Originally Posted by carlsoti
Would you care to explain what exactly is going on there for us newbies? To me, it more or less looks like you're sailing in a circle? What is it you're looking at/for? What are the control inputs you're giving?
Don't know if it really works, but this is the what I was told ~40 years ago. Steady wind, up to about 10kts, because you will be jibing. Sails set at about 1/4 reach position and tied off. Rudder just a bit off center to turn into the wind gently, and tied off. Without any other inputs the boat will sail on a reach, turn into the wind, tack, sail back, jibe, and sail on initial heading, etc. Take a bearing at midpoint of first tack and after four or five more. If the 'circle' is migrating one way or another, you are sailing farther on that tack in the same amount of time than you are on the other tack. Verify by shifting the rudder to the other side and going opposite direction around the circles. Smaller boats need more attention to minimize weight shifts to get accurate results. If the wind changes, you have had fun, but have zippo results. This can also be used if by yourself and need to go below to make a sandwich or get rid of a previous one. The boat sails in gentle circles 'station keeping' while you are busy. Aren't you glad you asked?