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  #1  
Old 06-28-2010
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How to Point Better

During a race last Saturday, we were trailing the pack (as usual) on an upwind leg of the course, so we had a good view of how the other boats were sailing. The course was around Hart Island, just east of City Island in western Long Island Sound. Virtually the entire fleet was able to sail to the north end of the course on a single tack. One or two other boats had to tack maybe once or twice; we had to tack nine times! Needless to say, DFL was ours for the taking!

We had the genoa (a 160) sheeted in so as to touch the forward shroud, then we'd ease a tad. The boat was aimed so that the telltales on both sides of the jib were streaming nicely, the uppers as well as the lowers. The telltales on the leech of the main were also streaming straight back, so I think she was trimmed properly. But we still need maybe 110 degrees to tack, and can only think about sailing less than 45 degrees off the wind. And maybe this is all she can do, as designed.

At the post-race raft-up, with a few coldies under our belts, one of our club members, the one who perpetually has a firm hold on 1st place, says, "There's lots of things you can do to make your boat point better." But I couldn't get any specifics out of him. Or at least, I don't remember any.

So I thought I'd throw it out to the message board. Any tips on how to make a cruiser go to weather better?

As always, TIA for any advice.
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Old 06-28-2010
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Hey,

What keel configuration do you have? If you have a shoal draft keel, you can't expect to point as high as boats with a deeper draft.

How is your rigging tune? Is the fore stay tight? Does the mast sag to leeward? You need to have the rig properly tuned with little sag in headsail.

Lastly, how are your sails? If they are bagged out you won't be able to point well either.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 06-28-2010
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The 323 doesnt have as 'fine' a bow entry (bow shape) as most 'cruiser/racer' or 'performance cruiser' designs and so will slightly limit your ability to 'point'.

For 'best' pointing ability go to: ArvelGentry.com ----> Magazine articles -----> the a series of 4 articles: Checking Trim on the Wind,
Achieving Proper Balance, Sailing to Windward, Are You at Optimum Trim?

Plus, to point well you MUST have the proper backstay / FORESTAY tension (varies according to the actual wind conditions) so that the SAG of the forestay exactly matches the luff curve that the sailmaker cut into the sail.

Plus, if you are using 'cruising cut' sails, the luff section shape will have too much 'roundness' cut into the sail - get racing sails that have 'flat' luff entry - but require very precise boat steering.

...and then there 'tricks' to enhance the pointing ability such as 'power pinching' at near the end of the legs so that you pinch up at end of the leg and therby have much less distance of the 'next' leg to sail. Done by overtensioning the mainsheet so that the leech of the main 'hooks up to weather' ... acting like the flaps on an airplane.

.... set up your boat with proper mast rake and proper mainsheet halyard/cunningham tension so that you have only a ***VERY SLIGHT*** weather helm.

Get a handheld GPS and sail each pointing leg, etc. to MAXIMUM VMG - velocity made good.
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Old 06-28-2010
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The short answer is - maximize your speed. Increasing boat speed increases pointing ability. Never pinch. Although it sounds contradictory, the general principle is that you should bear off to point. The old timers used to say you should "give her a snoot full of wind." As boat speed increases, the apparent wind increases, and the lift that is generated by the sails increases, and the lift that is generated by the keel increases. In every respect, the boat becomes more powerful. After the boat has accelerated to her maximum speed for the conditions, then ease the pressure on the tiller slightly, and let her continue driving to windward at her maximum speed, with her best pointing ability.

Pinching is deadly, because it reduces boat speed, which reduces apparent wind, which reduces all the forces exerted above and below the waterline.

Also, it sounds like you had the genoa sheeted in much too tight. I can't think of any conditions in which I have ever benefited by having a 155-160% genoa sheeted to within a couple of inches of the spreaders. They need a slightly fuller shape to generate maximum power. Also, they're likely to backwind the mainsail when sheeted that close.
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Old 06-28-2010
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Wind Conditions?

Some boats do well in strong winds, some do well in light winds. For a Pearson 323, I think that you need a decent amount of wind 10+ kts to get her to move. With a PHRF of around 174, I think you need some wind to get her to move.

Another thing re: beating/closehauled. Light winds require a little more full sails (shape) than heavy winds. Also when driving up wind, steer the boat so that the INSIDE (weather side) tell tales just start to dance up. Also watch the tails when they lift. They should lift and drop at the same time. If they don't adjust the trim until they do. Get them to fly straight back to the best trim and then ease the boat up wind until they just start to dance. The helmsman needs to steer the boat to the tails, not have the sails constantly trimmed for his course.

