Join Date: Apr 2008
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practice sail handling on light air days. learn from your boat the techniques for safely and quickly reefing and practice. once you have that down, try combinations in heavier air to learn what setups work best, i.e. my boat likes a reefed main and more genny while other boats prefer less genny, more main. pay attention to how the helm feels. look up at the main as you trim and learn what appropriate sheet pressure feels like. drop the traveler to leeward, raise the traveler, tighten vang, loosen vang, play around with it. you want as little pressure on the helm as possible. learn to recognize puffs by watching the water. it's all about balance, control and anticipation. sailing with the rudder turned is slow and strains everything. when in doubt, let it out. more often than not while sailing upwind excessive heel is uncomfortable, strains the gear and scares your mate (well, my girlie anyway). you will go just as fast without dragging the rail. watch wind speeds, sail combis and boat speed.....really pay attention to how the boat feels. as you get more experienced, it will become natural and you will feel when the boat is struggling to stay on its feet. one clue is when you are struggling to stay on your feet.
out sailing this w/e.....rail down, blowing 20-25. reduced sail by 30% or so and gained about 6-8" of leeward freeboard and boat speed was exactly the same. weather helm all but gone. boat happy.
oh, don't forget to look around for the other boats.