Thursday, October 30, 2014
Light Air Heel
When I was at an RYA training center (note that I spell the word correctly) this summer, I was told by one of their dinghy racing instructors that on beats in light winds it is good to heel the boat about 5 to 10 degrees to leeward which should allow you to point slightly higher. Most of the Laser books say much the same and a quick Google search shows it seems to be the standard advice.
Since then I have tried it several times, but frankly have not noticed much of any difference. Of course this could be faulty technique. At the Masters I didn't notice any of the good sailors trying it on light wind days. Recently in our Club races we had light winds and I tried it and thought maybe it was helping me point just a bit higher but I was not sure.
Does it really make much of a difference ? If so, is it only because of less wetted surface and perhaps helping the sail to keep some shape or does it do something else also?