Sail Better In Light Winds

Stock sailing pictures from Chicago. Chicago, Illinois (USA) The fourth event of the 2018 The Helly Hansen NOOD REGATTA SERIES hosted by Chicago Yacht Club June 8-10, held on Lake Michigan . North Sails Saturday. The Chicago Yacht Club was founded in 1875 to encourage and promote the sport of yachting. Stock Sailing pictures that can be purchased online with a credit card or download digital files. Prints can be purchased of competitors boats from the regatta. Print in the USA by one of the largest professional photo labs on professional photo paper and sent right to your door step. If you can not find your boat please email us. We don't always upload every image from a regatta.Classes photographed in this event are: J70 One Design, J111 One Design, Farr 40 One Design, J105 One Design, J88 One Design, PHRF class, Tartan 10 One Design, Beneteau 36.7 One Design and Beneteau 40.7 One Design. ©Paul Todd/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM OUTSIDE IMAGES PHOTO AGENCY

If you want to sail better in light winds you need to master the four things which are listed below.


is the biggest hurdle to overcome, you should not fear light air just because you have sucked at it in the past.

Relish the opportunity to sail against light air specialists and those that have thrashed you in the past. Treat a light air race as an opportunity to learn from them.

In large fleets in light air, there are often big shake-ups throughout the day and with the right attitude, you will often find that you are in a position to take advantage of shifts in direction and pressure as they occur.

Don’t worry about the fact that some boats are sailing faster. Victory in sailing races can come in many ways, with small improvements from race to race being an incentive to work harder.

Boat Improvements:

in light winds, sail as light as you possibly can. Leave everything that is not completely necessary on the beach or dock.

Ensure that the hull and foils are as smooth as possible. With a moored boat, clean the bottom by scrubbing before leaving for the course.

Whilst racing, continually check for weed on your blades.

In a one-design boat, tune up with a crew that is a similar weight to your own plus one that is lighter or heavier so you can set your boat up to be sailing in the fastest groove.

Learn From The Competition:

Watch other boats to see what they are doing to see if you can change something to improve.

Look at the sail shapes they are using, the position of their travellers, sheet tensions that affect the luff and leech shape and other vital adjustments that have a bearing on boat performance.

One of the biggest mistakes that sailors make in light air is to pinch particularly in short, choppy waves. To keep your speed up in these conditions, you must foot off for speed.


make one adjustment at a time and then leave it for a reasonable amount of time to see whether it improves your speed or not.

No matter the size of your boat, experiment with the position of the crew weight, once again look around your fleet and see where the fast teams sit.

As a generalisation in light air, you want the weight forward and with a slight heel to leeward. It is only with experimentation that will you find the fastest boat attitude.

Don’t be too shy to even try heeling to weather. Some highly accomplished sailors have been able to make that work for them.

Experiment with all adjustments available on your boat but only make one incremental change at a time. Ensure that after each, you let the boat settle down to give yourself a chance to properly evaluate the outcome. 

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