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mickdj 12-13-2012 08:23 PM

how high well does my boat point?
Hello everyone;

I own a 1964 Columbia 26 and for the life of me can't figure out how to make her point any higher. She has a two-year-old dacron main and I'm going to have her rigging tuned.

It doesn't seem to make much difference whether she has heavy weather helm or if the sail plan is nicely balanced (although she's always happier in the SF Bay's summer wind). I'm buying a furling jib in the hopes that making quicker adjustments to conditions will help.

So, I'm wondering if she's just one of those older boats that just doesn't point?

Thanks and happy holidays,


Faster 12-13-2012 08:36 PM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
Hard to comment without some more info. How high can you get? Perhaps your expectations are unrealistic - are you trying to point as high as some other boats?

One thing, though, I woudn't count a furling jib helping with pointing except when new AND fully deployed.

Stumble 12-13-2012 08:52 PM

Re: how high well does my boat point?

There are a lot of things that matter when trying to maximize pointing ability. Some are very expensive to correct so you need to have a good feel for how much you really are willing to spend to get the most out of your boat.

In no paticular order, and assuming you have all the sails properly trimmed:

1) templaiting the keel. This will ensure you have the proper shape, and location of the lead
2) templaiting the rudder.
3) mast position, not just tuning, but baseplate location and partner location.
4) replacing sails with new (2 year old Dacron are no longer performance sails)
5) replacing Dacron with lighter laminate sails
6) removing weight from the boat
7) properly locating jib tracks
8) fair bottom of boat
9) measure and possibly relocate chainplates
10) measure and possibly relocate forstay
11) add more crew weight to windward rail
12) on the 26, check for oil canning going upwind. If present structual reinforcement is neccessary

Before taking on any of these get a sail maker to come sailing with you, and ensure that the boat is being sailed to its maximum. The Columbia 26 was never designed as a pure race boat, and boats of its era are not known as great pointing boats. The 26 is a fun weekender, and a pretty good racer, but doesn't really have the pedigree for maximum upwind performance.

zz4gta 12-13-2012 09:36 PM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
What are you tacking through? The keel and rudder on that boat won't help you point so well. Next time you're out take some pictures of the sails trimmed while close hauled. Move the camera to about the middle of the foot of the sail, aim at the masthead and shoot some. Then post the pics.

Faster 12-13-2012 10:15 PM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
Michael.. I've merged your two threads asking the same question.. please post a question once in the appropriate forum..

As has been indicated above there's no single, simple answer to your question. You should not expect to be able to point with more performance oriented boats, but in fact any one or more of a huge list of issues could be the culprit.

Pictures would be a big help, but a more complete description of your setup and how you trim the sails would also be helpful. Have you sailed other boats that 'pointed better?' How much sailing have you done yourself? etc etc.....

overbored 12-14-2012 01:23 AM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
which model do you have? the Col 26 never was a good pointer and the ones with the shoal draft keel just do not point at all.

Ajax_MD 12-14-2012 07:01 AM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
Posting a screenshot of your GPS track would be a great help. We could see exactly what your tacking angles are.

tschmidty 12-14-2012 09:20 AM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
+1 on GPS track. But there are really two different things here.

One is your real track over ground which is a combination of sail trim and side slip. Side slip is helped by having more lift from your keel and to some extent rudder. Those are harder to correct although getting a good foil shape on the rudder helps and is relatively easy to fix/build. Keel is harder and you can only do so much especially with the type of keel the Columbia 26 has (It is a cutaway semi full keel right?)

The other is how tight an angle to the wind you can sail and still get power/lift and is affected by the sails, trim and shape, etc. To me the biggest/easiest thing to look at/correct is sheeting angles. The 26 with lifelines and the tracks out on the toerail (I assume) is not going to get you as tight a sail trim for the genoa which will definitely limit your ability to point. You could try running a smaller jib and adding a fairlead and cleat on the cabin top to tighten up the angle and see what that does. A traveler for the main will help too by allowing you to sheet in close to the centerline without flattening the main.

My 0.02 but there are guys on here who will definitely have better thoughts!

rhr1956 12-14-2012 09:26 AM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
I had the same problem with my Pearson 26. It was pilot error in my case. The two major problems was the sheeting angle on the jib sheet and the fact that I wasn't sheeting the jib tight enough. The sheeting angle was putting too much tension on the foot and not enough tension on the leech. I moved the turning block about 8" forward and it balanced the shape of the jib.

BlndSqrl 12-14-2012 09:36 AM

Re: how high well does my boat point?
In my experience, you can change the sails and rigging all you want, but pointing is going to come down to the keel configuration. A quick look at the specs on tells me that this boat won't point. The cutaway on its keel will never let it get very high, plus it only has 19 feet of waterline. It is a great little boat, but you will have to sail it within it's design parameters. As we have all learn, boats are a series of compromises.

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