QUANTUM SAILS CRUISING TIPS
MANAGING WAVES DOWNWIND
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.