As a digression from sailing i have been talking about caravans in the last few posts.
Our man from NZ responded with : “I think the only comment I can make is “does it point” going sideways is really frustrating …..:-) and i have to say yes it is.
Nearly everything i thought about caravans and disliked about them i thought i found to be true when i taught a couple aboard the family Macwester and specifically that the boat wouldn’t just not point but it had about the same performance upwind as a square rigged ship and that can mean as low as 60 degrees true wind angle. I realised at the time that it shouldn’t be quite that bad but certainly not up to the standard of boats that i normally sailed so with a bit of work i sorted out some of the major problems and possibly brought that boat up to about a 50 degree true wind angle which is a hell of a major improvement .
I have been giving Al’s response some thought as i have been pondering the idea of buying one myself and would hate to end up sailing a complete dog so today i have been trying to pick apart the whole windward sailing problem for cruising boats. It seems to me that many cruising boats aren’t good to windward but then neither are many cruising sailors and its a simple observation that many cruising sailors don’t even make the effort to try and sail especially in light or heavy wind but go straight for the motor option as default. Racing sailors of course HAVE to go upwind and many races are either won on the upwind leg or when trying to get dead downwind and once again that is bizzarely when many cruising sailors don’t try and sail either. So i’ve been picking this one apart and here is a semi structured response and i would like to set this as s series of questions that visitors here might wish to comment on and get a discussion going.
1.Why do many cruising boats seem to have poor performance either to windward or dead downwind.
2.Why do so many british cruising sailors often not sail in less-than absolutely ideal conditions.
3.Can we take a poorly performing cruising boat and improve its performance.
Al said :
The other thing is in some cases they can’t really be called keels as they are really just extensions of the fat curved shape that form’s the hull, “A little more wetted surface for you sir” lateral resistance whats that ? look at how much interior volume I have.
Waterline length mmmm that huge overhang at the bow and sometimes stern and a short dumpy waterline need we say more.
The classic cruising “headroom 35” with multi heads and no pointing ability is the result, one build I was involved with the “look” was far more important than the ability to sail ! hence the winches being mounted at the completely wrong angle for sheet lead.
Question 2 Its not just the British that hit the start button, but I can see why if you can’t actually make the thing sail and of course “Gentlemen never sail to windward” that’s what delivery crews are for.
As Steve said he made a dog go to windward a lot better with the application of some basic tuning, just remember bendy toys are known as bendy toys for a reason, Now do you want the doors open or closed before we tighten the rig.
It may appear that I hate anything that is not a performance boat but its not the case there are a lot of caravans out there that give their owners lots of fun and good on them, long may they sail sideways.”