Originally Posted by jrbogie
best to learn to sail without a windex or other indicator. think about it, why do you care where the wind is coming from if you can find the best trim for the best boatspeed no matter what point of sail you are on? i see many novice
sailors spending way to much time fixating on windex's, tell tails, wind instruments and such and miss things such as heel angle and weather helm
. yes, there is a combination of the two that will result in the best performance for any given point of sail, wind and sea condition.
What you're saying are honestly quite good ideas, & I'd far prefer it if more people could do these things, but... There are a few flaws to this.
On dinghies, & to some degree, keel
boats, you can learn to sense shifts in wind strength, & direction by what you feel on your face, ears, & the back of your neck. But it's not something for newbies to try on keelboats, as there it's more of an expert's tool.
Ditto on sensing boat speed & trim by feel. Surprisingly few people can do it, especially with any accuracy. And then they have to want to, which not a lot of sailors past 30 care to.
The other catch to this, is that it doesn't work well on anything which accelerates quickly. As then the apparent wind shift so fast that you can't accurately track things. Via; sound, feel, or visually. Both in terms of discerning what the wind is doing, & boat performance.
Plus, on anything but dinghies, you're not just racing
against boats the same as yours towards a mark. Rather you're often sailing for distance, to a course, or against different boat types. So you need to be able to keep track of true wind direction, & it's shifts, so that you can maximize your VMG towards a mark or navigational point.
Also knowing/being able to track true wind speed is key too, as it's what governs which sails
to fly, & when. And on bigger boats, unless you're real dialed in, it can be harder to track speed sans indicators, especially by sound & feel. There's simply more boat between you & the water
, as well as more noise
. From the boat, other boats, & your crew.
And, have you ever tried to accurately gauge/keep track of these things; when it's raining, or blowing over 20kts, is dark, you've been up for 2 days straight with little food
, boat speed's 12kts so you're roaring along, etc....
Not really an option.
I had trouble accepting most of the above as truths myself, when I first switched down to amateur, & advanced amateur racing
. But it genuinely was the case with the vast majority of the sailors in the fleets. And even amonst some serious racers, as in pro's.
PS: You can (& should) teach a lot of the above skills on a boat on a quiet practice day. Not so much when racing, or when the weather's less than gentle.