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How to Trim the Mainsail Like a Pro!

Whether the boat you are sailing is a yacht or a dinghy, it is always hard to get the sails trimmed perfectly.

The rule of thumb is to let out the sail until it starts flapping and then pull it in a little bit. This would make the sail 80% efficient of its maximum efficiency. However to get the extra 20% efficiency you need to use the mainsail tell tales.

And yes, for those who don't know, the mainsail does have tell tales. There are usually 3 or 4 on the mainsail of a dinghy or yacht.

In order to get that extra 20% efficiency, to make the boat go faster and to make the sails 100% efficient (well 99.9% if your being picky - nothing is ever 100% perfect) you need to trim the mainsail using these tell tales.

The way to do it is, is to get into the habit of looking at the tell tales every 5 or so seconds on any point of sail. Every lift and header will mean you need to trim the sail. This is also especially important in light winds where you want every bit of efficiency you can get.

Okay so, look up at the tell tales. If you cannot see the top tell tale, the mainsail is to far in, so let out the mainsail about a quarter of an inch to half an inch until it flies again. If the middle tell tale as well as the top tell tale is not flying then the mainsail is much to far in and so you may want to let it out half an inch to an inch. If the bottom tell tale as well as the middle tell tale as well as the top tell tale is not flying then you have got it much too far in so let out and inch to two inches.

This is very useful on reaches where checking to see if the mainsail is flapping or not is harder and especially in light winds where you will never see any flapping and you will just have to trim the mainsail by the tell tales alone.

Even on the beat you don't want to stall the sail by having the mainsail to far in, so make sure your tell tales fly nicely and that you get the maximum efficiency out of your sails