Downwind light air

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LarryE-old
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Downwind light air

Post by LarryE-old » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:08 pm

5-6 kts, sailing high angles downwind. Board up or down?
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dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:00 pm

Sliding to leeward puts LESS apparent wind in the sails. We have to sail high downwind in the light stuff just to generate enough apparent wind to keep the chute from collapsing from gravity. You make the call.............................. 8)

fleck
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by fleck » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:21 am

Board up, weight forward and only venture from ddw to get the spin to fill, or to move across the course in order to place the boat in stronger pressure.
Bob Fleck
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dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:04 am

Bob, how are you going to keep the chute full in wind this light when sailing dead down wind, ESPECIALLY if there is big chop like at the Class Champs last year???

fleck
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by fleck » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:05 pm

Dave,

Of course all conditions do not call for the same strategy. I didn't say DDW is the absolute rule, it is what the boat would prefer if possible. If you need some more pressure to fill the chute head up but don't start doing beam to beam gypes like you would on fixed keep boats.

You normally don't have huge chop without much wind. 5-6 knot winds are common on the Chesapeake and Annapolis is know to have chop that is larger than the wind. We have good success by sailing low. We head up to move the boat across the course in order to put the boat in better pressure, then go back to low mode to stay in the pressure as long as possible.

That said, if you have a case where the waves are much larger than they would be normally (ex. after a storm blows through), then I would probably keep the board down for stability and sail a hotter angle. (Wasn't at the CCR last year but had a similar case the previous time they were in Holand)

Actually I just reread Larry E's original post, and I misread his question. If my re-read is correct, he is asking if when sailing high angles down wind, should the board be up or down. My answer to that question is, with spinnaker, put the board down. if sailing only genoa and main, I'd be inclined to try board up.
Bob Fleck
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dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:55 am

"Actually I just reread Larry E's original post, and I misread his question. If my re-read is correct, he is asking if when sailing high angles down wind, should the board be up or down. My answer to that question is, with spinnaker, put the board down. if sailing only genoa and main, I'd be inclined to try board up."

So, we agree then, on the chute at least. That was my whole point: if it's so light that you need to sail hot angles downwind, side slipping from having the board up is SUBTRACTING apparent wind speed (pressure). To add insult to injury the lighter pressure is generating less total forward driving force which moves the apparent wind aft, forcing one to have to head up even HIGHER to maintain "X" speed/angle!!!!!! :shock:

Believe me when I say that I sail downwind as low as anyone but I'm also one of the first in a typical fleet to heat it up when things get touchy on the chute. 6 knots of wind is 6.9 mph. Heading DDW in this wind strength even in flat water would result in a very low apparent wind speed and VMG would most certainly be better sailing higher. I set my Windex tacking arms fairly close because I use them downwind, not upwind, and I would be hard pressed to get inside of them in this stated condition and would be well outside of them much of the time. Remember too there is a different between a normal lake wind and a seabreeze. Less puffy conditions allow deeper sailing over a larger amount of time for the simple reason that one isn't having to heat it up in the lulls. :wink:

On the Windex tacking arms: I use them upwind to telegraph lifts and knocks, not to show me some nebulous sailing angle. The upper part of the rig will usually show the shift at least 5 seconds before the jib luff, so if you get in the habit of taking a very quick glance up there at least every 5-10 seconds you will see this happening and have a heads up on the next shift BEFORE the jib luffs or stalls! :D You should be looking up this much anyway in most upwind conditions because that's what it takes to keep the main trimmed to optimum.................................

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Tim Bosma
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by Tim Bosma » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:40 pm

so the question then becomes: "How much of the board should be down in light air for these high angles?" or, Where is the trade-off between drag and lift for the board depth?
Tim Bosma, Bosun
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dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:47 pm

My opinion on that is that you could only tell with another boat with the same sails and comparable crew work sailing within a few boat lengths of you but in clean air and water. Bottom line, the lighter the air the less you want to side slip because of the higher angles need to be sailed to keep your apparent wind going strong enough to do whats needed on the sails.

One big exception would be in a current that was flowing upwind and especially if it was strong. The stronger the current in that direction the more current wind is being seen by the sails which when reaching (sailing downwind)in light air would add apparent wind. Then it would probably pay to raise the board completely to get rid of the drag, and you don't need to worry about the leeway because of the current wind.

Tac Boston
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by Tac Boston » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:44 pm

Are you sailing OD or handicap? There is a big big difference in my opinion.

