Play to sail: use wind & sails to move a boat to the direction needed

Dragon-force-65-rc-sailboats-beating.jpg
 

How to manage the effect of the wind on the sails to move your boat to the direction you need?

 

FOCUS: head to a destination keeping the proper points of sail

[ Radio Sailing Basics ]

 

Sailors harness the wind to move their boats, adjusting (trimming) the sails to keep air flowing over the sail to provide power. In a sailboat this force is harnessed into forward drive.

The curve of the sails (as in an airplane’s wing) generates lift, that force, in combination with the effect of the keel, results in the boat being pulled forward.

 
 

First it's important to understand that your boat can't sail straight into the wind.

When the bow of your boat (the front side of the hull) is pointed directly into the wind, the wind only shakes the sails (imagine a flag flying) and it provides no driving force.

The "no-go zone" for your boat - where a sail is unable to motive power from the wind - extends 45° on either side of the wind direction.

 Pointing your bow within the no-go zone, your sails will start to flap and your boat will come to a stop.

Pointing your bow within the no-go zone, your sails will start to flap and your boat will come to a stop.

In order to harness this power into forward drive, the sails must intersect and be kept into the wind at an angle.

Sail trimming allows you to manage the sails at the proper angle in relation at the direction of the wind and the point of sail.

 
 The diagram above shows the basic  POINTS OF SAIL  for different boat directions relative to the wind (blowing from the top of the diagram).

The diagram above shows the basic POINTS OF SAIL for different boat directions relative to the wind (blowing from the top of the diagram).

 

The points of sails diagram shows you how to most efficiently use the power of wind on the sails of your boat in motion toward a certain direction.

You learn that the name of your route changes in relation of the wind: the points of sails are defined by the angle of the wind coming over the boat relative to the bow.

Imagine to be on your boat, looking straight ahead at the bow (would be looking towards the top of the diagram: at 12 o'clock).

 

running point of sailing

wind coming from 180°

 Radio sailing models running downwind: the mailsails and jibs are set to capture the wind coming at 180° degrees (sailing goosewinged).

Radio sailing models running downwind: the mailsails and jibs are set to capture the wind coming at 180° degrees (sailing goosewinged).

Running downwind (point of sail) points your boat straight in the same direction as the wind: the wind is intersecting your boat at a relative bearing of 6 o'clock (around 180° from the bow).


SAILS RIGHT ANGLE: Letting both out to their maximum position

Let mainsail and jib eased out on opposite sides of the boat (as into the image above), as much as possible from the centerline of the boat, to expose the maximum surface of sails to capture the wind coming from back.

 

broad reach point of sailing

WIND COMING FROM 120/240°

 A Dragon Force 95 and a 65 sailing on a broad reach in calm waters.

A Dragon Force 95 and a 65 sailing on a broad reach in calm waters.

Broad Reach (point of sail): the wind blows over the boat's quarter, between the beam and the stern.  The sailing is heading you far off the wind (but not quite directly downwind): a bit further upwind, 135° off the wind.

A broad reach is faster rather than a point of sailing directly downwind since mainsail and jib receive more pressure from the wind.


SAILS RIGHT ANGLE: let your sails out a bit leSs.

 

beam reach poin of sailing

wind coming from 90/270°

 Radio controlled boats sailing a fast beam reach.

Radio controlled boats sailing a fast beam reach.

Beam Reach (point of sail) moves your boat at the fastest speed: the wind blows on the side of your boat.
 

SAILS RIGHT ANGLE: let your sails out half way (Each at a position of 45°)

 

close reach point of sailing

wind coming from 60/300°

 Radio yachts sailing on close reach after rounding a mark.

Radio yachts sailing on close reach after rounding a mark.

Close Reach (point of sail): here you sail with the wind forward of the beam: it reaches your boat with a relative bearing of 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock. 
 

SAILS RIGHT ANGLE: Pulling both in a little

Let the sails out until they flap then bring them in just to the point on no longer luffing. They are let out farther than when close hauled.

 

close hauled point of sailing

wind coming from 45/135°

 Radio yachts sailing upwind (beating) during a regatta.

Radio yachts sailing upwind (beating) during a regatta.

Close Hauled or Beating (point of sail) to windward involves tacking your boat through about 90 degrees from close hauled to close hauled through the no-go zone (since about 40/45 degrees off the wind is about as close as you can sailing upwind).
  

SAILS RIGHT ANGLE: Keeping pulled in

The mainsail and the jib are pulled in tight, and the boom is centered down the centerline of the boat. 

 
 

To start the radio-controlled yachting is easy but at Play2Sail we like to say also that: "to play is to learn", so here we share some really simple basics and tips of sailing, dedicated to everyone who wants to begin the fun of learning how to use the wind to "power" his sailboat - small or big -  and get the most of the enjoyment on the water.
You might be intereste in our blog posts already published:
  • To manage your points of sailing, check the direction of the wind first >
  • Practice all the points of sail having fun on the race courses set at the High Coast Arena >