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post #7 of Old 03-09-2006
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If you are just 'sailing', looking at where you are going is a good way, As Gord states.
If you want precision steering for a FAST course, place a long row of telltales (strips of ripstop nylon ~3/8" wide by 6" long and fastened to the sail with a 'dot' of self adhesive sail repair tape) in a line parallel to about 8 ft. from the deck and on each side of the sail (different colors for each side). The 'rows' will be about 8 foot long on a 30 LOA boat. Then simply steer the boat so that ALL the tell tales are flying 'straight back' or with the windward side just gently 'lifting'. When steering, every 15 - 20 seconds look up at the tell tale row, and steer the course to make the telltales flat and streaming straight back. If the wind shifts (almost always is shifting back and forth) your steering will automatically return back to the proper sailing angles. Since you can not SEE the wind you can see the telltales and the affects that the wind has on them and then can best steer simply by watching the tales and then steering to get the best wind angle. This may sound somewhat complicated but once you apply a 'steering row' of telltales to the headsail, you will automatically steer the best course, the proper angle, etc. .... and your boat will 'scallop' in direction according to the wind but the course will be the fastest. Since the wind is usually always varying direction when sailing you either continuously adjust the sails or continuously steer the boat .... steering changes are easier.

Last edited by RichH; 03-09-2006 at 11:07 AM.
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