Join Date: Jan 2010
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I am not a very experienced sailor but have had similar sails.
Some things I have learned:
Be really careful about hypothermia. You start getting chilled almost before you realize it, and for me it means a sense of apathy and a lack of energy that can be dangerous. It is very easy to get chilled, even on a warm day with a stiff breeze.
Practice reefing and then practice again and again. As a beginning sailor I had a tendency to put up with too much weather helm, which actually means the rudder is acting as a break and which tires your arms and shoulders. If you are wondering if you need to reef, it is time to reef. Your boat will stay upright better and the helm will be more balanced. There are other sail trim adjustments that can flatten your main and reduce the heeling forces, but reefing is a fundamental skill.
Learn to heave to. It can give you a respite and a quiet boat if you need to go below for some reason, want to have a hot drink, or just take a break from the helm. One rarely sees people do it but it is a wonderful thing to know how to do.
Main thing is to keep going out and practicing.