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Old 07-17-2010
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Plausible Deniability
 
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"Out today with what had to be 20 mph winds. The boat is still pretty slow and poor steering. Wind was too intense for"
Well, try to "divide and conquer". That's the only way you can beat something that's more powerful than you are, like a boat.
First off, as you noticed, 20mph is just too miuch for the boat. Heck, even keelboats 30' long benefit from reefing well before 20 knots and not being familiar with your boat, I'd have to ask just how effective your reefing options are to begin with.

"The boat does not seem to steer into the wind very well, ...the boat is so slow...Are some boats just like that?"

Some boats are simply unbalanced pigs, yes. If your boat is an "1981 AFC T for Two Made by American Fiberglass Company " there are some photos at AFC T for Two sailboat for sale which show one. As someone else asked, what about your centerboard? Is it locked down (LOCKED down) and is the correct original centerboard there at all? That would be critical to proper upwind operation.

Have you been able to locate any other owners (past or present) on the web, who might have some insight into what is normal for the boat? A 17' boat, even at its best, will probably have a maximum hull speed around 5 knots--so don't expect lightning fast speeds from this boat.

If there are any dinghy racing programs in your area, even though they will be very different from what you are sailing, you might be able to ask one of the instructors or more experienced sailors to come out and take a ride with you, and share their hands-on insight. Most sailors will be glad to come along and help, for the price of a coke or beer.
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