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Outhaul on a run -- tight or loose?

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Eisvogel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Eisvogel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Outhaul on a run -- tight or loose?
    Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 11:12am
I'm confused. I assumed (as I've been told by an experienced Enterprise helm) that the outhaul should be tight on a run to spread the sail out to the max. Now I just read in a blog post that once round the top mark you'll let the outhaul off when going on a run/reach, and you put it back on tight when getting back on the beat. In my Laser I have always done it the other way round: looser on a beat, and tight on a run.

Is this dependent on which class of boat I'm sailing? Or is it just random? Or wind strength? Or personal preference?
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davidyacht View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 11:41am
I am by no means an expert, but my take on it is;

On the beat, default position is with a shelf on the foot, but add more depth for pointing or power by easing, which makes the lower leach stand up.

On the reach, more depth by easing the foot for more power, fetching or close reaching I might  flatten the foot if this makes the boat feel more balanced.

On the run, I am not a great believer in letting the foot off, prefer more projected area of having the sail to the bands, also like to have the top of the sail twisted to the lee, which I think an easier leech will assist.

This is based on the classes that I sail Solos and Salcombe Yawls.  In the Solo the tack inhaul is adjustable, this makes the decision much easier at the windward mark, leave the outhaul set, simply dump the inhaul, then pull it back on at the leeward mark to your preset position ...with no loss of area offwind.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 11:47am
I've never been very convinced that having it tight on a run makes much difference, but the logic is sound - maximise the exposed area of sail. That only really applies to dead runs though not to runs and reaches in general. On a broad reach or by the lee on a Laser, which is probably the faster way of getting downwind in a Laser you are aiming to keep flow over the sail, so shape remains critical, and in general loose is better.

Having it loose on a beat depends on wind strength, in light winds you want to keep the draught small, to maximise contact and flow, and in stronger winds tightening the outhaul reduces power and also reduces drag, so you may have the sail full in medium winds but once you have enough power to have the boat moving fully tightening to reduce drag, and then to reduce power helps. How much power you need will also depend on the sea state. 

The same general principals may apply differently to different classes - and I can't speak for Enterprises, but in my Devon Yawl we tend to have the outhaul tight upwind pretty much regardless of wind strength - though we generally sail on sheltered water, in a chop that might not work best.
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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 12:00pm
Took me a long while to get to grips with the fact you dump the kicker on a run, never mind messing with outhaul, to my mind anything that potentially loses focus on what's going on around you is a negative distraction so tend never to adjust outhaul once I've set it for the prevailing conditions. You're more likely to get benefit downwind by focussing on being on the correct gybe in synch with the shifts which I find difficult enough downwind in a dinghy, than messing with the outhaul in the hope for a 0.00001 extra knot.

But as they all say, the logic is sound enough, I just haven't experienced a significant performance gain from bagging out the sail, although it does 'feel' right to do it with the jib on a two sail boat when you bear off.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mozzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 12:10pm
On a dead run, pulling the out haul on max will present a larger are to the wind, but very fractionally. 

However, it's usually quicker to sail with flow over the sail (like Peter says above). For which you want it to be curved. You may have to sail angles to achieve this if the mark is dead down wind, which means gybing if you have stays, or transitioning to be the lee in unstayed boats like your laser. 

However, the out-haul makes very little difference to overall sail shape as long as it is relatively well set. It only effects the shape of the bottom couple of panels and kicker and Cunningham are far more important. The outhaul probably gets unwarranted attention because is is the most visible part of the sail.

In toppers and lasers I would let if off downwind and on reaches. However, if things were hectic at the mark rounding I wouldn't bother as you'll loose ground moving in / forward to get it which you don't want to be doing at critical times (if at all). 

In 49ers and 29ers we set it for the race. It was in a difficult place to get to adjust anyway, but also you're always sailing an apparent close reach. I think we adjusted jib halyard tension more in races than we ever altered the out-haul. 

In the 200 the crew gets it after rounding the windward, just after hoisting. But, if we're under pressure from a boat behind roiling us we'll forget it and focus on getting the kite set and their weight up if needed. We'd only go back and get it if convenient (a lull where the crew goes back in to the boat for instance).






Edited by mozzy - 05 Oct 17 at 12:13pm
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Sam.Spoons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 12:23pm
Would a flat parachute be more effective than a normal mushroom shaped one? Probably not, my guess would be the extra area gained by flattening the sail on a run is almost negligible and even dead downwind some shape in the sail aids efficient. Could be totally wrong mind you......

What's needed is two Laser sailors (the same hight weight and build) in identical boats to line up side by side and sail (without kinetics) directly downwind. The onlydifference being that one has tight outhaul and the other very slack...... Any takers?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 12:25pm
I am 100% sure the Olympic level boys have done all that...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 12:36pm
Originally posted by iGRF

Took me a long while to get to grips with the fact you dump the kicker on a run, never mind messing with outhaul, to my mind anything that potentially loses focus on what's going on around you is a negative distraction so tend never to adjust outhaul once I've set it for the prevailing conditions. You're more likely to get benefit downwind by focussing on being on the correct gybe in synch with the shifts which I find difficult enough downwind in a dinghy, than messing with the outhaul in the hope for a 0.00001 extra knot.

But as they all say, the logic is sound enough, I just haven't experienced a significant performance gain from bagging out the sail, although it does 'feel' right to do it with the jib on a two sail boat when you bear off.

Calibration is the key ... mark your upwind and downwind settings for your kicker, outhaul, inhaul, cunningham and plate.  This makes it relatively mindless to go to your default upwind and downwind settings, most of which you can set up while you are on the lay to the windward mark, or at a quiet moment on the final run into the leeward mark.  Kicker and plate make the biggest difference, then probably outhaul, cunningham in the boats I sail doesn't make a lot of difference except when you are overpowered.  

If you have got the cunningham on upwind it is vital to dump it offwind, since the compression in the mast bows the mast and depowers the mainsail.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rich96 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 1:43pm
If you watch the best Laser sailors on a run they let the outhaul off

But then they rarely sail dead downwind I guess
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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 17 at 4:29pm
Originally posted by davidyacht


  Kicker and plate make the biggest difference, ]


Plate? What as in raking it back? Don't you find the boat doesn't point as well with it raked?

I get it if it's balls out survival when pointing is the least of your worries, but do you mess with it other times?

We had one cardinal rule with plates on boards, all the way up or all the way down, don't even think about anything in between, it screws with the section.

Just as I never get it when Lasers half lift their plates off wind even in light weather, it must be counterproductive.

Edited by iGRF - 05 Oct 17 at 4:31pm
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