Owner 4knot sb.
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: East Stroudsburg, PA
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Re: Sailing downwind is much harder than sailing upwind.
This is a fantastic topic for newbies, but it's also a great topic for long time sailors... Because we sometimes get bogged down in details, and forget to approach it simply...
One thing that has been bugging me lately (keep in mind I've sailed a lot of slower sailboats, in light air)... Broad reach rarely brings the AWA as per the masthead much past 90 degrees, until I am nearly pushing DDW, or say 150-160 TWA.
In the same winds beam reach, I'll see something like 50-55 AWA, and say I am doing roughly 6 knots... with perhaps 8-10 knots true. I'm flying a 155, and full main, as I fall off though, and ease, I can feel the boat slow considerably... 4.5 to 5 knots... Closer to 4 knots wing on wing. My point is broad reach barely shows 90 on the windex, until I am pushing say 150 true wind angle. Sounds like you all are confirming what I am seeing. Not sure why I never noted any of this before, I have a tendency to trim by feel though so perhaps my focus is usually on other things.
Actually just the other day I was running DDW wing on wing (actually about 170 degrees as even wing on wing you have to be off 180 a bit to keep the genoa filled)... heeled to windward a bit (to try to neutralize helm), with whitecaps and rollers in say 14-16 knots wind... I was surfing, and digging, and popping back out... a wild experience at 8-9 knots boat speed! Chasing down an S2 7.9 (which by the way does much better downwind, at least until I whip out the masthead kite, which would have been a chore solo in that stuff). Anyway, a good steady breeze, and you can tweak to your hearts content to find out what works best...
PS: The S2 7.9 is a fractional, with a large roachy main (making it seemingly easier to trim downwind), my Capri is a balanced rig, with most of its sail area forward, so presenting the proper area downwind is touchy (leaving deep angles out of my reach)... again until that masthead kite comes out, then its GAME ON!
"Rum Line" a 1982, S2 7.9 - Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.