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  #1  
Old 07-07-2010
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Beating To Windward?

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).
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Old 07-07-2010
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I've never observed what you're saying. On the east coast, running with the wind can be absolutely miserable this time of year because your speed relative to wind is so low. Beating offers the nicest breeze, though reaches are nice also.

For us river sailors, attempting to sail against the current is more likely to lead to firing up the motor, but we try to avoid that as well. The best possible situation is to sail with the current both directions, turning around in slack water.
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Old 07-07-2010
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Maybe this depends on location? We have a pretty steady/regular strong prevailing wind from the northwest here in SoCal except during rare (and particularly dangerous) Santa Ana winds.

So any destination in a northwesterly direction is almost inevitably beating into a strong headwind.
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Old 07-07-2010
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I agree with you completely....When out for a daysail, or on a passage that I can make a reasonable course to my destination, I enjoy a good close haul or close reach sail. However, If I've got to make a particular current turn, or get into an inlet in daylight I'll furl the headsail and turn on the engine.

Since we sailors, have to get up early in the morning to make say.. a 40-70 mile passage...the morning breeze here on the east coast can be non-existent.....I do enjoy a good night passage though in the summer, it's cooler and the winds can be better.
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Old 07-07-2010
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We do see people motoring simply because the destination is upwind.. and it's always made me wonder why. Last year this time we were on a club outing going to a cove some 20 miles to weather. We headed out with a reef, got a few miles off the beach and settled into a wonderful sail, soon shaking the reef out. Several other boats that shared the same marina the night before motored the same trip - got there before us but complained how choppy and uncomfortable it'd been. We've been giving them a hard time since.

We learned to sail in an area at the head of one of our typical coastal fiords.. with diurnal winds regularly into 20 knot inflows in the afternoons, we soon learned how to get to weather - it was the only way to get anywhere from there. To this day my wife feels as the OP does... she would rather beat in 25 knots than run in 10....
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Old 07-07-2010
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Sadly here in the long island sound if the tide at 1 to 2 knots is against you and the wind is coming from where you want to go you end up with track that is a combination of the 45 degrees off your course plus a set and drift of another 20 to 30 degrees.
Total track can be easily 80 degress plus from your course which means you will never get to where you planned on going.

The three obvious solutions are to wait 6 hours change the destination or motor.
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Old 07-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
The three obvious solutions are to wait 6 hours change the destination or motor.
What about planning the trip ahead of time, so the tides are in your favor?
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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?
Not my experience at all. We sail as much as possible. The boat's great in light air. The only argument for motoring is no wind, an adverse tide, and a delivery schedule. We race and cruise.
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Old 07-07-2010
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In anything other than a dead calm we'd also rather take twice as long under sail than motor. If push comes to shove we'll motor sail. Anything to avoid the slop.

I don't find sailing to windward all that stressful provided the winds are reasonable and one is not overcanvassed. Sure sea state and tide can make it ugly at times but in the main tide is not a big issue for us. Off Sydney we do get a reasonable swell running at times which can make it a tad uncomfortable depending on heading. I'll happily ease of a few points if it means a bit less banging and crashing.

Don't know about the rest of you but we also tend to avoid ddw, preferring a very broad reach leaving the headsail full and lessening the risk of a gybe.

In relatively calm seas the only thing wrong with close hauled is trying to prepare meals if on more than a day sail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
We do see people motoring simply because the destination is upwind.. and it's always made me wonder why. Last year this time we were on a club outing going to a cove some 20 miles to weather. We headed out with a reef, got a few miles off the beach and settled into a wonderful sail, soon shaking the reef out. Several other boats that shared the same marina the night before motored the same trip - got there before us but complained how choppy and uncomfortable it'd been. We've been giving them a hard time since.

We learned to sail in an area at the head of one of our typical coastal fiords.. with diurnal winds regularly into 20 knot inflows in the afternoons, we soon learned how to get to weather - it was the only way to get anywhere from there. To this day my wife feels as the OP does... she would rather beat in 25 knots than run in 10....
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Old 07-07-2010
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Good question, I would agree mostly with the OP.

I've often heard people say here that "real sailors don't sail to windward" or something like that? Always confused me?

We enjoy a sail close hauled sail for many reasons already stated, that said heeling 15+ for hours can get tiresome, especially for us, the kids seem to do fine LOL. If we have a destination we must make the engine gets fired up though ;-(
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