Originally Posted by Faster
... you been spying on us??
I'm with you there.. to be honest I've always been more of a 'seat of the pants' type sailor than a technical trim/by the numbers guy. We learned to sail, as mentioned above, in a area blessed with strong winds but just a chop and rarely any serious wave action - near perfect training grounds (except for helming in a big sea....) Anyhow we're big believers in traveler usage, and I do tend to pull strings a lot, even now, and we rarely race anymore. The pressure on the helm and the heel angle are our 'dictates'. We'll suffer a fair bit of mainsail backwind if it's not slowing us down, but for a longer leg we'll reef, of course. Much of our sailing is either upwind or down, as the local topography tends to 'steer' the prevailing SE or NW winds along the straits and inlets.
Our boat really likes 'traveler down early' and I often think of when I read Buddy Melges' book where he says the sails need to 'breathe'..
Figuring out how to get a boat upwind makes those trips much more enjoyable than pounding under power into the slop and chop, saves fuel and provides long term gloating rights over those that can't be bothered.
I am with Paulo here. I sail a boat which points well. It tracks high in 6-12 knots of breeze at hull speed and also has the advanyage of a centerboard when necessary. Our tracks are against the cabin. You have to learn your boiat to see the angles and slot which work best for you. A knot meter vs GPS is a great tool as it is instantaneous feedback.
We dont worry if we are sailing with or into the wind generally, although I am not a fan of dead downwind sailing and usually will avoid it unless spinaker flying. here on the Chesapeake dead downwind means heat stroke. in July and August