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  1. Don Guillette

    Don Guillette

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,903 posts, 74 likes
    Other Catalina 30
    US Tucson, AZ
    Years ago, when I was wondering if I'd ever master the skill of sail trim, I came across some articles which suggested some helpful phrases. I can't locate the articles but the following was what they were all about. Some of the phrases turned out to be incomplete and since I was learning that the mastery of sail trim is continuous, up to a point, I added additions to them. By "up to a point" I mean sail trim is not nuclear research that goes on forever. It's like riding a bike - there's only so much to it.

    "When in doubt let it out". That's a popular phrase, but it's incomplete. After you "let it out" what do you do next and how far do you let it out. Does the phrase apply to both the main & jib and what point of sail are we talking about?

    Let's start with closehauled where the sailor sense's that a change needs to be made but isn't sure what it is - if he has telltales they'll provide the clue. The phrase, when applied to the mainsail and mainsheet, starts to make sense when you add "if the sail luffs bring it in" but again, how much should it come in. Here's what worked for me -- I'd ease the mainsheet until luff ripples appear and then trimmed in until the ripples just stopped. I called that "trim to a point of draw" and that tip is included in my SAIL TRIM CHART" along with a bunch of other tips.

    Let's consider the jib in the same situation. If you have telltales, it's a simple matter because one of the telltales will dictate the course of action. If you don't have telltales I don't know how you properly trim your jib to 100% efficiency. Without telltales I couldn't and I know what I'm looking for!! The phrase for the jib is "if the outside telltale is fluttering - trim out. If the inside telltale is fluttering - trim in". So, here we go again - how much in or out. The basic setting is to have both inside & outside telltales streaming. In my book, THE SAIL TRIM USERS GUIDE, I devote 5 pages to reading telltales and offer some advanced setting.

    At one of my seminars a participant told me he was too lazy to trim his sheets and inquired if I had a phrase that would help him. He might have been trying to trip me up - there's always one in every group but I was prepared. I told him to "turn away from trouble", which means if the starboard telltale is fluttering then turn to port.

    If any forum lister's have a phrase that would be helpful to beginners trying to master the art of sail trim, please provide them.
     


    AlexB, Will Gilmore and Gene Neill like this.
  2. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,735 posts, 1,167 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    How about, "when sailing down wind, you should thank the inventor who invented the preventer."
    -
    "Too much heel means not enough sheet."
    -
    I set the main and trim for headway to get into open water. When room and sea and wind permit, I hoist or roll out the jib and trim until the main begins to collapse. Then I trim the main in farther. As the boat picksup speed and the apparent wind moves forward, I trim the jib in to remove any luff and fix the main to suit. This continues until no more change in apparent wind follows.
    So, maybe a saying something like: "Jib, main, wind change, then jib, main to maintain."

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


    AlexB likes this.
  3. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,619 posts, 1,802 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    My favorite nautical phrase is when I hear, “Hello sailor, buy me a drink?”
     


    Simon Sexton, AlexB, plenny7 and 7 others like this.
  4. RussC

    RussC

    Joined Sep 11, 2015
    1,108 posts, 445 likes
    Macgregor 25
    US Oregon lakes
    "If I'm movin I'm groovin" ;)
     


    nightowle likes this.
  5. jwing

    jwing

    Joined Jun 5, 2014
    422 posts, 173 likes
    ODay Mariner
    US Guntersville
    Your boat is too big. In a small sailboat, one can immediately feel the effect of changes made to sail trim. No need for instruments, indicators, and an instruction manual.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  6. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,897 posts, 2,061 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA


    Does it work?
     


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  7. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,974 posts, 2,263 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Hmm. At every level of competitive sailing, telltails are used to optimize trim and performance. Look at an Olympic Laser or 420. They have telltails. This is because you feel the EFFECTS of trim; it's already happens. Telltails let you SEE trim as it exists. No waiting.
     


    jssailem likes this.
  8. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,897 posts, 2,061 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Besides with out tell tails and sail trim adjustments sailing would be as boring as a power boat.
     


  9. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,974 posts, 2,263 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    The problem with sailing axioms that that they are simply generalities; Broad statements that are USUALLY true. And wrong enough to make them ineffective. I find it much more effect to teach the fundamentals that create the generalities.

    Here's the only one I'll use (I think I coined it): Good sail trim is a full time job.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  10. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,131 posts, 140 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    Besides sail tells we also flew "Irish Pennants", scraps of yarn from the shrouds on small boats. An "Irish Pennant" can also refer to bitter ends or almost any piece of lose rigging that flys in the breeze.
    I'm a fan of "splicing the main brace".
     


  11. thinwater

    thinwater

    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    1,948 posts, 368 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    "The line of death," suggesting an apparent wind angle below which bearing off is generally better than heading up.

    And there are exceptions and caveats.
     


  12. BlowMeAway

    BlowMeAway

    Joined Nov 30, 2015
    961 posts, 432 likes
    Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini
    US Cayuga Lake, Ithaca
    I've always been fond of "Three Sheets to the Wind".
     


    JimInPB, sailnoproblem and uncledom like this.
  13. weinie

    weinie

    Joined Sep 6, 2010
    1,188 posts, 187 likes
    Jeanneau 349
    US port washington, ny
    "when in doubt, let it out."

    also, the next time i'm trimming a jib and the tactician says 'let it out a skosh'... I'm gonna clobber him with the winch handle.
     


  14. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,593 posts, 700 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    That's because the person is clearly having an issue with the "tch"after the "o"
     


  15. Don Guillette

    Don Guillette

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,903 posts, 74 likes
    Other Catalina 30
    US Tucson, AZ
    Here's the only one I'll use (I think I coined it): Good sail trim is a full time job.[/QUOTE]

    Even when we had non sailing friends on board, who only cared about a fun day experience and a few drinks, I always had one eye on them and the other on all aspect of sailing the boat safely & efficiently. My wife would start ragging on me as we left our driveway to drive to the marina about I should RELAX, be sociable and DON'T talk about sail trim -- I heard what she said but I didn't pay any attention to the relax part. I'm sailing a 10 ton boat in a crowded harbor and I'm supposed to let the thing sail itself.
     


    JimInPB likes this.
  16. All U Get

    All U Get

    Joined Oct 2, 2008
    2,589 posts, 309 likes
    Pearson/ 530
    US Strafford, NH
    Keep an eye on the weather..........hmmmm. A little difficult when I wear my patch. But I did notice while in the Gulf Stream this spring under every cloud the wind was more turbulent [25-30kts]. So with that in mind we added more twist to the main and reefed the headsail.
     


  17. JRacer

    JRacer

    Joined Aug 9, 2011
    728 posts, 176 likes
    Beneteau 310
    US Cheney KS (Wichita)
    We put it up, God will take it down! ;-)
     


  18. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,619 posts, 1,802 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    It *alway* works!!!
     


    Will Gilmore and jssailem like this.
  19. WayneH

    WayneH

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    631 posts, 96 likes
    Tartan 37
    US Pensacola Shipyard, FL
    Sail trim... The boss points the boat and I trim to the course. I've got telltales on the jib, the main and the helm. "you gonna trim the main? The tells are stalled."
     


  20. Sailavie1

    Sailavie1

    Joined Oct 31, 2012
    147 posts, 84 likes
    Hunter 2008 H25
    ca Lake Wabamun
    What do you get with two little green balls in your hand? Kermit’s undivided attention. :biggrin:
     



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