Sailing too close to the wind

What does "Sailing too close to the wind" mean?

Today it means: Just within the rules, only just getting away with it.

If a sailing ship sails too close to where the wind is coming from, the headsails will start to flap a little; known as luffing. The ship would then slow down and not sail efficiently. If the ship goes a little closer to the wind there's a danger that she will go through the wind and would end up heading the wrong way with the sails incorrectly set. A serious problem.

It's best to sail close enough to the wind that the sails are just off the point of flapping and you'll get away with it.

See also: Luff, Luff up or Luffing   

By SailingQuiz November 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              

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