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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 11-30-2002
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Suggestions for light air vs storms

In the class that I took we had a bit of struggle with finding wind at one point. As a result, I watched the instructor make a few adjustments but said it was outside the scope of a brand new sailor. The one I can identify is the letting out the outhaul to catch more air in the main. Something was done in the "cars" that controlled the last angle to jib.

Generally what are some tips to increase performance in light wind and (other than reefing and dropping the headsail) decrease heeling in high winds.
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Old 12-01-2002
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Suggestions for light air vs storms

RookieHunter,

I''m not the best one to answer your question, but here goes. Your sail is an airfoil (unless the wind is pushing on the sail from far abaft the beam), so you can shape that airfoil for the wind conditions. In light air, you want to get more draft in the sail in the appropriate location. Draft is the amount of deflection perpendicular to the boom in the horizontal direction. The proper shape will give you more power in light air conditions. Easing the outhaul will allow the sail to have this extra draft.

In heavy air, you wish to do the opposite. It''s called "blading out" the sail and requires higher tension on the outhaul to pull the sail tight along the foot, and extra halyard (and/or cunningham) tension to tension the luff. The latter not only helps reduce draft, but moves the draft more toward the mast, which is better than having the maximum draft near the middle of the sail. With the sail shaped like this (less draft) it will be depowered and reduce heel.

Another neat trick can be used on fractional rigs. That''s where the headstay is attached lower than the top of the mast (say 7/8''s of the way up, hence "fractional"). This arrangement allows you to apply varying tension to the backstay (attached at the masthead), which actually bends the mast so that it curves forward near the middle. In the beginning, it wasn''t easy for me to visualize how this helps, but pulling the center of the mast forward definitely flattens the mainsail (reduces draft) and depowers it for heavy air conditions.

Hope this helps. If I didn''t get that quite right, someone else will chime in. Good luck with your learning. It''s all fun, isn''t it?

Duane
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Old 12-01-2002
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Suggestions for light air vs storms

Well done Duane. A couple fine points, in heavier going the jib sheet lead should be moved aft to depower the jib as well. You should also tighten the vang as it keeps the sail depowered as you ease the mainsheet. Also a very minor fne point, tightening the backstay on a fractional rig depowers both sails at once. It tightens the forestay pulling draft out of the jib and moving the camber forward. While mast bend does the same to the mainsail.

Jeff
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