Also if you experiencing a lot of headers, get off that tack and go to the other, because headers on one tack are lifts on the other. Lifts are good, headers bad.

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Old 06-28-2010
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Backwindfrom a 155-160

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
The short answer is - maximize your speed. Increasing boat speed increases pointing ability. Never pinch. Although it sounds contradictory, the general principle is that you should bear off to point. The old timers used to say you should "give her a snoot full of wind." As boat speed increases, the apparent wind increases, and the lift that is generated by the sails increases, and the lift that is generated by the keel increases. In every respect, the boat becomes more powerful. After the boat has accelerated to her maximum speed for the conditions, then ease the pressure on the tiller slightly, and let her continue driving to windward at her maximum speed, with her best pointing ability.

Pinching is deadly, because it reduces boat speed, which reduces apparent wind, which reduces all the forces exerted above and below the waterline.

Also, it sounds like you had the genoa sheeted in much too tight. I can't think of any conditions in which I have ever benefited by having a 155-160% genoa sheeted to within a couple of inches of the spreaders. They need a slightly fuller shape to generate maximum power. Also, they're likely to backwind the mainsail when sheeted that close.
Is it even possible to fly a 155-160 and NOT get a back winded main when closehauled or near closehauled? If the main is back winded, it is not 100% efficient, which may be why the OP is not getting the best speed. For a race, the max I would fly is a 150% and then only in the lightest of air (8 kts or less).

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Old 06-28-2010
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Thanks, all, for the input.

Pokey certainly does wake up with more wind, but we have many races in western LIS in light air. The wind started at around 10 kts, but tapered off from there. The race ended up being cancelled at the curfew as the wind died and the current was actually pushing the leaders out of the bay!

I may have had the genoa sheeted in too far, but I deifinitely was steering to the tails, not adjusting the sails to the course. I'll have to try easing the genoa in light air to see how that works out. I also might have moved the genoa cars forward to get more curve to the sail. I really never move thiose things. I've thought about putting in the Garhauer set up to allow them to be moved under pressure so I could really see how adjusting their position affects us.
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BIG genoas are VERY inefficient for beating and require a LOT of 'slot' distance to optimize the airstream flow over the main. How to tell that the genoa is too big .... watch the leech tell tales and if the lee side leech tales are drooping = the flow at the leech is now 'separating' from the genoa at the leech. The main then cannot 'bootstrap' (velocity dumping) with the genoa properly ... and the whole sail combo 'fizzles'. Try using a smaller Genoa when you are racing, especially on windward/leeward courses.
You can 'peel' to a large genoa 'after' the windward mark if this is a 'no spinnaker' race.
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Old 06-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbondy View Post
...
We had the genoa (a 160) sheeted in so as to touch the forward shroud, then we'd ease a tad. The boat was aimed so that the telltales on both sides of the jib were streaming nicely, the uppers as well as the lowers. The telltales on the leech of the main were also streaming straight back, so I think she was trimmed properly. But we still need maybe 110 degrees to tack, and can only think about sailing less than 45 degrees off the wind. And maybe this is all she can do, as designed.
...
Two questions on things you dont mention...is your main fully trimmed in (boom in the middle of the boat as a general guide...)
Do you have as narrow a sheeting angle as possible, usually provided by inside tracks ( a track located along the cabin sides...)
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"Do you have as narrow a sheeting angle as possible, usually provided by inside tracks ( a track located along the cabin sides...)
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Very Good point by sailing fool ....
the P323 has a 'wide body' and sheeting to the rail 'may' locate the clew of the jib/genoa to be 'outside' of the nominal "10° line" from the tack of the genoa away from the boats' Center line. You wont have 'inside genoa tracks' on a Shaw design P323 but you can use a 'barber hauler' ..... and such usage to precisely trim with a barber hauler is described in the "Are you at optimum trim?" article listed in my first post. ... but you will need a small enough area genoa so that its leech wont 'hang up' on the spreader when such is sheeted 'inside' the rail, or the genoa has to be recut (with sufficient 'leech hollow' so that the upper leech can easily pass IN FRONT of the spreader(s) when sheeted 'inside the rail'. -- Very common on most modern 'high end' racing boats.)
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