Originally Posted by sailordave
More importantly I have found that people tend not to ease the sails as much as they should. Actually on most points of sail this is true. So ease the sail out until it's obvious you're losing speed or stalling the sail. And maybe even more than going upwind it's important to keep in mind the effect your AWA has on your VMG. A very slight change in AWA could result in a significant change in VMG. Another case of where a handheld GPS is real handy. (project out a point that is directly downwind from your next mark but several miles beyond. Use that to see what your VMG is b/c if you use the mark you're steering for, your VMG is going to decrease the further left or right you get from a direct course.)
That's a great suggestion for using the gps to project a point so I can see VMG.
As for sufficiently easing sails downwind, one thing that has me probably tending to err on the side of overtrimmed is the way the main starts getting mashed up against the raked-back spreaders when it is out more than halfway. I've been worried about chafe.