Thank you to all who have replied. I had no idea! I had thought that, among "normal" boats, pointing was more a matter of sailor skill than rig and design. Apparently, some boats do if fact point better than others.
If that is true, then what are some of the better pointing boats? The Star, Beneteau First, and Etchells were mentioned above. For boats < 30 ft. LOA, can you think of some other boats that are known for being fast to windward? I, too, enjoy beating to windward (and unless I use the motor, I have to in order to get out of my harbor.)
Thanks again, Richard
Careful -- 'fast to windward' is not always the same as 'pointing high'. The two are often mixed up, usually resulting in fruitless arguments.
Toss in the issue of leeway, and things can get ugly.
Fast to windward usually means VMG: who gets from point A to point B first. The winner there may actually be an Open40 or multihull. Sure, they are tacking thru a miserable 110 degrees; but they are traveling 18kts, which makes up for lousy pointing angles. OTOH, your Soling can tack thru 70 degrees (sailing 35 degrees to the true wind). But it is only moving 5kts when pinched up like that. Quite a lot of effort is expended figuring out which is best: high and slow, or low and fast.
As some have noted here tho, great VMG numbers wont help you thread that reef entrance or weather that headland; you'll have to tack the Open40 or beach cat more times than the Soling; and footing off for more boat speed can lead to vicious pounding. Sometimes high and slow is a more comfortable ride in sloppy seas. That's where a boat that can point high is your friend.
Tradeoff: most boats that are witches to weather are dogs downwind. An Etchells might get to the windward mark ahead of a Farr 30. Wave and smile as they launch their big spi & head for the bottom mark, cuz that's the last time you'll be seeing them.
Your displacement hull settles down to a rolly 5kt DDW leg, while the Farr surfs along in the 20s.
Finally, it's interesting to note the difference between course and heading. Your compass may tell you the boat is consistently tacking thru 90 degrees. When you get home, pull up your GPS track and see what your course-over-ground really was. Especially on choppy days, you might be surprised (shocked, appalled) at how wide your effective angles are. S'okay. It's just another thing to keep in mind when you are aiming to clip that rock point.
(BTW, maybe one of the all-time champs at both pointing angles and VMG has to be the Schock Wavelength 40.
Canting keel, narrow hull, and a second rudder foil at the bow that could be cranked to the proper attack angle. That sucker could actually climb above its layline -- make negative leeway
-- due to lift generated by its foils. And it went really fast. Until the canting keel fell off, which tended to slow you down.)