Aero Tips #1

weather-heel

Learning to sail a new boat can be easy, learning to master one is quite a journey. I'm going to start a series of posts with little tips that I'm learning about the Aero. The first is two tips for sailing the Aero in light air.

Because I'm just learning the Aero, some of these tips may eventually turn out to be lemons. They may seem right today, but more experience will certainly highlight better ways of doing things.

Anyway, here are two tips for light Air sailing. One tip is for upwind in waves and one for downwind.

Upwind

I was pleasantly surprised today. A wave set came through from a large distant vessel. These waves would normally have made a Laser pound of the waves and slap its bow, dissipating speed and energy. You need to use strong fore/after body torquing to keep the Laser attached to the water and try to ride over the waves without pounding.

When the waves came, the Aero sliced through the waves and rode up and over with little splash or fuss. Interesting. So the Aero rides waves very differently. The bow is much finer and can slice the waves instead of pounding them into submissions and the boat rides up and over the waves with much less torquing required. As the waves receded, I was smiling again — this may be a much easier ride in chop than the Laser. Time will tell.

Aero Tip #1

Don't over-torque your body or the boat. Let the boat naturally ride over the waves or slice through the waves.

Downwind

Learned something surprising today. When the Aero heels to leeward, it does not get strong lee helm. Rather, it wants to keep trucking straight ahead. In contrast, the Laser gets strong lee helm when the boat is well heeled to weather.

The Laser can do a down-turn quite easily by heeling strongly to weather. The boat gets lee helm and you simply let the rudder follow the boat. Little force on the rudder is required.

In the Aero, when you heel to weather, the boat develops very little lee helm. So if you want to bear away more by the lee, you must use a little force on the tiller to direct the boat. Big heels to weather, digging in the chine, are slow and also unstable — the boat simply does not like that position and it wants to keep rolling to weather. Turning to go deeper by the lee does not correct the heel, you must use your weight.

Aero Tip #2

Don't over heel the boat to weather. When a gust increased the heel, use your weight to flatten rather than the tiller.

Note: the picture at the top of the post is demonstrating too much heel. At least that is what I believe today.