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Old 29-09-2015, 20:55   #31
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Re: How close to wind?

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Originally Posted by Nick & LA View Post
An interesting thread.... But as a live aboard CAT cruiser, the ONLY thing I envy about monos, is their ability to sail upwind ( and closer to it).
To answer your question, my performance drops significantly if I get closer than 40 degrees off the wind and can't move at all (sail only) under 30 degrees off. I motor sail well 25 degrees off
However, I am rarely relegated to sail directly upwind for very long, and I generally have much better speed and comfort than a mono.. Hope it helps


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Just to clarify, I presume that all the above figures are apparent wind?
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Old 29-09-2015, 21:38   #32
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Re: How close to wind?

There was a great "Max Ebb" article in Latitude 38 a while back called "Minding the Gap" I believe and the importance of closing the gap between the deck and the foot of the genoa to maximize windward performance, something cruisers almost never due because you can't see where you are going! Sorry I can't remember the issue, last winter I think.
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Old 29-09-2015, 21:46   #33
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Re: How close to wind?

At the end of the day it amounts to feel.

Seas are a huge factor, but so is wind. Light winds will push apparent out (the boat speed is not moving the windex forward, so apparent will be much wider). Medium wind with big seas do the same thing, you are not going to move as quickly, so apparent wind will be farther back. A number is just that, you can't say even if your Polars do: here is 12 knots of breeze, my optimal upwind angle is 33.5 degrees. If you just go to that number without getting up to speed first, you would likely start going backwards.

This is where the Polars do start coming into play, and why racing yachts don't care about a polar angle. It is called target boat speed. So on a racing boat you pick the boat speed number on the polar curve, for the wind speed at that instant, that gives you the best VMG (towards or away from the wind not the destination) number (well the instruments do, both upwind and down). Then you rely on the crew (and that the boat is not loaded down with thousands of pounds of cruising gear, and has 10 year old Dacron sails, and dodgers, and solar panels, and someone sleeping in the v-berth) to trim the sails perfectly. Then the helmsman heads up or down as necessary to get the boat to the target speed, since the math works both ways, if you are at target speed, you should be at the best angle. As wind velocity changes the target speed changes, and is much more intuitive to follow.

So back to feel, obviously there are many very competitive racing designs out there that are prohibited from using any kind of instruments other than compasses. So it still boils down to the seat of your pants. Does the boat feel sluggish (wallowing) in a given condition, if it feels that way, it probably is (you are below target speed), you are pinching too high regardless of what the likely over sheeted tell tales are saying.




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Old 30-09-2015, 00:21   #34
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Re: How close to wind?

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Keep your hair on, Dockhead!

You are, of course, unfailingly accurate in your remarks. I've just spent the most appalling (weather-wise) summer driving my boat from the point of purchase to it's new home and most of the way I had to go to where the weather was coming from. And I had a schedule to keep.

I have a few sailing tips to share with the average sailor on how to maximise your velocity along track, but since so many others on here have already spoken loquaciously and accurately along those lines I thought I might just lighten the mood, instead.

So please accept my apologies for raising your ire, as I will accept yours for your typographically erroneous nomenclature.

Dolphin 18B.

Yours in sailing,

Dolphin 35
Not ire at all!

On the contrary, I'm grateful to you for handing me the soapbox Here, you can have it back
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Old 30-09-2015, 00:47   #35
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Re: How close to wind?

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Excellently well put - I suspected there is a point at which sail performance might outdo motoring.
On the subject of 'timetables' - I'm very fond of the maritime convention where a boat describes its course as sailing 'towards' a given destination acknowledging the vagaries of wind,weather and sea.

The question put forward about motorsailing in strong conditions and degrees of heel - I find that heel decreases once i head higher with the aid of motor - if you are getting more than 35* of heel either the boat has unusual characteristics or you are heading too far off the wind.
I completely agree about "sailing towards" -- which seems to me to be a really seamanlike and appropriate way to describe what you're doing, which is always subject to wind and sea conditions. In the days of square riggers without auxiliary power, it really was literally only "towards" -- they might have to wait for weeks for a feasible wind and might well end up in a different port if that wind doesn't come. For us this is less true, but we are all at the mercy of the conditions, so it's showing appropriate seamanlike modesty, in my opinion, to say you're sailing "towards" somewhere, rather than expressing impudent and unseamanlike certainty that you're sailing "to" somewhere, having no doubt at all that you will get there.


Concerning heel -- different boats are radically different and one of my regrets is that it took me years to understand that my present boat tolerates far less heel than my old one. The old one (long keel) was perfectly happy at 35 degrees and benefited from the longer heeled waterline, but the new one (bulb keel) rapidly develops weather helm after 20 and loses performance. You go faster by reefing down earlier.

Motorsailing in strong conditions, I like to be almost flat, which as you say becomes easier when you get closer to the wind. Lowering the sail plan's CE also helps greatly -- cutter rigs can put away their foresails and reef their mains right down.
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Old 30-09-2015, 01:08   #36
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Re: How close to wind?

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Originally Posted by Nick & LA View Post
An interesting thread.... But as a live aboard CAT cruiser, the ONLY thing I envy about monos, is their ability to sail upwind ( and closer to it).
To answer your question, my performance drops significantly if I get closer than 40 degrees off the wind and can't move at all (sail only) under 30 degrees off. I motor sail well 25 degrees off
However, I am rarely relegated to sail directly upwind for very long, and I generally have much better speed and comfort than a mono.. Hope it helps
For whatever it's worth, it's not my experience that catamarans have any worse upwind performance than monos.

