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Sailing the MC

If you haven't sailed a scow before, let me try to explain what is going on. The scow is a very flat bottomed boat that, when sailed on a reach or a run, can skip along the top of the water on a plane at very high speeds.

Instead of a centerboard, the scow has two bilge boards that extend outward at a slight angle. When the scow heels on its side, the water line is extended and the wetted surface area is greatly reduced. In order to increase the water line, and maintain a good planing surface, the bow of the boat is rounded.

When the scow heels, the leeward board is pointing straight down in the water, which adds to the boat's upwind stability and pointing ability. The windward board is then retracted into the hull. The skipper's weight is now farther away from the center of gravity, adding to the boat's balance.

The shape of the hull, combined with a large sail plan, makes for a very fast and stable ride. If you check the handicap ratings, you will find that the MC, despite being only 16' long, can keep pace with many of the larger racing boats. Many people have tried to compare sailing a scow with a catamaran because, if you imagine having two hulls that are close together, you have almost built a scow.

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