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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 07-06-2005
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RichardThelmes is on a distinguished road
Light air technique

Come to realize that I know squat about proper sailing technique in very light air. Been becalmed too many times (no wind on our lake) and have tried this & that with little success.

What -should- I be doing in real light air? Normally have full main and a ''standard'' jib. Putting up the genoa seems to just look more embarassing and not worth the hassle.

Any advice?

Richard
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Old 07-07-2005
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Light air technique

If you''re truly becalmed, no amount of technique will help. But in just really light air, you might try putting your weight to leeward to induce a little heeling and help your sails "fall full" by gravity. The standard jib might actually be easier to keep full in these conditions than the heavier genny.

Carry your sails fairly full but not baggy,move your weight a bit forward so you''re not dragging the stern, keep a real careful eye for wind "catspaws" and shifts, and be very, very patient.
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Old 07-18-2005
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Light air technique

I found a Cruising World article <a href="http://www.cruisingworld.com/article.jsp?ID=201823&typeID=396&catID=568">here</a href> that might be helpful. It speaks less about sail choice and more about rig tuning, apparent wind and sail trim combinations for light air.

Truly becalmed is one thing, but if I had light air, my first impulse would be to fly all the sail area I could. I''d raise that genoa and get it filled on a close reach, then bear away as I accelerated and the apparent wind moved forward.

We''ve all looked foolish at one time or another. You don''t want to be seen with an even bigger headsail sagging? What difference does it make? It would be truly foolish to be sit on your bagged genny, wondering how you can get more out of a light breeze.
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Old 08-23-2006
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Light Winds

Flatten your mainsail as much as possible, because if you are trying to head up at all, there will not be enough wind speed to smoothly travel over a curved sail. Instead, the air will tumble on the leeward side.

Your best chance of moving in light winds will be on downwind courses, but when you need to head up a close reach will be about the best you can obtain. In light winds, the main sail will have a hard time working as a vertical wing (however having a jib up can help), so your best bet is to trim your sails to allow the wind to push the boat.
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Old 08-24-2006
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chrondi is an unknown quantity at this point
The meaning of light winds depends on the boat: If you mean as light wind 1 - 3 knots, you get nowhere, less so to windward. 5 knots is quite workable with a dinghy and all light air techniques (sitting to leeward, proper trimming of sails etc.) may apply. On a cruising boat, sometimes things are moving only with winds over 10 knots, while 15 - 20 is pure pleasure and over 20 you may need to reef. Bigger boats need 25 - 30 knots for the excitement of sailing and maybe no reefing yet!
Nevertheless, when we speak of wind strength we usually tend to ignore the other much more important (under strong winds) factor, i.e. the waves.
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Old 08-24-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Chrondi's point is excellent. What is considered light air for a full keel, 50' bluewater boat is considered heavy air for a Laser... What boat are you sailing?
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