Please select your home edition
Edition
Mariners Museum 728x90

Use This Simple 'Speed and Power' Sail Trim Secret!

by John Jamieson on 6 Nov 2013
Trimming the sails - a delicate skill SW
How many times have you trimmed your sails and noticed your speed or power seems just a bit off? You glance up and check the set, the luff, the draft placement and all looks just fine. But something's not quite right. Try these simple sail trim tips to add speed and power when sailing!

What's the most common mistake in all of sail trim? We all do it at one time or the other. And that includes everyone from novices to recreational sailors and pro racing crews. No matter what their experience, we sailors tend to 'over-trim' our sails. Sure, they might look picture perfect and as wrinkle free as a starched shirt or blouse, but that doesn't always result in more speed.

Overtrimmed sails can slow your boat, disturb the laminar flow of wind from luff to leech, and cause your boat to sail sideways like a hermit crab on the run.

Master sailmaker and offshore racing sailor Brian Hancock says that 'Most sail trimmers have their sails overtrimmed'. And he's talking about sailors in general across the board--from weekend sailors to experienced racing crews. What's a fast 'n easy remedy?

Ease the sheets a bit. Allow your sails to 'breathe' and resume their natural shape. This will cause the top of your sails to open up just a bit (called 'twist') to help sustain forward drive and momentum. In his book 'Maximum Sail Power' Hancock says this: 'Let the top twist open a little and nine times out of ten your speed will pick up.'

Always check to see if your boat accelerated after you trim. If near shore, glance at objects ashore before you trim sails. Note their relative motion. With a bit of practice and patience, you'll be able to trim your sails for maximum acceleration.

What do you do in zephyr (ghosting) conditions when the boat has one knot or less of speed? Look just aft of your stern at the bubbles generated by your wake-trail. In all cases, check your speed before you trim; make the sail trim adjustment; re-check your speed and re-trim as necessary.

If you try these simple sail trim tips aboard your sailing boat today you'll make faster cruising passages, wherever in the world you choose to go sailing!

Learn the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit Captain John's website at www.skippertips.com. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and e-Books!

Insun - AC ProgramGiacomo Yacht SalePredictWind.com

Related Articles

41st Annual Wooden Boat Festival - Overall report
Tall ships and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year Tall ships, paddleboards, kayaks, tugboats, and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year on September 8–10, 2017. Demonstrations, presentations, plays, music, dancing, and great food—this is a weekend of fun for all ages
Posted on 17 Aug
Coast Guard, locals launch search after empty, homemade raft found
Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England also activated the Rhode Island Taskforce for assistance. The Coast Guard launched a search for a possible person in the water Saturday after an unmanned, homemade raft was found drifting in Mt. Hope Bay, near the mouth of the Taunton River on the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border. A good Samaritan alerted Coast Guard watchstanders to the empty raft at about 7 a.m.
Posted on 13 Aug
Early-storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead
Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Posted on 12 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Coast Guard searching mid-Atlantic region for 73-year-old sailor
The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. Watchstanders in the fifth Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received a report at 7 a.m. that a 73-year-old sailor named Joseph Calland aboard the 39-foot sailboat Nennette is overdue.
Posted on 3 Aug
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul
Get better wave forecasts from PredictWind and ECMWF
Predictwind is well-known for accurate wind forecasts but now leads the way with accurate wave forecasts PredictWind is well known for its world leading accurate wind forecasts, but did you know Predictwind also leads the way with accurate wave forecasts?
Posted on 12 Jul
Centennial Transat builds bridge to a flying future
The Queen Mary 2 won its battle with the four 30-meter trimarans, as expected, in upwind conditions for the sailboats The race was timed to mark a hundred years since American troops arrived on the shores of France in WW1, and it also brought together all of the fastest Ultimate trimarans for the first time as the class begins to take flight.
Posted on 7 Jul