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Does my bum look big in this? (crew weight)

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Wiclif View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wiclif Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 17 at 7:33pm
I would suspect that when heavier people lose weight that they are fitter as well, both mentally and physically, so that would make a difference that can be overlooked.

In the light stuff I can personally vouch for the fact that it is more difficult, as a larger heavier person, to get comfortable in the lighter stuff. An example of this is in a spinnakered boat, where you are sitting to leeward when going downwind, and should be further forward. Heavyweights will know what I mean.

I also believe that a longer boat is more tolerant of weight, and I have heard it argued that a round bilged boat carries weight better
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Post Options Post Options   Quote andy h Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 17 at 10:51pm
I am right at the upper limit of what I can get away with in a Europe at 6' 1" and 75kg.  A stiff mast with a full sail helps a lot.  I drift as well as anyone but I get crucified in marginal planing conditions.  A bit more wind and I can bash my way upwind happily to get enough distance in hand to defend on the offwind legs.  

Over a season I will have some disappointing opens but with the mix of conditions encountered I will always have a few good results to keep my enthusiasm up.  In truth I am far more likely to lose through banging the wrong corner of the beat than through any body weight physics issues.  

IMV the important thing is not to get too psyched out about being the "ideal" weight for a class (although healthily losing weight as a by-product of being fit is no bad thing).  Unless you're grossly mismatched to the boat you've chosen you can make it work so I put it out of my mind and enjoy my sailing.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote zippyRN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 1:04am
Originally posted by rich96

85kg in a Solo must be pretty much bang on ?

70kg would be very very light

Typically the worst time to be 'heavy' in the Solo would be in marginal planing conditions - it seems to cope well with weight until that point



marginal planing is  the worst time to be heavy  regardless of the boat ...  the lighter  crew  will  just pick up and go   when you are still stuck on the 'hump ' to break into planing 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CapSizer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 8:42am
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Frank Bethwaite's description of the effect of crew mass.  I think you can still find the article on the Taser web site, but basically, the gist is as follows: You can divide conditions into a 3X3 matrix - upwind, reaching and downwind, in light, medium and heavy conditions.  Now think of when the heavies have an advantage, and when the lighties are favoured.  Heavies only really have the advantage upwind and reaching in heavy conditions, lighties win downwind under all conditions, as well as upwind and reaching in the light stuff, so they have a 5:2 advantage, with the other two conditions more or less tied.  Much better to be a bit too light than a bit too heavy. As has been pointed out above,the current fashion of downwind finishes favours the lighties.  But of course, as we all know, when the lighties win in light weather, it is due to their superior skill, but when they lose in the heavy, it is due to the heavies' brute force advantage ...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Do Different Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 8:56am
+ on the whole (for me) it's more fun being too light.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote H2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 8:58am
I would agree that it is better to be too light than too heavy for any given boats suggested weight range. As a young man I came through the RYA squads and sailed Lasers quite well at a time when they were the class to sail. In my late teen years I was 76kg and had the BMI of a top flight athlete according to Parky's scientists (!!) but at Uni I put on a few pounds and soon headed into the low 80kgs - I was still sailing the same way, with the same training and with the same group but my results were in decline. The only thing that changed was that I went from being at the higher end of weight to beyond being competitive. 

Wind it on 25 years and now as a 45 year old I still like running half marathons but I am a bit heavier thanks to a full time job, kids and the like. I would love to sail a Solo but am too heavy so my choice was down to a Phatom or H2 - similar in some ways in terms of the weight they will carry.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sargesail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 9:42am
And of course the lightweight crew can hike harder in strong winds, but amputation of a limb is too radical for even the most committed of heavyweights in light airs.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ifoxwell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 9:48am
Originally posted by sargesail

And of course the lightweight crew can hike harder in strong winds, but amputation of a limb is too radical for even the most committed of heavyweights in light airs.
I think thats the crux of the whole thing.
The fitter and more talented you are the greater the benefits to being light. 
For the average club sailor, with average talent and fitness, weight helps. 
They may become frustrated watching the lightweights sail away from them, putting the blame on their weight, but the chances are, if they were the same weight they would be just as far, or even further behind
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Post Options Post Options   Quote turnturtle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 10:37am
Originally posted by ifoxwell

They may become frustrated watching the lightweights sail away from them, putting the blame on their weight, but the chances are, if they were the same weight they would be just as far, or even further behind

I'm really not sure that's true.... having club raced Lasers at 95kg, I can assure you the difference in weight between you and the 70-odd kilo guy in marginal winds is significant once you round the weather mark.  Any lead gained (or even ground held) upwind is quickly decimated.  

Sure you have an advantage in 16 knots +....  but a lot of the light guys switch down to Radial rigs once the breeze is on anyway.  

edit: imho - 85kg is the top limit for Laser sailing inland, even at modest club level.


Edited by turnturtle - 22 Nov 17 at 10:51am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mozzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 17 at 10:58am
Originally posted by CapSizer

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Frank Bethwaite's description of the effect of crew mass.  I think you can still find the article on the Taser web site, but basically, the gist is as follows: 
It's a good descriptiont, but is quite specific to the Tasar. 

Fundamentally, more weight is good for righting moment (power), but bad for displacing water and increased wetted area (resistance). Not a real rule, but decent generalisation is that more weight gives more strength but less agility. How these factors relate determine the optimum weight for a boat. 

In a skiff where you are fully powered upwind and down always maximising your righting moment, it pays to be heavier (but better still taller). The extra power is useful all the time. In something like a 49er where you are fully powered up below 10 knots, and regatta races need stable wind over 6 knots to start, you've got a really narrow band where it pays to be light. In most skiffs it's almost always faster to be heavier, with the big limit on crew size not being power, but agility. 

For dinghies where you sit in downwind and on reaches, then it only really pays to be heavy upwind and on close reaches when fully powered up. 

Then you have the element of how well a boat carries crew weight. There are two variables here: what proportion of the all up weight is made from crew. and then hull shape, you want one that increases displacement (to support extra weight) with minimum extra wetted area (like a barge).  The final element is for planing hulls and is a weird one. On one hand you want to be light to 'lift' on to the plane, but equally, you need the power to get to speed. So it's very closely related to rig size. 

On a heavy boat with a load carrying hull shape it gets to a point where it's always better to have heavier crew, or even more crew members because the penalty is so small as long as you can utilise the extra manpower (think super yachts). 

Then you have conditions. A day with lots of gain features weight will matter less, as boat speed matters less. Also, as conditions get trickier (windy or light) skill becomes more important. 

But most of all, the ideal weight is relative to the fleet you're sailing in. If you want success in a one off race,(Prince of Wales / Burton Cup) then it's better to be an out layer, and hope the conditions go your way. If you want to win regattas, it's better to be average for the fleet (even if average for the fleet isn't ideal for the boat) as that way you should be in a position to get decent if not outstanding performance relative to the fleet in all conditions.


Edited by mozzy - 22 Nov 17 at 11:19am
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