point up, pinching or even going as far as heading dead upwind, if there was any wind .. the theory being that in still air, you might as well use the boat speed in the direction you want! it also means you are a little more to windward when the next gust hits, so you catch it a bit earlier, get more speed as you bear away and stay with it longer …

    Use no or very slight kicker, just enough to keep the boom down, watch the sail shape and tweak for maximum draft somewhere around 40% back. I tend to use a little less jib tension than usual.

    Sit well forward in the boat, you want the transom clear, almost like you would downwind. Steer using a little heel and less rudder. Heeling the boat slightly, to allow the sails to rest “set” ready to work when the gust arrives works well.

    gentle rounded tacks, roll tack each one, a good roll tack will not only save you a lot of rudder work and hence loss of speed, but give you a nice little boost of speed, which can be a huge bonus if done right.

    I can’t quite decide on how much board to use, but as the air gets light .. half board seems to be enough.

    thats what I do anyway, but I’m a newbie to dinghy racing .. so it could be a bit worng.

    #9699
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    Roger, I am not sure about your heading dead into wind as you climb up, would not work in waves as you need as much forward movement as pos to climb the wave.

    Do you sail on a flat lake as it may work for that?

    Your find that when sailing in low winds that moving the sails to the wind angle if much faster and better than moving the boat to the wind.

    As you ease to the wind angle your power the boat and then be able to pull the sails back in when you luff or the action of pulling in will do that for you with the smallest of rudder movement.

    Centerboard full down, why have less resistance to leeway ?

    The crew can do so much for the boats speed by adjusting to the wind as well, genoa is pos 40% of the sail area and needs not to be over sheeted and stall the back of that eased mainsail.

    Telltails on the genoa leach as well as the mains will help them with over or under sheeting.

    CP

    #9701
    Robin
    Member

    To be fair, I do sail on a lake (Chelmarsh Reservoir) so my technique may be biased. Once the wind drops, any direction can be considered “into wind” or “down wind” for that matter, so I can;t see any harm in pointing in the direction you want to go. Anyway, pinching in the lulls seems to work for me. I tend to sheet in a little as the gust passes and begins to die and the apparent wind moves more forwards, before pinching up as it dies completely and using the remaining boats speed to best effect.

    In a good stiff breeze, I would use full board, as you say, why carry extra leeway? In a light wind? the prupose of the board, as I understand it is to counteract the sideways force of the sail, in lighter airs, surely you need progressively less board until, whilst moving through still air, you need none? I figured I cuold reduce the board as the wind dropped and maintain leeway .. but, I could be wrong.

    #9702
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    If you move the board up, at first it does not get any smaller (well, a bit but that is neglect-able) and hence the leeway of your boat is not effected. Only when the board is almost full up the exposed area is significantly reduced. A far more important effect is that you move the pressure point of the board towards the rudder and in doing so, change the balance of the boat. By moving the board backward (that is what you initially do by turning it “up”) the pressure on the rudder changes. What I always aim for is to have a neutral rudder because any pressure I have to put on the helm is basically slowing the boat down due to the induced drag.

    On a beat to windward the CB has to be full down as to move the leading edge of the CB as far forward as possible. This makes the boat point better. I always use full down on a beat, even if it means there is some pressure on the rudder. Moving the crew and setting up the mast and sails correctly should take the pressure of the rudder in this case but that takes some trial and error to get it right.

    Pointing in to the wind may help but always use the last bit of momentum to bring the boat back in position to be ready to catch the next gust of wind. On the other hand, moving the rudder (twice) slows the boat and the effect of your actions may be zero or worse than when the boat was kept on a steady course, as Collin suggests.

    #9703
    Robin
    Member

    Ah, yes, you are right there … I hadn’t really considered the centre of pressure moving for and aft .. makes perfect sense. I shall play with that on Saturday and see what I find. very interesting …

    #9714
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    How have you got on Robin ??
    CP

    #9722
    Robin
    Member

    I have so far failed to get out since then!!

    As i remember it was something like no wind, no wind, too cold, iced, iced … brrr. several hopeless weekends one after the other šŸ™

    -16 here tonight … I didn’t even consider going up to the lake to have a look.

    #9725
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    Hmmm, I am considering changing the wheels of my trolley for skates, find some way to control the front wheel, eeehhhrm, front skate from inside the boat, strap the trolley on, load a bottle of Rhum and sail away in ten layers of woollies.

    #9726
    Roger
    Participant

    Sounds like a mighty fine idea Swiebertje. Can’t wait to see the photos. It would be good if you can connect the jockey (skate) wheel up to the tiller.

    The lake That I normally sail on has turned into a very hard lake, and I can see the attraction of your ingeneous invention.

    Beware of the thin stuff.

    Roger

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