WHAT TO DO IF. you want to improve speed


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Forty years of the Sailing Newspaper is also forty years of our practice section. We have selected quizzes with the best practical tips that have come to us from you readers over the years. In this ninth and final installment, we look at what to do to improve boat speed in wide windward.


QUESTION:There are 10 knots of wind, flat seas, and you sail upwind wide (60° to true wind) with full mainsail and genoa. You are not at all satisfied with the speed of the boat. What do you do to improve performance?

RESPONSE:To optimize the performance of a boat sailing at 60° from the true wind, a boat that with full sails (i.e., that do not spin and give the appearance of carrying) might be too fucked up, I check the position of the genoa threads. If indeed the windward showing threads on the extrados of the sail are not horizontal, the sail is too cocked, then I slacken the sheet until they lay horizontally. In addition, if there is disparity in behavior between the pairs of windward markers in the vertical direction, the sheet point carriage should be acted upon, advancing it as much as it leaves the sail. Maximum lift is obtained when, in the vertical direction, all pairs of tell-tales (or show-tales) are arranged horizontally (both on the extrados and intrados).

Same goes for the mainsail, which may be stalled. We realize this immediately by looking at the tell-tales on the leech. If they “curl” all, or almost all except the lowest , the mainsail is stalled, i.e., too fucked up. You should then let the sheet down with the mainsheet in the middle (if the boat has one), until they are all horizontal. Then you can either bring the windward tack upwind until the higher windward show is visible most of the time, or, with similar but not quite the same effect, you cock the sheet back to the right spot.

The halyard and base should be medium capped and the vang pointed. The halyards need to be medium cocked, but it depends on the boat; on mine, Oceanis 323, I slack very little. The backstay left just enough. In addition, care must be taken with the weight distribution, which must always be appropriate for the strength of the wind; that is, the boat to be in its design water lines must not be too deep, but neither must it be too shallow. longitudinal trim is also important, although with flat seas the weight at the ends will be less influential because pitching will not make us brake with every wave. In any case, if performance is sought, the crew should be in the sickle cell and level with the shrouds, upwind or downwind as appropriate.”




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