First of all, he is heeling the boat too far because it is fun and exciting, but it's a slow way to sail the boat. I have a friend who never gets to sail because he has a family
that hates sailing because he didn't understand that he should have been reefing early to keep from scaring his family. You can also sail the boat with less than optimum heel angle. It will be more comfortable, enable you to sail with people that are not thrill seekers, and also be slow.
Lucky for me, when we get into some wind, the kids
say heel the boat dad, and they go up into the vberth to bounce around.
As far as sailing efficiently upwind, as Delmarrey's article points out different boats have different heeling angles at which they sail upwind best. Here is a website that the header says was written for Catalina
27s, and was taken for Catalina 34s. Most boats as they heel more they produce more weather helm. Here they are saying that for a Catalina 27 the maximum heel to carry is 20 degrees, when the boat is over that far, adjust the mast
rake to adjust the weather helm. They settle on a mast rake position by looking at the tiller angle, saying that it should be less than 7 degrees. Many people say 5 degrees of rudder angle is the most you want. Rudder angle is good to prevent leeway, too much makes the boat slow as you drag the rudder through the water
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Heavy air adjustments
Decrease rake to give no more than 7 degrees weather rudder just before you reef or shorten sail. (18-20 degrees heel max) Keep lowers tight so the mast is dead straight athwartships. More tension on forward lowers to prebend mast and flatten (de-power) the main
On reaches it can be a different story. I have found on my Cal
40 that upwind, 20 degrees of heel with around 5 degrees of weather helm is pretty much the max for good boat speed, but on a reach more sail area with its increased helm resulted in better boat speed. Once again, if my priority is to keep my crew comfortable, I decrease sail area. It depends on who is on the boat.
Bob Perry is a famous boat designer
, I lifted his comments from a sailing world forum.
07-27-2005, 10:03 AM
I do not think there is one "optimum angle of heel". It will change with every change of conditions and apparent wind. Like RichH says it's always best to sail the boat flat. Sometimes in very light air you can heel your boat, dinghy
style, so your sails
use gravity to fall into their designed shape. But this is hard with a 26,000 lb. boat. In a breeze it;s a compromise between comfort, VMG and helm feel.
Some boats do well when pressed hard and sailed on their ear others do not. I think a good rule
of thumb is to do whatever you can to acheive the best VMG, i.e. heel the boat if it likes it and sail it flat if it prefers that. In general flater is better and will give you a better helm.
Obviously I design boats on the computer and analyse the hull
lines with the boat sailed flat. We use VPP programs to heel the boat and look at it's performance in a variety of conditions. As a boat heels the keel
loses efficiency and the immeresed waterlines of the hull
become asymetrical. While we can simulate this on the computer we would never chose to start that way. We draw them flat first then see what we give up as the boat heels.
Sailing with the rail down and stanchions throwing rooster tails may be photogenic but in 99% of the cases it's not fast.
07-27-2005, 10:51 AM
All boats are different.
Valiant 40's are initially tender
and harden up about the time the rub rail hits the water
. Valiants love to be pushed hard. In one race
we were booming along at the top end of what I considered our max heel engle so I called for a sail change to a smaller jib
. The boat flattened out but it also slowed down. So, up went the bigger jib
again and we sailed with the rail nearly immersed but our boat speed went back up. That was a close reach
but it might have been different had we been hard on the wind.
Experimentation is the key but that is hard to do unless you are in a formal race
situation where everyone around you is also tryng to max performance. If you can maintain good helm balance while heeled 25+ degrees your boat may like that application of hp but it just looks sloppy to drag your rail and all your deck hardware
thru the water. If you need a hard number I would say at 30 degrees of heel it's time to start considering some sail reduction options.