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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 12-15-2012
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Heavy winds?

I was out the other day with a cold North wind on the bay. There was only a few white caps so I believe the wind was around 12 knts at most. I like to get the boat moving between 3.5 to 2.5 knts. I am trolling. Almost all summer there in these conditions I would use small jib and main. Yesterday with this setup I was doing almost 5. So I reefer and that only slowed me down to 4-4.5. Finally decided to drop main. Now I was sailing at 3-3.5 knts. Are cold winds heavier then warm winds making your boat sail faster. Also i was sailing across channel so current would be a very small factor.
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Old 12-15-2012
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Re: Heavy winds?

No, if that were the case the wind would have "felt" stronger to you and to the waves as well. However I have noticed that the bottom stays cleaner in the winter; less growth and some of the summer slime just falls off.

I'm not saying cold dry air is not heavier than warm humid air, I'm saying that if the impact on the waves is the same, the impact on your sails is the same.
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Re: Heavy winds?

Are you sure? Couldnt air pressure affect low pressure in your sails and pull the boat faster?
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Heavy winds?

It is the difference in pressure that causes movement, and so temperature should have no affect on the pressure forces on the sails
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Re: Heavy winds?

Actually cold air IS denser than warm air.. We notice it here in winter where you reef earlier than in summer, and have definitely noticed that sailing in 20+ knots in the trades seems less powered up than 20+ knots at home. The heavier air packs a bigger 'wallop' at the same velocities...

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Re: Heavy winds?

If you have reduced sail to the smallest set up you can, and you still want to reduce sped, you will have to resort to other tactics.
For example, if sailing close hauled, pinch up into the wind higher and she will loose speed.
Down wind, sheet in the sails or the opposite of what you should be doing. Beam reaching ease until you are spilling some. All of this after you have reduced sail area.
Wind speed is wind speed no matter how heavy or cold. Hey, I am not a weather man, just my thoughts.

Whhhattttt????
I guess I have to edit my post, Faster has charts to prove it )
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Re: Heavy winds?

Here on western LI Sound, late fall and winter sailing gives us a
definite edge as there is not the chop that is generated by the weekend summer powerboat traffic, but points made (all good) in above posts would be hard to explain almost doubling boat speed**
unless maybe a combination. Including possibly setting traveler in
different position as well as outhaul and halyard settings.
**except clean vs fouled bottom could definitely make the difference.
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Re: Heavy winds?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUGOSALT View Post
...., but points made (all good) in above posts would be hard to explain almost doubling boat speed.....
Agree... truly doubling boat speed on that factor alone is unlikely.. but lapworth's data is a bit subjective and there will be plenty of other variables at play.

The point was that indeed, the 'force' from a given windspeed can be noticeably stronger in cold air than warm.
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Heavy winds?

Bottom growth may be slower in winter, but if you didn't clean your hull after September, I would think it would be just as foul as it had been.
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Re: Heavy winds?

Load caculators on airplanes measure temperature to determine load carrying capacity. The lower the temp- the denser the air= heavier load.
Familycruisers and Lou452 like this.
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