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Ballast ratios, stiffness and the singlehanded sailor


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This past weekend I saw an interesting phenomenon happen in the SSS No Trophy North Bay race. It was a singlehanded only event under challenging Bay area winds and chop. I witnessed many but not all less stiff boats racing suffered under reefs with 20 plus knot winds, chop and current. While waiting for the results from the race, I thought it interesting to explore why some boats faired better than others.

The ballast ratio is the percentage of the boat’s weight that is ballast. Thinking of the ballast ratio as a measure of ‘stiffness’ – the resistance to heeling. It’s relevant to short-handed sailing because unlike racing boats, we don’t have the rail meat to increase righting moment when sailing upwind. However, equally important factors are the ballast’s draught, shape of hull and composition of keels which often considered, calculated and can be compromised for faster downwind performance.

Traditionally, offshore boats have had a ballast ratio of 30-40%. The trend in recent years has been to push more volume into boats, which increases the beam. This, in turn, increases the form stability, reducing the need for ballast to maintain stiffness.

Since most of us sail short-handed, stiffness is an important factor, so how stiff is your boat? Have you ever thought her a bit tender on the wind? Do you find yourself reefing before anyone else? Does your boat have the beam to forgive a lower ballast ratio and how has that worked out for you?

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Ba/D ratio of 36% with a max righting arm of 1.145m. Dunno how that stacks up against the average 40'er, but it sure feels stiff. 

I prefer it, the energy transference is more tangible. Gusts don't get soaked up by more heel, the stiffness means it translates into go-forward energy you can use.

The beamy hull also adds a lot of resistance to heel, so added together this means you are more sensitive to trim.  If you over sheet that extra energy gets wasted as drag, so your default trim when short handed is slightly eased and a bit more twist off at the top. 

It sucks when working through a nasty surf break tacking up a beach as the stiffness is readily apparent at the helm (rear and outboard) or when anchored in a shitty anchorage but that's a small price to pay.

The biggest change I noticed was in setting the autopilot, you use a quicker response time and more abrupt changes as its more important to keep drag down rather than need that leeetle extra bit of lift.  

Cheers!

SB

  

 

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Keels don't produce a lot of righting moment until you have a fair bit of heel on. Initially hull width has much more to do with stiffness.  To make any sort of comparison, you have to also include L/B (length to beam) and Sa/Displ to get any concept of why some boats reef down earlier than others

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If we stay focused on solo and short handed sailing and not crewed boats - Righting movement is just one factor in a greater understanding of good handling boat charateristics. The rush to adapt adjustiable water ballast tanks in many of the promoted new boats seems to suggest an addressing to this issue.  

It has been my personal expereince that a stiffer race boat with a higher ballast ratio can often point better up wind with less need to reef in higher wind conditions. Not generally an issue if you sail in less than 15 knots of breeze or only sail down wind races. A significant factor if the solo sailor often sails in greater than that or if the course has more closer hauled marks or waypoints with chop.

 

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I’ve got lots of experience racing a SF3600 2 handed, that boat is set up with a lead fin keel with no bulb and a carbon rig. The draft is modest at 2.2m and the cog not massively low but the boat is stiff from the hull form. That hull form however produces very little dynamic lift unlike a 3300 that produces far more and can sail silly angles with reaching sails that we can’t. 
 

my other experience is 2 handed and single handed in a J88 which is neither heavily ballasted or wide and doesn’t have a reefing system for the main and nothing smaller at the front than a J4. The biggest difference I found with that boat to make it sail fast was all down to rig tune and sail trim. With a very loose sail trim I found the boat could keep up with much stiffer boats. Very twisted and eased headsail and all of the mainsail controls maxed out it could deal with a 4ft wind over tide chop surprisingly well. Downwind is all down to bravery on which spinnaker gets used if at all. The bravest I got was hoisting the A2 in 16-18kts of wind, the boat is lively with a full crew downwind and single handed it was just downright skittish, I’ll add that my pilot is the most basic Raymarine tiller pilot that hadn’t been set up and could steer fast enough to keep the boat straight 

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My little single hander has a ballast ratio of 36%,   a  LWL / BWL  of 4.5 (and a LOA / BOA of 4) and a SA/D of 19.5 . There is no provision for me to sit out, I can't anyway, with a knackered back..

I fully expect her to spend  time sailing on her ear, there will be provision for substantial reefs when the new sails are ordered..

