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Jul 1, 2014
Hunter 33.5 St. Petersburg
I race a Hunter 33.5 that has the elliptical blub with the little wings. I am wondering if anyone has knowledge of the optimal angle of heal for upwind performance?
Oct 19, 2017
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Keel designed for shallow draft, boat's B&R riggin for flat sailing.
B&R rigging is for flat sailing? Tell me about that?

The B&R rig aside, it has always been my understanding that the dead rise (the angle between keel and chine) is designed to be the optimum angle for heel. That is, when the boat heels at this angle, the surface of this half of the bottom is flat in the water and represents the optimum shape, for that hull, to glide over the water with the least resistance. Whatever that is for the Hunter 33.5 is probably the optimum angle of heel.

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Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
It's really about the rudder. If you are using too much rudder the boat is over heeled. The rudder is a brake. In light air some heel decreases wetted surface area reducing drag and helps the sails to hold the little air there is without flogging. It is common practice to put some crew on the leeward rail to induce some heel. You also have to pay attention to fore/aft boat trim. You don't want the transom dragging (Get those crew out of the cockpit) but you want waterline length so you don't want to lift the transom out of the water either. As wind speed increases flat is fast. Keep the boat on its feet.


Jun 1, 2004
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Time to do some testing. Get out your pencil and paper and start logging boat speed, rudder angle, wind speed and angle, etc....with various angles of heel..... hoping that sweet spot will reveal itself so you'll be one up on the competition.:cool:
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Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
@shemandr makes a good point about the rudder helping you feel the needs of the boat. Too much heel and you loose control. Bring the boat back on her feet and you will gain control and speed.

@Joe is spot on. If you want to go fast you need to learn to sail fast. The best way is to practice. Tacking. Sailing up wind. Sailing on a reach. Tacking. Gybing. Tacking.

When you are serious, go crew on a boat with a skipper who wins races. Learn the skills then tack them back to your boat and practice what you learned.

More so than worrying about heel, study the art of sail trim. Learn to steer a straight path. It will ease the work of your crew and you will be faster overall. It is a real pain to trim the sails only to have the helm wandering all over the place.
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May 25, 2012
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
if you wanna win the racing your doing, buy 'high performance sailing' by frank bethwaite.

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Dr. D

Nov 3, 2018
Beneteau Oceanis 35.1 Herrington Harbour North

Seriously, in moderate to strong winds having the boat with the rail nearly in the water is the slow way to go. You are dragging more hull through the water creating more drag. Reef the main first, then if that doesn't let you sail with little rudder angle, reef the genoa.
Jan 19, 2010
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Sail on a lift, tack on a header...If you are getting lift to a mark while albeit carrying heel, it's a calculation to determine if you are slower than the boats falling off. Tactically, staying as close to the wind as possible as you close on a windward mark means boats on your beam need to sail further to make the mark..
Jul 1, 2014
Hunter 33.5 St. Petersburg
Thanks for all your comments. I may have misrepresented myself. I am not exactly a novice. My office walls are lined with sailing trophies. I understand the fundamentals of upwind sailing. What I was hoping to find is someone with experience sailing the Hunter elliptical bulb keel with the winglets. One of my competitors who has even more trophies than me and previously sailed a larger version of my boat, has told me that I should be sailing upwind with 20 degrees of heel. I've tried this several times and believe it to be slow. I have always raced the boat at 12-15 degrees and found it to be a reasonable upwind performer. He's a very fierce competitor and I have begun to wonder if he gave me erroneous information on purpose to improve his standing.
Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
.........I have always raced the boat at 12-15 degrees and found it to be a reasonable upwind performer. He's a very fierce competitor and I have begun to wonder if he gave me erroneous information on purpose to improve his standing.
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