You are here

pre-3rd Sail of the season

We're planning on taking her out next weekend for a burn across Bewl. The plan- test out the new addition of a trapeze and see how fast we can go with the Gennaker out!

We're booked in for a novice race later in May, so we want to improve our speed sailing. Have been reading up on tips from the Captain's Blog ( who seems to have got a good deal more sailing out of this season than we have!

Need to work on the planing- credit to the captain for the following tips:

  • Sail on a reach or broad reach to begin
  • Slacken the jib
  • Raise the centreboard
  • Increase the speed
  • Keep the hull level, trapeze if necessary
  • Observe the wake until it is smooth and fast.
  • Move the crew weight increasingly towards the rear to begin and to sustain planing
  • Sheet in as speed increases, and apparent wind correspondingly moves forward.
  • Keep the boat flat and level
  • Bear away to maintain speed as necessary
  • Flick or pump the sails (although there are restrictions on doing this in a race)

While planing, it is important to steer through the waves, avoiding any collision with the wave in front. Also, in dinghies, keep good control of the sail power. A small change in wind direction can easily cause a capsize or gybes. Boat control becomes easier as planing begins, but fast reactions are often needed to get there, to keep the speed up and to keep the boat level. Crew balance and trim are vital, as are sail trimming and minimal centreboard.

From my limited experience of the gennaker on the Xenon in light winds the range of it is amazing, we've had it almost on a reach before. But when using it downwind in fairly heavy winds, the balance of the boat and weight distribution of the crew is the most important thing. Also if things get too hairy get that huge sail down pronto! Thankfully it does shift pretty fast!