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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction
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  #1  
Old 02-14-2014
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why boats point well

I would appriciate any information, books, internet sites, individual boats 1920 to present with superior pointing ability. Wind shadow doesn't quite complete the picture for me. Keel shape and size adds something to the picture, but the data is confusing. Where do I look next?
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Old 02-14-2014
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Re: why boats point well

Sounds more like you want to read a couple of books like "Elements of Yacht Design by Norman L. Skene " or "Principles of Yacht Design".

In terms of overall design, what makes a boat point well is long documented in many places, but it is part of the overall design of a yacht.
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Old 02-15-2014
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Re: why boats point well

Thanks Sailor, ordered, after i read it I will probably have more questions.
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Old 02-15-2014
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Re: why boats point well

My Cal 28 points super! I am always surprised when I sail with others how noticable it is to everyone. Jensen really got it right ! I think this shows on the Cal 40 as it is same style and still winning races!....Dale
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Re: why boats point well

That is two boats to try to figure out why for thanks Superior.
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Old 04-19-2014
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Re: why boats point well

I'll give this a shot, but there are a lot of different ways to look at this.

At the most basic level, a boat points well when its sails and keel have a high lift to drag ratio, and the hull, deck, rigging, and everything else on the boat produces as little drag as possible. But, I suspect you are interested in a more detailed answer.

So here is a bit more detail. But remember, everything below are generalizations. I'm sure that in practice boats can be found that point well even if they don't have all of these characteristics.

First, sails, keels, and airplane wings for that mater, get more efficient as they get longer and skinner. Take a look at the wings on a sport glider aircraft. They are very long for a reason.

This means that sailboats with taller masts and deeper fin keels will tend to point better. But in addition to the length, the shape of the sails and keel are important as well. Most deep fin keels will have a decent shape, but some will still be better than others. The shape of sails on the other hand can vary a lot. If the best pointing boat has old stretched sails, it probably won't point as well as an average boat with a good set of racing sails. This is sort of a mid-level of detail answer.

An example of a even higher level of detail would be the chainplate/shroud position. Chainplates all the way out at the edge of the hull usually put the shrouds out far enough to keep the jib from being sheeted in as far as you would like for the best pointing angle. That is, effectively the wide shrouds block you from from getting the shape you want from your sails. There are way more details like this, most of which I don't even know, the will effect pointing ability.

But back to some more of what I am referring to as mid-level of detail answers.

Lower cabin trunks and lower sides to the hull will reduce wind drag and thus improve pointing. And things like dodgers or dinghies out in the wind will increase drag and hurt pointing.

The shape of the hull will also make a difference in drag from moving through the water, but I'm not qualified to say much on this except that the best hull design will be different under different conditions. Moving easily through flat water is quite different than fighting against large waves.

I'll just add one more thing about sail shape. If you have a wing sail that can maintain it's shape regardless of wind angle, like the main sails used on the last America's Cup boats, the boat may be able to sail very close to the wind. Angles of under 10 deg. to the wind are possible, BUT (and this is a big but), it will not likely be the fastest way to go to windward. Falling off and gaining speed will get you there faster.
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Old 04-19-2014
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Re: why boats point well

Every little bit helps. Skene's has so many numbers to understand that my mind clogs up and I have to go back and read it again. Just looking at the boat shape the difference between a ballad and a cal 30 is huge. There are so many boats between 27 and 34 (my target area) and the more of them I look at the better my picture of the boat, I don't have yet becomes. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 04-23-2014
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Re: why boats point well

Nice post Quix.

For all, how about some examples of boats in his range that point well, and some that do not point very well.
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Old 04-23-2014
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Re: why boats point well

You can even stretch the size. Any boat I can single hand While chasing the horizon.
I have come to understand that BP is right and wind shadow will keep a schooner from pointing as well as a sloop (I am crestfallen). When I begin walking the docks in about a year I may even stretch my price range, especially If she is pretty. She will need an inboard engine and a tight, dry companionway.
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Old 04-24-2014
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Re: why boats point well

Rat -

If your goal is to sail off into the sunset, pointing ability should not be at the top of your list of concerns. You DO need a boat that can point reasonably well, for safety (beating off a lee shore). However, if you plan correctly, most of the passages you do will be mostly down wind. Things like motion in a seaway, and tankage, etc. would be of more concern.
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