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Secrets of the St. Lawrence

The wind in your sails - Hard a-port!

The wind in your sails (PDF; 1.91 MB)

Point ho!

- "With the wind at our backs like this, we're best to go to the left around the island. There's plenty of clearance over the shoals and we'll be able to go faster. The wind is amazing! There's no speed limit, but you can depend on it to follow its own rules."

Corner effect

Whenever the wind encounters an obstacle, it tends to shift to the left, and to strengthen.

This is true in the case of islands, capes and points.

When the wind is with you, it's always tempting to go along with it and sail around an island to the left. Just be careful to check your charts to make sure you won't find any unpleasant surprises in the form of shoals.

The corner effect - wind coming from the top right encountering an island shifts wind direction to the left of the island and intensifies wind strength.

Slower to the right

Obviously, in such a case, there won't be much wind to the right of the obstacle. In the lee of the island, you may run into turbulence for quite a while, but you can avoid it by staying very close to the shore.

The rules

High above the earth's surface, the wind blows freely. Over the ocean, friction between the water and the wind slows it down slightly and deflects it to the left.

The braking and deflection effects are stronger over the land, since there is greater friction between the land and the wind.

Wind direction is shifted 15° to 20° to the left by interactions with the water, and 30° to 40° to the left by land.

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