More Spin Trim Tips From Down Under

Tony Bull looks at the fine-tune controls used to fly a symmetrical spinnaker off a pole, first published on Australian Sailing.

When a complete novice first steps on board a racing yacht, invariably the first response is amazement at the number of sheets and lines that run along the deck and up the mast. They find it hard to comprehend that all these ropes have a role in the sailing of the boat. All top sailors will tell you the difference in the relative speeds of similar craft is the ability to constantly adjust the setup of the boat to counter the wind and wave variations as they are faced. This ability to change gears and keep your boat sailing well through the oscillating conditions is what sets the top boats apart.

All these various lines and sheets each have a role to play in these alterations. I see so many boats sail around the course with a very token approach to changing gears. I had a recent experience of doing some two-boat sailing with a couple of sister-ships who race against each other at club level and compete in the odd title for that class. One skipper made the comment before we even hit the water that the other boat always ran faster downwind despite using the same make spinnakers. Looking at the two boats sitting side by side on the hard stand, I pointed out that his boat had a substantial amount more rake in his mast and, looking closer, his spinnaker pole ring on the front of his mast was about half a metre higher than his rival’s. Both of these factors would have a significant bearing on the comparable speeds of the two boats. To be able to change gears, we need to have awareness of what can and should be adjusted to constantly maximise our speed.

By |2011-07-18T06:14:36-07:00July 18th, 2011|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Finding the Hot Angle Downwind

Pole forward looking for the fast line.

Another interesting post from the Australian sailing site,

Figuring out how high to heat up your downwind angle is confusing. It feels better to get the boat moving, but after watching DORADO point right at the mark and get there first, and reading that if you’re having fun downwind you’re probably going too high, one starts to get the idea that finding the right angle might be more complicated. Here, Dave Flynn of Quantum Sails explains how the fastest downwind angle changes as pressure increases.

It can be useful to divide sailing downwind into three modes: under 10 knots true, 10-14, and over 14.

If you own a relatively standard mono-hull, the magic true wind angle is around 140 degrees in 10 knots of wind or less. In 10-14 the optimum angle quickly becomes broader, probably somewhere between 140 and 155 degrees true wind angle. Once there is more than 14 knots of breeze, you should be sailing as deep as you can with control.


By |2010-11-08T09:02:35-08:00November 8th, 2010|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Spinnaker Takedowns

We’ve been working on our spinnaker takedowns this year and made some good progress. We’ve become pretty comfortable with the floater, the stretch-and-blow, and our favorite this spring, the windward. Timing has been another issue, a couple of time we got a little greedy and waited too long resulting in sailing well past the Tower.

This video shows two other techniques which we haven’t done yet – the stretch-and-shred and the broach-and-blow.

By |2010-08-11T07:46:35-07:00August 11th, 2010|Racing Skills|0 Comments

Goals for the coming season

I bet there’s more than one boat that has a goal for the coming season of doing a better job handling their spinnaker. Here’s an interesting video of Philippe Kahn’s crew practicing jibes in a Mumm 30.  Lots of things to learn watching this clip.

By |2010-01-20T21:34:20-08:00January 20th, 2010|Racing Skills|2 Comments