In competitive sailing we are looking for every advantage we may get if we want to win and going fast is a pretty important advantage to have - the gains from using the correct sails are more than just marginal!.
Not too long ago in a lot of classes crews could be seen visibly relaxing as the kite went up, and the procession began. Happily now in all racing we understand how to make gains and use the downwind to our advantage.
The mysteries of sails are often best unravelled by thinking of them as simple and logical tools. We can go into details of flow, turbulence and aspect ratio, but it doesn’t really make the boat that we are trying to tune any faster. This blog is about understanding the goals of tuning masts and sails, and hopefully will give you some ideas on how to go faster.
An important skill in downwind sailing is prioritizing weather to sail the boat flat or healed to windward by the lee referred to as kiting, Sailing by the lee means that the air is flowing into the sail from the leech towards the mast as opposed to normal sailing when the air is flowing from the mast towards the leech of the sail