Trimming sails is a challenging crew position that requires knowledge and experience but the trimmer also needs the ability to work with the rest of the crew. 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...
Excerpts from an interview with highly accomplished Dinghy through to Maxi Yacht sailor and North Sails sailmaker Michael Coxon. What's the most important sail control and how does that vary from class to class? “The most important sail control for any boat is the sheet tension. Where the sheet tension will tend to control the twist of the sail and...
Firstly, I would like to correct an error in last weeks Blog regarding using the compass to establish Line bias. Phil Crebbin, a UK 470 Olympian kindly pointed this out and has provided the correct method which is copied below in bold. Everybody knows that it is the wind direction vs the line direction that defines the bias of the...
Twist, is the relative trim of your sail from top to bottom. Your sail has a lot of twist when the top of the leech is open and when you have a closed leech, this is described as little twist. The effect of an increase in twist is a reduction of power and reducing twist adds power up to...
Depending on the boat you sail, the boom vang will be one of the most important controls to determine the twist of your mainsail.  As we go from sailing upwind to across the wind and then downwind, the difference in mainsheet tension will determine how much the boom will try to lift as you ease the sheet and this is...
Upwind sail power comes from 3 sources: The angle of attack. Depth in the sail (draft) Twist. When trimming our sails we want to get our boat to full power and we must adjust for the sailing conditions by altering the three power sources listed above. Sails are built so that they can perform in a variety of conditions but must be fine-tuned by...
  Effects of Headstay Sag Headstay sag affects everything from boat speed to pointing ability and that's why headstay sag matters. Sailboats with headstay sag often point higher and maintain boatspeed better in light-air conditions. One of the key methods to power up a sail is to induce sag in the forestay. Dinghies obviously only have one jib and many sailboat classes limit...
The traveller has two functions, it controls the boom's angle to the wind and it steers the boat controlling helm and heeling in puffs and lulls. The mainsheet controls the twist and then you use the traveller to position the boom on the centreline for maximum power and pointing as long as helm and heeling are within the parameters that...
Gear changing is what separates the mid-fleet sailors from those who always seem to be a tad quicker and higher. While most of the fleet starts the race with a similar setup created with the help of a tuning guide, the fast boats are constantly making additional adjustments. When conditions suddenly change—a puff hits or you sail into a lull,...
Generally, on boats that are going slow, one sail will be much looser or tighter than the other or conversely, it might be flatter or fuller than the other. Fast boats have similar depth in the main and jib as well as similar twist profiles. It is worth noting though that even if conditions don’t dictate flat sails, flat sails...

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