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Old 12-18-2012
SailingJackson SailingJackson is offline
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Re: Tacking in heavy winds

OK, I realize this is an old thread, but I thought I'd mention the rate of turn issues. This sometimes comes up when someone is moving from dinghy to keelboat sailing. On a lot of little centerboard boats with centerboards and relatively flat bottoms, faster is better. On large boats with significant dead rise and a lot of weight, they will sit in the water, not on the water. In such designs you may need to turn more slowly in order to get around. There is a clear contradiction between the wind trying to blow you back, where too slow of a turn will allow the wind to stop you, but too fast of at turn can take out even more energy.

On day with flat water and few waves, tack the boat with different turning rates and watch the water behind you. If you turn rapidly you'll likely see circular eddies left in the water behind you. It takes a lot of energy to make those and they come from the inertia of the boat while turning. Disturb the water less and you'll have more energy to get you through the turn.

G. Jackson
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