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  #1  
Old 10-03-2013
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Extra Rail Meat or Reduce Sail?

I hear a lot mentioned about captains wanting rail meat for racing, and I was wondering if the extra weight counteracts the speed gained by less heeling?

So would it be faster to have less total weight and less sail to keep the boat at 20 degrees?
or
Have more total weight and more sail area to keep the boat at 20 degrees?

Zac
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Old 10-03-2013
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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.
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Extra Rail Meat or Reduce Sail?

You also have to remember that sometimes the "rail meat" is needed for boat handling. We race an Olson 30 with 7 or even 8 people, and while the upwind everyone is on the rail, when it comes to the mark roundings everyone is busy.

The general rule is that you want to carry as much sail area as you are allowed based on the design rule or handicap you are racing under. You then stack your crew accordingly. If it is going to be windy you might try to pick up an extra body off the dock for extra meat. Having said that, if you are short on crew weight you might be forced to reduce sail accordingly. It is all about having the right sail plan for the given conditions and crew complement. The ability to keep the boat flat AND powered up easily outweighs the extra weight on board. Remember, crew is movable ballast that can be placed wherever it is needed.
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Last edited by SchockT; 10-03-2013 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 10-04-2013
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Re: Extra Rail Meat or Reduce Sail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zac Penn View Post
---

So would it be faster to have less total weight and less sail to keep the boat at 20 degrees?
or
Have more total weight and more sail area to keep the boat at 20 degrees?

Zac
Why do you think 20 degrees is the magic number? Boat design can vary quite a bit.
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: Extra Rail Meat or Reduce Sail?

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Why do you think 20 degrees is the magic number? Boat design can vary quite a bit.
It was just a generic number I threw out.
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: Extra Rail Meat or Reduce Sail?

Neither weight nor speed is a good or bad thing.

If you want to win a race, you optimize the weight and balance to the intended optimum points for that boat. Once you put up too much sail, you lose speed to leeway and heel. Once you put up too much weight, all you've done is slow down the boat by adding weight when you should have been reefing or changing down sail.

It is all a matter of balance, and "loading" the boat the way it was designed to run fastest. To find that point you can usually ask the maker, ask a class association, or watch the boat that just blasted past you to take home all the silverware.
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