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  #11  
Old 07-08-2010
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It depends... if you have the room to beat to windward in relatively few tacks, then doing so can be very enjoyable...but if you're stuck in a narrow channel, with a lot of shipping traffic, and you're trying to go nearly directly upwind, then motoring can make a lot of sense from both a time and a safety perspective.

Another reason is that some boats don't tack very well, especially in choppy conditions, and having to tack repeatedly in those conditions can be very wearing. This is even more so if the boat doesn't have a self-tacking jib and you're sailing singlehanded.

If you have a schedule to keep, then motoring can also make sense. The tides and current wait for no one...and planning to have them on your side isn't always possible.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #12  
Old 07-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casioqv View Post
I've only been sailing for a year, but I've been amazed to find that most sailors seem to consider sailing upwind too slow/difficult and tend to motor upwind, and sail back down. Experienced sailors are surprised when I tell them I sailed (rather than motored) anyplace against the prevailing winds. Even racers seem to mostly motor upwind if they're not in a race at the time. Why is this?

I find beating to be one of the easiest and most relaxing points of sail, since there's no worry about gybing, and heel angle can be reduced in a gust quickly, by just pointing a bit higher without adjusting sails.

I realize it's a bit slower than other points of sail- but if I wanted to get someplace quickly I wouldn't be sailing at all. My VMG might be ~3 knots at best directly upwind, compared to ~6 knots on other points of sail- both very slow compared to powerboats which can plane at ~30 knots.

I find sailing upwind to be much more fun, relaxing, have a better motion, and much cheaper (no fuel) than motoring directly upwind. I can't see myself motoring to windward unless there was some reason I couldn't sail (too much or too little wind, broken rig).

It depends on a lot of things:

You have a small boat and probably you will be only out there with good weather.

Try to go on your boat, close on the wind against +20K head wind with two meter short period waves....and you will be sailing backwards .

Yeh, I know, you would not be out there on those conditions, but many of us are.

There are guys that sail around the harbor or make small journeys and there are guys that made thousands of miles each season.

If you are one of those, and if you want to arrive somewhere and need to maintain your planed voyage (that means for example, not to miss dates for reserved places on marinas, delivering a boat at a certain date, or be home at the right time to return to your job) you have to make a minimum miles/day. That is not compatible with an average of 3k and you have no time to wait for a better wind.

Experienced sailors sail against the wind when they can and sailmotor when they have to and normally stay on the marina only if the wind forecast points to + 30k.

The ability to make way against the wind also depends a lot on the kind of sailboat you have. Yours is not good at that.

Bigger boats sail better (better passage on the waves) and race boats or cruiser racers are the better. They are more powerful and have finer entries, but saying that going hard against the wind is "one of the easiest and most relaxing points of sail " means that you never had to go really hard against the wind (on the limit,when we start to think if it is not better to roll the genoa and motorsail on main only), with the spray flying around and hurting your face, with your spectacles full of salt, making your vision very difficult.

That is not very relaxing, at least for me .

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 07-08-2010 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Also, in very high winds... going upwind is very difficult on the boat. The boat speed adds to the wind speed, and you end up really getting beaten up, especially on a faster boat. Going downwind reduces the forces on the boat, since the boat's speed is subtracted from the wind speed—and things calm down.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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I usually prefer sailing to weather if the going is not too rough, or too slow. Usually, I'll accept too slow (<4kts boat speed) until it starts to impact my desired latest time of arrival. I've motored into dead calm and I've motored into the teeth of 25kts. Neither is a lot of fun, but I'll take the calm every time. lol

Two of my most memorable sails were a 36 hour beat from Annapolis to Hampton on a friends Tartan 40 and a 9-10 hour beat from York to Deltaville on my boat. The Annapolis-Hampton trip was close hauled almost the entire duration and obviously required quite a few tacks. The York-D'ville trip required a few tacks out of the York River to mid bay where we tacked over to starboard and were done for the day as the wind clocked perfectly with our desired course changes so we stayed on starboard near close hauled and making >6 knots all day.

I'm really just now learning how to get my boat to go downwind with acceptable speed. Its a wing keel and downwind seems to be the slowest point of sail, at least until you start poling out the genoa or setting the asym.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Try to go on your boat, close on the wind against +20K head wind with two meter short period waves....and you will be sailing backwards .

Yeh, I know, you would not be out there on those conditions, but many of us are.
Actually, my C22 goes to windward quite well in winds up to 30 knots with a heavy working jib and reefed main. I do go out in those conditions, they're a lot more fun than light winds. I've hit 7-8 knots to windward in a 30 knot gust (hull speed 5.9) with three large guys on the windward rail, and the leeward rail in the water.

I guess "relaxing" wasn't exactly quite the word I'd use. But we were staying relatively dry, and having fun.

Actually, sailing (or heaving to) is the only option on the C22 when the waves get big- since an outboard will alternate between coming out of the water, and being totally flooded.

Last edited by casioqv; 07-08-2010 at 12:20 PM.
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Just got back from Bermuda a week ago with the boat mostly on a beat or close reach - we would have picked for the wind to be further aft but what can you do? at least we HAD wind.
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Old 07-08-2010
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IMHO it depends on how physically tiring it is to work the boat, and how long the tacks are. A tired and cranky skipper and crew are unsafe and heaving to or motoring depend on what time is available.
Nothing goes to windward better than a 747.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casioqv View Post
Actually, my C22 goes to windward quite well in winds up to 30 knots with a heavy working jib and reefed main. I do go out in those conditions, they're a lot more fun than light winds. I've hit 7-8 knots to windward in a 30 knot gust (hull speed 5.9) with three large guys on the windward rail, and the leeward rail in the water.

...
That's really amazing. That Catalina 22 is incredibly fast. You should race that boat. We are talking about how many degrees off the true wind?
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Quote:
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That's really amazing. That Catalina 22 is incredibly fast. You should race that boat.
Umm.. no it was just way overpowered/over-canvassed with a lot of weight on the windward rail to keep it upright.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casioqv View Post
Umm.. no it was just way overpowered/over-canvassed with a lot of weight on the windward rail to keep it upright.
Take in a Reef and leave the overlap up and you will be surprised on how she flattens out and move.
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