Pointing to windward

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Dan White
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Location: Chesapeake Bay (36096)

Pointing to windward

by Dan White » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:49 pm

I know we are supposed to bear off a bit and "get there faster", but sometimes I would love to be able to tack thru and achieve something closer to 100 degrees. I have installed a new Calvert main with full roach, and it is great, especially in light air but it does not seem to help with pointing. The furling jib is the original one from when the boat was new (2003), but it appears to be in OK shape. I constantly try to adjust the main outhaul, the jib traveler and the main traveler, but still can't hold better than 45 degrees to the apparent wind before the jib starts luffing. God knows how bad that is to the true wind -- I get too depressed to check it.
Does anyone have some favorite tricks on how to point better?
Any recommendations on a good sail loft near Baltimore, to see if it is a jib issue?

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Page 83
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Location: Annapolis, Md. 36026

Re: Pointing to windward

by Page 83 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:07 pm

Short of dagger boards, nothing we do can get the PDQ 36 to point much higher, but some little things help a bit.

Wind: too little and too much both hurt. The best is about 12 knots. Higher winds may let us literally point higher, but the increased sideways slippage negates any better CMG (Course Made Good, or how far did we get today?)

Boat Speed: Six knots is best. There the keels are fully "flying", not partially stalled, which pumps up the coefficient of drag. This is really the reason for footing off (turning away from the wind) a few degrees to get there sooner.

Outhaul tension flattens the mail, and pulls the pocket aft. Individual batten tension does the same thing. The result is like shifting to a higher gear. One secondary result is a flatter sail can hold its shape to a closer wind angle. If you have a couple of sail tails about a quarter chord aft, at on third and two thirds of the luff height, you can see the effect of outhaul adjustments. small changes are better. Once you've set the outhaul for the particular conditions at the moment, use the traveler to trim the main so that sail tails on the leach stream straight back, in line with the sail. Mainsheet tension should be thought of as a strictly downward pull, to bring the head of the sail closer to the angle of attack of the belly of the main.

When the wind drops, release a little bit of outhaul tension to move the pocket forward, shifting to a lower gear.

The most esoteric items I use are the barber-haulers. They are lighter lines that pull the genoa more towards the boat centerline. This is needed to compensate for the position and lack of length adjustment of the genoa track. That was likely a compromise based on the need to anchor the tracks to the hulls via those poles sticking up from the backs of the settee.

Barber haulers let you adjust the angle of attack of the genoa and use the genoa sheets like outhauls to shift the draft of the genoa fore and aft. They simply pull the genoa sheets toward the boat centerline. Since we can't rig barber haulers perfectly perpendicular to the boat centerline or genoa sheets perfectly parallel to the boat centerline, each adjustment to one also changes the other. Finesse is required, as are new sails that don't have beer bellies.

Hardware: Ideally a barber hauler is a snatch block at one end snatched to the genoa sheet on that side; a 3/8" stayset line leading amidships, then to a winch. This makes for a real mare's nest on the cabintop, so different colors should be used.

Barber haulers should be tensioned after the boat is established on course and at speed, with very fine adjustments and a pause to check the results. If they do nothing else, they keep the captain busy when he would otherwise be bitching about not getting anywhere very well.

But wait! there's more!

Send me a nickel plus $19.95 shipping and handling, and I'll let you in on a secret: Size does matter!!?! The more weight you put on this poor boat, the harder she has to work! And the more flora and fauna she has growing on her cute little bottoms, the harder it is again. If she has brushed the bottom more than a little, the more likely her rudders are fighting each other, too.

Wave Period: This cat is going nowhere fast if she nearly comes to a stop at the next wave. The average depth of the Chesapeake Bay makes perfect PDQ sized wave periods. We can lengthen the wave period by choosing a course that slices across that wave pattern. This may mean we can maintain better CMG by just not coming to a stop so often.

This is all the mindset of a racer, but any self-respecting cruiser would have said 'screw it; somebody bring me a cup of tea' by the end of the third paragraph.
Sandy Daugherty "Page 83" PDQ 36026

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