Changing Gears

It can make it easier if we think of sail trim as changing gears in a car. But we must remember that it is the windspeed which dictates the gear we are in, not the boats own speed. We can shape the sails for the conditions, putting on or taking off power as we need to make the boat faster or behave better. Try to envisage the under-water “shape” of the boat, as you trim the sails – what is the rudder angle?

 

gear11st Gear – Underpowered – Light airs, hard to get the boat moving, easily stopped by waves or crew movement. Crew mainly to lee.

 

Gear22nd Gear – Powering up – Light to medium airs, boat moving, can keep going in small waves. Crew need to start to move to middle of boat, and weather deck.

 

 

gear33rd Gear – Powered – Medium airs, boat moving at full speed and pointing high. Crew on weather deck. Both main and jib fully sheeted on.

 

 

gear44th Gear – Overpowered – Medium to heavy airs, boat moving at full speed and pointing high. Crew on weather deck. Main down traveller and backwinding and
jib fully sheeted on, but car being taken aft.

 

 

 

gear55th Gear – Reduce power – Heavy airs, boat moving fast and pointing high. Main fully down traveller and backwinding and jib fully sheeted on, car aft. Crew on weather deck. Consider reefing or changing headsail. May need to reduce speed in waves.