One of my first days sailing the AI in a nice wind, I speeded over the lake with the drive out, plug and dagger in. I really enjoyed the sensation and imagined that this speedy AI must look rather cool, when it was time to tack. Simple enough, just turn and ... I ended stuck in the chop! I couldn't get the nose through the wind. Naturally, I was at the end of the lake where the restaurant with lots of people on the deck/pavement were looking at the boats going by (or being stuck for appearently no reason...). So I felt stupid! Me wanting to be a real sailor, not even able to tack! So I flipped the plug out, clicked the drive in, and went away, thinking I am the worst sailor ever. After that, I tried several times, sometimes the tack succeeded, but often I couldn't get it through the wind. I decided to keep the drive in, and learn master sailing with drive in first.
A week later, in light winds, I tried my oasis jib, and tacking without drive obviously was no problem then, since you can make the jib help you turn.
Today, I was determined to try again (drive out, plug in, daggerboard straight down). I had new ideas (thus hope) after reading these forums. Neat conditions: moderate wind, no chop. In these conditions, I found it worked great to keep the sail tight until you actually turn in the wind, then loosen the sheet fully, so the rear of the sail cannot stop the turning of the boat, and then, only when almost reaching tighten the sheet slowly pick up speed and point higher. I found it was even easier with the sail furled a little.
So that was nice, but what if you get stuck pointing in to the wind? How to get the jib effect without a jib? With Darwinians explanation of the sailing physics still in my head it suddenly seemed easy: the center of effort should be well front of the center of lateral resistance, and that can be done by strongly reefing.
So I went head in the wind and got stuck deliberately and indeed found out that strongly furling the sail, pulling the remaining sail tight (against the wind if necessary), just acts like the jib did. The nose of the boat was pushed around the daggerboard quite quick. Just unfurl and go! It worked great and I feel a sailor again! The furling and unfurling may sound like a hassle, but for me this is a quicker and sweeter action than fooling around with a paddle or drive. As soon as you feel it is going through the wind too slow, furl, pull the sheet, unfurl and go.
Anyone tried this out? Does it also work in nasty chop? Sorry if this is a well known trick or already discussed elsewhere, I am enthousiastic about it! I am happy I need no longer fear to lose control when sailing with the the drive out.
BTW: I must say the AI felt very nicely balanced with the drive out, plug in and dagger straight down in these conditions. I love it like that. A great smooth sailing experience!