She was designed for light winds, the summer average windspeed  being 10mph, and that's in clear air, our main sailing area is more sheltered.. Hopefully she will go well to windward in those conditions..

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At 47.5 B/D it indicates a stiff boat on that alone, yet once I figured out how to best sail my very narrow 8 feet 33 foot ULDB ( lift bulb keel) solo upwind I was double reefed lots of times. Naturally I used the blade or #3 upwind for ease of tacking. I used the inclinometer and once 13 to 15 degrees I knew it was reef time. Yup she was the famous Hobie 33.

Fast forward to now my current solo ride has just 35.6 B/D ( tall carbon rig, fixed bulb keel, 6.8 ft draft) indicating less stiff, she was designed to carry a 108% jib only, at 37.8 feet and 11.9 beam she is not wide. I feel the need for 1st reef comes somewhat later in wind speed but excess heel means going to leeward and less comfortable. This boat is harder to sail solo than the Hobie mainly due to loads. Boat is a C&C115.

I have completed one solo Great Lakes challenge not on either of these.

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My boat is 59.5 B/D. Designed to sail in the San Francisco slot, my headsail driven boat uses 108% jib to point up. She is exceptionally stiff with a fin keel. I can sail better than most newer vessels upwind. I think about the need to reef when wind exceed 20kts carrying the blade. A little sooner with the other larger head sails. There isn't much need to have anyone sit on the rails.

Over the weekend I saw how well the Wyliecat 30 go in challenging windy and fetching seas up conditions. Thier ballast is near 55.5.(Displacement:5500 lbs - Ballast: 3050 lbs.) No wonder they are so strong in the singlehanded and doublehanded fleets in San Francisco. Large single sails, reefed from the cockpit and freight trains going up wind and fast coming down. It takes a lighter winds and actively planing downwind boat to best them on time or even to the line.

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I've got a B/D of 40.3 with a trapezoidal fin keel (C&C 29mk2). It's pretty tender single/double handed and weight on the rail makes a big difference. I can carry my 135% and full main to ~10-12kts  and 105% & full main to 17ish shorthanded. No instruments so numbers are a WAG.

The main thing I've noticed is that the boat can't power through waves upwind without a lot of rail meat. It hobby horses a lot and I end up having to foot off a bit to keep things moving. The boat gets stiff around 22-25 degrees of heel with rail 0-4" out of the water but there's too much helm and I'm faster with 17-20 degrees of heel. Boat close reaches really well with the 135% Genoa and a reef.

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My ULDB is 54.2 and designed for 1,000#s of crew weight:  For single handing I added 250# of ballast on the center line between the mast base and keel front.  I think it helps to give her a bit more punch through the SF Bay chop and a bit more forgiving in the helm.  It maybe makes her slightly "stiffer" in feel and I have not noticed a significant reduction in down wind speed.  Her motion going to the windward seems to be a bit better as well.  I take the ballast out during the winter light wind season.

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Without crew in the middle of the boat it becomes even more important to keep all weight out of the ends to reduce speed-robbing pitching.

I can’t see the point to adding dead ballast in the bilge. Seems like just so much more water (displacement) to push out of the way. However I defer to the sailor’s good judgement. 
 

I look at the issue more as a problem of controlling to power of the entire machine. Saying “tender” implies excess sail area which can be very advantageous in light conditions. Done right, reducing power increases efficiency. I.e. pointing. Ability to make the sails wickedly flat becomes most important. If one cannot make the top of the main flat, streaming without luffing, the only choice is to reef...a poor choice if it must be done too early. 

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I agree with the importance of keeping weight out of the ends. With the anchor and chain off, lockers empty, and race anchor down in the bilge the boat is much more stable upwind. Not really an option for cruising and a bit of a pain in the ass to get everything off for casual racing. We're usually just out for some fun.

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As Zonker said, its not just the weight of the keel / ballast, but where that weight is placed. 

My MG27 has a fairly standard trapezoidal fin keel, a previous owner (at I would imagine great expense) paid for Rob Humphries to draw him up another one of the exact same shape but in lead. 
The top section of the keel has a huge hollow section that's foam filled and glassed over, presumably to stop it being too heavy, but the effect is to move the weight to lower overall in the keel, even though the keel itself is only 5-10% overweight. 

Despite not being as pronounced as bulb would be it does make a noticeable difference to how well she can stand up to the sail area even though the ballast ratio is only very slightly different. 

