The purpose of this tuning-guide is to give our clients in the Finn
class some guidelines on how to get the most out of their North Sails.
Follow the guidelines, but always experiment and try finding your own
trim. The weight of the crew, the balance of the boat, the stiffness of
the mast together with specific local wind and sea conditions all have
influence on the fastest and final trim.
When sailing upwind in the Finn it is important to remember that you
are paid to hike. If your sails are trimmed perfectly and you are just
sitting on the side enjoying the scenery, you will be slow. The Finn is a
big heavy boat with lots of sail area and you must use every once of
your body weight to keep it moving fast through the water. Weather you
droop-leg or straight-leg hike make sure that you are confortable (if
that is possible!) and strong and remember that you can always hike
In less than 5 knots, when hiking is not required, concentration and
setup are crucial. We find that raking back an inch or two gives the
boat more feel and brings the boom closer to parallel. The best way to
make this adjustments is to move the mast back one position at the deck
and keep the mast step in the same place. In light air the outhaul
should be 3" forward of the black band and the inhaul 3" back from the
aft edge of the mast. The traveler should be adjusted so that the end of
the boom is 6" inboard of the gunnel. Play the mainsheet so that the
top telltale stalls 20% of the time.
In near drifter conditions, it is next to impossible to get the top
telltales to fly and boomvang is required to flatten out the leech. When
doing this pull the outhaul to the black band and bring the traveler
near centerline. Put enough vang on so that the top of the sail is flat
and the telltales start to fly. You may find that tacking with this much
vang on is difficult so you may have to ease it when you tack. It is
important to mention that these are only conditions where you will ever
put on any boomvang upwind. Boom height and position is all controlled
by mainsheet and traveler settings, putting boom vang on upwind in any
thing except the lightest of conditions will endanger your life.
As wind velocity increases, your primary concern is leech tension and
traveler position. As you slowly tighten your leech by pulling the
mainsheet the traveler should be let out until the boom hits the deck
and the end of the boom is 2" in from the gunnel (12 knots). The inhaul
is tightened before the outhaul and should max out at 12 knots.
In over 6 knots, move your rake back to the standard position of
22'3" and 22'4" over 12 knots. This will give you the proper leech
tension when the boom is on the deck. If you are a lighter sailor err on
the raked back side and if you want to foot more also err on the raked
Try to adjust all sail controls before you reach the weather mark so
that you can concentrate on surfing that first wave instead of messing
with your lines. Release the cunningham, let the inhaul of 6", ease the
outhaul 2" and preset the vang. The vang should be set so that the top
batten is 2-3° open relative to the boom. Pull the board up as high as
you dare when going down wind until the board is flush with the bottom
of the hull.
Play the mainsheet directly from the boom (1:1) until it fells like
you are going to be pulled out the boat and are not longer effective. At
this point switch to 2:1 (sheet deadended at the main ratchet block
then through the boom and to your hand), as it more manageable and
safer. The Finn likes to be sailed with a little weather heel and low
angles, but not to the lee.
Good luck on the water!
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