Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Tacking Angle"
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Post: "Tacking Angle"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Dave King

Ahoy E,
I went out sailing the other day just to measure the tacking angle. The winds were very light. Less than 8k. I swung many tacks with the average being 83.5 degrees as measured by the compass. In every case I could pinch up a bit and point 5 degrees higher but the boat did not "feel" right. And in fact it was not right. The boat will slow down too much and the lee-way will increase if you're too close-hauled. The VMG (velocity made good) will always be better with the broader angle. As Aaron has stated, the wind and sea conditions will infinitely vary this tacking angle.
When I 1st read your post, I was interested in your motivation and perhaps "what you have heard" from others.
Both Aaron and myself are measuring in the True wind. Not the Apparent wind that an electronic wind indicator would be measuring. This is important and a source of Much misinformation. This is just one example: When sailing at 5 knots, close hauled and 45 degrees off the wind in 15 knots of wind, the Apparent wind is 34 degrees off the bow. So, is this boat tacking through 90 degrees or 68 degrees?
The actual angle has never been too important to me. It is very important to me though as to how well my boat does against other similarly sized boats. In fact, it does very respectably
Remember also that there are a myriad number of things that affect the pointing angle. Rig tension and tune. Sail condition and trim. Radar antenna location. Mast steps. And approximately 1000 other things.
This is just one story: I was able to witness the Single-handed Transpac boats racing to Hawaii last year as they sailed under the Golden gate bridge in San Francisco. The boats I mention all started together and were all close hauled for this 1st 6 mile leg. The W-32 Sunquest, sailed by Portlander Joshua Siegel was equal distance between a Valiant 40 and a Valiant 32.
I hope this info is of some benefit.
Norm, If you're up we will all benefit from hearing your numbers.
Good Luck, Dave

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