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Old 26-07-2018, 04:46   #31
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Re: Sail manipulation: a concise description please?

If you haven't actually sailed a boat yourself yet, then maybe you are overthinking things. Get on the water and play around a bit and you will be astonished at just how easy it is to just make the boat go somewhere. Then, it's not much harder to make it go more or less in the direction you want it to go. Obsessing over minutae is counterproductive while you are learning the bare basics.

I think the first boat I ever sailed was a pirogue. The mast was a "borrowed" hookpole from a shrimp boat, this being back when they were still bamboo and not aluminum. No boom. Didn't see the need for one. The one sail was a "borrowed" sheet. As in bedsheet. Once I figured out that the paddle was more useful as a leeboard than a rudder, and I could steer a bit just by pulling the mast and/or leeboard aft or forward, that old cypress pirogue skimmed along a lot faster than human hands could ever paddle it. Nobody taught me. Never read books on the subject. Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet. I wouldn't have known a lazy jack from a bobstay. But I was sailing and grinning and reveling blissfully in my happy ignorance. First sailboat I actually built was a skiff made out of wood "borrowed" from a home construction site, with a bunch of scrap welded together for a centerboard. I still couldn''t have told you the difference between a gudgeon and a pintle, or explained how a fractional rig could help bend the mast and why you would ever want to do such a crazy thing. But I could sail, and do so with only rare occasional capsizes. My first "real" sailboat I handled in like fashion, just filling the sails with wind and fiddling with stuff until she steered by herself. I didn't know I had a tabernacle mast, or that the boom picker upper line was called a topping lift or that I could actually sail faster downwind by tacking back and forth just like going to windward. I didnt know the names of stuff or how to adjust everything to get that last 5% of speed out of the boat, but I could make it go. I was the undisputed master of it. Bayou Teche, Atchafalaya river, Bayou Beouf, they didn't have marinas or yacht clubs. We didn't have sailing regattas on Bayou Petit Caillou. Terrebonne Bay wasn't ablaze with colorful spinnakers on Sunday afternoon. But I had a sailboat and I could make it sail and I had no idea how much I didn't know about it, but that didn't matter one bit. I learned a lot by doing, and committed much of it to subconscious behaviour when messing about with boats. 30 years after I first sailed, I could finally tell you a leech from a roach or a tack from a clew or how to heave to or adjust that darn vang to get that last percent of speed. Before that, I just did it. So my advice is just do it, at least for a little while. Oh, yeah, well, learn the rules before mixing it up with other boats. And learn when you are on the port tack and when you are on the starboard tack and how to tell which tack the other guy is on. Thats about it, for the basics.
1979 Bruce Roberts Offshore 44, BRUTE FORCE
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Old 27-07-2018, 00:49   #32
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Re: Sail manipulation: a concise description please?

So I am a nearly-retired racer.

As I've said elsewhere, you're well-served by the question "why" not just "what" when it comes to sail adjustments.

The big difference between airplane wings and sails is that the former operate in a relatively narrow range of performance conditions. Optimise for speed / drag / efficiency at cruising speeds; be able to take off and land. Sails have to operate in under/over powered conditions as well as at the design wind, around the "wind-clock" that includes sailing stalled on a run, and also operate in an envelope defined by the hull and the waves, the characteristics of which vary across the wind range. And they stretch. Much more variability, much more need to adjust.

That leads you to think instead of "how do I use the outhaul" ask "what effect am I trying to have on the sail in X conditions".

Racers would start from there and work towards a table with various wind-strengths across the top and the sail controls down the side.

Let's also talk about the wind regimes. Essentially you have three: under-powered, design wind, and over-powered. The first can then be further broken down into "struggling to set any sails" Vs "sails set well and looking for power". The last is further broken down into "over-powered" and "survival" and, of course, is further refined by reefing.


I am not going to add further to the comments above about the individual controls. Mostly, they are broadly right. Just that they need to be set in context of the effect you are trying to have.
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Old 10-08-2018, 15:11   #33
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Re: Sail manipulation: a concise description please?

I'm currently reading "A Manual of Sail Trim", Stuart Walker. some notes from this tyro (me, not Walker):

1. inregards contrary advice, while trying to picture the effects he describes, I realized fractional rigs and masthead rigs can behave Very differently to inputs.
2. there are a lot of additional effects. for instance the boom vang not only tightens the leach, it pulls the mast back (thus force moves aft), tightens the jib luff (which would require, for Walker's level of expertise, multiple adjustments to that), it bends the mast and makes the sail fuller with all those consequences of moving the force, changing power dynamics, etc. And more and more.

It is quite impressive. I'm enjoying learning some of the effects, and although I don't expect to ever be racer enough to consciously consider them all, I hope that the general knowledge is somewhere deep, as I look up and say "I should adjust this..."
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Old 12-08-2018, 19:08   #34
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Re: Sail manipulation: a concise description please?

Being a pilot might help you fully appreciate C.A. Marchaj's book: if you haven't already read it.
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lease, sail

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