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cavalier 26

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Have a problem going to windward

15 to 20 knots of wind carrying no2 and full main,the boat is sittting at 5.13knt and feels like we have hit a wall.

have i reached hull speed and thats it or more weight on rail?

toe rail is just dipping water,have tried a reef and makes no difference,maybe reef main and try no1 on or will i be over powered?

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Tomharry, if the toe rail is in, you are probably heeling to far. Reef. Many boats reef at or just before 20 knots. When you heel too far you just go sideways. Reef and you will stand more upright, lighten the loads on the gear and the boat, and sail better VMGs. 5.13 knots through the water hard on the wind is about all I'd expect from a Cav 26. At that point it is angles that matter. Experiment, and see what rig she likes best without losing speed. :D

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The wind vane is hard to judge for fine angles. 6 deg better is a lot of perfomance, but hard to see on a vane at the masthead.

It's not good practice to allow the sails to flog - it will stuff them - so backwind a bit is ok in the puffs, but if it is all the time, then reef!

How do you point compared to other boats?

Good sails cause less heel and more fwd drive. Once the boat won't go fwd (like once hull speed is reached) more, you just heel. That slows you down - the boat is faster more upright. So, like all things boating, it;s a compromise, an art if you will. Laurie Smith (the science of speed author, and renowned sailor) said 90% science, 10% art. You have to learn what your boat likes - many sailors carry too much sail...

What is the waterline length of a Cav 26? - formula for hull speed is 1.34x the square root of the waterline length in feet. That will give only a rough approximation in reality. Some boats easily exceed it, some don't.

Performance to weather is not just sails. it's trim, rig tune, hull and foil condition, AND sails, all working in harmony. It's enough for a lifetime of continual learning, which is part of the fun!

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I wouldn't want to be talking about reefing in 15-20 knot necessarily.

You may want to focus on sail shape.

The classic trap if the boat feels over powered is to think you need a reef. Its much better to play with the shape, reduce the sail draft by flattening the sails;

1) Crank the headsail halyard on tight as it will go (moves draft forward), good for pointing, not so good for power in chop

2) Crank main halyard on, or pull in cunnignham if you have one, moves draft forward, good for pointing, reduces healing forces (no toe rail in water)

3) crank in outhaul, to flatten foot of main and lower third

4) crank on the back stay (if its adjustable) this flattens / depowers the main and tightens the forestay, helping pointing, and preventing healing


Alternatively, if its choppy, crank on the back stay to keep the forestay tight, but ease the head sail halyard a fraction to get some 'knuckle' in your #2, this gives good power to drive through chop, but sacrifices pointing.


After all of that, if things are still feeling over powered, put a bit of twist in the head sail and main, by moving the car back on the head sail (twists the leach and de-powers the top third of the sail), and lifting the traveller right up on the main and easing the sheet a wee bit, again twisting the leach and de-powering the top third, keeping the bottom two thirds working well and reducing heal.


Obviously also make sure you have a clean bum, that will impact top speed to windward. Other than that, I wouldn't have thought 5.13 knots is too bad for a Cav 26, but if you fiddle enough with everything you might be able to get another 1/2 a knot :D

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We used to get approx 5.5 knots SOG upwind in flat water on the 26ft Tracker, less in choppy conditions. As others have said excessive healing will reduce the efficiency of your underwater foils (keel + rudder) and will mean you go sideways a lot more than normal. Using VMG to a known mark with a GPS can be a good way to learn the impact of healing for your hull shape. Tuning your sails and learning the correct shapes in the different wind conditions will help significantly. Controlled luffing of the main when overpowered in gusts or squals is not uncommon just make sure you don't flog it.


Some good sail tuning guides here from Norths Sails.





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Humm it does seem a little down on speed. On Jellybean I seem to recall 5 5s upwind is about normal but we point for Africa.


Is your backstay adjustable? Jellybeans was fixed so I replaced it to be adjustable and that made a big difference in de powering reducing the forstay sag.


Upwind on the race track we where higher and faster than the tracker, raven and the reactor. Downwind the tracker was quicker. I felt that the cav was more tender than all off them. The best the boat ever felt was when we had 5of us onboard all on the rail then we hummed!

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under 10 kts we seem to hold our own,weight on rail is a little problem,teaching my 2 boys to sail,one on helm the other learning to let head go and winch when we go about,3 in cockpit might be part of the problem,will have a better idea after weekend,will report back!

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