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Shifting gears at the helm
This question pertains to helming "modern" broad-beamed fin-keeled spade-rudder type cruising designs of, say, 35 to 40 feet in varying sea conditions. The overall goal is to sail efficiently and comfortably but not necessarily to maximize VMG at all costs. (i.e. cruising not racing, and there''s no crew available to constantly change sail trim on every wave)
I have never seen a good description, nor do I have a good feeling for, how to "shift gears" and switch from one helming strategy to another as conditions change.
I believe (someone should help correct me if I''m wrong) that:
A) In light seas, the goal is to counteract the waves and steer the boat as straight as possible, keeping the sails optimally powered.
B) In medium seas, the goal is to work with the waves, for example, when heading upwind, to head up a little when climbing the face of a wave and bear off when descending the back, with the sails twisted off a bit so as to widen the groove
C) In heavy seas, the goal is to avoid breaking crests and taking a sea broadside: steer around the bad spots and to hell with VMG.
But I don''t really have any sense of how to shift between these approaches, or how to know if I''m doing the right thing or not.
Recommendations? Books? Videos?