VMG and sailing upwind

I raced 33.4 miles on Saturday (+22 miles back) in varying wind conditions. I started off sailing downwind in 5-8 mph and zig-zagging much like the other 5 cats. Then the wind dies and was reborn from the South at 8-12 mph.
Close hauled and with my wind vane at ~40 deg I was making ~4-6 knots BUT we could not keep up with 30 ft mono-slugs on heading. If I headed up more the jib would beging to luff. I recorded the whole race on RaceQs. Based on it I was sailing 52-72 deg off the wind. The starboard tack had us going nearly head on into 2ft waves (ie:72deg).
Am I doing something wrong or do cats only go faster then monohulls on reaches? I did come in second of three, but was an hour behind the leader.

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Robert
83' NACRA 5.0
81' NACRA 5.2
Previously owned H18, Trac 14, G-Cat 5.0, H14T
BYC, Mobile, AL
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Well if the waves are big enough we just keep smashing down into the water and slowing down. If you aren’t good at reaccellerating the boat then yea it’s gonna be hard to beat a big boat that would be just cutting through. Once the wind is 10+ you should be faster everywhere in general but waves can make a big difference. You really need it to be in the mid to upper teens for the boat to really power up through waves

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'82 NACRA 18 Square "Bangarang"
'85 Hobie 18 "Honey Badger Don't Care"
'86 Hobie 18 "The Rippin & The Tearin"
Jacksonville, FL
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rch701Am I doing something wrong or do cats only go faster then monohulls on reaches? I did come in second of three, but was an hour behind the leader.


Short answer is yes, very few catamarans can point with a monohull. It is better to crack off a bit and keep your speed up.

Every boat is different but 10-15 degrees or so off the monohulls line should be in the ballpark. You will sail farther, but because you sail faster you should get to the mark before the monohull.

45 degrees off the wind is a good angle to shoot for but I am not sure that is possible with your Nacra 5.0 boardless cat. Others with more Nacra experience will probably jump in on that.

By the way, grats on a +50mile day. That is a lot of effort on a Nacra 5.0

Brad
Jacksonville, FL
'83 Stiletto 27 on a 2 year plan.
also really depends on the mono
some are real dogs, racing mono's are a different breed
Boardless cat, gooood luck pointing with a monohull.

Yes you can make better VMG to weather with careful driving. Never go below a mono, better to tack and then cross further down the course. You will park in their wind shadow for a very long time.

Racing cats with boards, yes I pace TP52's etc on the F18. First to finish in a race with an Andrews 80 and Farr 400 2 years ago. This is with a modern F18, good rags, a top helm and knowledge of the course.

The A-Cat is even scarier to weather, we are the same angle as a laser (so tacking through under 100 degrees, closer to 90) and 16 kts upwind. Good luck beating one to the windward mark on any boat! Plus good classics can be had for reasonable money when you consider a new mast is $5k.
My first thought when reading your story was about sail trim.

How was your downhaul on both sails?
Did you adjust it to give you an upwind (flat) profile, and bag it up off-wind?
Was your outhaul tight?
How is your mast raked?
Are your spreaders allowing your mast to bend enough to flatten that main under moderate wind?
What did your telltales indicate?
In what condition are your sails?

Other questions:
Were you using your body weight to keep your leeward hull deep and both hulls level in the water?
What was the angle of the wind compared to the dominant wave direction?

A 30 foot monohull can put a lot of sail in the air, and stretch higher up than yours.

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Sheet In!
Bob
___/)_____/)_/)____/)____/)_____/)/)__________/)__
Prindle 18-2 #244 "Wakizashi"
Prindle 16 #3690 "Pegasus" Sold (sigh)
AZ Multihull Fleet 42 member
(Way) Past Commodore of Prindle Fleet 14
Arizona, USA
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Older cats with ragged out sails tend to be difficult to get the jib sheet tight enough. I've noticed this on newer boats with pentex sails and poor sheet angles or bad sail cuts as well. On a catamaran you tend to want a very flat blade jib, unless its choppy then you crack the sheet an inch or so and foot more.

Everything else klozhald says is correct, most of it is technique and not pinching.
Klozhald, See if the answers below help out.
How was your downhaul on both sails? Moderate on both.
Did you adjust it to give you an upwind (flat) profile, and bag it up off-wind? When the wind picked up I noticed the jib seemed slacked so I played with different tensions.
Was your outhaul tight? Boomless, but I was in the middle slot for the mainsheet.
How is your mast raked? Second hole from the bottom on the shrouds. Had some weatherhelm.
Are your spreaders allowing your mast to bend enough to flatten that main under moderate wind? Slack enough to touch the mast 12" above the bottom hounds.
What did your telltales indicate? Perfection, which was the most frustrating part.
In what condition are your sails? Original, Just put in new batten caps and had the tension set to pull wrinkles out only.

