How close to the wind can your boat sail? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 01-01-2006
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How close to the wind can your boat sail?

The books state that a typical sailboat can sail to within 45 degrees of the wind. The manufacturers never specify this value. Let''s generate our own database. Simply sail on a port tack close to the wind and record the bearing. Then sail on a starboard tack close to the wind and record the bearing. If the port bearing is larger than the starboard bearing just subtract the starboard bearing from the port bearing, then divide by 2. ( a = ( p – s ) / 2 ) If the port bearing is less than the starboard bearing add 360 to the port bearing before subtracting the starboard bearing. ( a = ( 360 + p – s ) / 2 )

To start the database a couple of friends have reported the following.
Pearson 30 – 65 degrees.
Hunter 35 – 60 degrees.

Many factors can affect this angle, multiple reports of the same model under different wind and sea conditions might be valuable. Include as much information with your report as you like, wind, waves, genoa or working jib, roller reefed or hanked on.
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Old 01-02-2006
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How close to the wind can your boat sail?

There is a good reason that Manufacturers do not publish an angle at which their boats point. There are a lot of factors that affect pointing ability of any given boat and frankly simply reporting compass angles tells you very little. For example compass angles do not really account for leeway or VMG. For example, in a high wind, and comparatively flat water, my compass readings could be well less than 80 degrees tack to tack, but my best VMG (especially when leeway is factored in)occurs at something closer to 85 degrees tack to tack. In lighter air, like most boats, my Farr 38 has the best VMG when sailed at tacking angles approaching (and in some cases exceeding) 45 degrees. To really get a single number that is really meaningful out of all of this, you really need to collect VMG generated using GPS data synched with calebrated wind instruments over a long period of time and in a variety of conditions. This would produce a polar diagram which of course provides the most useful information about how well as boat sails to windward in a range of conditions. Today most decent sailboat builders publish velocity prediction program generated polar diagrams for their boats.

I also question the data that you have recieved to date. The Pearson 30''s (by which which I assume you do not mean the 303 which does not point as well, or the earlier 30 foot Pearson Wanderers/Coasters which point far worse than the 303 or 30, nor later Pearson Flyers which point a little better especially when leeway and VMG are considered), that I have raced on, have not had a problem tacking within 90 degrees tack to tack so the reading of 65 degrees seems way off.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 01-06-2006
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How close to the wind can your boat sail?

Jeff H obvoiusly ran out of time, or he might also have mentioned how the cut of the jib, its age, and how tight the forestay (and backstay) are can also affect one''s pointing ability. He was perhaps too tactful to mention "skipper skill" and how much that might alter the results in such a broadbased survey. Underwater growth will also change the pointing abilities of any boat. With new sails on our Soling, if we were not going fast while pointing 30º off the wind, it was a bad day. There are simply too many variables to make this exercise at all valid. A Polar Diagram is as close as one can really get, and those are generally already available from USSailing.
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Old 03-06-2006
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Consider too that the apparent wind is always forward of the true wind, the more so the faster you go. So beating 40 deg to the apparent wind might be only 45 deg to the true wind. All in all, tacking through 90 deg over the ground is pretty good progress forward for most any boat I've ever sailed. Usually less, espec sailing on a lake or river where it seems you always get headed as you approach shore.
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Old 03-21-2006
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Gaff Schooner

We have a lot to learn, have only worked with the 3 lowers to date, and are making some fairly major impovments in the running rigging, vanging etc.
Not sure the topsail and fisherman staysail will have much bearing on really closehauled work.

To date: ( assume rather mild conditions )

45deg: hangs in there but it is under protest
50deg: we are going
55deg: We Are Going !
60deg: WE ARE REALLY GOINGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-21-2006
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Oday daysailer II, 16' 9" centerboard, single handed, no traveller. 18 knots of wind steady. pointing angles by compass were 100 and 150 degrees, so a 25 degree angle off the wind throughout the afternoon.
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Old 03-27-2006
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polar diagram

Most NAs produce a polar diagram that models boat performance reasonably accurately. (Wind speed on the curves - boat speed on the graph, wind angles on the radials.) Example below from German Frers for Hallberg-Rassy.

If you have a copy of the new (2006) Landfall Navigation catalog, look at the cover, it is a photo of 4 Farr-48s (no slouches) hard on the wind. "Eyeball" the angle between the boats on port tack and the one on starboard tack. It puts some reality back in the response to "how close can you point"!

Last edited by wwilson; 03-28-2006 at 09:51 PM.
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