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Old 20-10-2014, 19:47   #1
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Tell Everyone to get on the Bow

So im still saving money to get another boat . I sold my McGregor 25 to get my son in tutoring . And an experience I had with my McGregor is playing over and over in my head. The experience goes, Im sailing in the weekly sailboat races out on Beautiful Lake Pointchatrain . and a fellow sailor is yelling at me to get all of my crew to the bow of the boat. This is my 4th time sailing my boat. I kind of under stand he was wanting me to level the boat out but why, wouldn't that put more surface area on the water and slow me down. I have no previous training in sailing . I bought the boat read a few books and watched a few videos and said I can do this. So im no Champion sailor by any means but want to understand what im doing and why.
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Old 20-10-2014, 22:42   #2
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

In light air sailing, the limiting factor on how fast you can go is usually the amount of wetted surface. Since boats are generally finer forward, they can hold more weight with less hull surface in the water than when the weight is aft. That vintage Macgregor is especially fat aft. It can hold a lot of weight in the stern, at the cost of a lot more wetted surface.
Move your crew weight forward and you can go faster (in light air).
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Old 21-10-2014, 05:21   #3
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, popeye31.
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Old 21-10-2014, 05:37   #4
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

FWIW, Regardless of where you put weight on the boat, X amount of weight will displace X amount of water.
You do of course change CG by moving weight around, I've never raced, but suspect something else is driving the need or reason to shift the CG forward, but your not decreasing the displacement, so wetted area should remain the same.
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Old 21-10-2014, 06:11   #5
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

Crew Weight and Weight Distribution - By Robert K. Smither
Crew Weight and Weight Distribution
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:16   #6
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

I want to retract that, I've done some thinking and some dry board drawing.
I think you can affect both wetted area and waterline length by moving weight around, depending on hull shape?
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:19   #7
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

Good article I bookmarked it for reference.
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:25   #8
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

Welcome to CF Popeye!

FLATTER is "almost" ALWAYS FASTER... Especially light air running ...

More sail area "in the wind"
Less wetted surface (edit: in some cases)
Longer LWL
Less leeway
Boat is balanced on it's lines
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Old 21-10-2014, 07:26   #9
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I want to retract that, I've done some thinking and some dry board drawing.
I think you can affect both wetted area and waterline length by moving weight around, depending on hull shape?
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Old 21-10-2014, 10:52   #10
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

If you're racing with spinnaker and have 2+you,

When beating try putting one crew on the cabin top, and one crew forward in the cockpit against the cabin, and you right behind.
In light air have one or both crew on the leeward side and have the cabin top crew move further forward, and you sit on the windward side in the cockpit right against the cabin. Moving crew weight can help shape the sails and steer the boat.

On the spinnaker legs in light air, try having the foredeck crew stay forward by the mast, or in very light air, up toward the pulpit.
In heavier air, have the foredeck crew come back to the cabin top.

Sail at the angle of heel that gives you advantage for the conditions.
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Old 21-10-2014, 11:14   #11
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

Compare the formulas for surface area and volume of a sphere versus a rectangular flat plate with minimal height. Volume relates to displacement, and skin friction at low speeds (trivial wave making speeds) to surface area. Sphere has greatest volume per surface area so lowest friction.

Laser is a good example, flat surface aft for planing, rounded bow for lots of reasons, but in drifter conditions stand on the bow of a Laser and it is significantly faster as you have a shape much closer to a sphere and the flat aft sections are out of the water. Waterline length means little when you are not making waves.
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Old 21-10-2014, 20:02   #12
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

That Laser would need a whopper tiller extension!


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Old 21-10-2014, 20:54   #13
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

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That Laser would need a whopper tiller extension!


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You must not be gifted with living in an area of predominantly light airs.

Grab mainsheet to bring with you. Forget about the hiking stick. Stand up, heel boat over as you walk past the mast so your weight stays centered. Face aft and hold the mast. Heel the boat one way to steer in the opposite direction. When you are tired of how slow you're going start air rowing, heeling the boat repeatedly back and forth to make apparent wind in the sail.

It's really fun when in a hard turn the rudder goes over far enough that the hiking stick falls in the cockpit and now the rudder is stuck hard over keeping you turning in circles until you get back to the back of the boat and free it.

I can't believe I can't find a video on line of this. I thought lots of people did this.
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Old 21-10-2014, 21:11   #14
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

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Originally Posted by popeye31 View Post
So im still saving money to get another boat . I sold my McGregor 25 to get my son in tutoring . And an experience I had with my McGregor is playing over and over in my head. The experience goes, Im sailing in the weekly sailboat races out on Beautiful Lake Pointchatrain . and a fellow sailor is yelling at me to get all of my crew to the bow of the boat. This is my 4th time sailing my boat. I kind of under stand he was wanting me to level the boat out but why, wouldn't that put more surface area on the water and slow me down. I have no previous training in sailing . I bought the boat read a few books and watched a few videos and said I can do this. So im no Champion sailor by any means but want to understand what im doing and why.
He may have been being facetious. I don't see anywhere where you stated point of sail or wind conditions but some have assumed light airs?

Anyway - there is a pathology of crew to "congregate" in the cockpit. Having all the crew aft makes the boat tail down and is not good. As others have said generally you want a flat boat.

In a 5 person crew only 2 should be in the cockpit after the genoa is trrimmed (driver and main trimmer) - with some exceptions in heavy airs. The other three should be hiking, near the mast or on the downwid side in light airs downwind.

Downwind you want the crew more aft and on the windward side. If you are passing the swells you want as little "ploughing" as possible. In high wind downwinds we have have had the crew huddled in the highside aft corner trying to keep the bow up and the boat flat.

Placing the crew in the right place is important although I would never puposefully place excess crew forward of the mast.

One time our bowman turned up in the cockpit on the beat looking for a sandwich or some damn thing - I almost threw him overboard.
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Old 22-10-2014, 01:18   #15
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Re: Tell everyone to get on the bow

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You must not be gifted with living in an area of predominantly light airs.





It's really fun when in a hard turn the rudder goes over far enough that the hiking stick falls in the cockpit and now the rudder is stuck hard over keeping you turning in circles until you get back to the back of the boat and free it.



I can't believe I can't find a video on line of this. I thought lots of people did this.

Ha! raced lasers for 15 years never saw anyone do it! Probably because Melbourne gets 15-20kts every day over summer.

Solution to dropped tiller might be a bungy cord forward to the centreboard, and just steer with sail/heel. Miss my laser but would get hammered now if I tried to race.


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