View Full Version : Wait a sececond, does weight matter?
23rd April 2007, 12:40 AM
Just watched the DVD "Faster" with Dave White and Peter Hart. Dave White (probably around 275 to 300 pounds) more or less dismisses size as a factor for speed potential. Peter Hart isn't so sure and says that he was sometimes faster than Dave White when Dave was a "normal" size. There's a clip of the two of them racing each other and when a gust hits Dave White takes off (he just leans back and goes) leaving Peter Hart in his spray.
I read an article by Robby Naish where he says he couldn't keep up to the big guys (being the best pros) close to the wind, but could hold his own off the wind.
How big a facter is leverage when racing or looking for ultimate speed? Is weight more important than height or the other way around? Does the combination of being heavy and tall give a distinct advantage if all other things are pretty much equal? It seems to me that most of the top speeds go to the "big" people - www.gpsspeedsailing.com. I am realy just looking for an excuse not to diet!;)
23rd April 2007, 07:56 PM
The top speed sailors (Finian Maynary, Bjorn) are all big guys. In very strong winds bigger is faster.
23rd April 2007, 09:12 PM
On the topic of speed...
As a lightweight myself, the most I've weighed is 65 kilos. I can attest that people who are heavier hold a distinct advantage over me when the winds pick up. I've watched friends who weigh more than me take out my own gear (when I'm overpowered) and hold the sail down just fine ... and go much faster than I was.
When it comes to time on the water, I am happy to be a lightweight.
Two things come to mind...
(1) I can get out there and plane in less wind
(2) I can sail in shallower waters
I never really thought of #2 until this past week. I was staying at Hatteras for a week of sailing. My (185 pound cousin) was with me. When the winds shifted to a direction that left us with very shallow water, I was still able to sail. Meanwhile, my cousin managed to crack the noses of two boards and bent a boom sailing in the same waters. I would fly over the sandbars with my 26cm or 22cm fins. He was stuck with a 32cm fin, which was too deep for the area. The conditions weren't strong enough for him to try a smaller fin.
I realized that sailing in water that is only 1 foot (30cm) deep water is a total rush. There is no chop to deal with, and maneuvers are a breeze in the flat waters.
24th April 2007, 01:14 AM
I think Karin Jaggi proves that weight doesn't matter.
Women Speed Sailing World Record (41.25 knots)
24th April 2007, 02:01 AM
Surely that proves it does !
24th April 2007, 10:25 AM
My opinion is that in going for pure speed ( big broad reach ) weight has less effect on top speed. However it's a totally different story when on a beam reach or going upwind. The larger sailer can carry more sail and thus more power, end of story really!
Obviously strength and conditioning also play thier parts. Also the bigger guys are usually quite tall and thus have more leverage.
24th April 2007, 10:57 PM
I`d always thought that heavier sailors have better power to drag ratio and hence better top speed; point of sailing would have little effect if it were case.
(For example at 30 knots a 100k guy might have say 10% more drag than his 80k counterpart but his 25% extra weight translates (all things being equal) to being able to genarate 25% more power.
25% more power and only 10% more drag would give higher top speed. Hence why Whity (when well powwered up) will always beat Harty for Vmax. Its why weight jackets work. The extra weight does not lead to a proportional increase in drag.A bit more drag but a lot more power. (IF (If If IF:@) the exta weight can still get up onto the plane.:p
25th April 2007, 02:44 AM
agree with the others- when you get broad weight is less of an issue.
check out gps-speedsurfing top ten- mostly big guys but not all by any means.
there is one common factor though - all the times are at world class venues!
25th April 2007, 04:54 AM
All records are set broad !
25th April 2007, 07:36 AM
There was an article a couple of years ago in Winfsuf Magazine (I think) written by Jim Drake. He gave a ratio of an increase in weight with respect to leveraged and drag. As you increased weight, leverage increased significantly more than drag, as noted in a post above. That is apparently why in some small boat sailing classes they adjust how far racers can hyke out. The bigger you are the less length. I would guess there's a formula of some sort.
Weight jackets are filled with ?. Water might work since it wouldn't weigh you down once you fell in.
9th May 2007, 09:16 PM
It seems to me that more weight also helps in choppy conditions in that the sailor can stick to the water better.
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