Saturday, November 05, 2005

Somewhat Live or Memorex

Live: (or at least taped, digitized and put up for streaming)
Canada, unfortunately, does not have as large a sailing community as Europe. The major networks favour the major sports (hey...Business is Business). With broadband expanding to the point of video-on-demand service, we are getting closer and closer to the concept of the sailing channel, web tv on demand. For now though here are a few resources that will help those cope with a lack of sail coverage., broadband, subscription based video, as well as a free section with good video tips. As they put it: "From major sailing regattas, throughout the US and Caribbean, to sailing destinations, to the sailors, the boats and the sport, covers it all with same day coverage for major regattas. With over 50 features and 100 shows including events, news, interviews, and destinations, is the place to see sailing.", an excellent idea. Nice interface. Very similar to But from what I can see it has up to 2004, but has not been updated since (...not sure what happened there?)

Adventures Online, more up-to-date then, has some laser events and cat event coverage.

For those who prefer to make their own reality and command the seas in the safety of their desk, there is Virtual Skipper 4, coming soon. Great graphics....Most likely will not be available for the mac and from experience (version 3) will not work with virtual PC. May have to buy a PC laptop for this one!

Friday, November 04, 2005

The First Leg | Sail Trim 2.0

I think the reason sailing appeals to me so much is my passion for understanding and mastering artforms. Although very scientific and rooted in mathematics, design and physics, sailing is an artform that requires finesse and a subtleness that is mastered like music or painting. It is the feel of the brushstroke and pressure along with the consistency of the mix of paint, or the brightness of a note or feeling the vibration of the string on the violin or guitar that creates the effect. Masters of any artform have an underlying understanding of the fundamental principles that govern their world. It is the colour theory and basic shape theory for the visual artist (the fundamental building blocks of all objects), and the principles of light, material and refraction of light, that enable them to reproduce with stunning realism on the canvas.

Where am I going with this? Understanding sail trim and mastering it requires knowledge of the underlying principles of aerodynamics, the physics of airflow, the physics of lift. I am not an engineer, or mathematician, but consistently reading articles and researching the underlying physics makes it easier for me to understand the feel of the sail and what I need to do to achieve the results I want.

Having said that I have another list of trim and sail theory. Some are a little more in depth and technical but great resources. Here we go:

A great interactive place to start is the National Geographic Volvo sail trim simulation. An interactive flash guide to trim. It allows you to adjust the rudder and trim the mainsail and immediately see the effects on speed on all points of sail. I have this posted on my permanent links so sorry to those who have accessed it there. Think it a great place to review or start.

Another place to start is overall review of the sailing basics. Vega Sailing School, (for catamarans) has a site that explores the basics of Apparent wind, Sail Trim, Changes in the Wind, Balance and has sections on sail trim simplified and a section more in-depth.

Basic fundamentals of sail theory. A good primer. Has good visuals and quite in-depth

Stanford Yacht Research: An explanation of Sail Flow Analysis. Another great in-depth resource for understanding how the wind reacts over the combined main and jib together. Good reference for understanding the slot principle and airflow dynamics.

Sail Twist from Another in-depth look at the jib and how the luff and leech effect the attack on the wind to deflect the airflow over the main. This site has a link to spreadsheets for those who crave numbers and formulas. For those who don't it is still a good read with information that can help in the understanding process.

A technical note from WB Sails which explores the Effects of the Side Bend of the Mast. Will help with smaller boats and dinghies more than the larger boats where stay tuning is more of a factor.

A few sites I have saved till last because they may be repeats for some. US Sailing sail trim article. From the Miami Valley MYC Newsletter, a quick reference guide to trim in different air velocity conditions. And finally a sail trim guide (pdf format) from Quantum Sails. A viewpoint from a sailmaker. Has some good visuals and information.

I will save the really technical articles and published info on sail theory for another post or include it in a separate sidebar.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The First Leg | Trim, Trim, Trim

As promised here is a list of urls I think worthy of a good read. The first is Performance Racing Trim, Boat Speed, Boat Handling and the Racing Pyramid. Refer to chapter 3 on sail trim. Written by Bill Gladstone and NU Seminars. The article covers basic lift principles, sail shape (with lots of visual references as a guide). The article is a good starting point for sail trim for both main and jib. Lots of useful information here. The complete book can be ordered here.

This link The Quest for the Perfect Shape, is an article I had referred to early in my blogging and I think it is in the permanent links. The site deals with the "think as one" principle. Trimming the sails as if they are one large airfoil to maximize lift.

The good sail trimmer is constantly in search of the right shape for the conditions or desired condition (speed vs pointing). This North Sails article Upwind Sail Trim Techniques explores the role of the trimmer and goes through the thought process and actions taken.