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9 hours ago, Black Jack said:

My boat is 59.5 B/D. Designed to sail in the San Francisco slot, my headsail driven boat uses 108% jib to point up. She is exceptionally stiff with a fin keel. I can sail better than most newer vessels upwind. I think about the need to reef when wind exceed 20kts carrying the blade. A little sooner with the other larger head sails. There isn't much need to have anyone sit on the rails.

Over the weekend I saw how well the Wyliecat 30 go in challenging windy and fetching seas up conditions. Thier ballast is near 55.5.(Displacement:5500 lbs - Ballast: 3050 lbs.) No wonder they are so strong in the singlehanded and doublehanded fleets in San Francisco. Large single sails, reefed from the cockpit and freight trains going up wind and fast coming down. It takes a lighter winds and actively planing downwind boat to best them on time or even to the line.

B/D is not the primary advantage to W30's. Wylie draws fast, smooth hulls with no distortions. The free standing spar automatically depowers the main quite a bit during puffs. And the single sail makes it much easier to stay fully trimmed & frees the crew to worry about tactics & strategy

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9 hours ago, MiddayGun said:

As Zonker said, its not just the weight of the keel / ballast, but where that weight is placed. 

My MG27 has a fairly standard trapezoidal fin keel, a previous owner (at I would imagine great expense) paid for Rob Humphries to draw him up another one of the exact same shape but in lead. 
The top section of the keel has a huge hollow section that's foam filled and glassed over, presumably to stop it being too heavy, but the effect is to move the weight to lower overall in the keel, even though the keel itself is only 5-10% overweight. 

Despite not being as pronounced as bulb would be it does make a noticeable difference to how well she can stand up to the sail area even though the ballast ratio is only very slightly different. 

This is exactly what I went for when I designed my keel, having to be shallow for our waters, I didn't want to lose aerofoil of the fin, but it needed the lead as far down as possible because the keel is shallow.. So the lead is in a thicker aerofoil shape in the bottom of the fin, the rest of the fin above is a foam filled support..

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Does such a thing exist as a stability curve, with heel angle as a function of wind speed and boat angle to wind?

That, together with a VPP, would make it easier to understand how a boat behaves compared to one dimensional values like B/D-, L/B- and SA/D-ratios.

Any NA's, @Zonker?

Thinking about this makes me want to re-read Principles of Yacht Design.

 

 

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10 hours ago, longy said:

B/D is not the primary advantage to W30's. Wylie draws fast, smooth hulls with no distortions. The free standing spar automatically depowers the main quite a bit during puffs. And the single sail makes it much easier to stay fully trimmed & frees the crew to worry about tactics & strategy

Tom Wylies response why these W30 (and others of his designs) are great short handed boats based on high ballast ratios in combination with the wishbone rig.

http://www.wyliecat.com/wishbone_rig/index.html#12

Do you need a large crew on the rail to be fast and stable upwind on a Wyliecat (like you do with conventional sailing yachts)?
No. All the Wyliecat models are designed with light displacement balsa core hulls and decks and low center of gravity bulb keels, so upwind they carry sail well and are stiff and fast. For example, the Wyliecat 30 weighs 5,500 lbs. and carries a 3,050 lbs. lead bulb keel (a 55% ballast to displacement ratio). This ballast to displacement ratio is usually found only in pure racing boats. With sail plans that can be de-powered quickly and easily, and high ballast to displacement ratios, Wyliecats don't need a lot of human ballast to hold the boat down, and are exceptionally fast and stable sailboats going to weather and on all points of sail.

The hull features a fine entry, optimized NACA underwater foils, light displacement, and low-wetted surface. Combine this with the innovative and super-effecient Wyliecat rig, and you have a design that is as fast or faster than any conventionally-rigged performance sailboat in upwind sailing (not to mention other points of sail). A recent Sailing World magazine article noted that "the Wyliecat 48 can beat a Santa Cruz 50 upwind in 25 knots."

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On 4/27/2021 at 8:30 AM, JL92S said:

my other experience is 2 handed and single handed in a J88 which is neither heavily ballasted

Interesting point on the ballast. I had not looked it up before but J Composites says that the 88 has only 650 kg of ballast for a 2.2 ton boat. I would have guessed more like 800-900 kg just eyeballing the club foot on the keel, suppose a lot of it is fairing.