Other questions:
Were you using your body weight to keep your leeward hull deep and both hulls level in the water? Trying to keep the leeward bow 3/4 in the water. Kept pushing my crew forward and sat on each side of the shroud.
What was the angle of the wind compared to the dominant wave direction? That's the fun part. Port tack we were closer to 70 deg off the waves. Stbd we were 10 deg off waves. The wind became strong from the SE before slacking and settling in the SSW.

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Robert
83' NACRA 5.0
81' NACRA 5.2
Previously owned H18, Trac 14, G-Cat 5.0, H14T
BYC, Mobile, AL
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RCH701Klozhald, See if the answers below help out.

Hey Robert,
Sorry to have missed your update.
• Honestly, you sound like you truly understand the controls and settings on your cat. I’m not sure I can help you from my armchair.
• By moderate downhaul, I’m hearing you pulled out all the wrinkles on the luff and stopped there? Tug harder if you need to point higher. Sailing by your luff is the best way to stay close, and your RaceQ data says you footed off to gain speed, which is the best you can do in that situation. Sailing tight to the wind requires tight sheets, too.
• The best upwind mast rotation on my cat is to have the kerf in the mast pointed at the side stay. YMMV.
• If you loosened your diamond wires a few inches, your mast would bend more and possibly move the draft in your sail a bit more to the front and flatten the sail out. Might get you a little closer to the wind.
• You had good rake on your mast, the weather helm helped keep you close to the wind and your eyes on the jib luff. icon_cool
• Sailing into the waves is stop and go for any sailboat. Sailing sideways to them means your hulls get grazed twice by each wave, and if the peak of the wave hits your crossbar(s), further slowing ensues.
The fact is that some boats can point significantly higher than others. My friend has a 23 foot Neptune mono that is sleek and fast, and can point higher than any other sailboat I have ever sailed.

You were in a tough situation, and needed to foot off and sail a longer, faster course in conditions that favored the monohulls.

Don’t beat yourself up, you were not defeated. You sailed your best in this situation. Strong work.



Edited by klozhald on May 23, 2019 - 12:50 PM.

--
Sheet In!
Bob
___/)_____/)_/)____/)____/)_____/)/)__________/)__
Prindle 18-2 #244 "Wakizashi"
Prindle 16 #3690 "Pegasus" Sold (sigh)
AZ Multihull Fleet 42 member
(Way) Past Commodore of Prindle Fleet 14
Arizona, USA
--
rch701I raced 33.4 miles on Saturday (+22 miles back) in varying wind conditions. I started off sailing downwind in 5-8 mph and zig-zagging much like the other 5 cats. Then the wind dies and was reborn from the South at 8-12 mph.
Close hauled and with my wind vane at ~40 deg I was making ~4-6 knots BUT we could not keep up with 30 ft mono-slugs on heading. If I headed up more the jib would beging to luff. I recorded the whole race on RaceQs. Based on it I was sailing 52-72 deg off the wind. The starboard tack had us going nearly head on into 2ft waves (ie:72deg).
Am I doing something wrong or do cats only go faster then monohulls on reaches? I did come in second of three, but was an hour behind the leader.


In 5-8 knots of wind, cats have a hard time outsailing some monos... It will depend on a lot of factors. Using RaceQs is a great way to learn the boat and your angles. We accelerate and deaccelerate very quickly and in that breeze, every movement and lull is a big hit on a cat. Upwind will be very difficult. The monos will have the advantage by: weight to coast through lulls, deeper keel on centerline (providing lift) and probably a taller rig (reaching wind off the water). Once the breeze picks up and we can gain more speed as they top out, we can beat them upwind. With my Nacras (with deep boards), I was able to outpoint and speed most monos in breeze over 10 knots. This is one big reason monos and multis shouldn't race against each other. Their performance is too far apart. In that breeze, your 52-72 degrees doesn't sound too bad. The big thing is to watch your VMG and improve from there. Once that is max-ed out, that is the best you can do.

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Scott

Prindle 18-2 Mod "FrankenKitty"
Tornado Classic "Fast Furniture"
Prindle 19 "Mr. Wiggly" - gone
Nacra 5.8 "De ja vu"
Nacra 5.0
Nacra 5.8
Tornadoes (Reg White)
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Bob, just finishing a long haul like that is a major deal. It's a validation of your boats capabilities and your sailing skills.

Does this fleet publish RaceQs tracks on a course map? It's a great way to compare your performance with other types of boats (or skippers).

http://raceqs.com/fleet-tracking/

If not, I think you can organize your own group race with any data that you can get from other participants.

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Prindle 18
96734
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