Sail trim for speed in all conditions. By Andrew kerr

Sail Trim, Tactics & Boat Handling
for Speed
By Andrew kerr
By Andrew Kerr
Tuning before the start – set up the
critical settings and split tacks
Rig tension – light Air
• In light air watch the leeward shrouds – if they
are taught then the rig is too tight , set it up
for the lulls and lots of power
Watch the leeward shrouds – how
loose are they ? How much forestay
sag ? Try a spinnaker halyard to the
forestay as a reference.
Key Elements upwind – Mainsail trim
• At the start- set up for power, note the 3
baton positions on mainsail across the range
of conditions – Open, closed, open again.
• Light Air Upwind :
– Set up the sail for twist - ventilate the leech
– have a fast mark on the mainsheet.
– Ease the Mainsail halyard to open the top of
Set up for power off the line
Key Elements upwind in light air - Jib
• Soft Jib/ Genoa Halyard – keep evaluating.
• Ease in the Lifts to help the speed
and gain the lift
Upwind Light/ medium air set up in
chop/ swell – some sag for power.
Trim the sails together, ease and
squeeze .
Roll tack the boat – but be sure not to
pre roll as it unloads the boat.
Roll tacking
Speed build out of tacks with both
leeches open and then closed as up to
Medium air
Medium Air Trim
• If smooth water Trim the mainsheet on so the
top baton is parallel to the boom or 2 to 3
degrees to weather for pointing.
• Set up for the lulls not the puffs – set the rig up
half a setting looser than the tuning guide.
Medium air trim
• If choppy set the boat up with more twist to
help deal the changing apparent windle
angle changes .
Medium air Trim
• If there is too much forestay sag the mainsail will
luff early – backstay on or tighten the forestay and/
or shrouds.
• Play the backstay like a throttle for power – be sure
to set it from the premise of max hiking on the rail
Medium Air Trim
Mainsail trim in medium air – flat
Medium air trim – flat water
Contrast in Mainsail leech tensions –
which looks best ?
Jib trim – Medium air – flat water.
Halyard tension effects leech profile .
Heavy air Trim
Heavy air Trim
Max outhaul
Max Backstay
Tight Cunningham
Rigid forestay
Tight vang – “ Vang sheeting”
Traveler down
Very tight Jib halyard for draft forward shape
Jib leads aft a small amount
Ease headsail in gusts in tandem with mainsail to
keep the slot consistent.
Minimum Forestay sag
Heavy air Trim
• Play the traveller to keep the boat at a
constant angle of heel
• If the traveller becomes exhausted as a vehicle
of balance, or the gusts are coming in very
quickly or you have a short traveller consider
Vang Sheeting .
Heavy air mantra – constant angle of
Twist !
Heavy air Trim with the Jib
• If sailing with the small jib – be sure to not
over sheet it and ease it slightly in the gusts to
keep the slot consistent and the boat tracking
• Make sure the halyard is really tight so that
you can ease the sheet and still maintain the
leech profile
Out hike the other teams !
Key elements for a big fleet
• Get off the line in the front row with a gap to
leeward - go for a low density area.
• Sail fast unhindered by other boats until you
decide to tack and consolidate.
• Meet the fleet later in the leg when it has
thinned out and the lanes are wider.
T10 NA’s 2010
Starting pictures – T10 NAC 2009
Starting pictures – T10 NAC 2009
Starting pictures – T10 NAC - 2007
Weather Mark rounding
Rounding the weather mark
• Be smooth – keep weight on the rail as long as
you can
• Ease the Vang slightly prior to the rounding
• Be sure to ease the main out fluidly and
quickly to help the bear away
Sailing to an Offset
Sailing to an offset mark – right
Sailing to an offset mark
• Sail the boat well between the marks
• Sight the offset mark – where is it, how far
and what angle ? Can we set the spinnaker?
Do we have to beat to it? ( left shift)
Downwind Trim
Have the pole height or tack line set to a
fast Mark
• Have the Vang set to a fast mark
• Assume the right angle as soon as possible –
the trimmer should immediately be talking to
the skipper about pressure on the sheet
• Assume the correct angle immediately – the
trimmer should be talking pressure on the
sheet all the time
Downwind trim – Key elements
• Play the pole height in puffs and lulls – raise
up in the puffs to get more projection , lower
the pole to induce stability in the sail
• Playing the vang & watching the top baton
carefully – 3 modes :
• Low mode – top baton open 3 to 5 degrees
• Average – parallel to the boom
• Rolling – enough o stop rolling
If overpowered on a reach- weight aft,
go with a bigger curl on the luff , play
the vang and leave the backstay on.
Spinnaker Pole height
• Watch where the luff breaks
Spinnaker Pole height – Light
Light air pole height with puffs
Spinnaker pole height – Medium
Pole height in light/ medium air, center
seam is vertical – look back for shifts/
puffs as you sail to the line.
Spinnaker pole Height medium air
Spinnaker pole height – medium air –
vertical profile
Spinnaker pole height – Heavy air –
lower to spill leech.
Weight distributed with neutral helm
Downwind weight placement
• Make sure the crew is distributed low and to the
sides so the boat steers itself.
• Particularly in light air get as many crew out of
the cockpit to reduce drag in the stern and
reduce wetted surface
• In marginal conditions – big puffs and lulls –
make sure the crew is moving for and aft so the
stern doesn't sink in the lulls or the bow is buried
in puffs.
Downwind – heel to weather
Heavy air trim & technique
Heavy air downwind
• Over sheet the spinnaker to prevent rolling
• Twing down on both sides to stop the
spinnaker oscillating
• Lower the pole to spill the upper leech
• Make sure there is enough vang on to stop
• Steer under the spinnaker center seam to
keep the boat upright
Ease the……… !!
Pole down – free fly
Weather takedown – weather heel
Spinnaker takedowns - Windward
• Set mainsail controls for upwind
• Headsail up, keep eased, set halyard tension
• Pole down – guy back, heel to weather & bear
Windward takedown
Leeward mark rounding
• If rounding alone (Clear air) – sail VMG
• Critical to trim the sails properly for the rate of
turn – particularly light air where the sails
want to be trimmed for every point of sail.
• Be sure to trim the Genoa strictly to the
Halyard drop – “stretch and blow”
Tighten the sheet , dump the halyard !
Gather the sail in with the middle of
the foot, only then release the guy.
Light air rounding – weight to leeward
and slow trim on the sails
Leeward mark rounding – good sail
Medium air rounding
Out of the rounding – jump in to your
mode – VMG, Fast forward or high
• Two boat tuning raises both teams
• Be careful of not over trimming – stalled sails take
twice as long to reattach flow as sails on the
verge of luffing
• Really focus on the critical settings before the
start so you are optimized off the starting line
• As much - if not more to be gained shifting gears
in the lulls as well as the puffs.
• The more you keep your head out of the boat the
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