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The increasing division between racing and daysailing sailboats

by John MacBeath Watkins

The evolution of planing sailboats has favored the fast over the pleasant, at least in development classes.

Here, for example, is an interpretation of current trends in planing sailboats:

This represents a 17-foot racing dinghy with minimal initial stability, a high prismatic coefficient (.58) and hiking wings. The waterline beam is about 2 feet 9 inches, the beam of the hull is about 3 feet, and the beam of the hiking wings is about 8 feet. The entrance angle is less than 9 degrees. It would carry about 200 square feet of sail, have a crew of two, both using trapezes to increase their righting moment, and it would have a reefing bowsprit for an asymmetric spinnaker. Everything, the hull, the rig, even the hiking racks, would be built with carbon fiber so that its scant displacement can support two highly skilled sailors.

And they'd better be highly skilled, because although fast, the boat will be nearly impossible to sail. It is designed to have the leas…

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