Best Downwind Angles

Moderator: GreenLake

Best Downwind Angles

Postby MookaCB » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:30 pm

Let's talk spinnaker run angles...

For those who have experimented, is it faster to run dead down wind, put it on a reach, or somewhere in between? Our club races are almost always a W coarse (Start, windward, leeward, finish) and the marks "should" be in line with wind direction.

Has anyone found the fastest or most efficient angle off the wind when flying a spinnaker?
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Re: Best Spinnaker Angles

Postby K.C. Walker » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:48 pm

Likely, the boring DDW will probably get you there soonest. If you were sailing a 49er and you could get it on a plane, you would have a chance on a deep reach, especially if you get a favorable wind shift. :)
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Re: Best Downwind Angles

Postby GreenLake » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:43 pm

For downwind without spinnaker, being able to run wing on wing makes a big difference. That would favor the dead downwind course. The only boat I've ever seen tack downwind around here was an A scow. (We don't run to 49ers around here).

We have the opposite problem, in that the "downwind" leg regularly degrades to a broad reach, and sometimes more upwind than that. Little the committee can do, given the location and prevailing winds.

I want to believe that the spinnaker, as long as it sets at all, is more efficient than reaching under jib, but is it enough to make up for the extra work of setting it and taking it down? Sailing in a mixed fleet, so no like-on-like comparisons at hand.
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Re: Best Downwind Angles

Postby MookaCB » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:33 am

The mixed fleet is my current fleet as well and it is usually mostly lasers, so I can't even judge off of them.

I feel like I get more speed about 10-15 degrees off the wind, but does the extra distance and potential gybe even out with DDW? I still need to play with it more. Our winds are pretty shifty and often the committee is stuck leaving the course off the wind.

I have been leaving my jib hoisted while flying the spinnaker. Yesterday in winds so light that it hardly could fill the spinnaker, I dropped my job and that gave me more speed.
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