Sail Your 16 with an Attitude|
Getting the most efficiency out of your hulls
By Tami Shelton
There are many articles and opinions about add-on parts for the Hobie 16, hopefully to make it faster, but you might be surprised to find that the fastest sailors donít buy into that. Many times Iíve seen boats that are either old or plain Jane whip right by and have puzzled why... one reason is attitude. Of course psyching yourself counts, but the attitude I refer to is that of your boat. This article will attempt to explain Hobie 16 attitude, but if you want more information, refer to the March/April 1992 issue of Hotline.*
One of the biggest speed differences Iíve personally seen in sailing my 16 is when David, my beau, hit on sailing his boat nose down and told me to try it. He later was backed up in this concept when we discovered Hotline had published this idea years ago, but although itís nothing new, we donít often see people sailing in this fashion.
The Hobie 16 hull bow area is narrow and more symmetrical than the stern, which is wide and asymmetrical in comparison. If you think about it, it pays to have a nice low-drag foil area cutting water, especially upwind, but really on any point of sail. This is of course even more critical in light-air situations.
What does this mean? Like the Hotline article said, "Upwind, the Hobie 16 likes to be sailed Ďon its noseí - leeward hull depressed, windward hull just kissing the surface, STERNS OUT OF THE WATER." Although the article emphasizes this attitude upwind, and this would be where itís most important, you will see great speed gains on downwind as well. You have to be very careful when sailing bows down; youíll see your pitchpole frequency rate increase, so practice. Just take the conditions into consideration... you canít sail as nose-heavy when thereís heavy wind and chop as you can in flat water, but even in big stuff, you shouldnít let your sterns drag if you can help it. Youíll get a feel for it with experience.
Whatís nose-down? The waterline along the leeward hull should hit about 2-4 in. below the bow, and the bottom point of the stern should just be above water.
Another thing... stay TOGETHER! Your 16 will ride much better if you and your crew sit, stand, trap and sit, whatever, near one another on the boat. You wonít believe the difference it makes, and life is SO much more comfortable when your boat isnít hobby-horsing around, not to speak of the speed increases. When I say together, I mean fore/aft together. When youíre in light air and your crew is to leeward to keep your windward hull up, sit across from him. If the wind increases, he can move across the tramp to get more weight on the weather hull and then you just sit snug next to one another. Later if the wind picks up more, heíll get out on the wire, standing behind you. The whole time keep in mind you want fore/aft attitude to stay as nose-down as conditions allow.
When moving around, move smoothly. Donít jerk or jump if you can help it. In light air, tippy-paws, tippy-paws about on your boat; stay low, too. You create drag when you sit up. Iíve sailed on light days laying flat on my belly across the tramp (I have an extendible tiller... prob. canít lay out like that if you have a stock tiller extension); itís great for tanning while racing.
When tacking, make a big U-turn. Donít throw your tiller hard over; this ainít a monohull, your cat wonít turn on a dime. Learn to roll tack (see Rick Whiteís Catamaran Sailing for the 90ís . I canít describe this very well.). Donít leave your mainsheet tight as the bows come across; actively throw the main onto the other side... your crew will throw the jib over and sheet it in on the other tack first, which will begin the acceleration process... then you sheet in the main, then your crew makes final adjustment on the jib. A general note for boathandling... remember that air on the jib will push your bows, and air on the main will push your sterns.
*"The Celebrated Sixteen: Part Three: Sailing" by Matt Bounds, Hotline, March-April 1992
See also Catamaran Racing for the 90ís, by Rick White, RAM Press, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to Features