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Old 06-16-2005
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Weight distribution

I planning a rather prolonged downwind passage. Since the boat will have a fair amount of gear, water, food, fuel, etc. I''d like to distribute the weight efficiently for best performance. My question: am a better off to distribute the weight in such a way as to keep the boat on "an even keel" or is there an advantage, for example, to putting a little more aft to keep the bow from digging in too much during a run or broad reach?
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Old 06-17-2005
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Weight distribution

Don''t do anything that might result in difficult handling in an emergency situation.

For instance, let''s say you ballast aft (sounds good, and should work well) and suddenly your steering fails.

Now, you douse sails and start working on the problem. It''s steering, you''ll be below and jambed into a small space.

Boom! You get pooped over the stern and your cockpit fills with water. The already low stern sinks dangerously low and water starts coming into the cabin. Before you can react, the now very low stern takes another wave.

Okay, let''s say you close up the hatches, get forward and deploy a sea anchor to turn her bow into the seas, and you save it. Good.

Now, get back those ten years you just aged and stop your silly trembling.
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Old 06-27-2005
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Weight distribution

To improve performance, racers concentrate whatever weight they can amidships, where the keel is. Adjusting trim by having weight forward or aft CAN affect performance also, but what works best depends upon the design of the boat and the point of sail. Racing dinghies move their weight forward when headed downwind in less than planing conditions. This reduces the wetted surface and friction of the large, flat stern sections dragging in the water. When they start to plane, the weight goes aft, as you suggest, to keep the bow from submarining into the wave ahead. It may take a week or so to determine what works best for you. You may find that you can''t store enough stuff where you''d need to, weight-wise, to make any real difference. If the lockers are all midships, that''s where it will all have to go. Happy sails to you!
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