Critical Techniques


Sailing doublehanded boats in collegiate regattas focuses primarily on boathandling basics, which are key to developing top boatspeed. However, there are still areas, even downwind, where small changes in trimming technique can produce major jumps in speed. Here, with the College of Charleston sailing team, wego over some of the finer points of trimming the jib and windward heel when sailing downwind.

Split Tanking

In big breeze the skipper will often move to leeward and hand off the jib – trim job to the crew. This position can give him greater sensitivity and opportunity to balance the boat a little more quickly through puffs and waves. This trim is best suited for smaller chop where the surfing/planning is inconsistent, not necessarily in large surfing swells. When sitting to leeward, the skipper trims the main, and pumping can be much more effective.

Weather Heel

Here, this skipper has balanced the boat with a little less heel to weather so the helm balance is neutral, the tiller is straight down centerline, and the wake is flat.

GOOD FORM: The skipper keeps her hand low, trimming the sheet tighter as a result so the clew is further aft. The jib is flat, the upper leech is more supported, and a much more efficient shape is presented to the breeze. When a jib on wing is trimmed properly, the wind flow will actually enter the leech and exit at the luff. Often a telltale on the leech of the jib will turn backwards towards the luff indicating the ideal reversed flow. Note that the weather heel is minimal and the vang is eased so the main upper batten is open. The last foot of the top batten is nearly parallel to the boom.