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Old 01-04-2013
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Re: Beating to windward

If you spend a lot of time 'beating' to weather then pointing ability is quite important. But 'pointing' isn't the whole story.

Modern race boats can point quite high, they have optimized rigs and state-of-the-art underbody designs that resist leeway, and when properly handled are upwind rocket ships. Certainly there are designs that 'point' better than others, and the actual pointing ability as far as sails go is tied to deck hardware arrangement, rig tension and tuning, and the skill of the sailor among other things. But a boat that can, for example, keep the telltales flying at a close angle to the wind isn't necessarily getting to weather as effectively as one might think. If the underbody won't support that sailing angle the boat often suffers excessive leeway, negating the 'gain' of the the narrow angle. So the same boat may well get to weather more quickly by not sailing quite so 'high', reducing leeway, going faster, covering a bit more 'ground', but in essence would gain more weather distance sooner....

Fat, max beam-forward boats with no provision to sheet sails inboard will necessarily have a wide sheeting angle that will not permit 'pointing'.. whether that boat could be improved with deck arrangements is often debatable. Bluff/wide entry angles of the hull will suffer from wave action, slowing further, etc etc...

I'm no designer and I'm probably explaining this badly, but the simple answer to the question 'do some boats point better' is a resounding YES!

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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