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2 hours ago, Snowden said:

Interesting point on the ballast. I had not looked it up before but J Composites says that the 88 has only 650 kg of ballast for a 2.2 ton boat. I would have guessed more like 800-900 kg just eyeballing the club foot on the keel, suppose a lot of it is fairing.

It uses steel box section with a fairing for the fin and then a lead bulb

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13 hours ago, Misbehavin' said:

Does such a thing exist as a stability curve, with heel angle as a function of wind speed and boat angle to wind?

That, together with a VPP..

You're kind of mixing two things and how they work together.

- a stability curve gives the static stability (righting arm curve) of the boat as a function of heel angle. This curve takes into account boat shape and boat center of gravity. It does not change with speed or wind speed etc. Just the heel angle matters.

- the VPP calculates the heeling moment produced by the sails for a given wind speed and wind angle. As the boat heels more, it increases in stability and the wind force on the sails diminishes, until an equilibrium is reached.  Its an iterative calculation that seeks the equilibrium position. 

- the VPP then reports the heel angle and boat speed for that particular combination of wind speed and wind angle.

 

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Ballast weight contributes very little to stability until it is moved well off centerline, becoming a maximum at 90 degrees of heel. As most hull shapes are designed to sail at 15-20 deg of heel, form stability has a large impact on heel at these shallow angles.

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We used to reef very early (at around 16kn). With a lot of work on trim and especially helming in gusts we can now reef at 24kn and sail effectively with the boat on its feet.

My SF32i should be sailed between 15 and 20 degrees. If not well trimmed it heels to 30deg very easily, in spite of its large beam. Then it stops. 

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11 hours ago, Zonker said:

You're kind of mixing two things and how they work together.

- a stability curve gives the static stability (righting arm curve) of the boat as a function of heel angle. This curve takes into account boat shape and boat center of gravity. It does not change with speed or wind speed etc. Just the heel angle matters.

- the VPP calculates the heeling moment produced by the sails for a given wind speed and wind angle. As the boat heels more, it increases in stability and the wind force on the sails diminishes, until an equilibrium is reached.  Its an iterative calculation that seeks the equilibrium position. 

- the VPP then reports the heel angle and boat speed for that particular combination of wind speed and wind angle.

 

Well, I probably didn't explain myself good enough, apologies. I'll try to explain using your terms.

The VPP diagrams that I've seen (as available to boat buyers) only reports boat speed for a particular wind speed and wind angle, but not the boats heel angle. What I want is a the diagram of heel angle specifically (or in combination with boat speed), for a particular combination of wind speed and wind angle.

Is such a diagram possible to find or produce anywhere, or is it only available to the boats designer? Therefore making it harder for the normal sailor/buyer to evaluate how much a boat heels in various wind conditions?

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17 hours ago, VeloceSailing said:

We used to reef very early (at around 16kn). With a lot of work on trim and especially helming in gusts we can now reef at 24kn and sail effectively with the boat on its feet.

My SF32i should be sailed between 15 and 20 degrees. If not well trimmed it heels to 30deg very easily, in spite of its large beam. Then it stops. 

On a scale when your boat is heeled over that 15 to 20 degrees - is it more effectively to maintain speed and control or efficiently faster going up wind?

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7 hours ago, Misbehavin' said:

Is such a diagram possible to find or produce anywhere, or is it only available to the boats designer?

In short, yes.

As @Zonker
explained that calculation is part of proper VPP. It is just question if this information have been provided as part of output.
Now are you looking for a particular vessel or more in general sense this information? If first, I believe checking if boat has ORC certificate or is one design class (check sailmakers tuning guides if they provide target speeds) might provide good start. I believe ORC provides against small fee performance package that contains basically all information.
If interest is more general, maybe some one can provide example?

 

 

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Yeah any VPP will tell you the heel angle for the optimum VMG upwind and downwind. Unless you ask them, they won't tell you heel angle on a beam reach; just not standard part of the output.

Here's a Farr 40  https://www.farr40.org/images/stories/vppmhspinnaker.pdf

Boat builders instead just publish polar diagram which are important but are a bit of dumbing down of the data.

 

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Now that @Zonker
provided one example and rereading @Misbehavin'
original post, I might start to see what you are after.

We really are interested in upwind performance as that is where most heeling takes place. In short narrow design will heel more than wider design if both have similar sail area. More modern chined hull will in addition get slightly stiffer especially wider angles due to increased speed that creates with hull shape increased stability dynamically (waterplane increases due wave formation).

