Archive for February, 2013
a short-duration increase in true wind speed, on a scale of seconds or minutes. On a beat or a reach a puff moves the apparent wind direction more aft in relation to true wind direction. Puffs come from the prevailing wind direction, so distinguish puffs by looking to weather for a concentration of ripples across the water. The water will usually be darker where it is disturbed. Also look for the ripple direction to see whether the puff is a lift or a header. A lifted puff comes from aft of the prevailing wind direction; e.g., more than 45 degrees aft of a close-hauled sailing course. A headed puff comes from forward of the prevailing wind direction; e.g., fewer than 45 degrees aft of a close-hauled sailing course. Upwind, puffs affect a boat more frequently than they do downwind, but they are of a shorter duration because the boat and the puff move in opposite directions. Downwind, puffs are less frequent than upwind, but they affect a boat for a longer duration because the puff and boat move in the same general direction. Puffs are more beneficial than shifts in light air, especially on runs. Puffs provide an increase in pressure, resulting in increased boat speed. Also known as a gust cell. See also: cat’s paw, directional puff, header, lift, and velocity lift.
bundles of carbon-based filaments woven into sheets or tubes. When this fabric is embedded within plastic resin (i.e., epoxy) and formed into strong, lightweight material for such things as spars, structural members or hulls, the material is known formally as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), but is often commonly referred to as carbon fiber. Carbon bundles may also be sandwiched between polyester film, such as Mylar, and formed into sails. See also: string sail. Compare to GRP.
a race conducted on a large body of water or across several bodies of water and that lasts an extended period of time—from a few hours to several days or more. Distance races can begin near one port and finish near another, or they can return to the starting port after covering considerably more miles than a buoy race. Distance race strategy evolves as a race progresses. Early in the race, the strategic priorities are to find the most favorable weather pattern, to get to the weather pattern before the competition and to be better placed within that weather system. Of course, as competitors approach the finish mark, tactics shift more towards those of a buoy race, where the priorities are to stay between any opponents and the next mark or wind shift, and to consolidate any leverage gained. Also referred to as an offshore race or port-to-port race. See also: Chicago Mac, Fastnet, Newport-Bermuda, and Transpac.
removable wooden or plastic boards that slide vertically into grooves on either side of a companionway—one above the other—and that prevent water from getting below. Also used to secure a boat when she is unattended.
a shallow area typically composed of sand, silt or rocks, within or that projects beyond the coastline of a body of water. A shoal may become exposed at low tide and always poses a danger to boats. See also: shoal draft keel.
Offshore Racing Rule. A measurement-based handicap rating system for offshore cruising and racing boats. The rating is based on a boat’s hull, her rig and weight measurements, her sail inventory, and the results of a velocity prediction program (VPP), a complex computer program that estimates a specific boat’s performance over a range of wind speeds and sailing angles. The Offshore Racing Association (ORA), an alliance of the Chicago Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America, and the Transpacific Yacht Club, administers the ORR. For more information, browse to http://www.offshorerace.org. See also: corrected time. Compare to: box rule, IRC, level racing, ORC and PHRF.