Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New England USA
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 14
I grew up on the racing model of "Every little bit helps" when it comes to optimizing a boat for racing. It began back in my dingy racing days back in the 60''s, and carries on to this day.
I look at optimizing my boat from two perspectives. In general, I have two modes of operation, cruising and racing. In cruising mode, everything is optimized for comfort, security, and good handling. I then carry a 35# CQR with 25'' of chain and 200'' of stout rode, along with a 25# Fortress with 150'' of rode, all stored in the forward chain locker. All my cruising gear is spread out all over the boat to maximize interior space and comfort and storage for the passengers. The dingy is in the cockpit and the OB dingy kicker is on the stern rail. The roller furling genny is on, the dacron main is bent on and the poles and struts are kept ashore. (No point in trying to have a comfortable time on a cruise with family and freinds with a chute over 1,400sf on a 37 footer) With her generous beam and swift underbody, I can make excellent time on a cruise in realative comfort, and have all I need for a comfortable and safe time at harbor.
Ahhhh, then it is time to race! Everything changes. I go over the specific requirements of the rules for the race. I want to make sure that I have all safety gear covered, and then make sure that I remove unnecessary items to the shore. Ths anchor, now just the Fortress, is moved near the mast base. The roller furling is romoved, the Tape Drive main with full head battens is bent on. All gear is moved towards the center of G on the boat, most of it either on the cabin sole or in the lockers under the salon seats. An eye towards placing the heaviest items low and close to the keel, moving lighter, bulky items up to more outboard and higher up lockers.
I do everything to keep weight out of her ends, to lessen the mass that they would add to the pitching of the boat. Think of it like this: You have a lever and a 25# weight on the end. The longer the lever, the greater effort that weight will be able to exert at the fulcrum or pivot. The fulcrum of your boat would be the center of gravity of your boat. Place a 25# weight 2 or 3 feet from the fulcrum, and it will have a much lower ability to effect your vessels motion than the same weight at a length of 10 feet. Now moving just the anchor is a good start, but for racing, you should look at EVERYTHING, and make adjustments accordingly.
This is probably how many of the top vessels in your more competitive fleets look at their weight distribution. My sails while racing are on the cabin sole, while cruising, out in the lockers. Of course, I carry more sails when racing, so their weight must be minded and positioned for greates balance.
It''s not just moving the anchor, it''s looking at all weight as a whole, and maximizing it''s position in the boat. Obviously, stay within your local racing rules, but don''t carry anything you don''t really need for racing. This may seem like a lot of work, moving stuff on and off the boat for cruising and racing (it''s why I have a full sized pick-up) but the payoff can be that extra 1/10th of a knot in the slop you need to win. Because its when the water is choppy and the breeze is light that the attention to weight distribution can pay the greatest dividends.