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Old 06-14-2014
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Re: Problem Turning Windward

Questions for Davidpm:

Using Full Main Only: Since the mainís tendency is to round up the boat during gusts, and if no jib is used at all, even if the boat does not round up, wouldnít the Captain be fighting the tiller a lot more for a Full-Main-Only Scenario than if a reefed main/jib combination is used?

Yes an unbalanced boat will need more tiller than a balanced on.

So why would a boat round up during gusts?

The boat pivots at a point somewhere near the mast. The main sail is behind the mast so pressure on the main turns the boat windward.


Is it because the boat is heeled over further which, in turn, gives less control of the rudder because the rudder is partially out of the water?

Sure that may be true.

And if this is true, what is the maximum degree a boat can be heeled over before control of the rudder is lost?

Any time you are holding the rudder over with a lot of force it is acting like a break and slowing the boat down. A lot of heal may be fun but it is usually not the fastest.


Iíve also read that when heeled over, sailboats travel faster than sitting flat on the water. However, there is a turning point at which the speed decreases. All sailboats are probably a little different in this respect. However, in your opinion, about what angle to the water would sailing speed be lost?

You are correct. Their is a sweet spot for every boat. Some boats get a slightly longer waterline when healed which contributes to their speed. But they are also spilling some wind which makes them go slower.

In general most boats sail fastest with a moderate heal, dinghy's almost flat, keel boats 10 degrees some quite a bit more.
In general however big angles of heal with the rail in the water is for fun and to impress your date not for speed.

It doesn't even always impress your date because sometimes you can just look like jerk.

Another thing to be aware is if loading issues. The harder you push your boat the more likely you will break something. That is why racers have a reputation for breaking things because they push their boat.
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