To find more speed is largely a matter of trial and error and getting to know your boat.
You can set your sails so that they look right but to get the last fraction of boat speed you must experiment with different settings and shapes to see which ones give you the best results.
Even when you are out having a pleasure sail or taking friends for a ride, experiment with luff, outhaul and leech tension, sighting up the sail to see what the sails look like after each adjustment.
As always, make notes about what worked and what didn’t so that next time you encounter similar conditions you can replicate the fast settings.
It is important to have reference points marked on sheets and the boat to enable you to faithfully reproduce the fast settings.
Using your vision memory of what fast settings looked like is never enough.
Whenever you make an adjustment (depending on the conditions) remember that it can take a reasonable amount of time for the boat to speed up or slow down.
Also, when a change has been made, it often takes the helmsman and crew a little time as well to settle in to the new setup so don’t be too hasty in assuming the changes have not worked and then adjust something else.
Take time to analyse what has occurred by watching the other boats in your fleet.
Given the vagaries of the wind and water it is very difficult to decide whether a change in speed relative to your competition is due to weather, a couple of short sharp waves, your steering or your sail trim.
There is no substitute for time on the water to make you a better sailor, to improve boat handling and to be able to make effective trim adjustments.
More often than not its the better sailor who wins.
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