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Sailing the Sloop 4.9


by Greg Goodall, Australian High Performance Catamarans

General Sailing Philosophy of Catamarans

A number of years ago I heard the following quote applied to catamaran sailing.

It doesn't matter where you are going as long as you are going there fast.

The element of truth in this statement is that boat speed is ultimately important.

Go fast. Look for pressure then angles

(opposite priority compared to dinghies)

Upwind sail and rig settings.

Light Winds: 1 -5 knots

Luff Tension - just remove the major wrinkles down the luff.

Mast rotation - 45 deg.

Mainsheet - light, all telltales should be flowing.

Foot - ease foot to give 50mm camber in foot.

Mainsheet traveler - centered.

Jib leads - forward and inboard.

Jib sheet - light and constantly adjusted to keep the jib leech 10 - 50mm from the spreader arm.

Light / Medium Winds : 5 - 10 knots.

Luff Tension - just remove the wrinkles down the luff. Pull on luff tension rather than easing mainsheet if you start to get over powered.

Mast rotation - 40 to 30 deg

Mainsheet - firm to hard, to stand up the leech for maximum power. All telltales should be flowing.

Foot - gradually flatten foot as the wind increases to 10knots.

Mainsheet traveler - centered.

Jib leads - forward and inboard.

Jib sheet -firm and constantly adjusted to keep the jib leech 10 - 50mm from the spreader arm.

Medium Winds: 10 - 15 knots.

Luff Tension - pull down the luff to flatten the sail and to induce twist in the top of the sail. Max luff is usually required by 15knots.

Mast rotation - 30 to 20deg.

Mainsheet - firm to hard, ease the mainsheet in the gusts to control the power in the sail. The top windward telltales will be stalled, all other telltales should be flowing.

Foot - pull foot out flat and tight.

Mainsheet traveler - centered.

Jib leads - middle setting on trampoline loops.

Jib sheet - hard and constantly adjusted to keep the jib leech 10 - 50mm from the spreader arm.

Strong Winds : 15- 20 knots.

Luff Tension - pull down the luff hard to flatten the sail as much as possible and to induce twist in the top of the sail

Mast rotation - 15 deg.

Mainsheet - firm to hard, ease the mainsheet in the gusts to control the power in the sail. The top 2 or 3 windward telltales will be stalled, all other telltales should be flowing.

Foot - pull foot out flat and tight.

Mainsheet traveler - centered.

Jib leads - aft and outboard.

Jib sheet - hard as possible and constantly adjusted to keep the jib leech 20 - 60mm from the spreader arm.

Downwind sail and rig settings.

Light Winds : 1 -5 knots.

Boat is sailed flat. Keep your weight forward to make sure the transom is not dragging.

Luff Tension - just remove the major wrinkles down the luff.

Mast rotation - 90 to 100 deg.

Mainsheet - light, allow sail to twist keep leeward telltales flowing.

Foot - ease foot to give 150mm camber in foot.

Traveler - out as far as it will go.

Jib barber haul - fully pulled on.

Jib sheet - light and constantly adjusted to keep telltales flowing.

Light / Medium Winds : 5 - 10 knots.

Boat is sailed flat. Keep your weight forward to make sure the transom is not dragging.

Luff Tension - just remove the wrinkles down the luff.

Mast rotation - 90 deg.

Mainsheet - light to firm, to control leech twist for maximum power. All telltales should be flowing.

Foot - 150mm camber in foot.

Traveler - out as far as it will go.

Jib barber haul - fully pulled on.

Jib sheet - firm and constantly adjusted to keep telltales flowing.

When possible change into the "Wild Thing" mode.

Luff Tension - just remove the wrinkles down the luff.

Mast rotation - 80 deg.

Mainsheet - firm, to stand up the leech for maximum power.

Foot - 100 -150mm camber in foot.

Traveler - pull traveler up to 300mm. up from inner gunwale.

Move your weight to leeward to help lift the windward hull. Crew should be sitting on the leeward hull.

Jib barber haul - 400 from fully pulled on.

Jib sheet - firm and constantly adjusted to keep telltales flowing.

Medium Winds : 10 - 15 knots.

Ideal "Wild Thing" wind range.

Luff Tension - just remove the wrinkles down the luff.

Mast rotation - 80deg.

Mainsheet - firm to hard, ease the mainsheet in the gusts to control the power in the sail.

Foot - 100 - 150mm camber in foot

Traveler - set traveler 100mm. up from inner gunwale.

Steer down in the gusts and up in the lulls.

Move your weight back and to leeward to help lift the windward hull. The crew should be sitting on the leeward hull and the skipper on the windward hull. This also keeps the bow up and makes the boat easier to steer.

Jib barber haul - 400 from fully pulled on.

Jib sheet - firm to keep telltales flowing.

Strong Winds : 15- 20 knots.

Wild Thing this is where it got its name.

Luff Tension - pull down the luff slightly to induce twist in the top of the sail.

Mast rotation - 80 deg.

Mainsheet - firm to hard, ease the mainsheet in the gusts to control the power in the sail. Play lots of mainsheet . The harder you work the faster you go.

Steer down in the gusts and up in the lulls

Foot - 100 camber in foot

Traveler - set traveler 100 up from inner gunwale.

Move your weight back .The crew should be sitting on the leeward hull or on the tramp deck as far aft as possible and the skipper on the windward hull. This helps keep the bow up and makes the boat easier to steer.

Jib barber haul - 400 from fully pulled on.

Jib sheet - firm to keep telltales flowing. Ease the sheets if the bow starts to go down

When doing the Wild Thing - Smooth is Fast.

Strong Winds : 20 knots plus

Sail the boat flat; and deep as pointing higher will not increase your speed, you are already at maximum hull speed.

Luff Tension - pull down the luff firmly to induce twist in the top of the sail.

Mast rotation - 80 deg.

Mainsheet - as much as you are game, ease the mainsheet in the gusts to control the power in the sail. Play lots of mainsheet. The harder you work the faster you go.

Steer down in the gusts and up in the lulls

Foot - leave flat; the same as the upwind setting. Heavy crews can have 100mm of camber in the foot

Traveler - out as far as possible.

Move your weight back as far aft as possible with the skipper on the windward hull. This helps keep the bows up and makes the boat easier to steer.

Jib barber haul - 100 from fully pulled on.

Jib sheet - firm to keep telltales flowing. Ease the sheets if the bow starts to go down.

Many thanks to Greg Goodall for compiling this tuning guide.