Wind and sea conditions
Wind and sea conditions

Wind and Sea conditions

For those new to Sailing, it is Wind conditions that determine what direction and speed we can do safely, with the Sea state making this difficult, or sometimes impossible, to carry out. Understanding Wind strength and direction in relation to the Course we want to travel, is therefore critical and helps determine the correct Sail to use to match the conditions, for example in 20 knots True, as below:

Sailing Term - Apparent Wind Angle from the Bow - Conventional Sail Type

Not possible - 0 to 30 degrees - Headsails just flap in the wind

Close Hauled - 30 to 40 degrees - No 3 Jib

Close Reach - 40 to 80 degrees - No 2, No 1 or Reacher Spinnaker

Beam Reach - 80 to 120 degrees - No 1 or All-purpose Spinnaker

Broad Reach - 120 to 150 degrees - Reacher Headsail or Runner Spinnaker

Possible/slow - 150 to 180 degrees - Largest Spinnaker Runner

So even in this simple example, we see the need to change Sails depending on the angle of the wind to the direction we want to travel. In addition, as wind increases in strength, it is necessary to use stronger Sails, of reduced size.

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