Does Sailor''s Weight & Height Play a Part in Sailing Faster? - SailNet Community

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Old 01-19-2004
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Does Sailor''''s Weight & Height Play a Part in Sailing Faster?

Does a Sailor''s Weight and Height Play a Part in Sailing Faster?

For example (based on what I observed). Sailor A is physically taller and heavier than sailor B. Both sailors are sailing single-handed dinghy, eg. Topper or Byte. At one point in the race, both dinghies are at the same point of sail (say close haul) and both sailors pull in the same length of mainsheets.

In stronger wind, sailor B''s boat will start to heel due to his lighter weight and even he hiked out, he is still unable to reduce the heeling angle. He has to release the mainsheet. Hence, losing the boat''s speed. Sailor A, being heavier, doesn''t need to do anything.

So, is it true that due to physical advantage that sailor A will always sail faster and win the race?

Hope you people can put in your comments. Thank you.
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Old 01-19-2004
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Does Sailor''''s Weight & Height Play a Part in Sailing Faster?

At least in terms of racing height and weight can matter....

Most boats have an ideal weight for any particualr wind condition or particular position on a boat. Light crews do better in light winds while heavier crews do better in a blow. Helmsmen and Foredeck crews are ideally light and moderately tall. Sheet trimmers and tacticians should be light and strong so that they can leave the rail and make adjustments without too harsh a penalty. Winch grinders who spend much of their time on the rail are ideally strong and heavy.

In racing dinghies, a tall person at near maximum weight has more righting moment than a shorter lighter person.

And so on....


Jeff
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Old 01-19-2004
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Does Sailor''''s Weight & Height Play a Part in Sailing Faster?

....so for the lighter sailor to "even out the playing field", perrhaps he uses a flatter sail and bendier mast in a heavier breeze, so less heeling moment is created and his boat sails flatter. Then, because he''s lighter, maybe he goes faster than the heavier guy. There are a lot of variables. Part of the game is figuring out what they are and adjusting what you can so as to to minimize the bad effects and maximize the good ones.
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Old 01-22-2004
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Does Sailor''''s Weight & Height Play a Part in Sailing Faster?

Hi Jeff and Paul, thank you very much for your valuable input.

I will try to figure out the variables.
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