When we go sailing, the boat may just push water out of the way (usually called displacement mode), ride on top of its own bow wave (planing) or foil. This week we look at how water resistance effects boatspeed, and what we can do to minimise this resistance.
The sailing world is going foiling mad. Time alone will tell whether it's a good thing or not, but what we can say is that it's fun and fast, and very different in feeling. What is the same for the sailor is that we need to understand a far greater range of sail settings in order to optimise the performances of these boats.
As boat speeds increase, the wisdom of conventional tactics become far less relevant that they have ever been. For example, in a fast boat, covering one of the opposition can create an opening for 10 boats to get past you. Not what is needed…..
The evolution of skiffs and foils have generated the necessity for the evolution of the skills of pressure hunting.
A major source of beginning to understand tactics is dealt with by Toplevel sailing as tactics for the first half of the beat (when the boats are diverging into a wider area, as against tactics when the boats are converging into the tiny area around the mark.
The movement of water over a course area is rarely uniform. Because of this factor the racing sailor has to have an understanding of where currents are at their maximum, how this helps or obstructs progress and where a current will take you sideways away from the mark, or sideways towards the mark. Where possible, using current in different areas to enhance the speed around the course can be much more rewarding than finding a lot of boat speed through increased wind speed.