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This discussion will be limited to the very basics of sailing and to those things which are directly pertinent to your having an enjoyable "first time out" with your new WINGSAILER.  If you wish to develop your sailing skills further to attain a more comprehensive understanding of the craft that you will be sailing, along with the natural elements upon which you will be depending, a trip to the public library will afford you with all the written information you need.  From then on your learning will depend upon your willingness to talk to other sailors and experiment from the cockpit of your WINGSAILER.

First you need to understand something about how the wing or sail (the basic principles are the same) develops the driving force that moves your boat through the water. Since you depend on wind to drive your boat and wind is simply moving air, we will begin with a very brief look into some fundamental aerodynamics.

NOTE: Any time we do something that changes the direction of a flow of air (or wind), forces are generated -- some good (or useful) and some bad (or a pain in the neck).








Wingsailing Basics





is not good - it wants to heel or lean our boat over and slow our forward movement. There is one exception to this statement which will be discussed later.   Thrust is good - it moves our boat along.


The next time you are riding in a car at about 50 miles per hour, double up your fist and stick your arm out the window.  As you have probably already guessed, your arm will be dragged back with the wind towards the rear of the car.  Your arm has caused the wind to have to change its path or direction.  It is forced to flow around your arm generating the force called drag---only drag.  There is nothing useful here.

Now, open your hand with your fingers lying tightly together to form a flat plate and face the palm of your hand toward the front of the car.  Yes, you have generated more drag.  This is because you have caused more wind to change direction.


Now, let's do something really good.  Starting with your hand in the reduced drag position (palm down and moving through the air horizontally), twist the thumb side of your hand up a little (1" or so) so that the wind hits your palm at an angle and is deflected downward.  Drag is still being generated but a new force has appeared. Your hand is now being pushed upward.  In an airplane this force is called "lift". As we are going to use it on sailboats it is called "thrust" or "drive".

NOTE: "Thrust" or "lift" can
never be generated without also generating drag to at least some degree.  It is time to apply the previous information to sailing a boat.

First, let's see if we can turn something that is normally considered bad, into something that will work in our favor -  in this case, the force called drag.