How close to and far off the wind?

I have recently purchased FS 4861 and hope to begin to race her this year. While I am not new to sailing, I am new to dinghy class racing. My main goal is to improve my sailing skill and have a little fun. At age 59 I don't expect much more than that.

I have been studying the Flying Scot performance predictions and polars posted on the Unofficial Flying Scot Web Site Needless to say, I have some questions.

It appears that the Scot sails best about 50 deg off True up to 6 knots. Above 8 knots the optimum is hovers around 45 deg off True. The boat should be sailed almost flat until 12 knots, and by 14 knots heel is 19 deg and should never exceed that. I have been told the Scot begins to plane around 12 to 14 knots. Does this mean that I should sail the boat flat until it planes and then try to keep heel at 19 degrees?

The tables seem to indicate that the optimum tack angle is around 15 deg to apparent in nearly all wind speeds. But if I am reading the apparent polar correctly, the optimum appears to be something near 28 degrees. What is correct?

The polars suggest that tacking downwind in the range of 140 to 160 deg off True. In the race I witnessed the good sailors did not seem to do this. Comments?

Ha anyone noticed any differences between the performance prediction program analysis an their Scot on the water.

Welcome to the best class in the world. Where are you located and where will you be racing? Talk to the top Scot sailors in your area. You will find them most willing to help. Come to Midwinters next year for the Hot Scot Topgun School. All the top sailors will be sharing their knowledge in an easy to understand fashion.

Now here's my take on your questions. On the wind: First, set up your boat (mast rake and tension) according to the tuning guide for your sails, Most are available on the sailmaker's website. Second, sail to the telltails on the jib (outer flowing straight, inner lifting occasionally), keeping the main trimmed using the sheet and vang to set the top batten chord parallel with the boom. (There is a tendency to over trim the main as you get started.) Set mast rake and work with your sails to achieve a nearly neutral helm. Weather helm is slow...

As far as heel is concerned, sail the boat so the plane of the bench seat is level with the water. Also inportant is the foreand aft trim. You usually want to avoid dragging the stern by centering crew and skipper weight forward of the aft end of the centerboard trunk, but in planing conditions, you will both likely be aft of the trunk to keep the bow up. There are exceptions to all of the above, but that will come with experience in the boat

Bob New
FS 5143
Merritt Island Florida
Fleet Captain Fleet 179

Thanks Bob,

I'll be sailing within a couple hundred mile radius of Muscle Shoals Sailing Club which is on Wilson Lake in Alabama near Florence. I hope to be at the mid-winters next year.

The polars are derived as a theoretical output from a series of assumptions. As such, they differ from polar diagrams of aircraft performance which have actual flight-test data. The FS polars are valid for making some insights about expected performance, but are not predictive. For instance, under most conditions the Scot will be fastest on a beam reach and will predictably go slower at a higher, or lower, angle of attack to the true wind. This is in line with what you will experience on the water. I would not try to sail a Scot to these values, however. The heel angles (up to 20 degrees)are far higher than you should maintain. A Scot will have an enormous amount of windward helm at that point and the boat will be sliding off to leeward (even if it doesn't feel that way) I think this is a result of the algorithms used in the program computing righting moment, not on what the actual practice is.

The boats you are observing are probably sailing a far more optimal attitude and angle. Your best bet in going up the learning curve would be to do-as they-do.