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post #2 of Old 10-17-2002
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??C30 Points of sail, trim and tuning??

1) The 150% genoa is too much sail for 20 kts of wind. Because the boat was overpowered, it heeled excessively. When a sailboat heels excessively, the amount of drag on the underwater surfaces increases, and the boats slows down. Sailboats are designed to sail the most efficiently when they are relatively upright. If you reduce headsail area to 100 or 110%, and reef the mainsail, the boat will sail much more upright, and faster. The genoa gathers a large volume of air in the space between the headstay and the mast, and it funnels that air through the narrow slot between the genoa and the mainsail. When you see the mainsail luffing, that means that too great a volume of air is being forced through the slot, and it is lifting the luff of the mainsail. When you see the mainsail luffing and the boat is heeling excessively, that tells you that it is time to reduce sail area.

2) Generally, the closer you are sailing to windward, the tighter and flatter you trim your sails. As you fall off the wind, ease both the mainsail and the jib.

3) The fastest point of sail for most sailboats is a beam reach, but the best point of sail is the one that gets you to your destination in the shortest distance, the least time, and in the safest and most comfortable manner.

4) See the last sentence of #1, above, and see paragraph #8, below.

5) The website for the Catalina 30 National Association ( is the best source of information of this sort. On that site, Catalina owners share their knowledge and experiences on sailing, rigging, repairing and modifying the boat.

6) I donít believe that wind alone will capsize your boat. When the wind blows really hard, the boat will heel increasingly until she is lying on her side if you donít do anything to prevent it, but the ballast in the keel will prevent her from rolling over any further. I have seen some boats go over that far without even getting water in the cockpit. However, if a big wave rolls over her when she is in that situation, the wave can roll her over, mast-down. Nevertheless, the weight of the keel will act as a lever, and bring her back upright rather quickly.

7) The people at the Catalina 30 website can give you the best answer to this question.

8) In order for a sailboat to function efficiently, the forces exerted on the headsail have to be balanced against the forces exerted on the mainsail. The size and shape of the headsail has to be proportionate to the size and shape of the mainsail. As a general principle, the headsail generates the most forward drive, and the mainsail helps the boat point to windward. The particular disadvantage of the mainsail, however, is that it is more responsible for excessive heeling and for excessive tiller pressure than is the headsail. When the boat heels excessively and the genoa is backwinding the mainsail, and you feel excessive pressure on the rudder, it is time to reduce sail area.

When my boat is overpowered (excessive heeling or rudder pressure), and I am trying to decide whether to reef the mainsail or to reduce the size of the headsail, I completely ease the mainsheet while the wind is gusting. If the boat does not continue to heel excessively when sailing under jib alone, then I reef the mainsail. By reducing mainsail area, it will help the boat point to windward, it will reduce the rudder pressure, and the mainsail will not generate so much heeling moment. However, if the boat is still heeling excessively, or very nearly so, when I completely ease the mainsheet, then it is time to reduce the size of the headsail. When I reduce the size of the headsail, I usually tuck in a flattening reef in the mainsail. If that does not sufficiently relieve the rudder pressure or excessive heeling, then I tuck in the first full reef in the mainsail.
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