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Mainsail Trimming

Uncover the secrets to sailing fast whilst remaining in control.

Mainsail trimming is not only a physically and mentally demanding role on a boat; it is also one of the most crucial. You need a deep and subtle appreciation of sail shapes and the controls used to achieve them. Most significantly, the role requires an obsession with acquiring and retaining speed.

This book is here to help and it has been written in a groundbreaking way. Every effort has been made to simplify the subject and explain everything that you need to know without blinding you with science. Sailing terminology has been reined-in as much as possible and only information relating to mainsail trimming has been included.

High quality photographs and illustrations are used throughout to simplify this complex subject. This is achieved by showing the sail shapes needed to make the boat go fast and stay under control. Only one sailing role is dealt with to further simplify the subject and make sailing more accessible to the newcomer.

Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword. SECTION 1: CREATING LIFT AND AVOIDING DRAG. Introduction. Creating Lift with Airfoils. Airfoil: Airplane Wing. Airfoil: Sail. Avoiding Drag with Airfoils. Overall Mainsail Trimming Goals and Means. Sail Shape: Belly (Depth). Sail Shape: Leech (Twist). SECTION 2: THE MAINSAIL AND ITS CONTROLS. Introduction. The Mainsheet. Close Hauled. Reaching. Running. Traveler. Leech Shape. Speed and Heel Control - Very Light, Light and Medium Airs. Speed and Heel Control - Strong and Heavy Airs. Vang. Close Hauled. Reaching and Running. Halyard. Cunningham. Outhaul. Backstay. SECTION 3: THE COMPLETE SHAPES. The Complete Upwind Shapes. Reading the Telltales. Leech Telltales. Draft Telltales. SECTION 4: HOW TO SAIL FAST UPWIND. Introduction. Gears. Measuring Gears. Pointing Only Comes With Speed! Keeping Speed. Controlling Heel. Coordination with The Helmsman. Using Feel. Gust Approaching (what not to do). Gust Approaching (what you should do). Using Target Boat Speeds. Fast Manoeuvres. Bearing Away. Heading Up. Tacking. Footing. Wind Changes. Sea State. SECTION 5: OFFWIND TRIM. Reaching. Emergency Vang!. RUNNING. PUMPING. JIBING. Jibing Under Symmetric Spinnaker. Jibing under Asymmetric Spinnaker. Jibing Without a Spinnaker. SECTION 6: HOISTING, DROPPING AND REEFING. Hoisting. Dropping. Reefing. Conclusion. Appendix A: Traveler Track. Appendix B: Trim Table Template. Appendix C: Points of Sail. Glossary. Index.

About the Author

Felix Marks is an experienced yacht racer who splits his time between London and Sydney.


"Follow this clearly laid-out little book and you may well achieve that extra half-knot of boat speed." (Yachting Monthly, November 2007) "As a beginner's guide or quick recap tool, these bite size nuggets of information are perfectly digestible." (Boat Mart, November 2007) "...excellent little book..." (Mainsail Trimming, December 2007)

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