Re: Can someone explain roach to me?
This is not completely about rules or strict aerodynamics. It is to compensate for a variety of shortfalls of a Bermuda rig. One of the short falls of a Bermuda sail on a mast (versus a wing sail), is that a very large percentage of the head of the sail operates in the disturbed air off coming of the mast. Another of the shortfalls of Bermuda mainsails (vs gaff mainsails) is that the gaff sail has more sail area up higher so it can work a little better when reaching in terms of greater drive for a given heeling moment.
Roach fairs out the air flow at the leach near the head of the sail, allows a greater sail area higher on the sail and which is further away from the mast, which then addresses both of these issues.
I would suggest that where practical, maximizing roach may actually make more sense on most cruising boats than race boats.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay