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Old 27-02-2008, 06:29   #1
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Cool Some Newbee sailing questions

Hi everyone, been reading this forum for 6 months and have learned a lot and decided that my lovely wife and I are heading to the Abacos for a week of sailing lessons in March. We will be on a 42' cat with the Instructor and his wife with 1 other couple and looking forward to the adventure. We have been studying the class books for 4 months and I have a couple questions on sail trim.

I'm not sure when or how the Cunningham/Downhaul and Outhaul are used under what circumstances. I believe the Cunningham can add additional tension to the Luff, heading to wind. The Outhaul I'm not sure where or how it's used in conjunction with a topping lift. Are the adjustments minor? Could someone give me a few pointers?

I sure hope the written part is multiple choice!

Steve
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Old 27-02-2008, 07:38   #2
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See (beginning) page 48
A Manual of Sail Trim ~ By Stuart H. Walker
A Manual of Sail Trim - Google Book Search
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Old 27-02-2008, 09:14   #3
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Wow Gord, that was some heavy reading. Did I mention I was a Newbee? I'm afraid most of that went over my head. I get the impression these adjustments are more for racing or "optimum performance". Is this something I should be concerned with at the beginner level? I did read "Outhaul tension is extremely important and should be susceptible to adjustment while hiking." It was the extremely important parts I'm concerened about.
Steve
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Old 27-02-2008, 10:51   #4
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Aloha Steve,
Adjust your downhaul just to take the wrinkles out of your luff in light winds. Same with your outhaul. This keeps your sail shape full and provides more power. The cunningham is used to really crank down on the luff when going to weather in heavier winds.
When the wind picks up and you start seeing a few whitecaps then haul down on your downhaul/cunningham and out on your outhaul to flatten your sail which depowers it and keeps you from heeling over so much.
Its not just for racing but just good sail adjustment for cruising too.
Your topping lift should be used only to lift the boom when reefing or in port.
Your boom vang should be tightened a bit when the wind pipes up to help take that curvature out of your mainsail.
Hope some of this helps.
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Old 27-02-2008, 11:06   #5
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You can do all the basic sailing without a Cunningham (downhaul) or a Boom Vang (many sails & boats have neither); and with your Outhaul drawn “snug” for all conditions.
Of course, learning to use these tools effectively, will improve your performance and enjoyment in the “art & science” of sailing. JohnL gave a good summary.
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Old 27-02-2008, 11:08   #6
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General rule of thumb at least for me on our CL41. Outhaul tension tight enough so there are no wrinkles in the sail - read "tight"
Downhaul tension in light air tight enough so there are no wrinkles - read "tight"
Downhaul tension in stiff air - "real tight", the sail when slack should have a tension wrinkle in the sail parallel to the mast but as soon as the sail fills with wind the sail lays nice and flat.

I must say that most of the boats I see sailing do not have enough downhaul or outhaul tension.
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Old 27-02-2008, 11:37   #7
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Hey guys I think I get it! I figured it was more a fine tuning thing for optimum sailing performance. I've only been on a couple of larger sailing boats, 1 36' mono and a 38' cat, nether one of the skippers I believe touched either therefore I didn't ask at the time. I'm figuring my instructor is going to be more focused on us learning what all the trim lines are for. I just don't want to be the one that didn't know!
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 27-02-2008, 14:36   #8
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Quote:
I'm figuring my instructor is going to be more focused on us learning what all the trim lines are for. I just don't want to be the one that didn't know!
Basic operations lead to advanced operations, but they all try to do the same things.All boats are a bit different and the degrees of adjustment often yield only a small amount of benefit. There is nothing wrong with getting better over time. when you have sat on a boat sailing for a few hundred hours you can eventually feel the wind direction and guess the speed quite easily with no instrument. It only gets easier.

I sounds like you'll have a great time and learn a lot. The next time after that you'll learn even more.
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Old 27-02-2008, 17:06   #9
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There's a right way, a wrong way and the Navy way...

The hardest part of learning comes when your instructor gets it wrong (and they do).

Each of us has a different learning style. Mine is diagrams, models, photos etc.

So your main aim in your study could be to get enough of an overview so that you can feel when something is not right.

A well cut sail should look "right" when properly set.
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Old 27-02-2008, 17:12   #10
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Plus, if you are paying for the class...........you will pass.
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Old 27-02-2008, 17:23   #11
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Geeeez!!! I sometimes wonder how I ever sailed 80,000 miles

I never once touched the Cunningham. I set the downhaul and outhaul when I installed the mainsail and never thought about it again.

Me thinks you may be over thinking this sailing stuff . My advise would be to stick with the basics until you have been sailing for awhile. Once you get bored, you might want to fiddle with that stuff (then again, you may not ).

It's kinda like learning to ride a bike. Learn to ride the thing before you waste a lot of energy trying to figure out how to stand on the handle bars.
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Old 27-02-2008, 17:57   #12
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In general, the harder it blows the tighter it goes.
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