Less heeling means more forward force and thus speed potential is higher. Now the interesting bit is naturally that wider hull has higher resistance, but this is not that much higher than people tend to think and the form part of resistance is at play only close to hull speed. Then there is wetted surface related resistance part that is a bit higher for wide hull (assuming same displacement here). But this is mainly problem when there is not enough wind (I.E. boat doesn't heel).

So in a bit simplified way, the wider hull allows more driving force that will largely offset additional resistance that wider hull has. And more open angles you have and more wind, then wider hull will have more dynamic lift that will help to get boat on plane and then narrow hull will be left behind. Downwind is completely another story as stability doesn't have role there.

And when you add waves and dynamic wind conditions, it becomes much more complex. But still, I have found that most people with no experience on modern light and wide boats would be supprised on upwind performance of such boat.

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1 hour ago, mikkom said:

Now that @Zonker
provided one example and rereading @Misbehavin'
original post, I might start to see what you are after.

We really are interested in upwind performance as that is where most heeling takes place. In short narrow design will heel more than wider design if both have similar sail area. More modern chined hull will in addition get slightly stiffer especially wider angles due to increased speed that creates with hull shape increased stability dynamically (waterplane increases due wave formation).

Less heeling means more forward force and thus speed potential is higher. Now the interesting bit is naturally that wider hull has higher resistance, but this is not that much higher than people tend to think and the form part of resistance is at play only close to hull speed. Then there is wetted surface related resistance part that is a bit higher for wide hull (assuming same displacement here). But this is mainly problem when there is not enough wind (I.E. boat doesn't heel).

So in a bit simplified way, the wider hull allows more driving force that will largely offset additional resistance that wider hull has. And more open angles you have and more wind, then wider hull will have more dynamic lift that will help to get boat on plane and then narrow hull will be left behind. Downwind is completely another story as stability doesn't have role there.

And when you add waves and dynamic wind conditions, it becomes much more complex. But still, I have found that most people with no experience on modern light and wide boats would be supprised on upwind performance of such boat.

I will agree with you here - Less heeling means more forward force and thus speed potential is higher. when you add waves and dynamic wind conditions, it becomes much more complex.

This maybe why my 50 year old lead mine this past weekend was faster against many of those more modern light and wider boats single handed in the conditions i proposed in the original post. I made no sail changes during the event, did not reef in 15 to 22 knots of wind and still blew by boats 30 seconds a mile or more faster wind up even with my 15 year old dacron sails.  I know it wasn't skill when i passed several great sailors with modern boats and rigs on the lee side overtaking them while watching them reefed and heeled over. Of course they were faster than me down wind as I ran no spinnaker, was with a blade only but since it was a majority of course that was beam or weather runs we finished closer than what usual ratings tells us should happen.

Now if I had not been 8 minutes late to the starting line, sailed with a gps/plotter and with instruments turned on, and not had to sit muliple times on a home depot bucket in the cockpit due to an adverse reaction to the moderna vaccine, I might have been more successful in the overall results. 

 

 

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S.A./Disp.:21.08,  Bal./Disp.:39.14%, Disp./Len.:160.71 Keel is a bit of a hybrid fin with a little flare at the bottom. Last weekend, in 14 to 17 kts TW, carrying full main and blade single handed, was doing hull speed (8.1 kts) on a reach out and back just slightly free of close hauled. For me the bigger problem is weather helm and rudder stalling at higher heel angles. My mainsail controls just aren't that convenient for single handed work. I could have benefited from some cunny and a bit more outhaul when the gusts hit but elected to keep the main powered up for the lulls and had a couple of roundups. I doubt I'd be able to carry a 155% genoa single handed to weather in much over 12 kts. In full on race mode I suppose I would shorten the headstay, move the mast step back and tighten the D1s but that was more effort than I cared to take on. I tend to leave it tuned for the more usual San Diego conditions.
 
Honestly, I would prefer more ballast and a set and forget rig. I seem to remember the old rule of thumb for IOR designs was 50%. I could carry a 150 to 18 kts in my old IOR racer cruiser although had to work much harder tacking that beast. (Plus, I was a lot younger in those days).
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12 hours ago, Black Jack said:

On a scale when your boat is heeled over that 15 to 20 degrees - is it more effectively to maintain speed and control or efficiently faster going up wind?

