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Written by Mike Johnson   
Saturday, 31 December 2005 19:46
Downwind tip from Mike Johnson (Seattle Laser Fleet)
In a quest to rid myself of the anchor that I seem to be dragging when sailing downwind I took some advice that Jay gave me a few years back.  The advice was to put a mark on the main sheet so as to quickly determine how far out the boom is relative to perpendicular. 

After getting mowed down twice by Scott Weiss and a few others a couple weeks ago I decided to try sheeting in tighter on the mainsheet and easing the vang a bit to create more leech twist.  Voila, I found that when heading up to catch a wave I quickly found power and I could also go by the lee to quickly find power.  Over the summer as I watched Dan and Andy I could not understand how they were able to gain so much power when only heading up or down so little.  This twisted leech is the key (I think).

To test out this theory I ask anyone interested to place a mark on your mainsheet with electrical tape.  Please place your mark at exactly 24 feet from the end of the main sheet. When sailing downwind note where the mark is relative to the components on the boom.  If my math is correct the mark should be just aft of the old outhaul cleat when the boom is 90 degrees to the centerline.  It is very important to be precise in the location of the mark.  Double check the dimension after installing the tape.

Some people trim the main sheet in and out but usually one location is the average.  Where is that position for you?  I suspect the optimum trim may change with wind speed and wave height.  With everyone using the same main sheet mark it will be interesting to hear thoughts on this.

I've not found an easy way to measure vang tension so it can be compared across the fleet.  Anyone have a suggestion for this?

Tip: Put a mark on both ends of your main sheet so you can end for end it.
Last Updated on Saturday, 02 May 2009 01:33
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