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2548WetaWest on efficient sailing and mainsheet trim.

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  • David Berntsen
    Aug 1, 2011
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      ndrew Vogel (Weta owner) emailed me some questions about Weta boat handling. I responded to his email and copied the details below. Hope yuo find this interesting....

      Explain how keeping the bow down improves efficiency of the sails and other surfaces?

      The key to sailing fast is maximizing the efficiency of all components of the boat; mainly the sails, hull friction on the water and the efficiency for the daggerboard (DB). Assuming you have your sails set efficiently for sailing upwind, next you want to focus on having the hulls drawing through water most efficiently (least drag) as possible. Of you are sitting way aft, the stern of the boat will drag in the water (slow). You want to water flow to release off the stern of the boat with the least drag, so going upwind you sit forward in the boat (fast).

      Sailing with the boat with less heel is fast. If you heel over too far and bury the leeward ama you slow down. Find a comfortable heel angle so the leeward ama is drawing through the water stabilizing the boat but focus on keeping the boat as flat as possible.

      Now if you have the sails set properly and have the boat moving through the water efficiently the next thing you need to think about is your DB, which is where you boat gets all the "lift" so you rocket to weather. Think about it - if you remove the DB while sailing the boat sails sideways and you can't point upwind. The DB is super important to boat speed and pointing.

      So about keeping your weight forward…When sailing upwind I am sitting on the weather ama hiking hard (with feet in the straps on the trampoline). This keeps the boat as flat as possible so I can sheet on the jib/main harder. I am sitting right up against the shroud and actually push into the shroud to get my weight as far forward as possible. With my weight forward, I am able to center my weight over the DB which increases the lift on the DB. When you get the boat in the groove with everything set up properly, you can focus on driving "flying" the DB through the water.

      Next step – when everything is "in the groove" and you are getting a lot of lift/drive from the DB you will feel that the DB is lifting the main hull out of the water (with a little bit of leeward heel) which again reduces surface friction of the main hull in the water. Make sense? It takes some time to get the boat this dialed, but when you do, you'll feel it. Even better – It's pretty east to get the Weta in the groove and keep it there. This stuff applies to all sailboats and windsurfers alike.

      Look at the pic I have attached (see photos). This boat is totally in the groove, check out the details;
      • All telltales on sails are working. Jib is strapped on for max power
      • Optimum heel angle
      • Sitting forward against the shroud, and actually I was leaning forward so my weight was over my forward butt – I was pushing as much weight forward to get the most lift from the DB.
      • Look at how the main hull is listing from the water even though I am sitting forward. This is because the daggerboard is lifting the main hull out of the water!

      How to rig the mainsheet block so you can adjust sheet easily...

      Everyone seems to rig their mainsheet differently. I set up all my boats exactly the same and suggest my customers use my standard settings as it works really well for me in all wind conditions.

      • The bungee cord that traverses the cockpit needs to be horizontal when the main block to deck line is tied off. This is important as it sets the height of the block and cam cleat.
      • There are adjuster screws on the cam cleat so you can adjust the angle. I adjust to 40 degrees (there are markings on the bracket that holds the cleat).
      • Make sure the cleat faces forward.

      To work the line through the cleat when sailing there is some technique.
      • To release the line from the cleat I whip the mainsheet (it hits the deck by my feet) and it comes right out of the cleat. When you sheet on, the angle of the cleat will pull the line through the cleat so it locks.
      • When hiking on the ama – same as above, but the whip of the sheet needs to be practiced.
      • If it's gusty (and I am hiking hard) I'll have the main strapped on but I release the sheet from the cleat just before the gust hits, without dumping power from the main. When the gust hits I ease the main a few inches and sail right through the gust (or accelerate), and then sheet on again.

      One other thing I do with the main sheet is I use a captive pin shackle to attach the main sheet to the clew of the main. It's more secure that the standard hook. I also tie 8" strap of spectra from the shackle to the top main sheet block so that the mainsheet hardware does not go flying around my face/teeth when jibing in windy conditions. You can see this in the pic (attached).
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