This article is an excerpt from NauticEd’s online FREE Basic Sail Trim Course, an interactive online sailing course for beginner to intermediate sailors to learn the basics of sail trim. Or if you want to learn more, upgrade to the Skipper Course Bundle to become a competent sailor!

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More Basic Sail Twist

The wind at the top of the mast has more healing leverage on the boat than the wind lower down. And so as the wind picks up in speed (15 knots and above) the heeling force on the boat can become too great. For this reason, sail trimmers will twist out more of the sail at the top to waste or spill the top wind while maintaining the lower down (less heeling) wind.

To achieve more twist out in the headsail – just move the fairlead aft in its track to loosen the leech. To achieve this with the mainsail pull the traveler to windward and let out on the mainsheet. This allows the boom to rise and loosens the leech all the while maintaining the foot of the sail at a desired angle to the wind.

View the 3D animation video here.



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A FREE 1-2 hour course that teaches how to work with sails to get your boat moving. The free Basic Sail Trim Course is for any aspiring sailor as well as experienced sailors wanting to learn more. Or, consider upgrading to the Skipper Course Bundle to become a fully competent skipper!

Source: Basic Sail Trim
Topic: Sails and Sail Trim
Authors: Grant Headifen, NauticEd Global Director of Education
NauticEd is a fully recognized education and certification platform for sailing students combining online and on-the-water real instruction (and now VR). NauticEd offers +24 online courses, a free sailor's toolkit that includes 2 free courses, and six ranks of certification – all integrated into NauticEd’s proprietary platform. The USCG and NASBLA recognize NauticEd as having met the established American National Standards.