the technical abilities to be fast on a reach and control your angle of sailing are still worth mastering as every small gain to be made is worth a while. It is incredible how many boats you can take on a reach if you are both fast and smart.
An important skill in downwind sailing is prioritizing weather to sail the boat flat or healed to windward by the lee referred to as kiting, Sailing by the lee means that the air is flowing into the sail from the leech towards the mast as opposed to normal sailing when the air is flowing from the mast towards the leech of the sail
The Centre of effort of a rig can be best described by stating that the entire force of wind power generated by a sail can be considered to act through one point - in the same way that the center of gravity of a body is the point around which that body balances. In this blog, we explain the dynamics of the Centre of effort, how you can change it and WHY it needs changing, which is because if the center of effort of the rig isn’t directly over the pivot point of the boat, you need corrective rudder which will slow the boat down through drag in the water.