Tight turns under power

This weekend I am running a boat handling course. The intent is to improve the students skills at close quarters sail boat handling under power in mooring situations.

During an exercise spinning the yacht (Sigma 38) is a tight space we notice that sometimes it was taking much more space to complete the turn, even though the helmsman was doing exactly the same thing and the conditions were very similar.

We realised that the difference was that on some of the turns, some of the crew were standing on the foredeck.

I have run hundreds of these courses over the years and never before noticed the effect of 3 or 4 heavy men standing at the bow instead of being near the center of the vessel. Part of the cause may have been the extra windage they presented, but as the wind was fairly light I looked for another cause.

Thinking about it, I realised that it was obvious that if you put an extra 5-600 pounds on the end of the boat it will slow the rate of rotation, especially on a boat like the Sigma 38 where the center of rotation is fairly well aft anyway.

So in future when I am having to turn in tight spaces I will be getting the crew to stay near the center of the vessel.


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