Crewed in 1st race on Saturday, question on hiking. - SailNet Community

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Old 06-17-2008
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Crewed in 1st race on Saturday, question on hiking.

Hi everyone, I just crewed in my first race this last Saturday on a Capri 26. I did my best to do just what that captain wanted and thankfully I think I performed well enough that I'll be invited back again.

My question has to do with a tactic the captain was employing that seemed counter intuitive to me. During a couple stretches where we had very light wind, he actually had us 'reverse hike' IE sit on the leeward side of the boat, in an effort to maintain a 15 degree heel. which he said was the optimum level of heeling for his boat. Based on what I thought I had learned so far about sailing, my understanding was that when heeling over 15 to 20 degrees you could lose efficiency, but that flatter was faster.

Now the captain certainly has far more knowledge of sailing than I do. But, I also got the impression that he was more of a cruiser and didn't take the racing all that seriously. So I thought maybe my gut could be right on this one. What can everyone here tell me?

Thanks,
Eric
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Well it depends. You're generally right that you don't want to heel over too much as you'll be dumping more and more wind off the sails at a greater angle of heel.

However, on light days most skippers will have some crew sit to leeward because the sails are cut to be most efficient with a little bit of curve/shape to them. When you're flat the sail will lose some of it's curvature and actually be less effective.

In addition, you'll often gain a little bit of length at waterline with a little bit of heel actually causing you to be theoretically faster.

Lastly, the skipper may be feeling something in the tiller that you wouldn't feel as crew. The boat may handle better if there is some weight to leeward. Only the skipper can tell you on that one
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Old 06-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonkaEric View Post
What can everyone here tell me?

Thanks,
Eric
Eric,

There is less wetted surface area on a keel boat when healed 15%. Less surface area means less friction which equates to higher speed.

Were you on the Chesapeake? I spent many a warm sunny, windless, summer day staring into a big white genoa a foot from my nose. Sucks.

BAH
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oh an welcome to sailnet!
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Thanks Guys! This forum sure seems like a great resource.

To answer your question BAH, I was on land-locked Lake Minnetonka just west of Minneapolis. (of Vikings party boat fame)
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Old 06-17-2008
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Hello,

I crew on a 1980 C&C 34. Upwind, the owner wants the boat to heel at 10 degrees. On light days he positions crew on the lee rail. On windy days the crew hikes hard on the weather rail. He says that for his boat, 10 degrees is the optimum amount of heel.

Downwind he wants no heel and and the bow up a little. So depending on which chute we fly and how windy it is, crew will be positioned in the cockpit, side decks, bow, etc.

Barry
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Old 06-17-2008
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That sounds about right. On my boat, the more heel the better, even offwind. of course, being a CCA design with a 26' WL and a 35 LOD, that makes a difference in WL.
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new member here, just posted to the intro forum.

that sounds very familiar to our summer lake sailing. had the same experience this past weekend in light air on a Capri 25. all on the leeward rail to get 5-10 degrees. not moving fast to invoke waterline efficiencies, but we hike to leeward to keep shape in our sails. we see it as have every bit of puff move the boat rather than some wasted filling the sails. works well for us. YMMV.
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Old 06-18-2008
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In light air upwind a induced heel to leeward helps gravity form the shape of sails and helps the hull efficiencies. Downwind an induced heel to windward can get the main up higher (breeze is stronger higher) and gravity helps the spinnaker shape.
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You've entered the world of free sailing lessons, also known as, "crewing in races", where you learn a lot (especially if your skipper isn't a "screamer"), but you get free beer too.

I agree with your skipper, sometimes you have to heel the boat with crew weight in near-zero air in order to make the sails "fall full" and to reduce wetted surface by getting the windward bottom surface out of the water.

I believe I've just repeated what Rabbit238 said above, but one more vote to stick with your present skipper.
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