How to trim sails ( Basic Introduction )

Note: Sail trimming is an extremely wide science, that occupied generations of skippers, made them write thousands of great books and spend millions of dollars…and still does

In this tutorial, we only cover the basic principles of sail trimming and don't pretend to deal with competition techniques

Trimming sails is relatively simple as long as you stick to the same rule

The basic technique is to align the front part of your sails ( called luff ) with the air flow, as shown below

Sail luff parallel to wind

Now, your best bet to achieve this is to start by hauling your sails a bit too much in and then to progressively ease the sheet out until the front part of the sail starts to shiver ( deflate ), as the wind starts pressing on the outer side of the sail

If any, apply the same technique to your second sail and you'll be all set, at least for a decent basic tuning

Hint: For finer tuning, place the helm straight and play with the sheet of your jib / genoa until your two sails are balanced enough, so your boat neither luffes nor beats while the helm is held straight

Once your boat is adjusted this way, the rudder will cause the slightest resistance for a given cape

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