Saturday, March 5, 2011

CAPTAIN CRUNCH - De-Powerng your sailboat

Here is the scoop on how to de-power your sailboat via sail trim and boat angles. We are not discussing in this article de-power using downhaul, outhaul, etc. or discussing how to stop a sailboat.

- When close hauled – Head Up and/or sheet out. You can sheet out your sail(s) if needed.

- On a beam reach if depends: If your sail is pulled in tight head down and sheet out. The reason for his is heading up while your sail is pulled in like sometimes happens on a multihull due to apparent wind, heading down allows your rudders to steer better. If your sail is out (sailing by the luff) head up and sheet out.

- On a Broad Reach head down and sheet out.

- Running down wind (not really optimal angle for a multihull but maybe you are in a channel that restricts you from sailing on a Broad Reach) head down and sheet in, with Jibe/Genoa sheet out. If still too much power, reduce the sail area. Use caution with this method; even though your sail is sheeted and your boom cannot move much there is still a chance of an accidental jibe and even greater risk a wind shift will spin you around resulting in a broach/capsize.

Tip: You should never leave you’re powered up sheet line locked/cleated/wrapped around the winch. Your powered up sheet line should always be in your hand ready to be adjusted at any moment. No Not wrap the line around your hand!

Do you notice a theme with this article? Except in one case you always sheet out. There are more techniques related to de-powering such as using sail shape adjustments, how to deal with puffs and luffs, etc. be we will save that for future articles.


  1. Very informative. Can you show some pictures or illustrations as to how we can adjust the angles efficiently? I'm a bit cautious in learning new techniques by myself as there is a danger of getting used to doing it wrong. Thanks a lot!

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