Windward Heel and Lightwind Sailing

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On the rooster upwind dvd steve cockrill goes on a great deal about how it can be really beneficial to sail with some windward heel in lightwind.

He said that what you do is head down, heel to windward, and push the tiller away from you, without pinching too much.

Apparently, the pushing on the rudder alters the direction of waterflow across the daggerboard, and suddenly, after some squirreling, it feels like someones pulling on your daggerboard to windward.

The bearing off gives you speed and the heel gives you height.

He said that only a few can accomplish this feat and do it really well. Have any of you tried this and are there any tips you can give me?

Ross B

I can do it sometimes, it just takes a lot of practice, you really have to practice it alot to get the feel
Much like Ross says above... I can do it sometimes!
What I have found is that I need to sit stupidly far forward for it to work for me. I find that if i get a decent (ie, watch out for rule 42) roll tack and get into position straight away, my speed stays up, and my height is awesome. I guess thats the same as bearing off to get the speed.

Bear in mind that i'm usually racing in a mixed fleet, and so far ahead of the other lasers, that I cant get an accurate measure, but i often beat boats I shouldn't be keeping up with!

We have a Laser open at our club next week, and some of the country's best laser sailers will be here, so I'll let you know how it goes! The same guy has won this circuit for the past three years, so we're all gunning for him!
I find for me windward heel works best when there is enough wind for me to lean in a little and the boat go back to perfectly flat. Any lighter than these conditions it doesnt work for me, as the boom wants to come in to centerline. I always sail between perfectly flat and leaning to weather. I always imagine a wind gust hitting me making the boat perfectly flat and in the lulls the boat to windward a bit. At my club we practice with a grand master world champion and he sails the boat the same way.