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Old 07-07-2010
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Beating To Windward?

I've only been sailing for a year, but I've been amazed to find that most sailors seem to consider sailing upwind too slow/difficult and tend to motor upwind, and sail back down. Experienced sailors are surprised when I tell them I sailed (rather than motored) anyplace against the prevailing winds. Even racers seem to mostly motor upwind if they're not in a race at the time. Why is this?

I find beating to be one of the easiest and most relaxing points of sail, since there's no worry about gybing, and heel angle can be reduced in a gust quickly, by just pointing a bit higher without adjusting sails.

I realize it's a bit slower than other points of sail- but if I wanted to get someplace quickly I wouldn't be sailing at all. My VMG might be ~3 knots at best directly upwind, compared to ~6 knots on other points of sail- both very slow compared to powerboats which can plane at ~30 knots.

I find sailing upwind to be much more fun, relaxing, have a better motion, and much cheaper (no fuel) than motoring directly upwind. I can't see myself motoring to windward unless there was some reason I couldn't sail (too much or too little wind, broken rig).
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