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Old 07-01-2011, 03:24   #1
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Shortcuts or Secrets to Proper Sail Trim

While sailing a 22' Catalina sloop yesterday I was wondering if there were any tried and true secrets to proper sail trim?

For example, while at the tiller, I can't see the telltales on the jib so how do I know I have it trimmed properly?

If you can share any shortcuts or simple techniques a newbie can follow that would be great.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:40   #2
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If you want to play with the sails and why not, you need to free up your hands so how about one of those tiller widgets that lock onto a rope across the cockpit to hold the tiller. Now you can play and adjust both sails whilst keeping an eye on the boat speed to see the effect.

That and having a good book in the cockpit as a reminder as we do.

Pete
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:17   #3
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If you want to play with the sails and why not, you need to free up your hands so how about one of those tiller widgets that lock onto a rope across the cockpit to hold the tiller. Now you can play and adjust both sails whilst keeping an eye on the boat speed to see the effect.

That and having a good book in the cockpit as a reminder as we do.

Pete
Thanks Pete!

It's a club boat so I cannot add anything to the tiller. I am just getting some experience before buying our own boat.
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Old 07-01-2011, 05:53   #4
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Some excellent articles on sail trim & etc, including using Tell Tails,

here ➥ WB-Sails Ltd

and here ➥ Jasper & Bailey Sailmakers
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:44   #5
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Some excellent articles on sail trim & etc, including using Tell Tails,

here ➥ WB-Sails Ltd

and here ➥ Jasper & Bailey Sailmakers
Great sites Gord, thanks!!
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:01   #6
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Move to somewhere that you can see the jib telltales :-) Or at least the jib's luff.

You might have to stretch your arm or sit on the low side of the cockpit. A simple tiller extension would be a 3 foot stick with a piece of light line or bungie tied to the end of the tiller. You can make a simple "tiller tamer" with a piece of bungie cord that you loop over the end of the tiller. These are non-permanant changes that are cheap and quick to do.

The basic rule of sail trim is :
ease out the sail until it luffs (backwinds), then trim it in until the luff just quits.

You can use the tell tales to detect the luff, or just by looking at the sail starting to backwind. Listen and feel how the boat moves, especially how much heel there is. These can give you engough feedback to sail by, after you get some experience.

If you are sailing close hauled, you will first trim the sails and then just adjust the boat's heading to keep the sails full and drawing.
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:09   #7
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With plenty of yarn tell tails in the sails you can get to know the way the air is behaving. Yes, it may require a crew to take the helm or relay the information. Observing enough in different winds and relative courses will give you memory from which to work. The log can be a tremendous help also. What you read in books is about theories and understanding ideals which is really just a starting place. What works best in the real life situation you are in can be refined further through observation of boat speed, comfort, steadiness of the helm or whatever your goals are. Fun thing is though, each hull and it's set of sails (weighting, sail shape, sheeting differences, etc) will do different things even in a one design class. It's always quite a challenge to get someone elses boat to move in a round robin. Even with principles well understood there is always a certain amount of "feel" that has to be arived at through experimentation. There is a science but there's also an art to the science.
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:34   #8
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You don't need tell tails.....
One thing thats always stuck with me was something said to me nearly 50yrs ago...
"A flappy sails an unhappy sail..."
If your foot and/or leech is fluttery/flappy its not set quite right...
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Old 10-01-2011, 15:54   #9
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Great advice all, thanks!
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Old 10-01-2011, 16:38   #10
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I wrote a long respose to this yeasterday but the internaet ate it

(Or a Mod deleted it for the sexual connetation of sitting on deck with a sail trim book!)

Ummmmm... sit on deck with a sail trim book.

Often!

Even the best sailors forget all the points in trimming all the sails so do it as often as you can

I am over due!


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Old 10-01-2011, 17:36   #11
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LOL... thats why I always refer to myself as a seaman... I can't trim for S#*t..
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Old 10-01-2011, 17:59   #12
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LOL... thats why I always refer to myself as a seaman... I can't trim for S#*t..
There's your problem right there! Your trying to trim for the wrong thing.
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Old 10-01-2011, 18:09   #13
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One thing I was told to remember "When in doubt let her our". Then when it starts to luff tighten her up a crank or two.

Other quick hints: in light winds you want more belly to the sail so don't pull it in too tight. This is also useful when you aren't up to speed yet.

Pull down on the boom vang for a tailwind and loosen it for headwind.

You can use your mains'l traveller to adjust shape. If you have too much weather helm and are fighting the rudder move the traveller to the lee. If winds are moderate put some twist in the sail by moving it to windward and see if that gives you some more giddyup.
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:02   #14
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Quote:
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There's your problem right there! Your trying to trim for the wrong thing.
LMBO.....
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Old 10-01-2011, 19:37   #15
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Good suggestions. A couple of things that new sailors usually have to think about for awhile:

Understand "apparent wind" - which is the wind direction and wind speed you feel on the boat. Apparent wind is a combination of the "wind" made by the boat moving forward - this part of the wind is always coming straight from the bow - and the "true wind" that is blowing regardless of what the boat is doing. When you get a puff of true wind the apparent wind direction will change to be coming more from the stern. Then, changing the boat direction (heading up a little if close hauled) or sail trim (easing the sails) is often necessary for best trim. When the puff passes you then have to head down or pull in the sails. Racing boats are constantly adjusting sail trim and helm to keep the sails set best for a constantly changing apparent wind.


Too much heel hurts - most modern boats, including the Catalina 22, sail slower when heeled a lot. Reduce sail early so you can trim correctly without creating too much heel.

Carl
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