Sail Trim

Tips from Owners

Down Wind
Up Wind

Heel Angle as Related to Sail Trim

Other than light airs where you want to heel the boat so that the sails can "hang" in their natural shape, always limit heel to within 10 degrees of vertical (if possible). The flatter the boat, the better it points upwind, and the same applies for reaching or running, where weather helm and control is reduced by sailing flat. The foils (rudder and keel) develope lift. The more they are angled under water (by heeling) the less efficient they become.

When beam reaching and your boat is heeling excessively, the J27 will develope a lot of weather helm, which means the rudder is presenting a large area of resistance to the water flow and it will slow you down. The reason you are heeling is that you have too much sail area aloft, but it's easy enough to control. Try some or all of the following:

1. Drop your traveller down as low as it will go and flatten the foot of the mainsail. Pull hard on the Cunningham.
2. Ease the vang to open the top third of the mainsail leech
3. Pull on plenty of backstay (also opens up the mainsail leech)
4. If reaching without a spinnaker, barber haul the genoa clew to the rail - this makes a BIG difference.
5. Get your crew to hike hard
6. Have a total crew mass of 500 kgs and use their weight effectively.
7. Steer an S shaped course - low down wave faces and in puffs - high up wave faces and in lulls
8. Never allow so much heel that the boom touches the water. That is bad, bad, bad and the beginning of a broach

For running and broad reaching (preventing heel):
1. It is sometimes fast to heel the boat to windward by 5 to 10 degrees on a run. This is OK for light to moderate breeze. Dont try it in a blow as you will probably end up doing an unplanned gybe.
2. In heavy air, if the boat starts rolling (oscillating) from side to side, just pull the main sheet in hard (1m) to damp the effect. Another trick is to strap the spinnaker sheet in tigher than normal.
3. Whenever possible, sail the J27 as flat as possible.

In short, flat is fast

See Also

  • Smackwater Jack