“As we sailed upwind towards Malibu in the distance, the first thing that caught my eye was the tight sheeting angle of the jib. It was a thing of beauty,” writes Blue Water Sailing’s Andrew Cross. “And when it was my turn at the helm I sat to leeward and played with the telltales, feathering at about a 40-degree apparent wind angle and topping out at 7.6 knots of boatspeed. I could tell that the 560’s eight foot two inch draft was helping our upwind performance, and the smaller in-mast furling main didn’t seem to detract from our overall speed or pointing ability.
“While sailing upwind in the fresher afternoon breeze, we healed to about 15 degrees and locked in on the boat’s hard chine, which runs nearly the length of the boat. When a gust would hit it seemed as though it might go further over, but it never did. You hear people say that some big boats sail like a dinghy, and that’s what everyone seemed to be repeating as we rotated through. The helm was light and steering was effortless. With the self-tacking jib, every maneuver was dead simple. It was all helmsman. Whoever was on the helm would jokingly call the tack and bring the boat through the wind—no adjusting sheets, just steering.
“After putting the boat through a series of graceful tacks and trying to best each other’s upwind speeds, we got the spinnaker rigged at the bow from the forward sail locker and cracked off for a set. Normally the 560 would fly a furling A-sail from the integral bowsprit, but the type of sail and color is an owner’s option so we had a borrowed cruising spinnaker in a sock.
“We set the spinnaker during both sailing sessions, but in the increased afternoon breeze she really came into her own. Acceleration was immediate and, thanks to the electric winches, trimming the sheets was easy in all the wind conditions we encountered. Jibing took a little more coordination, but our very able crew made quick work of the task. Just as in a tack, the boat scooted forward quickly after each jibe was complete and the spinnaker was trimmed. And though we weren’t out racing with the Wednesday night fleet, we certainly looked like we could have been.