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  #1  
Old 12-03-2006
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dead run or gybe

reading "getting started in sailboat racing" by adam cort and richard stearns.
they say in moderate air always jibe downwind to take advantage of apparent wind . in less than 13knots of wind, dead downwind sailing is slow. does this apply to sailing with a chute or jib or both?
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Old 12-03-2006
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Applies to both.
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Old 12-04-2006
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Yep, applies to both. But you can get away with bearing off more with a chute, since it, unlike the jib, is out on its pole and won't get blanketed quite as much as the jib will.

I'm referring to symmetrical chutes, assymetrical ones would get more blanketed, more like a jib.

Your authors have given good general advice. Going downwind, at least in light to moderate air, is a compromise between speed and sailing less distance, which usually are inversely proportional.
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Old 12-04-2006
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When I went to North U. they swore that running dead downwind was simply wrong no matter how it happened. And, after a long discussion about that, and two blown chutes (so all we could do was sit back and watch the fleet go away) we saw that the boats sailing way over there and there and taking the long way--were getting ahead of the boats going straight downwind.
So I got religion and swore off going dead downwind.

Then I met some folks with another boat of a different design, a smaller older boat. We were trying to work on boatspeed but they swore that boat went fastest dead downwind using the 150 and main, no chute available. Funny thing about that...I ran the polars, and they said the same thing! Then we ran some trial runs on the water...and reality agreed with the polars and experience!

Having seen both sides of "THE" answer, I can tell you that your best boat, for YOUR boat with YOUR sails, is to run the polars (if you can) and then get out on the water and actually do a test. There's no other "rule" that is going to give you the right answer, apparently a lot depends on the rig and the hull.

Now, maybe if you limit the question to whether using a chute is going to be faster dead downwind or gybing....There, I think if you are finding it faster to go dead downwind, there's something else wrong with the picture!

Again, there's nothing like sitting back and watching the fleet to see how the "slow" boats actually are the faster ones. Sometimes it pays to train, and skip a race, so you can do things like that and concentrate on getting things right instead of winning the day.
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Old 12-04-2006
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I absolutely agree with hellosailor. I tried broad reaching vs. running dead downwind in an older, non-spinnaker boat and found that it consistently did its best in moderate winds (about 12 kts and up) when running dead downwind. In lighter air, it did better broad reaching. The stronger the wind, the more beneficial it was to run dead downwind.

I believe the newer, lighter designs accelerate better and have less drag and plane more easily, and they benefit more from broad reaching than the older, heavier designs.

When you're running dead downwind, non-spin, in a lot of wind with an older boat, and when the boat is already surfing much of the time, the question you have to ask yourself is, can you gain enough added speed by broad reaching to make up for the added distance you'll have to sail? The answer seems obvious to me. The old girl's already giving you all she's got, and broad reaching isn't going to add enough speed to make up for the extra distance.
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Old 12-04-2006
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thank you,
one of my problems is that i am going to charter boats to race so i wont have much time to practice and experiment. the boats are all cruisers from 32 to 42 in length. i can live with testing on the race course and still have some fun.
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Old 12-04-2006
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On a lot of more modern designs, sailing DDW is slower than sailing on a reach—enough so that the slightly longer distance sailed takes less time than the shorter DDW course. On many older designs, DDW is faster. It really depends on the boat, the sails and the crew.
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Old 12-04-2006
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The above posts have laid out nicely how different boats can perform differently in similar conditions - one boat's forte is another's achilles heel.

I've also seen boats sail DDW against a fleet that's reaching and gybing and come out ahead - it was a well sailed older C&C 30 in a mixed fleet of ultralights and similar boats in moderately light air.

It's easy to get caught up in the "sail high sail fast" plan and end up sailing too high and putting on too much extra distance that cannot be made up.

Also as the breeze builds there's diminishing returns and even DDW the spinnaker advantage starts to go away, especially in non planing boats. It only takes a wipeout or two to lose any advantage of flying a spinnaker over a white-sail boat when the breeze gets over say 20K apparent. (again, this depends to some extent on the crew and the boat itself)

So it comes down to knowing your boat and knowing when she shines and when she needs some help - difficult to do if the boats you are racing are not your own.
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Old 01-03-2007
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Also, for crowded windward mark roundings when you have dozens of boats all rounding at the same time and shadowing each other. They all round, try to stay high, and the fleet heads itself up too far. In this scenario, I've found you can come out ahead by breaking DDW at the windward mark, get out of the fleets shadow, and let them kill each other trying to stay higher than the other guy. But this will only work if the fleet is breaking high, if they follow you you'll have to play the game and try to stay above them...
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