Sail trim book question

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Aug 4, 2009
204
Oday 25 Olympia
Mr. Guillette,

I very much admire your book “The Sail Trim Users Guide” for it's organization and clarity of presentation. And while I have agonized for some time as to whether or not to post this question, I feel the book deserves every clarification possible. You can see I'm having a terrible time with this, but here goes:

On page 16, the last sentence of the third paragraph suggests increasing twist for more power while the first sentence of the forth paragraph suggests just the opposite. Perhaps I am reading out of context.

Even though I've read page 32 many times I still get hung up on reconciling the first and second sentences of the second paragraph with the first and third sentences of the fifth paragraph. I'm an avid user of telltales on the sails and when I'm pinching too high it's the windward telltales which agitate as is stated in paragraph five.

On page 33, the first paragraph advises one to sheet the jib a bit too much so that the windward telltale is flopping. On my boat the leeward telltale is the one which would flop. Perhaps I got my telltales on backwards?

Lastly, on page 38, first paragraph, the last sentence suggest that pointing should have priority over speed which is at odds with page 41, last paragraph which gives speed the first priority.

Again it all may be just my reading of the text with old eyes.

Geohan
 
Last edited:
May 17, 2004
2,037
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Re: Sail trim book critique

You picked up on a few things, which you can find in any publication and article on any subject, and there are a few other things I'd like to change but the production of those 2 products was so time consuming and exhausting that I have no desire to fix it -- in fact my wife would kill me if I tried.

I hope you got something out of the book. If you feel you didn't get your money's worth please return it and I'll refund your money -- even if you purchased it from sailboatowners.com.
 
Feb 20, 2011
7,833
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
snip-
I hope you got something out of the book. If you feel you didn't get your money's worth please return it and I'll refund your money -- even if you purchased it from sailboatowners.com.
Well, there you go. Kudos, Don.
 
Aug 16, 2009
1,000
Hunter 1986 H31 California Yacht Marina, Chula Vista, CA
Re: Sail trim book critique

Don, I don't think Geohan was actually critiquing the book [my bible] but just asking for some clarification. It is obvious he has read it carefully and paid attention to everything you wrote. He very obviously put your teachings into practice and in so doing he may have uncovered a couple of minor things you could easily set straight. I don't think he meant to take anything away from either the usefulness or the value of the book and chart.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,494
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
Re: Sail trim book critique

Gudenuph... how about a private message next time you have a personal bone to pick, instead of asking Don to publicly comment on something we discussed years ago.

And Don......... why don't you print up a correction/update addendum and insert it in each new book from now on... shouldn't be too difficult or costly... since Goodenuph's already done the work... might be less inconvenient to you in the long run, until the second edition comes out.... then the new book buyer can go to the appropriate pages and make the noted corrections by hand.
 
May 17, 2004
2,037
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Re: Sail trim book critique

Joe: As always, thank you for the good suggestion. A large part of my problem is I'm not a professional writer and I know ZERO about computers. The book was an after thought and was the worse ideas I ever had -- once I started the 6 month project I wished I never started it. There will never be a second addition. I'd rather jump off the Coronado Bridge first. Before I started the book I had met Dennis Conner in a bar on Shelter Island during the America Cup races. His book "Sail Like A Champion" is my bible. I asked him how he went about writing it - he said "who said I wrote it". His advise was to just go for it and do the best you can because sailors will cut you some slack if the overall product is informative. A couple of Long Beach sailors helped me try to edit it and we caught some stuff. Years ago a sail trim forum lister from Canada helped me correct sentence structure, punctuation, spelling etc but the changes screwed up a bunch of pages. Additionally, I've found things I wish I had said better. A major factor is there is no money in this stuff - the post office, paper company, post office and even sailboatowners.com make more money than I do. Unfortunately, I have no one to turn to. It's hard and expensive to find a professional writer with sail trim knowledge -- one changed "sail' to "sale" and didn't like the term "cunningham - she thought it sounded sexual!!

Putting that aside, let's deal with the first subject - twist. I should have left off "more twist is better for speed and acceleration" (obviously, the more the sail is twisted the less powerful it is) and maybe I should eliminate the next sentence because it doesn't express what I was trying to get to. By dialing out the twist the sail would power up and accelerate.

Pointing versus speed: I prefer speed over pointing and that's what I said "the rule is speed first- point second", "don't trade pointing for speed". Some sailors prefer pointing over speed. Whatever floats your boat.

I'll deal with the telltales in the next session.
 
