The deal with heel

Yachting World - - On Test: Clubswan 50 -

So, what’s she like to sail? Al­though our test was only the third time the black 3Di sails had been hoisted on this very first 50, it did not take long to an­swer: ut­terly ad­dic­tive.

We had rel­a­tively light winds; largely be­tween 5 and 10 knots. But this is a ves­sel that needs lit­tle en­cour­age­ment to cre­ate her own wind, es­pe­cially once some heel is in­duced. Her op­ti­mum heel an­gles are high (20-25º up­wind and 15-22º reach­ing) to gain max­i­mum wa­ter­line length and right­ing mo­ment for min­i­mum wet­ted sur­face.

See­ing a hull in build from be­low makes it eas­ier to ap­pre­ci­ate how the 50 is de­signed to sail at a high de­gree of heel. She has very sharp bow sec­tions, to­gether with a long yet min­i­mal wet­ted sur­face that ex­tends to the chined quar­ters when heeled.

For the first half an hour or so I sailed her like that up­wind as if in a trance. In just 5 knots of true wind, we were mak­ing 7-7.5 knots, slid­ing along with barely a wake. I was as­ton­ished. Five knots true! An owner would scarcely ever need to fire up the en­gine!

En­joy­ment es­ca­lates with the ad­di­tion of the vast kite. We were quickly match­ing the 7- to 10-knot true wind speeds, the base of the white, red and blue kite kiss­ing the wa­ter as we pointed up to around 60° ap­par­ent.

At this an­gle the bot­tom lead­ing edge of the wind­ward rud­der is ex­posed, bar­ing the saw­tooth pro­file that Juan K com­pares to the tu­ber­cles of a whale. The rud­ders are a de­vel­op­ment of those de­signed for Ram­bler 88: “As the boat is al­ways sailed heeled, the tip of the wind­ward rud­der is touch­ing the wa­ter, so you have to de­sign the rud­ders to be sailed like this – in and out of the wa­ter.”

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