Cruising World - - Point of View -


Waves can be a valu­able ally when it comes time to pop the chute and sail down­wind. Here are Quan­tum ex­pert Dave Flynn’s tips for man­ag­ing waves to help you make up time on a down­wind leg or to get to your fa­vorite moor­ing ahead of the crowd. CON­STANT PRES­SURE Ef­fec­tive sail­ing down­wind is all about con­stant pres­sure. The more con­stant it holds, the less over­all pres­sure you will need to main­tain speed. The trick to achiev­ing this is to avoid cy­cling be­tween too much pres­sure and not enough. Gen­er­ally, the best an­gles for var­i­ous con­di­tions are to head up when wind is de­creas­ing, and to sail low when wind is in­creas­ing. One sub­tle fac­tor of­ten not in­cluded in this equa­tion is wave an­gle. RIDE THE WAVES In mod­er­ate con­di­tions head­ing up for more pres­sure puts the boat par­al­lel to the waves which causes the boat to roll more re­sult­ing in spin­naker in­sta­bil­ity. Bear­ing off and sail­ing at a slightly lower an­gle puts the boat more in line with the waves. You will be get­ting small rides as the waves push the boat which will keep the boat and spin­naker more steady. Steady state, steady flow is the key down­wind. Lock in, and the waves will help. Sub­tle steer­ing (keep the range small) can help make gains to lee­ward if the com­bi­na­tion of a small puff and a wave can be put to­gether. Re­mem­ber, I am not sug­gest­ing low and slow, but rather, us­ing the waves to help main­tain a steady plat­form and con­sis­tent pres­sure. LEARN MORE Read the full ar­ti­cle and more on Quan­tum­sails.com.

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