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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 07-22-2007
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Smile New Mainsail

I recently purchase a new mainsail and I seem to have a problem in light airs. The boat is normally fast in these conditions but i can't seem to get the same results. Any tips
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Old 07-22-2007
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Was the sail cut specifically for your boat. In light air, a new sail has to be set differentl from an old blown out sail to power it up. A blown out sail will act "powered-up", since it has a fuller shape... and that may be why you're slower than you were with your old sails...
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Old 07-22-2007
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Always a challenge to get used to a new sail.

While it would help to know what boat you're on and what controls are available, generally playing more with the outhaul, and experimenting with traveller positions and sheet tension more than you were used to with the old sail should get some results.

Do what you have to in order to get the luff telltales flying and see how that goes.
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BTW more specifically, in light air you generally ease the outhaul, boom vang and the cunningham, to allow the sail to take on a fuller shape. On an older sail, doing these things may not have been necessary, but a new sail will be flatter, given the same adjustment settings as the old sail...and your performance will be lower in light air, since the flatter shape of the new sail will have less power than the fuller shape of the older sail.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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I hate to admit it, but I rarely, if ever, use the outhaul; I just don't understand it's usefulness, (beyond keeping the foot tight). I can see what the boomvang and Cunningham do and their benefits, I just can't see how moving the outhaul, (in or out) changes much of anything. What am I missing?
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Easing the outhaul deepens the draft, creating a fuller more powerful shape that is helpful in light air and downwind.

If your main is currently at the end of its days, and "blown out" as they say, easing the outhaul is the last thing you'd want to do.

That's why, with a new sail you sometimes have to be reminded that it's there to use when appropriate.
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Old 07-23-2007
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Thanks, my mains pretty tired, so I guess the outhaul better stay nice and tight.
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Smile New Mainsail

In reply to the question above, I sail a bolero (25.5ft) fractional rig. The main was specifically cut for my rig, but as mentioned it is flat in caparison to the old main. I will try easing the outhaul, but can you tell by how much?

Last edited by Neil07; 07-23-2007 at 05:35 PM.
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Depends on how light the winds are... lighter the winds, more you would ease the outhaul—just look at the sail shape... and play it by eye...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-23-2007
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My main's blown out too so I keep the outhaul tight. I reckon I'll ease it when I get a new one.
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