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How To Practice Sail trim

Discussion in 'Sail Trim with Don Guillette' started by Don Guillette, Feb 10, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Slick


    Joined Jun 17, 2016
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Ericson 35 3
    Us Paris Landing Tn
    The more I sail the more I realize how much more difficult it is for us beginners to sail in a river.
    I'll just get the sails set, then the wind direction and intensity changes because of a bay or inlet.

    BobbyFunn likes this.
  2. Slick


    Joined Jun 17, 2016
    11 posts, 3 likes
    Ericson 35 3
    Us Paris Landing Tn
    How far apart should the tell tails be on a Genoa? Mine are about 3 feet apart horizontally. I see pictures of others that seem to be only about a foot apart. Or does it even matter?

  3. shemandr


    Joined Jan 1, 2006
    3,484 posts, 569 likes
    Marblehead Skiff 14'
    US Greenport, NY
    I bet the Cocker Spaniel was smiling!

  4. Don Guillette

    Don Guillette

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,903 posts, 74 likes
    Other Catalina 30
    US Tucson, AZ
    Andrew: She was a rescue cocker and great sailing dog. Her name was "Shadow" and she followed me everywhere. We have another rescue cocker now. His name is Kirby. He was given that name at the rescue place. There was another cocker at the rescue, who was black like my other dog but my wife said no to that one. His name was "Hoover". Both dogs were given those names because they gobbled up their food like vacuum cleaners!!

    Will Gilmore likes this.
  5. Daveinet


    Joined Sep 20, 2014
    857 posts, 140 likes
    Rob Legg RL24
    US Chain O'Lakes
    Sail Trim
    1. Draft
    A. Factors in determining Depth
    B. Factors in determining Position
    2. Angle of Attack
    A. Determining optimum Angle
    B. Compensating for Wind Shear with Twist

    Just organizing to keep it simple. BTY: I am a very visual learner, so when I can compartmentalize complex subjects, they are easier to manage, as well as make it easier to understand how they interact.

    Will Gilmore likes this.
  6. Joe


    Joined Jun 1, 2004
    6,473 posts, 328 likes
    Catalina 27
    US Mission Bay, San Diego
    Well, I guess if you wanted to simplify it even more, you could just reduce it to "Trim". Say what you will, you still have to break the two sub headings (AOA, Draft) down to explain the process. The combination of all four elements result in the optimal trim solution.

  7. Daveinet


    Joined Sep 20, 2014
    857 posts, 140 likes
    Rob Legg RL24
    US Chain O'Lakes
    not really trying to win an argument as much as just trying to lay it out in simplified format, so their is some hierarchy of focus. this should help knowing why you do what you do. We tend to throw so many things out there, but there is no sequence or priority to the discussion. Instincts from those who are experienced seem to be random choices to everyone else. Creating a outline helps to stay focused on why we make the decisions we make.

  8. suttonwt


    Joined Jan 16, 2014
    12 posts, 0 likes
    Cal 28
    US River Raisin Marina
    Ok, all this talk about organizing and simplification is great, but give us something we can actually put into practice. I have not a Cunningham, a boom Vang nor an out-haul (in spite of the fact I now have a loose footed main) on my 1968 Cal 28. BTW, if anyone has any ideas for adding an out haul to a boom I'm open to suggestions.

  9. justsomeguy


    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,362 posts, 838 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX

  10. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,760 posts, 1,184 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    I want to see pictures of your loose footed main with no outhaul, please.

    - Will (Dragonfly)

  11. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    9,026 posts, 2,303 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    I'm sure he means ADJUSTABLE. You can have a fixed clew on the boom.

  12. Don Guillette

    Don Guillette

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,903 posts, 74 likes
    Other Catalina 30
    US Tucson, AZ
    Bill: Buy the SAIL TRIM CHART and use it to set the controls you do have. In my opinion, once you get over 25' in length and with the size of the sails, you start to need sail trim controls to obtain efficiency from your sails. With smaller boats you can get away with a lack of controls. A cunningham and soft boom vang are easy to add and so is a simple outhaul. Don't forget the controls for the jib. Without the ability to adjust your sails, the fixed setting is fine for one particular point of sail & wind condition and wrong for all others.

    Roadking Larry likes this.
  13. Michael Peavey

    Michael Peavey

    Joined Dec 3, 2016
    1 posts, 0 likes
    O'Day 28
    US Washington, NC
    I took ASA 101 over the Labor Day weekend d in 2006. The next summer I tried to sail with a crew of one who knew absolutely nothing ab out sailing on my Hunter 216. In 2008 I managed to find a sailor with a Catalina 22. I have been sailing with him since. I think the combination of formal instruction with a patient sailing partner is the answer.

  14. DrJudyB


    Joined Jun 25, 2004
    185 posts, 116 likes
    Corsair F24 Mk1
    003 US San Francisco Bay, CA
    @Will Gilmore:
    You look at the shape of the sail. It helps if your sail has draft stripes.

    RAther than the concept of "dropping the main", we should think of the concept of "easing the luff tension". He eased the main halyard, which reduced the tension on the luff. Easing the main halyard or easing the cunningham are very similar. They both reduce tension on the luff.

    Luff tension controls the forward and aft position of the draft. By easing the luff tension, he moved the position of the max draft aft. A tight halyard pulls the max draft position forward and makes the entry of the sail more rounded. A very forward draft with a rounded entry on a mainsail might be at around 34% of the foot. A looser halyard has the max draft further aft, and the entry is "finer". A "fine" entry would be pointy-er, with the max draft as far aft as 50%.

    A rounded entry with the draft relatively forward has a wider groove. It is more tolerant of steering and trimming errors because it is less likely to stall. It works across a wider range of angle of attack. It is better for acceleration, and punching through chop and waves. It's sort of like driving in a lower gear.

    A finer entry is faster, but less forgiving.

    (BTW, outhaul tension makes a difference in the bottom section of the mainsail. More tension on the foot flattens the foot and moves the draft aft. Full length battens really reduce your ability to shape and move the draft too)

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    Will Gilmore likes this.

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