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.
In competitive sailing we are looking for every advantage we may get if we want to win and going fast is a pretty important advantage to have - the gains from using the correct sails are more than just marginal!.
Anyone who has sailed against top sailors will know that many times you can be approaching half way up the first beat, and either in front of or in touch with some of the regatta favourites - often alongside them. A minute later the top sailor will have climbed on you, hit a gust of wind that you can’t reach, and gone from high mode to extremely fast forward compared to yourself, and from feeling great, being in touch or ahead of the good guys, you’re suddenly a hundred metres and forty boats behind them within around 90 seconds. This blog is about beginning to understand how they do that, so you can start to do it too!
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 tuning of a boat involves gaining the optimum speed and height from a given rig on a given boat. If we change a hull, sail (main, jib, or kite) or mast we have to tune the sail to the mast and the rig to the boat, and often change our technique to optimise speed and height.
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.