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  #1  
Old 09-10-2013
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What's in a word

I've only been sailing steady for 30 years, but there is still something that regularly confuses me when reading posts; the description of wind-relative headings.

The way I understand it, plus or minus a few nuances

Pinching. Probably closer to the wind than Close hauled suggests.
Close hauled. As near the wind as good VMG indicates.
Full and by. Just eased a tick. Full sails. Often better VMG in steep chop or performance multihulls, but depends on the boat.
Close reach. Between close hauled and beam reach, about 67 degrees off the true wind. On fast boats this can be a lot like full-and-by, while slow boats have eased sheets.
Beam reach. True wind on the beam.
Broad reach. True wind about 135 degrees, apparent wind generally on the beam. Still forward of the beam on fast boats.
Deep reach. Deeper than Broad reach. Apparent wind will be on a the beam on a fast boat, perhaps 135 degrees on a cruising boat.
Run. 180 degrees, true and apparent.

On a resent thread someone stated that they were on a beam reach, sheets eased, and that the apparent wind was less than true. Clearly, the true wind was ~ 135 and the apparent wind was on the beam; only with the true wind WELL aft the beam is the apparent wind going to drop. I read this interpretation of "beam reach" all the time, though more often the first definition is what is meant.

Sometimes a spinnaker reach between 90-120 is called a close reach or shy reach; generally the context makes the difference clear. Obviously they are reaching as high as practical with this sail.

Either correct me, tell me that nomenclature varies around the world, or that some folks are getting sloppy. I suspect it is the last 2.
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Last edited by pdqaltair; 09-10-2013 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: What's in a word

That is how I understand it. We are talking about course relative to true wind. I suspect people are sloppy in description, or have their own personal definition.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: What's in a word

This was my understanding:
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: What's in a word

Speaking of Wikipedia and sailing terms, does anybody actually call a downhaul a "downf*cker" or is some wikieditor playing games:

Last edited by Minnesail; 09-10-2013 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: What's in a word

My understanding was that the point of sail is relative to the APPARENT wind, not the TRUE wind. The wikipedia article someone points to above is not helpful in this regard, it refers only to 'the wind'. I can't site a reference for this belief, other than the general feeling that apparent wind is what is important on a sailboat. Anyone out there have a reputable sailing reference book handy?

I have heard it said that a particular sail (say a gennaker) is only useful up to a beam reach. Such a statement only makes sense in the context of apparent wind, as the sail obviously has no GPS to calculate the true wind before deciding to collapse :-).

And 'Close Hauled' is certainly relative to the apparent wind direction, not the true wind direction.

Generally I think of the point of sail being useful in that it tells you how to set up your sails. Below a beam reach, your telltales don't help any more. Close hauled, you want your sails in as tightly as possible. All of this only makes sense if point of sail is relative to the apparent wind, not the true wind.

Mike
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: What's in a word

The WIKI article starts with a reference to a 90 degree no-go zone. Well, that is a statement that they are referring to true wind, since any boat can sail closer than 45 degrees to apparent. Rather than struggling on the edge of not sailing, most boats are near peak speed with working sail at 45 degrees apparent.

Then they refer to a close reach as an up-wind course. Again, they must mean true wind.

But I'm sure the terms are being used used both ways.

---

And that phrase that "apparent wind is what sails the boat" is just comical, or perhaps the way it is used as an explanation, that some boats can "generate apparent wind" which I find misleading, instead of simply stating that they have a better lift/drag ratio.
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Old 09-10-2013
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Re: What's in a word

I have always assumed points of sail are in relation to apparent wind, because that is the only thing that makes practical sense. For example, do you ever see the AC72s on a beam reach? Running? No. They are always close hauled.
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: What's in a word

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
... do you ever see the AC72s on a beam reach? Running? No. They are always close hauled.
Then why do they call it a reaching start?

Performance boats NEVER sail below a close reach, by that reasoning, and yet they still refer to course as beam reach or broad reach, according to the true wind.

---------

This guy makes it clear he believes directions are relative to true wind:
Sailing on a Beam Reach

This guy too:
understand apparent wind

This image from Wiki makes it clear they base course on true wind:


I could post just as many examples that show that course is based on apparent wind.

-------

It seems we have some pretty useless nomenclature. My impression is that the performance-oriented sailors and multihull references tend towards true wind, while the cruisers and classes tend towards apparent, though both are generalizations.

Interesting.
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Old 09-11-2013
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Re: What's in a word

I had this discussion while doing crew overboard drills. The person I was with considered a beam reach when the apparent wind is perpendicular, whereas any diagram I've ever seen for a COB always show a beam reach as the true wind being perpendicular.
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Old 10-04-2013
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Re: What's in a word

Quote:
Originally Posted by miketucker View Post
My understanding was that the point of sail is relative to the APPARENT wind, not the TRUE wind. The wikipedia article someone points to above is not helpful in this regard, it refers only to 'the wind'. I can't site a reference for this belief, other than the general feeling that apparent wind is what is important on a sailboat. Anyone out there have a reputable sailing reference book handy?

I have heard it said that a particular sail (say a gennaker) is only useful up to a beam reach. Such a statement only makes sense in the context of apparent wind, as the sail obviously has no GPS to calculate the true wind before deciding to collapse :-).

And 'Close Hauled' is certainly relative to the apparent wind direction, not the true wind direction.

Generally I think of the point of sail being useful in that it tells you how to set up your sails. Below a beam reach, your telltales don't help any more. Close hauled, you want your sails in as tightly as possible. All of this only makes sense if point of sail is relative to the apparent wind, not the true wind.

Mike
+1 agree with definitions except all were for apparent wind rather than true wind.
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