Monday, November 24, 2014

Hudless J-class sailing

A few days back ZZ asked if the Maia can be sailed without a hud; I answered yes. Maia comes with a nice hud, but she also has key features known from RL such as compass, luffing and a windex. Here's a few images to support it.
Well trimmed sails won't flap
First up there's the flapping. Racers like telltails because they give an early warning of non-optimum airflow. However, it is perfectly possible to cruise and race without telltails. Just pick your course. Let out the sails till they flap, and then sheet in untill they stop flapping. The hud will help you find and stay at the point of optimum sailtrim - as will telltails; However, when you are cruising, no-one pays attention to that last half knot of speed. They care about the freshness of the lime in the GT and the spectacular view...
When you are at the wheel, there's a compass right in front of you. Look down a bit, and if you are one of those ppl with huge boobs, you're in trouble. Me, I can see the compass just fine, and yes it does rotate... or rather the compass stays still while the boat rotates. Oh, and note there's no cupholder, so you gotta steer with one hand while balancing your soft drink with the other. (or just don't drink and drive ;-) 
Windex tells you apparent wind direction
Up the mast is a pretty little helper-thingie. It is the well known windex that more and more boat builders now seem to include, and that i soooo nice. No more texthuds needed. Just look up and you know the wind. Just like a real boat. 
Heeling tells you windspeed
But it doesn't tell the windspeed, and there's no meter saying how strong the wind is. True. No need for a windspeed readout. That you must figure out yourself from the heel. Once the sails are trimmed, she will heel over according to windspeed. The boatspeed will - ofcourse - also be affected by this.
Downwind winging
That's really all there is to it. It helps a lot if you have a basic understanding of windangle versus sail angle. Downwind the wind hits the sails with a 90 degree angle and simply pushes the boat. Upwind it is a different story. Upwind the sails are almost aligned with the wind creating low pressure on the back of the sail essentially pulling the boat forwards. Just one more thing... the Maia is big. Craig spent some time making it sail like a big boat. She is not a dinghy. It will take a while to adjust course or turn her around.


  1. If you are not racing and don't care where you are going, set the sails for the general direction desired, and then adjust the rudder based on the sails. Sit on the windward side of the boat (high side when heeled over) and if the healing get too sever, push the tiller out a bit until the pressure lets up and the heeling lessons. If the fore sail starts to luffs (flaps on the front edge) pull the tiller toward you until the sail fills again. When the winds are shifty, you never know just where you will end up, just relax and enjoy the ride.

    If, on the other hand, you have a specific goal in mind, like making the harbor before the winds die at sunset, things are a bit different. Then you need to optimize your setting for the desire direction, and be ready to adjust both sail and tiller.

    Of course, if you are racing, then you really do care about that extra speed. Perhaps you should have the carbon sails, with tell-tales, too. A knowledgeable crewmate to ride the rail, is really handy.

    Each aspect appeals to a different type of sailor.


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