Upwind Sail Trim


Sail trim for going to windward involve some fundamentals and then fine-tuning those to meet all upwind conditions are all techniques that form the parts of the puzzle that is sailing.


The boat’s power plant must be looked at in terms of the components that make it up and how these components interact with one another. When you tighten the backstay to flatten the main, you change the headstay shape and when you tension the genoa halyard, you affect the mainsail. It involves a continuous loop of trim, going methodically through a trimming cycle all the time you are going to windward.


Every trim control on the boat directly affects the particular area of adjustment, and it changes all parts of the power plant. To recognise this and to understand it is the key to understanding sail trim.


Good sails should be responsive enough to go through the range from full curving arcs to power the boat in the lightest winds, to flat, blade like shapes for keeping the boat under control in heavy airs. The sails should be able to do what you want of them. They are the engine of a sailing boat – they must be able to handle all speeds, and you need to handle them in all conditions. To be able to do this you have to understand the techniques, the trim, the shapes and the controls that are needed.