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 Post subject: Down wind in light air?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:09 am
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Location: Austin, TX
What's the best way to sail down wind in light air...say 4 mph? (I know, super light...)

I was on a race course last week and the wind all but died, went from a steady 8 to about 3-4 as I rounded the windward mark.

So...sailing back up the course I experimented...I had no apparent wind to speak of, and I have always used the 90 degree apparent wind to find my best point of sail on a broad reach, it wasn't happening.

To make it worse, there were giant cigarette boats everywhere creating lots of chop in the lake.

I then tried to sail further down wind, almost to the point of gybe, traveler out, weight forward, kicking boom out with my foot, standing by the mast, laying across the middle, none of it seemed to make a bit of difference and I couldn't get anything going.

Ok 14 vets...how do you do this down wind thing in super light air?

BTW, I did make better time than the H16 I was racing against when the air was super light.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
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Location: Jersey Shore
As a someone who is a bit of a newbie to the H14 racing class but who also participated in this year's NAC, I can tell you the downwind strategy on the 14 is pretty straightforward... come around the weather mark, let the mainsheet and traveler all the way out (I mean ALL the way out!), kick up one rudder, sit on the boom facing backwards to hold the sail out, and point the boat directly at the leeward mark. This is pretty much what everyone was doing. The 14 is too slow to take advantage of apparant wind downwind, at least in light to moderate breeze. The guys that tried sailing a little high ended up right back where they started when they came back across.

In strong wind, sailing the boat "hot" might have an advantage, but in the lighter stuff the concensus seems to be point the boat at the gate and join the parade.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:28 am
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Location: Clinton Lake, KS
I have never raced a H14, but what I see them doing is the same as outlined by SRM.. just point it at the mark and go..

H14 Class rules allow a mast rotation control kit.. I would bet the faster guys are rotating the mast forward of the crossbar downwind.. but don't really know.



For what it is worth, in wind 0-4mph I have found it faster (hahahaha) to just point the H16 right at the mark downwind.. Basically I have a 14-18 inch piece of 8 Track tape hanging from the bridle. If there is enough breeze to pick it up I heat the boat up some and go for a little speed.. If there isn't I just head for the mark. I ain't really sure it is 'faster' but it keeps me in the center of the course and not bobbing around on the sides trying to get back, as when it is that light around here it tends to be VERY shifty meaning you would have to be much better than I am to play it to your advantage. The exception is if one side or the other has a nice wind line.. Then it pays to damn near reach over to grab it and head down.

It seems to pay off most the time anyway..


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:54 am
Posts: 16
Location: Pinellas county Florida
83Turbo wrote:
What's the best way to sail down wind in light air...say 4 mph? (I know, super light...)

I then tried to sail further down wind, almost to the point of gybe, traveler out, weight forward, kicking boom out with my foot, standing by the mast, laying across the middle, none of it seemed to make a bit of difference and I couldn't get anything going.



At 4 mph wind speed, I'm not sure what you mean by getting anything going. At max speed (less than 4 mph) the sails will not be filled and the rudder will leave little if any wake. Perhaps you we're going near to max speed and didn't realize it. As the others wrote, heading straight downwind is likely the fastest route because gybing repeatedly while gaining 1 or 2 mph on a broad reach isn't worth it.

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