In my experience we heeled the boat to unglue it, not because it was better. Under 12kn TWS the crew were on the foredeck and lee side rail, this lifts the arse and the beam reducing the wetted surface. This was the only way to hold the skinny girls going to windward in under 10 knots, really work at keeping a constant heel and minimising wetted surface. (I should add I had a heavy air sail plan.) 

If winds go north then the horsepower is enough and you switch to reducing heel. Then the flatter the faster. Bearing off and reaching or running is the same.  If the boat was flatter (that still about 10 degrees heel) it would start planing above 80TWA. The more heel the closer to 90TWA to plane. 

 

  

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@Black Jack
I agree that often conditions can make it easier to perform for different boats. The way you describe experience makes me think that you were able to sail closer to your rating in average than your competitors that had to do much more gear changes as conditions were a bit on the edge for them.

Is it maybe bit similar as in slightly more windier conditions on downwind leg it may sometimes be faster to not hoist spinnaker than try to manage it when you are on the edge?

All in all isn't this all part of allure of this sport that there are so many parameters that affect our performance on the water? Comparing to different designs and their benefits is part of this all and changing conditions makes this even more varied and thus unexpected. But this is also reason why handicaps are at best only indicative of true performance potential of a boat (especially so if single number method).

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11 hours ago, mikkom said:

@Black Jack
I agree that often conditions can make it easier to perform for different boats. The way you describe experience makes me think that you were able to sail closer to your rating in average than your competitors that had to do much more gear changes as conditions were a bit on the edge for them.

Is it maybe bit similar as in slightly more windier conditions on downwind leg it may sometimes be faster to not hoist spinnaker than try to manage it when you are on the edge?

All in all isn't this all part of allure of this sport that there are so many parameters that affect our performance on the water? Comparing to different designs and their benefits is part of this all and changing conditions makes this even more varied and thus unexpected. But this is also reason why handicaps are at best only indicative of true performance potential of a boat (especially so if single number method).

I think you are right on these points. This is exactly why this sporting recreation is so dynamic. It is often horses for courses. The ratings we give the boats over the world is still a racket. all to often well intended folks including myself on the forums or in conversation will state as facts what what is in vogue, assuptions based current marketing materials we want to beleive, on optimized performance results snapshots in a region and season as universal, make monlithic sailor comparions and openly provide personal anecdotal evidence as proof.

Maybe one design racing settles the arguments but it sure does take the vareity, color and some of cleverness out of this fun sport and recreation. Sailing  my current stiffer by ballast boat, not having to leave the cockpit too often when the wind picks up a bit more than expected and making good time upwind sounds alright most of the time. When I finally get passed downwind - i do enjoy taking pictures of those modern expressions as the fly by. Maybe when I get beat enough i'll change my boat for one of the best, lightest and fastest in the fleet... who knows.

Being among other different sailboats racing the same or similar courses, we can see we are all learning and winning in small increments of scale. That is something that the great forum full of smart, knowledgable and expereinced sailors can not adequately relay or any of those slick sailing marketing videos will give you.

 

 

 

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Exactly.

I sail in archipelago and we have loads of small wind shadows (like 50-100m). I have small and light boat. So, some heavier designs just roll with momentum through light patches without doing much whereas even if we shift weight trim sails etc. we get stuck.

At times that can be a bit frustrating, but I take it as part of game. There are then agains situations when I benefit from light weight (like when we are all stuck and first breath of air comes in).

Coming back to your original question I have found that there are sailing techniques that one need to learn to get best out of wide and light boat in windier and shiftier conditions. Now I start to be in position that it is not necessarily my boat is the first one to reduce sails. 
I.e. one has learn to sail boat effectively. I find that @shaggybaxter did brilliant job describing his troubles and efforts to become competitive with a new boat (it is among one of best threads over the years - thanks!). It really is example that just buying new gear doesn't give you the results, but you need to put also time and thinking into process.

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I'd agree with that , we have wind shadows from trees and buildings. Keeping the momentum through the shadows is important. But equally with a heavy keel, you come out of the shadow and see the light weights accelerate away.

It's important to sail to your boat, we often have new to keelboats (open ones a few feet bigger than a dinghy) who at first sail it as a dinghy. Half a ton of keel hanging beneath doesn't like to tack hard just because you're coming up to a river bank or another boat, you have to anticipate it and sail round in a curve.

Planning your route through the opposition or boats coming the other way, is more important with a heavy keel, as you done want too much rapid manouvering..

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