2nd Gear – Powering up
In medium airs the main needs still to be as full to give the boat the most power it can from the wind. The main should be full and powerful, so ease everything of. The outhaul should bentensioned a little so the foot of the sail has some shape, and sits closer to 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 still be dock bend, so the backstay should be firm.
With the sail as full as possible, we need to set the mainsheet and twist. This is critical as it is still very easy to overtrim.
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.
The helmsman should have feel now, but if he needs a little more then a bit more sheet will help.
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 full as to give the boat power – with a light genoa or Code 1 jib up you need to create as much power as possible.
Keep the halyard eased, and have the draft at 35-40%. 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 still easy to overtrim in these conditions. Stall is likely when the wind speed is low.
Trimming the sheet until the leech is close to the spreaders is good starting point, but on a fractional boat, two thirds of the way along the spreader is a good place for the leech. If you have inhalers, move the clew 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.