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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.
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.
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.
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.
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, because they require carefully coordinated crew work. Also, you must wait until after the jibe to set the pole. Since the pole helps the spinnaker… Read More
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 spinnaker sheet. Jack eases the main. The boat bears off slightly and accelerates. As the puff fades, Heidi and Jeff slide inboard, the pole goes… Read More
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 jibes for larger boats. Our divide and conquer approach provides a good framework for analyzing jibes. The job of the trim team—driving and trimming through… Read More
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 do while driving, and together you can coordinate efforts to take advantage of changes in conditions. Of course, as the helm, you must respond to… Read More
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 Divide and Conquer approach to boat handling will be central: One team sails the boat as fast as possible with the sails you’ve got, while… Read More
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 a crew, a careful division of responsibilities is the only way to succeed against other well-balanced teams. There are three basic building blocks of a… Read More
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 stem. Aside from the sheet and halyard, the only other control over spinnaker shape is the tack line, which runs from the end of the… Read More
Mainsail Reefing Setup 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, the reefed sail must have a shape appropriate for the conditions, which means flat. The reefing system must pull the clew out… Read More
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 command “Prepare to jibe.” Release the preventer and turn slowly downwind. When the wind is dead astern, the jib will jibe itself. This is the… Read More
[Excerpt Taken from North U Cruising Book] Poor speed If boatspeed seems poor, you may need to add power. Try deeper sail shapes, and bear off a couple degrees. You can also be slow from being overpowered, in which case you’ll also have too much heel and lots of weather helm. Reduce power and balance… Read More
Spinnakers provide an enormous performance boost in light to moderate air when sailing downwind—and well they should, considering the trouble they can cause! We’ll take a look here at how to handle and trim both cruising spinnakers—also called Gennakers, which fly without a pole—and conventional spinnakers with poles. Setting a Gennaker A cruising spinnaker or… Read More
Compared to the quick response and sudden nature of a squall, sailing through a storm in open water is an endurance contest. In addition to big wind, you’ll have to deal with big waves and crew fatigue. Sailing in Waves Sailing in big waves is a test of seamanship and steering, which is why you… Read More