Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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Re: Pointing Better
Once you get out of the dinghies and into the 6000-pound boats, it's more design, sail shape and condition, and technique, than crew placement or rigging as such.
Cat 30 is probably in the middle on upwind performance, a bit more cruisey than racey, so you may not quite point with the hotter boats, but you should be within say 5 degrees of them, 10 degrees or more doesn't sound right.
Sails are a big, big, deal. Condition and shape, since their your upwind airfoils. A 155 might move you better in very light air, but won't point as well as a smaller jib, say a 115 or 130.
And technique means a lot. Some helmsmen are "footers" (fall off and go for speed), some sre "pinchers" or Pointers (save distance, it's worth going a little slower). Try to be in the middle. Anticipate puffs and head up a little just before you get them, heeling past 10 degrees is slow and sideslippy (is that a word?).
I'd say, invite a sailmaker out and a good experienced racer (could be one person) to look at the sails, the jib leads, traveler settings, luff and foot tensions, tell tales and how to read them.
Also don't overlook "reading the wind". the folks that outpoint you may getting wind you're not getting. And your header on starboard is their lift on port, and (with some exceptions) lifts are better--way better.
Some if this is just helm time, and more races. But make sure your 'engine" (sails) are in shape (literally).