Join Date: May 2012
Location: North Vancouver, BC
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Re: Closer to the wind question
6 inches is what we would consider "footing" for speed rather than max pointing. We would only ease the sail that much to accelerate out of tacks, or punch through some powerboat wake.
Every boat is different. Some boats are completely incapable of sheeting in tight because their leads are on the toe rail and they sheet outside the lifelines. Also, if the lead angle is wrong sheeting the sail so the upper part of the sail is close to the spreader results in the lower part of the sail being over-sheeted, and that is slow. Using distance from the spreader for a reference point assumes that the twist of the sail has already been set up correctly.
I think it would be difficult to sheet an old dacron headsail so that it is too flat! Typically you can never get them flat enough for upwind work. More likely the draft and twist is wrong. Too much leech tension will cause the leech to hook, which creates turbulence and chokes the flow through the slot between the genny and the main. That effect will be amplified if the draft is too far aft due to insufficient halyard tension.
1979 Santana 30 Tall Rig