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Old 16-02-2010, 07:02   #1
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Into the Wind

What's the issue with beating to windward in a cruiser? In reading back threads, I find consistent references to the lack of fun for the crew caused by beating into the wind - starting with 'gentlemen don't sail to windward' and going on from there. At least at first we'll be coastal sailors with all that implies, including at some point having to return to where we started. Windward tacking was my favorite point of sail with my Flying Scot, so what's different about cruisers that makes motoring upwind preferable?
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Old 16-02-2010, 07:42   #2
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Personally, I like going to windward but many cruisers that I know do not. Some of the factors that have been given are, it is slow and they are on a timetable, it is harder work, the boat heels more, it tends to be a wetter point of sail, etc. To make this worse, many cruising boats do not go well to weather. For people looking to really relax, I think that going to windward is a chore and they would rather pay the money for fuel and listen to the engine.
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Old 16-02-2010, 07:47   #3
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Ya got me...I guess its what your used to.
My first 2 months of sailing in my life was beating...I didn't know any better......it was sailing!
I've got a long full keel, so even if the seas are a bit rough its comfortable enough.
Plus you feel like you're going faster...wind in the face and all!
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Old 16-02-2010, 08:02   #4
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Funny, I prefer beating. (not a beating mind you). Downwind is my least favorite point of sail, less controll over the boat in big waves. A nice 16-18 off the forward quarter while gliding over sweet long swells...heaven.
E
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Old 16-02-2010, 08:13   #5
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I prefer running downwind. It is a more relaxing sail, I feel like the world is not against me. It epitomizes the phrase, "go with the flow". Beating I also feel like I have to constantly hold my tiller on the precise point of sail.
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Old 16-02-2010, 08:16   #6
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The issue for many is that of comfort. Pretty much everyone has to go to windward at some point but planning can avoid the excessive windward beating (it's wear and tear on crew and boat). Days on end of beating to windward can be a beating. Like sailing a few points off the wind when going downwind can increase comfort and even time made good, on some boats in certain conditions doing the same upwind can increase comfort and not greatly compromise time.
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Old 16-02-2010, 09:23   #7
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I think another issue is time.

Going to windward for a day sail might be more fun than on a multi-day or multi-week passage where you are trying to sleep, cook, use the SSB, etc while heeled and beating.
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Old 16-02-2010, 10:03   #8
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Conrad: Can you explain wear and tear on the boat and crew?
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(it's wear and tear on crew and boat). Days on end of beating to windward can be a beating.
Is there more to it than the heeling Livia mentions?
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Old 16-02-2010, 10:51   #9
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It's funny how you never stop learning about sailing. One of the most important things I've ever learned, and it's only really become clear to me in the last 3-4 years, is that it's not necessary to be excessively heeled when beating to windward, especially if you're not racing. I've become very fond of reefing much earlier than I used to, because I've found that you really don't need to lose much speed (generally, I would say, 0.5-0.8 kt), and in return, there is so much less strain on the boat and everyone in the boat. If you're on a multi-day (or week) passage, that much speed might add up to a lot, and of course with a skilled crew it's sometimes fun (for a while) to have that rail dipping in the water and spray coming over the bow, but otherwise, I've found that reducing sail greatly diminishes the grind of windward sailing. pete
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Old 16-02-2010, 11:00   #10
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How much does the direction the swell is running affect the experience?
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Old 16-02-2010, 11:16   #11
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There is much more violent motion upwind and the wave period is shortened. Downwind sometimes it seems like your going the same speed as the waves and the motion is quite comfortable. Take a turn upwind and all the sudden you're crashing into waves and hangin on.
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Old 16-02-2010, 12:41   #12
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There is one thing to go to weather on a daysail in relatively flat seas and moderate winds. It's an entirely different circumstance to beat into 5-10' seas in Force 5 conditions for 24 hours a day for 5 days. Btdt and it's not fun. You can't get away from some weather work but most cruisers plan their passages to avoid it, if at all possible. Out on the big ocean, windward work is wet, uncomfortable, and the constant banging into seas hard on the boat and gear.
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Old 16-02-2010, 17:40   #13
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Okay, thanks. I seldom met with 5 - 10' waves on the Potomac River...
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Old 16-02-2010, 17:51   #14
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Yes, as stated by others, by wear and tear on the boat and crew I meant the pounding that all recieve when driving into the waves against the wind. Ease off a bit and things can get alot more comfortable for crew and alot less harsh on the boat, rigging etc. Even for a day it might not seem bad (quite often rather fun in fact) but day and night, hour after hour slamming into and over the waves can be testing and hard on equiptment. Having raced (I presume as you mention the "scott") you probably know that pinching too close can actually cost you time to windward. Many cruising boats will do quite well to windward time wise (because of the increased speed) at say 60 degrees off the wind instead of tight to it and the motion can be vastly improved by cutting the waves at more of a diagonal instead of crashing into and over them.
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Old 16-02-2010, 18:05   #15
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As a daysailor, I like to go upwind for the first half and take the quiet ride home. Doesent always go that way. Sometimes the wind does stuff that is not expected.
Seems that big boat sailing is a bit different from Windsurfing though.
If there was no wind I would just go canoeing.
Note to self...Get the ticket to be on the water. Seems experience is not what it used to be.
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