A Checklist For Successful Trimming

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A Checklist For Successful Trimming

Trimming sails is a challenging crew position that requires knowledge and experience. The trimmer also needs the ability to work with the rest of the crew.

The goal of The Trimmer

The goal of the trimmer is to get the boat to perform at peak efficiency and to use that speed to outsail the competition. A good trimmer must recognise changing conditions and react accordingly. They need to take weather, sea state and tactical position on the race course into account.

The best teams set themselves up for success long before leaving the beach or dock and the trimmer is an integral part of that team.

As a trimmer, have a good understanding of what the forecasted weather is likely to be. A good trimmer also updates this information when out on the course.

Trimmers On Board Responsibilities

Once at the boat, look around your area, make sure everything is in its place and sails are packed and stowed where they are readily accessible. It is very important that all unnecessary gear is removed to ensure that the boat is as light as possible.

Inspect the sheets, blocks, winches, handles, cleats and jammers for any issues. Carry a grab bag with duct or electrical tape, lube, markers, sail repair tape and tools. Also, carry energy bars and drinks (include spares where appropriate).

Spray all moving shackles and clips to ensure that they will not seize at a crucial moment replacing any that are worn or bent. Make sure there are knots at the end of halyards, that all telltales on sails are intact and the right sails are in the right bags.

TrimmerWorks With  The Tactician

As a trimmer, you can be a valuable backup to the tactician so read and memorise the sailing instructions. Carry a rule book and notice of race in a waterproof folder for reference where necessary.

Keep target boat speeds and note down what sails are required depending on wind strengths and sea state. Have this information written on a card plus have it prominently displayed on the boat as a reference.

This is particularly important so that everyone can understand what sail should be set and when. Being able to refer to this means each crew member will be prepared as conditions change.

Trimming sails on a dinghy or being part of the crew on a Maxi is equally rewarding. Define the mission, set parameters, prepare your trimming area, stay focused and constantly review your fastest trim will make sure you are successful.

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