Started Sailing

Close to the wind

by Sarah Weiss
(New Haven CT)

From your experience, how close to the wind can a 420 sail. Is the angle less than 30 degrees? What is the closest angle from head on at which the boat can reliably move.

Many thanks,
Sarah Weiss









Hi Sarah,

Traditionally we are taught that a boat cannot move in the no-go zone, an area 45 degrees from the wind on both sides. However, in my experience in strong winds this angle becomes smaller.

This is because the apparent wind, which would usually be somewhere between the angle between boat direction and wind direction, shifts closer to the wind direction, allowing the sails to produce aerodynamic lift.

I am not sure if it is as close as 30 degrees, but I can tell you that it is certain a boat can be less than 45 degrees to the wind and still move.

In the case of a 420, which can plane upwind the angle is likely to be even smaller, but I can not give you an exact value.

I hope the others here can give you a more specific response.

Best Regards,
Alex

Comments for Close to the wind

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Sep 04, 2009
The ultimate answer is found in experience!
by: Han

Hi Sarah,
I'm glad to say that Alex's response is the correct one; I only wish to elaborate a bit.
A 420 is a sensitive, nervous boat. If you're a beginning sailor, your learning trajectory starts with rational processes. Only in time your rational grasp translates itself into a physical feel for the movements of the boat which goes far beyond your rationality. Your instincts take over and when they do, you're at the start of becoming a good sailor.
Be glad to learn it in a 420, every bigger boat you'll own later will be easier to handle!

Sep 08, 2015
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