Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Husband is doing it "wrong"
As others have mentioned, "burying the rail" or extremely heel sailing is very inefficient sailing and often "slow" sailing. Most boats are designed to sail fastest form 10 to 20 deg heel. Higher heel angles induce excessive drag and will typically (on a properly designed boat) cause the boat to round up into the wind. To counter this design aspect, to continue to sail straight at high heel angles requires counter effort on the rudder to steer back downwind. If you need more than a few degrees of rudder angle to do this, your rudder is actually acting as a brake and slowing the boat down. This is called weather helm as others have mentioned. A little weather helm is good, too much is bad.
To achieve a good balance of speed and control, as others have mentioned, work the traveler and main sheet to achieve a more balanced helm. With the sail well trimmed at closehaul, drop the traveler until the boat flattens out. If the traveler can't get you there, let out the sheet, if that can't get you there, reduce sail area (reef).
While it is fun once in awhile to "bury the rail", it is not fast and is actually pretty stressful on the rig and rudder.
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