Most sailors have the front of their mast between 70-72cm from the
bow. Further forward is generally better for wind & waves as the
boat will naturally sail lower. Further back is better for light winds
& flat water to get some lift off the foils. However, a lot of the
mast setting is down to feel and trial and error as the centerboard bolt
position, mast stiffness etc will affect this.
Most are operating with mast rake in the range 6m – 6m10, generally
further back when windy & forward when light. Again this will
depend on your rig set-up & leech length so there are no hard &
fast rules. Best bet is to go with what feels right and is fast for
Light winds (Sub-hiking)
You are looking for power but without making the sail too full
because the wind is light so will not have the energy to get round big
curves. You do not want any major creases in your sail because the wind
will not have the energy to get over them.
Generally the inhaul should be neutral (i.e. set to where the sailmaker
has cut it too – where the tack falls with the main up and no outhaul or
inhaul tension) or slightly eased to create a flatish sail at the luff
so the wind can get round it.
As the wind drops, the wind has less energy so will stall more easily so
you will need a flatter sail i.e. more outhaul, but without creasing up
– you want as much
as you can get away with to flatten off the sail and take up luff curve
but be careful not to stall the leech by oversheeting. Look at the top
of the leech, it shouldn’t be hooking back towards you.
Medium winds (Hiking but not overpowered)
You are still looking for power so settings are broadly similar to
light winds but the wind has more energy so can get round a deeper, more
curved sail i.e. fuller foot (less outhaul) and tighter leech (more
Inhaul neutral or forward for choppy water to develop a fuller luff entry to help you over the waves.
Slightly less outhaul in flat water to tighten the lower leech for more height
Heavy winds (Hiking & overpowered)
You are looking to depower so the boat is flat when you are fully
hiked in the lulls. In flat water it pays to depower a bit less and
pinch so you gain height.
Set your mainsheet tension so your leech should be opening in the gusts.
Use cunningham to depower & help bend the mast. It takes out power high up so reduces heeling moment.
Once set up, adjust your traveller so you can sail flat – ease off more
as it gets windier. Flatten the foot with more outhaul once you’ve
already bent the mast via cunningham.
Generally, get on the cunnigham earlier in chop vs. flat water to open the leech and move fullness forward
Good luck on the water!