Blackmagick Sails
Earlier, on another page, I suggested the red 1metre GBR 08 could have done with a
little more twist in the headsail leech and then sheeted in closer to the centre line with
this sail so as to be able to point higher, just as 1999 world champion Graham Bantock
has done here with his Ikon's 'B' rig. Note how close in he has sheeted his jib. If you
can point just 1 or 2 degrees higher on the wind than the other boats around you,
without loosing speed, you have a tremendous advantage in a race. I'll take that one
step further, if you can't point at least as high as the other boats, you will be very
lucky to ever win a race! Also note the use of tell-tails on the headsail, these are just
as useful to aid in correct sail setting when reaching as they are working to windward.
The one thing I have learnt over the past year of intensive sailing and racing these small yachts is that
you do need to sheet your mainsail in very close to the centre line of the boat if you wish to point well,
and generally be competitive in all but the strongest of breezes. You must train yourself to sail your
boat  with this set up. As I have found easing the sheets does not usually give you enough extra speed to
compensate for the loss of pointing ability. However you will most likely find the boat more nervous to
sail trimed this way. By that I mean it will react faster in the puffs and possibly heal more and in a
quicker manner, wanting to round up even though you have balanced it well for on the wind sailing, you
must be ever vigilant and almost head up before the puff hits you, mostly a well balanced boat will do
most of this work for you, but to get that little bit extra out of it you need to do some of the work as
well. The design of boat I have been sailing seems to loose very little forward speed on the wind while
timming the sails in this manner, but you do need a cut of sail that will help or allow this, ie. a clean exit
off the leech of the sail, and you must not be perpetually pinching! In average to light winds you need to
power up your boat to maintain speed, just pushing or piching to windward in the puffs as they come. If
you want to go fast to windward you have to work at it, a well balanced boat and an ever alert skipper will
win the day. The one exception here is with a wider or more powerful boat easing the sheets and going
for more boat speed could work for you. But in my mind if you have an average to narrow boat you must
go for pointing ability. In a very strong breeze let the main out a notch on your boom ajustment twist off
the top of the  main and jib a little but try and keep the jib boom in for pointing.
Sheeting the sails for optimum performance to windward.
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If you have the time follow this interesting debate on the effectiveness of telltales
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