HOW TO LEVERAGE PUFFS FOR BETTER RACING PERFORMANCE
Racing in puffy conditions can be a challenge if you’re not prepared to respond to the variable breeze. Quantum’s Jason Currie shares his tips for using puffs to your advantage.
TUNE THE RIG
Consult your boat’s tuning guide and adjust the rig accordingly. If the rig tune is too loose, the sails will be too full to benefit from any puffs.
Put on a lot of backstay to tighten the rig and flatten the sails upwind, preventing excessive heeling. After that, control the mainsail leech tension and twist by making adjustments to keep the boat sailing at its best angle by easing the traveler or mainsheet while at the same time pulling the vang on tight.
CALL IT OUT
Designate a person to call puffs with a count down. This helps prepare the helmsperson and trimmers to respond appropriately and maintain consistent heel or keep the spinnaker from overloading.
STAY IN CONTROL
When sailing down wind, overloading the helm can cause a broach. The driver and trimmer must communicate so the spinnaker sheet can be eased in the puff to unload the rudder and enable the helmsperson to turn down.
Hiking is challenging in puffs, but a consistent heel angle is vital. Too much heel reduces the flow over the keel and rudder and the boat slips sideways.
EYES ON THE ROAD
When the puff hits, the driver should work on feathering the boat through the puffs. To maintain the heel angle sail “inside” the jib with a slight bubble in the luff.
Read the full article and more on Quantumsails.com.