1st Gear

gear1In light airs the main needs to be as full as possible to give the boat the most power it can from the wind. With a light genoa or Code 1 jib up you want to create as much power as possible. The main should be full and powerful, so ease everything of. The outhaul should be relatively slack so the foot of the sail has some shape, and sits away from the boom. The luff should also be slack and the draft half way back. If creases at the luff develop to get the draft at 50% then that’s OK. The mast should be straight as possible, so the backstay should be slack.

With the sail as full as possible, we need to set the mainsheet and twist. This is critical as it very easy to overtrim in these conditions. Stall is very likely when the wind speed is low, so the sail should be full but have an open leech. Trimming the sheet until the top batten is parallel to the boom is a good starting point, but on fractional mainsails, the batten should be a little more twisted. Set the traveller so the boom is on the centreline, whilst not changing the twist.

Now check the telltales, they should all fly, but the top one may not all the time – 50% of the time flying is OK. Talk to the helmsman, and if he needs a little more “feel” then a slightly tighter leech will help, or take the boom above the centreline.

The main puts the headsail in an apparent lift, so the tighter its trimmed the more lift it gives the headsail. The positive aspects of pointing higher outweigh the negative aspects of partially stalling the main.

The headsail needs to be set initially with the correct twist and as full as possible to give the boat the most power it can from the wind.
With a light genoa or Code 1 jib up you want to create as much power as possible.
Ease everything of, and the halyard should allow the draft to back to 40%. Recheck the sheet for the correct twist, and may well be relatively slack so the foot of the sail has some shape, and sits almost on the guardrails. If creases at the luff develop to get the draft at 40% then that’s OK.
Watch the telltales as it very easy to overtrim in these conditions. Stall is very likely when the wind speed is low.

Trimming the sheet until the leech is close to the spreaders is good starting point, but on fractional boat, two thirds of the way along the spreader is a good place for the leech. If you have in-haulers, move the clew in to about 6 degrees, rechecking the spreader/leech position and the telltales for
twist.

Now check the telltales, they should all fly, but in light winds this may not be all the time, especially in waves.

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