Aug 4, 2009
204
Oday 25 Olympia
I don't know mate -- have you ever written a book, developed a chart, written a report or given a presentation? Maybe you have and after the session or whatever you notice or remembered some things you'd wish you never said or would like to change but unfortunately it's too late. As a "one man band" (with out fact checkers etc) which I am, it's too expensive and time consuming to change.

You picked up an a few things, which you can find in any publication and article on any subject, and there are a few other things I'd like to change but the production of those 2 products was so time consuming and exhausting that I have no desire to fix it -- in fact my wife would kill me if I tried.

I hope you got something out of the book. If you feel you didn't get your money's worth please return it and I'll refund your money -- even if you purchased it from sailboatowners.com.
Please accept my humble apology for being less than discrete in my post re sail trim. I'm such a computer dummy the forum is the only avenue I could find. Like you mentioned, after-the-fact regrets are bitter and it is ironic that only this morning your book fell open to the last page and on the bottom, your email address jumped out at me. Dummy dummy dummy!
I wouldn't trade my beat up copy with its cover barely hanging on for any like book Iv'e seen and that goes back to Ross, Walker, Henderson, Gentry, Bethwaite and Marchaj, to name a few. Your gracious reply to my prodding
is the mark of a man.
Geohan
 

Phil Herring

Dethroned Admin
Mar 25, 1997
4,859
Hunter 450 Bainbridge Island
FWIW, I think this topic should have used the word question instead of critique... I read it as a request for clarification, not a critique of the book. It does set the wrong tone and doesn't appear to reflect the intent of the OP. I made that change to the title.
 
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Aug 4, 2009
204
Oday 25 Olympia
FWIW, I think this topic should have used the word question instead of critique... I read it as a request for clarification, not a critique of the book. It does set the wrong tone and doesn't appear to reflect the intent of the OP. I made that change to the title.
Thanks, Geohan
 
May 17, 2004
2,037
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Geohan: I appreciate your input on items I should have addressed long ago. I've been re reading the entire telltale section. I felt that section of the book was the second most important after draft depth, draft position, twist and angle of attack but now I'm wondering if it's too long with too much info? (lift/drag and flip rate-- what am I doing!!)

At parts I use the terms windward/leeward and on other parts I use the terms inside /outside. Beginners, have trouble with windward/leeward so that's why I use inside/outside. It's the same with the traveler - since the boat is heeled over it's easier for them to see up and down as an adjustment.

I was thinking of re writing the whole section and adding an addendum as Joe suggested. Parts of the section are OK. Maybe I'll google and see how other guys describe telltales. Any ideas will be appreciated.
 
Aug 4, 2009
204
Oday 25 Olympia
Geohan: I appreciate your input on items I should have addressed long ago. I've been re reading the entire telltale section. I felt that section of the book was the second most important after draft depth, draft position, twist and angle of attack but now I'm wondering if it's too long with too much info? (lift/drag and flip rate-- what am I doing!!)

At parts I use the terms windward/leeward and on other parts I use the terms inside /outside. Beginners, have trouble with windward/leeward so that's why I use inside/outside. It's the same with the traveler - since the boat is heeled over it's easier for them to see up and down as an adjustment.

I was thinking of re writing the whole section and adding an addendum as Joe suggested. Parts of the section are OK. Maybe I'll google and see how other guys describe telltales. Any ideas will be appreciated.
I believe your book is so helpful to so many new and old sailors I standby to help in any way I can, totally gratuitously of course.
Geohan
 

Apex

.
Jun 19, 2013
1,058
C&C 30 Elk Rapids
I am glad to see this thread work itself out, as others pointed out Don has been very gracious. I think Joe has a really good ides, to simply create a corrections sheet.

Don, the reason I agree/further suggest, is several-fold
You mentioned the workload as HUGE, so that seems to be the simplest way to correct technical errors of sort. I was unaware of previous discussions of these errors before, so something to put in as an addendum sheet (like an editorial response?) may not be overbearing.
There will always be ways to make some subtle changes, and that is a mark of a perfectionist. Is it worth the workload? based on Don's previous replies I would think not. Certainly a thread could be made so that contributions by the site could be made to lessen the workload. End game, the book does not need to be perfect, though you may like it to be.
 
May 17, 2004
2,037
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Apex: There are a few writer that live in my community that may be able to help me and it may not be the big deal I thought it would be. The section on twist involves only 2 sentences and may not change the page numbering but I'm more inclined to use Joe's idea of the addendum which I think is like an editorial response. I can easily slip that page into the back of the book when I assemble it.

