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Old 10-10-2013, 06:45   #1
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Order of trimming main

On a typical slab reefing main fractional rig boat what is the general consensus on the order of trimming the main sail when close hauled? i.e. main sheet, traveler, outhaul, Cunningham, backstay tension etc..

I've been sailing for a long time and have my own ways of doing things but in the interest of always trying to improve and make myself better I was curious if there is a specific order that is better to follow or is it more situation dictates.

Also most of my experience is on my boat which is a mast head rig and doesn't have every adjustment available. so I'm curious in a perfect world with say a better equipped boat what would be the perfect order of things if there is one.

Thanks again and I am really enjoying the forum. Its amazing how little you realize you know after 23 years of sailing. It can be quite humbling!
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:35   #2
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For me it depends on conditions... Wind speed, sea state, point of sail. I usually trim the main to the point of sail and then look at its twist, fullness, and draft position. I'll then retrim with the traveller and main sheet to set sail twist, and tweak it with back stay tension, out haul, and halyard to adjust draft position and fullness, if I bother at all.
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:45   #3
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Re: Order of trimming main

I trim sheet and traveler/vang/lift up first. Second I trim halyard/outhaul (no cunningham - cruising boat).

When reefed and outhaul not in use, I will trim the foot/draft with reef line tension.

b.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:16   #4
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Re: Order of trimming main

I've always heard that when close hauled trim the Genoa first; getting all the telltales breaking evenly by properly setting the leads then move to trimming the main:

Center the boom using the traveller then adjust the mainsheet so that the top batten is parallel to the boom. After that move the traveller up or down accordingly.

Adjust the vang.

Next adjust the outhaul and cunningham if you have one.

Finally adjust mainsail twist by tightening or easing the mainsheet while travelling down or up accordingly.

Given that I'm a club sailor and most of the boats are not setup to easily adjust the backstay, that's the last place I look to make an adjustment.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:37   #5
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Re: Order of trimming main

If you'd like to get your boat moving without all the tweaking that often is not done correctly then you have to get the basics "depending" on the wind. If its really light air make sure you have good tension on the halyard to flatten the sail, then pull on the mainsheet until the top batten is parallel and then ease it out so the top batten is open.
If the wind is light but not super light then set the main with loose halyard tension so that there are wrinkles showing, Again set the main sheet tension by looking at the top baton and if the wind is steady you can pull until its parallel and then ease it just a little to pen it up and increase twist a bit.
If the wind is medium and steady then set your halyard tension so that there are no wrinkles and then pull the main sheet in until the top baton is parallel with the boom.
In all cases the traveler will be centered on the boat.
This will get you up and running with decent sail trim. Play with this until it all makes sense before you start tweaking stuff that you may not fully understand.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:52   #6
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
If you'd like to get your boat moving without all the tweaking that often is not done correctly then you have to get the basics "depending" on the wind. If its really light air make sure you have good tension on the halyard to flatten the sail, then pull on the mainsheet until the top batten is parallel and then ease it out so the top batten is open.
If the wind is light but not super light then set the main with loose halyard tension so that there are wrinkles showing, Again set the main sheet tension by looking at the top baton and if the wind is steady you can pull until its parallel and then ease it just a little to pen it up and increase twist a bit.
If the wind is medium and steady then set your halyard tension so that there are no wrinkles and then pull the main sheet in until the top baton is parallel with the boom.
In all cases the traveler will be centered on the boat.
This will get you up and running with decent sail trim. Play with this until it all makes sense before you start tweaking stuff that you may not fully understand.
I appreciate the tips but what I was getting at was the order as to possibly reduce readjusting the same thing over again (if there even is an order that is better than another, there may not be). I understand and am competent at sail trimming I guess I was just making sure there wasn't a way to stream line things.
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Old 11-10-2013, 00:36   #7
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Re: Order of trimming main

OK, I'll have a stab at the order of mainsail trim, at least this is what we tend to do on board my boat (N/M 45 masthead rig with flexible spar & runners). Here's the order, with the least-adjusted items first, leading to stuff we change constantly while beating upwind:

set backstay tension to get headstay where we want it (saggy to bar tight, depending on what we're doing). Change based on point of sail between upwind, reaching, or downwind.

tension runners to set mainsail draft - off for flat (heavy air), on for deeper draft (light-moderate air). Mostly only used for upwind work, set aside for downwind.

tension halyard for draft fore-aft adjustment at top 2/3 of sail. Change based on point of sail and wind speed changes.

tension cunninghan for draft fore-aft adjustment at bottom 1/3 of sail. Change based on point of sail and wind speed changes.

tension foot/outhaul in concert with cunningham. Change based on point of sail and wind speed changes.

adjust mainsheet to get air flow off the leech. Change based on wind speed, point of sail, heel angle, amount of weather helm desired. Try to drop/raise traveler before altering mainsheet; mainsheet finishes setting the shape of the main, the traveler changes angle of attack without changing the shape (assumes a traveler that has no curve in the vertical plane).

adjust traveler to maintain flow off the leech and handle puffs. This is pretty much constantly being changed.

Is that about what you're doing?