Fat cruising cats loaded down with gear go upwind much like loaded cruising monos, in my experience, which means -- not very well. More performance oriented cats will outpoint loaded cruising monos in my experience. Monos might handle the load somewhat better, but the difference is not huge. YMMV.

As Stu or Jman or someone above said, the apparent wind angle is not at all the measure of how well you are going upwind. Anyone can sail at 10 degrees off, but at what speed? Tacking angle over ground at optimum VMG to windward, or just VMG to windward period, are the best indicators.

I was trying to get my boat -- which should have very good upwind performance (bulb keel, long waterline, tall rig) -- to tack in something like 90 and make 5 knots VMG to windward, and made various mods and spent a lot of money on sails to be able to do that. I have not really succeeded, at least not with the tacking angle. I am getting 5 knots VMG to windward under some conditions, but tacking angle at optimum VMG still seems to be around 100, maybe somewhat less in really good conditions, but never anywhere near 90.

The new sails and other mods have given a dramatic improvement in upwind performance, and the boat is in general very different now. She no longer sails fastest on a beam reach -- now (for some reason which I don't understand) she's much faster on a close reach, than on a beam reach, often a knot or even two. The other weird thing is that she now makes better VMG to windward when pinching a little -- that is, well after the point when speed starts to drop off. Before with the old baggy sails I had to crack well off to get up to windward at all -- about 37 AWA gave the best VMG. Now it seems to be about 28, although I'm sailing a knot faster at 32 (37 already feels like a close reach ). I don't understand this either, except perhaps it's because the new sails produce much less drag, so much less leeway, so closer angles become more effective and I don't need tons of speed to overcome leeway, as I did before.

I now do what Jman above describes -- try to sail to boat speed when going upwind, which is most closely correlated to VMG to windward in my experience. Much more so than AWA, which will vary somewhat while making best VMG to windward. In lightish wind (F3 - F4) the sweet spot seems to be 2/3 of true wind speed, so I try to keep the boat going at 8 knots if there are 12 knots of true wind. If boat speed drops off, I crack off a bit, and if it goes up, I head up. I can directly read VMG to windward from my instruments, but this does not give instantaneous feedback like boat speed does.



Sorry for all the rambling, but all this is relevant to the OP's original question and might be helpful. Getting upwind is a rich topic about which whole libraries could be written.
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Old 30-09-2015, 01:21   #37
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Re: How close to wind?

The other crucial factor is the hull shape and condition, especially the lifting surfaces on fin keels and rudder. Clean hulls improve windward capabilities a lot, and if your boat has the fin keel in the Malo plan I found on the internet, that will give you a big advantage over full bodied cruiser shapes. The full aspect rig should also be an improving factor.
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Old 07-10-2015, 20:52   #38
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Re: How close to wind?

Lots of interesting points and observations here. To help quantify nmea wind, speedo and gps cog sog data into polars based upon the particular conditions, you can use polauto windows) or opencpn polar_pi plugin. Polauto has more filters and tools than polar_pi.
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Old 07-10-2015, 20:57   #39
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Re: How close to wind?

Different polars are needed for sea conditions, sail changes, wave conditions etc. So they are never perfect. Also the accuracy of the polars created are dependent on sailing in meaningful conditions, ie lack of current, steady wind, etc.
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Old 08-10-2015, 12:38   #40
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Re: How close to wind?

I used to make a big game of seeing how close I could point so I could get to my destination up wind. Now a wait for a wind off the bow by at least 90 degrees so I can just point to my destination. I seem to enjoy sailing a lot more these days...
Maybe I'm just getting old.
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Old 08-10-2015, 13:27   #41
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Re: How close to wind?

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I used to make a big game of seeing how close I could point so I could get to my destination up wind. Now a wait for a wind off the bow by at least 90 degrees so I can just point to my destination. I seem to enjoy sailing a lot more these days...
Maybe I'm just getting old.
Maybe the game has just gotten old, and/or there is a better way which is to wait a bit for the right wind and tide.

Racers change setup all around for different wind conditions to point better then may forget to watch the water closely on the upwind leg to see what each new gust will bring and be prepared to either head up or down to keep the boat at the same attitude/heel for best performance.
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Old 18-10-2015, 15:47   #42
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Re: How close to wind?

You'll notice that most people here who talk about "How close can you point" talk abut how close to the APPARENT wind they can sail. While this makes interesting barstool conversation it is pretty worthless as a comparison measure between boats.

The REALLY important number to have is the tacking angle OVER GROUND. If you start talking this number with REAL data you'll find lots of claims of tacking angles of less than 100 degrees evaporate pretty quickly. Doubly true if measured in ocean conditions and not in a calm bay.
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Old 18-10-2015, 15:50   #43
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Re: How close to wind?

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How close to wind can your yacht sail? As a new Malo 39 owner, I'm interested in performance of similar yachts. If someone can point me in the direction of performance charts (polar diagrams) for a Malo 39 even better! All comments welcome.
With or without the motor running?
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Old 18-10-2015, 15:54   #44
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Re: How close to wind?

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With or without the motor running?
With the motor running you can point straight into the wind (of course).

If you are motor sailing as far into the wind as the boat can go with sails no luffing, I think you'll find that the sails add minimal drive. But they can make the trip a LOT more comfortable by keeping the boat from rolling.
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Old 18-10-2015, 16:21   #45
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Re: How close to wind?

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The REALLY important number to have is the tacking angle OVER GROUND.
...unless you get better VMG by footing off a bit.

As previously discussed, VMG is the really real indicator. As a data point I can get apparent angle below 30* in calm water while making best VMG, but add in any sea state and my best VMG ends up in the low 30s AWA. As for tacking angles, the AC foiling cats tack through about 100*. Does anyone tacking through something less think they're going faster upwind?

Dave
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