Heavy Air Mainsail Trim
Hm, I think there might be two different scenarios in heavy air: overpowered, and not overpowered. In the overpowered case (more than ~6degrees of weather helm amongst other things), I think twisting the main off (actually the same for the jib if heeling too much) is a pretty good idea. In general, to depower, I do the following:
- outhaul on (flattens lower part of the sail. Be careful not to overdo it, or it tightens the leech too much, thereby untwisting the top and overpowering you again)
- backstay on (flattens esp. the middle of the sail. Also helps to twist the top off)
- cunningham on (opens the leech!, as well as flattens the luff and brings the draft forward)
If these don''t do it, you can move the traveller to windward, and allow the boom to ride up a bit to twist the top off even more. If you are still overpowered after all of this, you should definitely reef. If you can''t/don''t want to due to tactics, it''s most often faster to just ease the main and stop fighting the helm than to be overpowered, even if you backwind the main a bit.
Hope this helps.....Chris