- rob/beetle
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:03   #8
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Re: Order of trimming main

Raise your main first and set your halyard tension for wind conditions. Bring the boat up to close hauled and unfurl the jib/jenny, make sure halyard tension is correct for conditions. Grind in the jib sheet until the sail is about 10-12" off the first spreader. That should get you going. If the main is getting back winded move the traveler up.
Now then start turning the boat up towards the wind in a steady way and carefully watch the inward tell tails on the jib. If the top tell tale stalls(lifts) first then move the jib sheet fairlead forward, if the bottom one breaks first move it back. Move it in small amounts and retest by bringing the boat to close hauled and then pinch up into the wind until a tell tail breaks. When you have them all breaking at the same time or the top one breaking just a little bit before the others you have the twist set perfect for those conditions.
This will give you good basic sailtrim without doing any other settings.
Assuming your going upwind there is no reason to set the vang because the mainsheet is holding the twist in and you can move the traveler up and down to deal with gusts. If you need to go from beating to reaching the first thing you do is to put the vang on snug while you are still going upwind, this will hold the sail shape when you ease the main to bear off on to a reach.
There is lots more on tweaking but I'm dealing with basic stuff here to get you going and allow you to point high and sail fast. If you want to more specific let me know and I'll help you. Cheers, Robert
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:57   #9
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
...... If its really light air make sure you have good tension on the halyard to flatten the sail, then pull on the mainsheet until the top batten is parallel and then ease it out so the top batten is open.....

Really? That's not what I've been taught. Light air = low halyard tension, is how I was taught.
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:14   #10
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Really? That's not what I've been taught. Light air = low halyard tension, is how I was taught.
As Suijin said except halyard set first. Are you racing? So you blow it at the mark. BFD.

Ceteris paribus...pilots who talk of payload and useable fuel in light aircraft but disregard obesity. Like, WTF.
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:18   #11
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Really? That's not what I've been taught. Light air = low halyard tension, is how I was taught.
Glad you said that, I was thinking the same thing....

Matt
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Old 11-10-2013, 02:26   #12
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Glad you said that, I was thinking the same thing....

Matt
Humor me. So your opinion is validated because someone else thought the same? Honest question. See you at the mark.

I'm not making a value judgment of your opinion but I am saying you shouldn't derive value of your opinion on that of another opinion. The proof is in the pudding at the mark.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:28   #13
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Humor me. So your opinion is validated because someone else thought the same? Honest question. See you at the mark.

I'm not making a value judgment of your opinion but I am saying you shouldn't derive value of your opinion on that of another opinion. The proof is in the pudding at the mark.

Er... not sure what your point is here?

I just mean I thought you used a tight halyard to flatten the sail for stronger winds. I was surprised to read otherwise, and glad someone else felt the same way as I did.

Nothing too strange about that.

I am not basing my opinion on that of others, but on my own very extensive experience of windsurfing, which I do a lot of, and you get a LOT more feedback from a windsurfer sail than the monstrous expanse of laminated stuff on the average cruising yacht.

I would think the same rules apply. As wind rises I like to flatten the sail on the windsurfer, gives me more control over the power band and makes the sail bite less in the gusts. Pretty relevant at 35 knots of boat speed. Tightening the halyard has that effect on a big mainsail I think, much harder to tell when you are accelerating 17 tons to 6 knots rather than 120kg to 30+ knots of course.

I'd see you at the mark, but I would be long gone by the time a cruising yacht got there.

Matt
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:47   #14
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Re: Order of trimming main

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Originally Posted by beetle View Post
OK, I'll have a stab at the order of mainsail trim, at least this is what we tend to do on board my boat (N/M 45 masthead rig with flexible spar & runners). Here's the order, with the least-adjusted items first, leading to stuff we change constantly while beating upwind:

set backstay tension to get headstay where we want it (saggy to bar tight, depending on what we're doing). Change based on point of sail between upwind, reaching, or downwind.

tension runners to set mainsail draft - off for flat (heavy air), on for deeper draft (light-moderate air). Mostly only used for upwind work, set aside for downwind.

tension halyard for draft fore-aft adjustment at top 2/3 of sail. Change based on point of sail and wind speed changes.

tension cunninghan for draft fore-aft adjustment at bottom 1/3 of sail. Change based on point of sail and wind speed changes.

tension foot/outhaul in concert with cunningham. Change based on point of sail and wind speed changes.

adjust mainsheet to get air flow off the leech. Change based on wind speed, point of sail, heel angle, amount of weather helm desired. Try to drop/raise traveler before altering mainsheet; mainsheet finishes setting the shape of the main, the traveler changes angle of attack without changing the shape (assumes a traveler that has no curve in the vertical plane).

adjust traveler to maintain flow off the leech and handle puffs. This is pretty much constantly being changed.

Is that about what you're doing?

- rob/beetle
That's pretty close to what I'm doing now. Basically set power of sail (halyard, outhaul, backstay tension, and Cunningham for wind conditions) then traveler and main sheet for angle of attack, twist, and weather helm. Thanks for the reassurance.
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Old 11-10-2013, 14:09   #15
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Re: Order of trimming main

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As Suijin said except halyard set first. Are you racing? So you blow it at the mark. BFD.

Ceteris paribus...pilots who talk of payload and useable fuel in light aircraft but disregard obesity. Like, WTF.
WTF is right.
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