Author Topic: Downwind Light Air  (Read 852 times)

Tim Fox

  • U20 Virgin
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • 865-604-6345
Downwind Light Air
« on: June 15, 2021, 05:06:28 PM »
My club (as I assume many do) never sets up a course other than a start line, windward, leeward, and back to finish line. Having an asymmetrical design on the spinnaker makes me feel like I am covering a lot more distance on the downwind leg than the Holders and others that can basically aim right at the mark (downwind.) When there is not enough wind to plane the U20, the asymmetrical spin seems like a handicap. Looking for any thoughts on best VMG directly downwind. Typically sailing in fairly flat water on inland lake with 5 to 10 mph wind.  Tim

Travis Gregory

  • Administrator
  • U20 Enthusiast
  • *****
  • Posts: 212
  • U20 - 222
Re: Downwind Light Air
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2021, 11:51:09 PM »
Tim, we sail in very light winds at the GSL and Bear Lake.  The U20 is a light air machine! Some of this depends on the cut of your kite, so play around with the suggestions.

Have crew three or use a boom preventer to keep the boom out. 
Heel the boat to windward. 
Ease the tack line to help the spinnaker rotate out from behind the main. 
Play around with the pressure.  You want the kite pulling so the trimmer feels it. 

You don't want to go so deep that you are slow.  But you can get pretty close to where your competitors are.  They are likely heating up a bit to keep the chute full and pulling as well if it's really light.

Practice your timing on jibes.  A lot of time can be lost waiting for the chute to refill or being hung up on the jib.

Good luck!




Tim Fox

  • U20 Virgin
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • 865-604-6345
Re: Downwind Light Air
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2021, 08:47:37 PM »
Travis. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I've only had my U20 for about one year and it's very different than the S2 9.1 that I own. The S2 has a lower PHRF rating but I was getting killed by everyone with smaller boats in the flat water and light wind we have in Knoxville, TN. I think your suggestions will help me greatly. BTW, I was in Park City snowboarding this past March. First time in Utah. It is a beautiful state.   Cheers. Tim

Travis Gregory

  • Administrator
  • U20 Enthusiast
  • *****
  • Posts: 212
  • U20 - 222
Re: Downwind Light Air
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 09:03:08 PM »
Tim, we are racing at Jordanelle (reservoir near Park City) and will have a regatta there in September if you want to join! 

Tim Fox

  • U20 Virgin
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • 865-604-6345
Re: Downwind Light Air
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2021, 02:46:07 PM »
Travis, I would love to but probably not in my budget or time restraints at the present time. Google maps says that is 1,772 miles from my present location. Maybe someday! Thanks, Tim

TimPorter

  • Active Member
  • U20 Old Timer
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: Downwind Light Air
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2021, 04:26:06 PM »
One thing we have started experimenting with in the lighter air is to pull the pole in a little (6-12 inches) and pulling the tack in tighter.  Pulling the pole in a little reduces the length from the halyard block to the end of the pole.  One of the issues in the light air is that the air has a hard time supporting the sail.  By getting the sail either to the end of the pole or closer to the pole the sail is more supported.  You are reaching anyway so the main blanketing the sail is less of an issue.

David Krausz

  • Wannabees
  • U20 Virgin
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • U20/Salsa, Hull #94
Re: Downwind Light Air
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2022, 08:56:22 PM »
If the water is very flat and the wind light (3knts), I find that I can ease the halyard and the tack line while crew sits on the windward side. The spinnaker will rotate to windward and you can work the boat further downwind.   You have to be patient in working the boat down.  Unfortunately, the spinnaker is pretty unstable at this angle and any wake or shift in the wind can cause it to collapse badly. If that happens, you'll have to heat it up and start over again.  Rapidly heating up doesn't always work, because there is so much slop in the halyard and tack that it may just flop over to leeward.    You'll have to play around with how much you can get away with easing the halyard and tack.   Also, having a new spinnaker seems to help.  An old, soft spinnaker doesn't 'stand up' very well on its own and seems to collapse easier.  A newer, crispy spinnaker seems to be easier to keep full.