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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Re: Extra Rail Meat or Reduce Sail?
Some race boats go minimum on the ballast ratio as built, and rely on the added leverage of 'rail meat' to improve the righting moment. Water ballasted boats (the good ones) do something similar.
The increased RM allows you to carry more power in the sail plan and at the same time the fins work more efficiently underwater.
I doubt there's a universal answer to your question, esp if discussing racing.. I suspect it will depend on the original design brief and the specific boat. As a general rule while cruising, though, it's pretty well always faster to reef than not, when appropriate.
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)