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How To Guides

We’re here to help. North Sails has a wealth of information that we want to share with you. Whether it is tips on getting around the racecourse, trimming your sails or cruising techniques – we aim to document our knowledge to help improve your sailing. Use our How To section to search for content and read about topics of interest to you.

It is good to have the right number of crew onboard, but if no one can do bow,  you aren’t in great shape! Ask yourself, do you have the key roles covered?… Read More

One of many key positions on a race team, the sail trimmer takes responsibility for optimizing sail performance. While the most important time to shine is during the race, a… Read More

The tune of your rig needs to match the designed luff curve of your main and luff hollow of your jibs. It is often necessary to retune the rig for new sails, so if your boat’s performance is not all you hope for, especially in certain conditions, here’s how to adjust your rig tension, rake, and pre-bend.

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October 21, 2014. Leg 1 onboard Team Alvimedica. Day 10 brings the fleet into the ITCZ and the notoriously challenging Doldrums, an area of volatile and unpredictable weather. The clouds continue to grow in intensity long after the sun has set.

When a squall hits, a little preparation goes a long way toward helping your boat and crew come through it safely. Here are some things to do ahead of time, and when you first realize what’s coming. We’ll also talk about broaching, and how to respond to that when it happens.

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Day 3 Audi tron Sailing Series - Melges 24 Yacht Club Marina di Loano, 3-5 April 2015 ©BPSE/MMelandri

The most important element of upwind boathandling is tacking, though every once in awhile an efficient reef or genoa change could also win you a race. Tacking seems like a minor thing, but the difference between a good tack and a poor one can be measured in boat lengths.

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J70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NYJ70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NYJ70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NY

If the angle of the downwind leg requires an immediate jibe, you’ll need to learn how to do a jibe set. Jibe sets are more difficult than bear away sets,… Read More

steering with weight downwind

It happens almost without words. As the puff hits, Heidi and Jeff move off the cabin top to the rail. Tom trims back on the guy and David eases the… Read More

Photos taken at the 2015 North U/Offshore Sailing Performance Race Week on Captiva Island

No matter how big your boat and crew, the key to perfect jibes is practice, practice, practice. There are two basic jibing techniques: End-for-end jibes for smaller boats and dip-pole… Read More

steering downwind

Steering off the wind, on reaches and runs, requires a coordinated effort between helmsman and spinnaker trimmer. The spinnaker trimmer often has as good a feel for performance as you… Read More

J70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NYJ70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NY

Nothing takes as much teamwork and practice as spinnaker handling. Here we’ll cover the skills and techniques needed to handle and control conventional spinnakers, set from poles. Throughout the discussion the… Read More

Organize your crew club racing

If you want to drive the boat, trim the sails, watch the instruments, read the compass, track the fleet, and call tactics—then race singlehanded. If you want to race with… Read More

J70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NYJ70 Women's Keelboat Championships 2016 Rye, NY

Sport boat asymmetric spinnakers (also known as “kites”) trim differently from conventional spinnakers. And due to their extended, fixed position bow sprit, they differ from a cruising asymmetric flown from the… Read More

reefing system

There are a number of effective reefing arrangements, but all have two common elements. The first is ease of use; the reef should be easy to set and shake. Second,… Read More

safe jibes for cruising boats

When your destination is downwind on the opposite tack, then a jibe is called for. A jibe has three steps: Starting from a broad reach, initiate the jibe with the… Read More

North U performance and trim solutions

[Excerpt Taken from North U Cruising Book] If boatspeed seems poor, you may need to add power. Try deeper sail shapes, and bear off a couple degrees. You can also… Read More

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