Fast Handling Techniques
- It is so refreshing to pick up a book that is fresh and full of original content, not hashed
together from course theory material and referenced material from multiple sources,
too many technical authors these days are lazy publishers of others' material - that is
so not the case with Frank Bethwaite. Not a Yorkshire reservoir sailor as his name
may suggest but an inspirational sailor, pilot, engineer, boat designer, instructor, coach
- Sailing always at the edge, steer for balance set the stability limit, perhaps not for
cruisers but the theory of combining rudder position and sail trim is just as valid but
harder to feel on cruisers resulting in often sub-optimal speeds, how often do we lazily
sail along at 5knts when with better handling 5.5 or 6 might be possible.
- This is a book about what sailing should be about, feel, not stats and theory and
standard settings but feel, sure there is a lot of science in here but it is there I feel, no
pun, to back up the author's assertion that there is no one size fits all approach and
that sailing on the edge is about feel and confidence.
- Well that was what I thought until I hit chapter 2 when the science hit
- 20 years ago I sailed with an instructor in Greece at a rather shabby sailing school,
Rory's advice on sail trim for the ISO we were sailing was flat/full/flat, it always made
intuitive sense but I never really knew why, Frank eloquently explains why, in light airs
when the water is glassy, it is not that there is no wind but that there is thick laminar
boundary layer and you and your boat are in it! The only useful wind is at the top of
your sails so concentrate on the sail shape at the top by flattening and twisting the
- Too much curve and the air travelling either side of the sail will suffer 'laminar
separation' and the sail and boat will stall, why flat and twisted well I'll leave you to
read, the logic is well set out and illuminating, it's all about the difference in apparent
wind speed with height above the water.
- There is no doubt that this book is hard going in places but if the reader has a
technical background, races high performance dinghies/skiffs or just sticks at it there
is a lot of insightful content.