Archive for August, 2010


Friday, August 6th, 2010

Normally, when sailing to windward one picks a sailing direction which maximizes the boat’s progress in the direction of the wind. However, in variable winds it is often better to bear away from the wind to increase speed at the expense of direction. The pictures give an exaggerated and oversimplified example.


In this first picture, the green boat on starboard is slightly ahead of the red boat on port. The green boat passes just in front of the red boat. Then there is a 45degee wind shift to the left.  The green boat tacks. In the final position at the top of the figure, the green boat lead has increased because it was sailing toward the wind shift.


In the second picture, the green boat anticipates the wind shift and sails more to the left. Although this forces the green boat to pass behind the red boat, the green boat’s lead has been increased by this course change.