Wally Cross tackles trim from many different angles in this article. Lots of useful information here. Worth a read. May need to re-visit this article for some downwind tips as well.

Neil Pryde Sails published an owners manual for their sails. Some nice information from a sail designers perspective on trim and helm balance.

A short but insightful reference regarding proper sail trim. Some pointers for novice trimmers regarding oversheeting. Also a good reference to the frequency of trimming. Covers tell tales which I will include references for as well. Written for a Hobie but useful principles here.

USA sailing keelboat course: sail trim and shape is a primer with some good visual references and links to follow.

This site has a great visual library of sails trimmed well and poorly. Helps put trim into a visual context and helps give you a visual of good sail shape. I like to look at the overall shape. Also great visual reference to know when your sails are NOT trimmed!!

SAIL Magazine's Sailing Tips by Michael Tamulaites, Associate Editor, a great in depth look at trimming the jib. Changing the jib halyard tension to achieve better sail shape are some of the experiments we did this year on the water. Not sure how much of a difference it made, I did not have an accurate system set up at the time to record any statistics. I will review this article again before spring time and plan a sail trim day or two on the water to experiment and log the different variations.

This sail trim sim is a useful visual utility for sail trim. It shows you various tell tale positions, camber and is very interactive. Great for testing some scenarios out and getting a visual grasp of trim.

North Sails also has an interactive page, a little less in depth but deals with main twist and tension. Definitely worth a gander.

A great site for tell tales is Telling Tales. Using the tell tales can tell you when your sail is in proper trim. I use the tell tales to steer by and check proper airflow with the ones on the leech of the main and jib. A very important concept to get your head around. Airflow is the key to speed and lift.

UK Sailmakers has good technical data on sail composition and some trimming techniques. Mostly technical data related to making the sails. A good secondary reference. has a quick guide to sail trim. Short, concise (a little visually hard to read) but otherwise some good advise in quick point form.

Hope these sites are not redundant and offer some good starting points. Still searching and bookmarking.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The First Leg | Trim for One

The most important trim concept with a main and jib is to think of the two sails as one large airfoil. The overall shape of the two combined sails defines the lift and speed that the boat will have. Trimming should follow a sequence with the main trimmed first to balance the helm. The mainsheet and traveller should be the primary controls in lighter winds, and as wind builds adjust the outhaul first until the draft is 30-40% aft of the luff (the power pocket), then begin adjusting the boom vang to flatten or close the leech. Once the wind builds to the point where all available bodies are on the rail, use the backstay adjustment to open the leech.

After every adjustment, re-check the overall trim again. It is usually necessary to adjust the jib once you have properly shaped the main for overall foil shape. The slot or groove of the foil should be even all the way up. If it is uneven the airflow will not be optimal.

The jib draft (power pocket) is adjusted by moving the cars forward and back. One thing I will be doing this year is drilling holes in the jib lead track in between the factory holes to fine tune adjustments on the jib.

Have been researching sail trim sites and will have a nice list compiled shortly. Some good resources out there. Look for them in the next post.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Seadated Podcast Now Available

My search never ends for informative sailing and racing content on the web. Of all the content available on the web you would think there would be more on sailing, racing in particular. With more and more bloggers entering the scene and one-click publishing picking up speed the content is slowly being made available. Apple introducing the new video i-pod will help drive video based content as well.

The Seadated blog, one of the sites I frequent has just launched a podcast based on the popular site. In the premiere podcast the author of the site, and host of the podcast Claude Nix, gives a rundown on what kind of content he will cover where he will take the podcast over time. One Comment in particular caught my attention from his initial podcast. He remarks that when he sails on Kahuna he is "like a sponge" and is tries to learn as much from the rest of the crew that he can. Love his attitude and lack of ego. The only way to learn is to admit what you don't know and then find out how to do it. His podcast has a great tone and is very informative. Please check him out and give him your support. He is an apple user, as am I, so that, in itself is another reason for support (lol)!

His latest podcast deals with protests, the do's and don't of witnessing and filing them. Some great information here and comments along with some personal observations. I have been waiting for a podcast like this to come around, very glad the sailing community has a new resource like this.

The only way to make sailing and racing content on the web better is to propagate and support those who put it out there for everyone else.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Working on the Chain Gang

Haul out crew this weekend....very very tired and sore. 2 long days, 250 boats, 2- 20 tonne cranes and gusty winds...not to mention ice on the decks this morning... made for some interesting moments.Victoria is in 4th position and holding. Will catch up on crew notes from them tonight before I crash hard. Will write soon.