This got me to thinking why these 'wrong' things bother some people so much. Tell tales being trimmed deliberately to break half the time, deliberate backwinding, etc. I think they have this idea of a particular 'shape' being 'right' and aren't listening to the boat with their other senses and thinking about why. The 'visual/shape' school of sail trim is wrong in so many cases. Read through any of the North Sail's one design class trim hints and they are rife with 'strange' settings. Look at this one... North Sails J24 guide
It has things like the following..
"so in light air we slide the draft back by sailing with 1/2-inch scallops between each luff hank
. These wrinkles look pretty ugly, but they allow the draft to move aft to 44 percent, the proper position for light air. As the breeze builds, halyard tension should be slowly tightened until the wrinkles disappear in 12 knots true and up (usually when whitecaps just appear on the water). "
That would drive some people crazy, but it's faster...
"In up to 13 knots, the top batten points as much as seven degrees to windward of parallel with the boom, and the telltale on the top batten is stalled as much as 50 percent of the time- but the boat doesn't seem to slow down: it just points higher!"
again, some of the people I know would have apocalyptic fits.
I think this summarized it nicely.
"The Key to successful J/24 racing is not the memorization of this information, but the understanding of it. Why is mast rake so important? Why does a particular deck layout work, and will it work for your crew? Why do we sail with wrinkles in the luff of the Genoa in light air? You can only go so far by copying others without understanding why the technique is fast."
I'm as inexperienced and clueless as the next guy, but I can tell you this with assurance, the knotmeter is the final arbiter (+ pointing angle and the tiller). and only two things will get you fast, 1) trying to understanding why instead of following 'rules' or 'visual ideals', and 2) experimentation, sometimes crazy experimentation to find _your_ boat's particular sweet spots.
Sorry about the multiple posts, I just have this argument with a friend of mine all the time and I'm taking my frustration out on you guys. lol.