The real problem is what to do with the section on telltales.

Over 6000 of these books have been sold and for the book to have only 2 errors (the section on on point/speed is OK) is pretty good I think but I would like it to be perfect.
 
Sep 27, 2014
57
Montgomery 17 driveway
This "string" has been very helpful for me. I too have run across contradictions in reference material about sailing. Thanks to "Gudenuph" for the question. And to Mr. Gillette for writing his tomb. Now I know that mistakes do happen and that it is not always me that cannot understand seemingly contradictory statements. They do contradict on occasion. An appendix would be helpful in such instances or perhaps a "notice to mariners" as it were. Actually trying to figure out a contradiction to see if it is me or the written word serves to really get the concepts involved firmly implanted in my aging gray matter. Nothing like "messing about in boats".
 
May 22, 2004
77
Oday 23 Bullock's Cove, RI
Don, as others have said ... thanks for a useful and simple book on sail trim.

Re the corrections and or updates....... I am familair with the issues of pagination etc when you make a simple change and as one of the 6000+ owners of the book I'd like to suggest the following.....
You are clearly very capable with posting to the Sailboatowners site .... I think most of your customers probably have access to this site so why not have a "topic" which hopefully Phil will give only you the rights to post to which might be titled - "Sail Trim Corrections and updates". You could then post a series of "Clarifications or Updates" which we cna then either copy and write in our copies or print and keep with the book.
This should not be too burdensome and will be accessible to all.
If people have a question like Gudenuph they can post that question and if you feel it warrants a "Clarification" or "correction" to the book you can post that in your update series and specify ... On page 10 I wrote XXXX it should read YYYY etc etc.

I has read your book many times but I need to spend more time with the book on the boat ----- I'm willing to admit that once out on the bay and feeling the wind and hearing the sound of the water under the hull all thoughts about implementing and challenging myself to read the wind and sails falls apart after a few minutes - I just "enjoy" myself and relax. Sometimes when I crew on other peoples boats in a club race, where your recommendations would be useful, the captain and his tactician sometimes have their own ideas .... need I say more.

From cold and snowy New England - with 75 days until launch time.

james
 
Feb 26, 2004
22,010
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Re the corrections and or updates....... I am familair with the issues of pagination etc when you make a simple change and as one of the 6000+ owners of the book I'd like to suggest the following.....
You are clearly very capable with posting to the Sailboatowners site .... I think most of your customers probably have access to this site so why not have a "topic" which hopefully Phil will give only you the rights to post to which might be titled - "Sail Trim Corrections and updates".
Great idea and great book.
 
May 17, 2004
2,037
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
I'm pretty lucky with the small amount of mistakes. Everything contained in the book and chart was tested on either my C25 or C30. The problem came when I had to transfer it to paper, but it could have been worse. For example, I forget the technique that I was working on but I had 2 different articles written by 2 different authors from some sailing magazine. Both were totally different!! One was written by Buddy Melges so I thought his would be correct. When I tested both techniques Buddy was right and the other guy was TOTALLY wrong. Life just goes on as there are much more important things in our lives to deal with.
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,046
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I also think that Gudenuph had thoughtful comments and they were respectfully presented. James suggestion is an excellent idea. What better way to keep Don's book alive and fresh?

It would be a good way to go into more depth on many topics. Gudenuph had a question about twist that I would like to see explored. I think that interpreting how twist impacts sail trim is a relatively complex issue compared to the other sail trim topics. Of the 4 ... AOA, draft depth, draft position, and twist ... I think twist has impacts which are more difficult to recognize and the optimal adjustment isn't so easy to understand. RichH once posted a photo of a boat with overly twisted sails in high winds and it was an eye opener to me based on the lengthy discussion.

I always looked at it this way ... the right amount of twist is an optimal trim shape for both power and speed. Not enough twist, or hooking the leach at the top of the sail is less powerful (stalling), less fast (in my thinking). Too much twist, would also seemingly be less fast, but is it less powerful? It seems that too much twist is also likely to be accompanied by draft which is too deep (boom is lifting, or the clew is lifting on a headsail). This would seem to make the sail overly powerful for the wind condition, inducing heel. So if you want to reduce power by increasing twist, are you not increasing power by increasing draft depth as a consequence?
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,046
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Don, your book is obviously widely admired, and this forum is a great place to discuss and debate. You obviously like to keep in touch with the people who admire your book and the charts. I find the charts to be a great resource. James suggestion to make edits a part of the forum seems like a good idea to me. Just what you need, more work, right?
 
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