Bob is right about forward crew weight and to weather. If the water is flat I have sailed with the board 1/2 way, but as soon as you feel the board move at all it has to go up or down all the way.

One thing to remember is that the rudder on these things is HUGE and you can "press" against it more then any other boat. So I am not sure I agree with Dave on his less pressure deal, but who knows.

Back to the top, if you are sailing OD the lower you can sail the better you will be because if the dude next to you can sail a bit lower he will beat you. Now if sailing non OD then move to some where where you can :)





kidding about that point, sort of.

dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:18 pm

"if you are sailing OD the lower you can sail the better you will be because if the dude next to you can sail a bit lower he will beat you"..............

Cripes, that goes without saying no matter what boat you're in !!! 8)

"One thing to remember is that the rudder on these things is HUGE and you can "press" against it more then any other boat. So I am not sure I agree with Dave on his less pressure deal, but who knows."

You and are aren't speaking of the same pressure me thinks......................... :wink:

LarryE-old
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by LarryE-old » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:57 pm

Many good points

Sailing OD.
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dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:51 pm

I have sailed OD, Portsmouth and PHRF and still do. IMHO handicap racing really helps to sharpen your skills if you utilize the proper mind set because you are sailing against the clock, not the other boats necessarily. To do consistently well in a good handicap fleet you really have to be a good tactician and stick with your decisions when you feel they are correct and you have to be trying to get 100% from the boat, sails and crew 100% of the time. That means that getting ahead and just staying between someone else and the next mark can and will get you beaten when that someone else isn't going the right way!!!! :shock:

In OD is matters much less: if you have a lead on someone with nobody else banging the opposite corner you can you can just cover, or if you have a big lead even that (someone going the other way) doesn't always come into play unless the shifts are really big or one side of the course has an advantage over the other. Realistically, if you are doing well and leading the fleet (let alone smoking them) your are probably ON that advantaged side to begin with! Keeping someone in your gas also means that you don't even have to stay pedal to the metal to slow them down and/or keep them from passing you. :wink:

In a nutshell I think that OD course management is much more conservative while in handicap you need to break out of that mindset many times to do well, and be more aggressive, take more risk. It takes the courage of your convictions to keep going a certain way when everyone else is going the other! Kind of like the old lament: "Man, he sure is lucky"..................................... good sailors make their own luck way more often than not.

dave
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Re: Downwind light air

Post by dave » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:22 am

To add a bit to the sailing lower than your competitor theme, everyone needs to remember the original question of this post: light air. If you can sail DDW in 5-6 knots true wind in a 7.9 and keep the sails full 100% of the time AND at least MATCH the VMG of those (OD) sailing higher, more power to you.

As Tack alluded to, being able to sail deeper than everyone else has many advantages, BUT, if you aren't at least staying even on VMG you WILL get beaten to the bottom mark! :oops: Another point on this is the tactical side. Getting to the inside is always desirable just because when you jibe back you're on starboard controlling the boats outside of you. This is ALWAYS the first thing on my mind as I approach the weather mark and the only time that I wouldn't seriously consider an immediate jibe to port at the mark would be bad traffic/bad air when going that way or the wind being in a right phase at that time or a big puff coming in from the left, looking upwind. Sometimes the sea state is better on one jibe or the other but sooner or later you still need to get to the inside to protect and/or consolidate a position, let alone gain some. Last but not least, sailing as deep as you possibly can on starboard and jibing to port at the layline puts YOU on the outside of everyone in the area..................................................................................

Why am I pontificating on this? Many on the race course get in the very bad habit of setting at the weather mark and sailing as low as they possibly can, even in 5-6 knots of true wind and even to the detriment of their VMG, and going all the way to the layline before jibing to the mark. This is a GREAT way to get your clock cleaned!!! 8) :wink:

When I run Race Committee I use a set weather mark and a drifting mark to set the course. 5 minutes after setting the first drifter at the weather mark I let another go. Watching these marks drift down the course from dead upwind or dead downwind is an eye opening experience for most and graphically shows how many shifts are missed and how much chance for gain is lost by not being really good as a team at jibing and by not doing it anywhere near often enough! 95-98% of the sailors out there just sail on through 95% of the shifts, jibing only on those that are as obvious as paint on a wall !!! The lighter the wind is the higher your sailing angles will be downwind which means staying on the knocked jibe (in oscillating conditions) is critical to your VMG.

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