Joel was right. He did a great post about how a welsford navigator will sail herself if you balance the mizzen, jib and mainsail.
I decided to test this out for myself. With the vastness of plymouth sound before me and the winds coming from the north west, it was the perfect time for sailing back and forth from Mt. Edgecumbe in the west to Jennyycliffe in the east.
It took a little figuring out. You have to get a neutral rudder so I sheeted in the jib and mainsail as hard as it could and then started experimenting with easing out the mizzen. And lo and behold, Arwen sales herself. What a revelation to someone who doesn't sail as frequently as he might like!! Not only that but I also discovered that occasionally when Arwen just jeered off course slightly, an adjustment on the jib would have her back on course............amazing!
And so a few happy hours were spent tacking back and forth on close hauls and close reaches and the great thing is you could line up marks on distant shores aft and for'ard to see how much deviation the was from your course. Very little I am amazed to say!
Of course I'd actually gone sailing with the intention of getting back the long ago lost skills of picking up a mooring under sail; or of coming alongside something and actually stopping under control; or sailing onto and off a beach. Why the sudden desire to remaster these skills? Well because I am escorting our CCF students one evening a week to a Royal Navy training facilities where hey adoring their powerboat level two and the instructor said since I was an experienced sailor I may like to take some students out on a bosun dinghy and teach them the finer arts of sailing back to the shore and picking up a mooring. !!!!!&^#?|"$¥ was all I could think...........quietly in my head!