Join Date: May 2002
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Re: can only tack close reach, can't close-haul
You can't get an accurate sense of how well the boat is sailing when you are that close to land and trees and hills. I don't know how big your lake is, but I don't see anywhere within the camera frame where you can expect reasonably unobstructed winds. In terrain like that, the wind doesn't come from one direction, as it does on a big bay or along the coast. It swirls back and forth. When it passes a high hill, it is turned, and when it passes a stand of trees, it is turned again, and when it crosses from land to water, it is turned again. When the wind gusts or lulls, the direction of the apparent wind changes again, and to a very pronounced extent. Skilled, experienced sailors would find it extremely frustrating to sail in that venue. I don't think there's any way of knowing whether you are using good sail trimming and helmsmanship techniques, when you are sailing in such a difficult environment. If you can take the boat someplace where you can sail it in relatively clear, directionally stable air, your sail trimming and helmsmanship will improve quickly. After you develop some skill at sail trim and helmsmanship, you'll find the conditions in the photo challenging, and you'll derive satisfaction in being able to cope with them.
To be clear, I'm not saying you can't sail there. I'm suggesting that you develop your basic skills in a less challenging, more predictable venue, before you try sailing in such a difficult venue. I think you'll put your current frustration behind you quickly.