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Land lubber
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Discussion Starter #1
Learning to sail!

My wife and I finally got to sail out new to us Macgregor 25.

We had it out once before, but didn't sail. It took us an hour to motor out to a depth that was sailing friendly, we are on FL nature coast. The time we had allotted to us meant it was time to turn around and motor in.

Ok, so yesterday we get out again. We sailed for close to 6 hours! We had a great time. We did a lot of experimenting with sail trim. We could definitely feel different trims affecting performance.

A question now. We had difficulty sailing into the wind. I would guess that 30 degrees either side was as close as we could get. It seemed to me that 60 degrees total was kind of lousy. Is this likely a sail trim problem or boat design issue? Perhaps combination of both?

Finally, after motoring out for an hour, we idled down the outboard. It idled for 15 seconds, then shut off. It would not restart. (I am a mechanic, so not asking for troubleshooting advice). We did our sailing, then sailed back in the shallow (less than 5 ft at some points) and narrow (about 60 feet for most of it) channel, and docked under sail power. We were somewhat proud of ourselves!

At any rate, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are looking forward to when we have time to go again.
 

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30 degrees off the wind is actually quite good. Be happy with that. Your trim must have been very good.

Docking under sail - be ecstatic with that.
 
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Freedom isn't free
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Yep if you are getting 30 degrees off windward in the Mac, and you are sailing into dock, you are probably light years ahead of "learning to sail," methinks the topic location needs an upgrade!

Good luck with that outboard... since you are mechanic perhaps you could post your physical address, maybe I can send you mine when it dies ;) Watch what you say around here, soon we'll be asking your advice on stuff.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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Somehow I doubt that a Mac25 could sail that close to the wind. Most recreational boats are able to point up to about 40 or 45 degrees off of the apparent wind. How were you judging your angle to the wind? The best way is with a little wind vane at the top of the mast. If you are using telltales or a small vane near the deck it's probably underestimating the angle.

But sailing into your slip is something to be proud of.
 

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Land lubber
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the compliments.

The motor lost spark. My first instinct tells me that either the kill switch or oil alert switch is the culprit, as coils and CDI units rarely fail when this new.

Yes, I likely was off in my estimation of wind angle. I was using fixed points on land to guess those angles I stated. I am not sure if I am glad to hear that 45 degrees would be the norm. I thought (as I said, we don't know how to sail) that most boats would sail closer to the wind. Our wind vane got bumped while stepping the mast and was non functional for the day. I fixed it when we took the mast down to trailer home.
 

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Sailing angle . . . I've sailed about 5 degrees off wind, no kidding. BUT . . . there was barely a whisper and we made maybe 1/2 knot, tops. And my sails were tighter than my bed sheets in basic. Leads me to believe that the angle is dependent on the speed.
 

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[Wind]speed is definitely going to change your apparent wind angle (AWA). But you should not be measuring AWA to gauge how tightly you sail to windward... you should be measuring (like was stated) the difference between compass headings close hauled on opposite tacks, and eyeballing it of course won't be accurate (obviously you already know that)... But anyway, take compass headings, get the differenece, divide by 2 and you'll have how many degrees off True Wind Angle (TWA).

Sorry didn't want this to degrade into yet another debate in the difference between TWA and AWA... the OP seems to know the difference.
 

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DonScribner, you were most likely pinching the wind, which is defined as "Too sail too close to the wind so that the sails luff and the speed drops." It is some times fun to pinch if you want to go slow.
 

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This may help explain how close you sail to where the wind is coming from. You may also notice the angle of the sails relative to the wind.

 

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Land lubber
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Discussion Starter #12
This may help explain how close you sail to where the wind is coming from. You may also notice the angle of the sails relative to the wind.

Thank you for that pic. That is what I understood from reading. I was disappointed because I couldn't get closer to the wind. The pic you posted indicates that the 'no sail' zone is about 30 degrees, not 90.... and I was having trouble at 60.
 

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A good way to figure out if you are sailing close enough to the wind (while beating) but not "too" close (which robs you of speed) nor too far away (which needlessly gives away distance, is jib telltales, like this:

How to Trim the Jib ? Trimming the Jib with Telltales

Simple memory trick, if you are steering from windward side as you should, with a tiller:

"inside yarn flutters, pull in on tiller til it goes horizontal"
"outside " " push out " " " " "


Both are horizontal?? You are "in the zone" of laminar wind flow on both sides of your jib, which creates the Low pressure area on the outside of the sail which "pulls" you upwind.

Close-hauled sailing is the most demanding of your concentration, because the "zone" or "sweet spot" is pretty narrow, no more than about 10 degrees on your (mental, or actual) compass. Reaches and broad reaches, it's a wide zone, less concentration needed...you can steer with your toe, or make bread, or whatever, that's why the cruising sailors love broad reaches. Us racers love beating upwind. No fresh bread for us though.
 

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The "no go" zone will depend from boat to boat. Modern racing boats can sail closer to the wind. perhaps as close as 30 degrees...other designs such as cruisers and older boats not so much. 40-45 degrees is typical (i.e. 90 degrees of the 360 you cannot sail). All your sails will be in very tight, and it will take experience to "feel" the sweet spot; get to close to where the wind comes from and you stall; go further off and you are not "pointing as high" as you could be.

So overall it sounds like your boat was performing as it should have done, and as a novice sailor, you did a great job! Keep reading and asking questions. Setting a sail trim correctly is something sailors always work to improve, as there is always more to learn!
 

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Consistently tacking though 90 degrees is what is typically 'good pointing'. There are boats that can do better, but for ultimate upwind VMG that's a pretty good target.

If you were truly tacking through 60 degrees (on compass??) then you were likely oversheeted and going slower and less efficiently upwind than you might have.

An apparent wind angle of 30 degrees on either tack doesn't mean you're tacking through 60 degrees.. your boatspeed pulls the apparent wind angle forward. The compass readings from tack to tack will tell the tale (as will the telltales ;))

In any event, a great day on the water!!
 
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