View Full Version : How do you sail upwind?
10-08-2001, 03:16 AM
I just got one of these (www.windglider.com), and took it out last week for a spin, no prior sailing experience of any kind. I figured out how to go downwind just fine, and even crosswind, but every time I turned to go back to where I came from, I'd run out of steam, and the only way I could get speed back up was to go downwind. Long story short, the lifeguard came out in his boat to tow me back upwind (twice). I'm planning on going again tomorrow, and really would like to spare myself the embarrassment. How the heck do you sail upwind?
10-08-2001, 03:26 AM
Some salty nautical type with a huge bard and tattoss will no doubt be along in a while to explain the terminology, but essentially, you have to sail in a zig-zag that averages out to being the same direction as 'into the wind'
10-08-2001, 03:27 AM
oh, dear, a huge beard and tattoos, that should have been. D'oh!
10-08-2001, 03:29 AM
10-08-2001, 11:07 AM
Yes, you sail at an angle, then turn and sail at the opposite angle, then turn again. There is a limit to the angle you can choose, I think this varies depending on the vessel. Mangetout's excellent link explains this pretty well.
This process is called "tacking", and from it come such great idioms as "That doesn't jibe...", "Sailing close to the wind" and "Let me try a different tack."
10-08-2001, 11:32 AM
I really would strongly advise you to get some lessons on that thing. I am assuming that you have bought a windsurfer, as on the front page of the website(I would also advise you to sail dingys (little sailing boats) as they are easier and more fun for beginners, windsurfers are only really good in high winds and then you can really scream along, but that's a matter of opinion)
In answer to your question, mangetout's link is pretty good, but simply, you want to be pointing (the board) as far up towards the wind as possible, and hold the sail in to your chest. When you run out of room, you 'tack' or turn into the wind. On a windsurfer you lean the sail forward or back to steer, so you turn into the wind and then swap over onto the other side of the board (because you always keep your back to the wind). That way you can indirectly sail towards your destination in a zig zag. This is quite hard in a windsurfer, especially in light winds.
Again, I would strongly encourage you to get lessons and not to sail on your own as I have heard about even experienced windsurfers being blown out to sea or if the wind dies down, being carried out by currents.
10-08-2001, 01:32 PM
Thank you for your concern Nukeman; thats why I've only taken it out on a small lake where I'm never further than swimming distance from a shoreline. Thanks for the link too Mangetout.
10-08-2001, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by Nukeman
windsurfers are only really good in high winds and then you can really scream along, but that's a matter of opinion)
This is kind of a bizarre statement. Windsurfers, especially beginner boards, can be a lot of fun in light and moderate winds. While the learning curve is quite a bit steeper than a sailing dinghy or sunfish-type boat, there's no reason not to take up the sport. The only problem I see with the Wind Glider is that it looks like you'd outgrow it pretty fast and want to move onto something faster and more responsive. An 8' x 4' hunk of styrofoam will be stable but just isn't going to move very rapidly.
10-08-2001, 03:44 PM
Set yer stern on yon gunwale and I'll spin ye the yarn!
Please picture a birds eye view of you sailing your craft on the water as being on a clock,with the craft in the center and the wind coming from the number twelve.It is upon that analogy that my post is based.
The five basic things you need to know in order to sail are:
The three points of sail,
Running:sailing downwind (between say 4:30 o'clock and 7:30 o'clock)
Reaching:sailing with the wind to the side (between2;30 or so to4;30)same for other side of clock
Beating:sailing upwind (between 2 o'clock and 2:30)
the two basic manouvres
Coming About:turning through the eye of the wind,upwind
Gybing:As above,only downwind
Learn how to do those,and you'll do just fine.
After that any other thing you learn just seems to just be a refinement of that basic skill set.(I am oversimplifying a wee bit,but not much)
The section between say about ten o'clock and two o'clock is described as the "no sail zone".This is where you will be head to wind,or sailing directly into the eye of the wind.You cannot make any forward motion(headway)there.
It is therefore important for you to sail as close to the wind as you can(ie.two fifteen of nine fourty five)and zigzag back and fourth in order to sail to a destination that is anywhere between the ten and the two.Sailing this close to the wind is called "beating",because you are sailing upwind.
You also need to know how to"bring her about".
When you have zigged as far as you can,and you just gotta zag,you must understand that you will turn through the eye of the wind and it will then be on the other side of the craft.You then have to bring the sails over to the other side.
In other words wind on one side=sails on the other side.When you turn through the eye of the wind(12 o'clock)you must also move the sails too.
I sail boats,not windsurfers,but the principles are the same.
Another good thing to bear in mind is that the closer to the wind you get(ie. closer to 12 o'clock),the closer your sails should be to the centerline of the boat.If your sails flap around when you are going upwind,pull them in more tightly.ease them out as you start to go downwind.
"Haul em in for weather work,and ease em out for running!"
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