North Sails NEWS

July 2, 2018


Tim Healy’s quick tips to optimize speed in light conditions

After a week of intense training with the Japanese teams in Newport, RI culminating with the New Your Yacht Club One Design Regatta, a lot was learned about light air tuning and trimming. Here are Tim Healy’s notes reinforcing some important points indispensable for optimizing the J/70 speed in light air conditions.


  • Ease rig to get about 3/4 inch of middle side sag in the mast. This is done by going off two full turns on the uppers and off two turns on lowers. If you are not getting 3/4 inch side sag, keep easing lowers until you do
  • In big chop, use a little backstay to control the rig from excess movement. Just enough to control the rig but not too much to take out all headstay sag


  • In big chop and swell, keep speed up by twisting both sails thus making a large steering groove
  • Never stall the upper jib leech telltales. Trim until you see them stall then ease until 100% flowing
  • Jib leads 6-7 factory holes showing in front of jib car counting from behind front mounting bolt
  • Weather sheet trimmed to get clew at cabin house in flat spots, and 1.5- 2 inches off in big chop and waves. Remember to move lead forward with less windward sheet and back with more windward sheet
  • Ease jib halyard to show 8-10 inches of wrinkles in luff of jib in light and choppy conditions
  • Main traveler up to get boom on center when boat is up to speed out of tacks. Traveler at 75% up out of tacks for bow down acceleration


  • Weight forward both up and downwind. Bow person in hatch up and down, out of hatch to help with roll tacking and jibing
    • Downwind: Tactician forward and to leeward and trimmer to weather. Both forward next to bulkhead
    • Upwind: Tactician forward next to bulkhead and trimmer as far forward as possible. Also, trimmer is first to control heel angle
  • Build speed first both up and down, then work on best VMG
  • Don’t let speed crash! It takes too long in light air to get going again
  • Make smooth turns and BIG rolls tacking and jibing
  • Keep momentum in focus when starting and at mark roundings

The three-day training camp coupled with the NYYC One Design Regatta, where teams had an opportunity to apply the new techniques and tips learned. We are extremely pleased with the each teams’ results. Here are the results within the top 10, powered by North Sails:

1 Team Vineyard Vines / John & Molly Baxter
2 USA 2 / Tim Healy
4 Rimette / John Brim
5 The Sled / Eiichiro Hamazaki
6 Natsuko / Yasutaka Funazawa
7 Sled / Takashi Okura
8 Polar / Doug Clark
9 It’s Sled / Hideyuki Miyagawa
10 Spring / Dave Franzel
* Denotes Partial North Sails Inventory

Full Results

Hiroo Kodama and Team Black practicing downwind techniques
Lots of learning in the three-day J/70 training camp with the Japanese teams
Short races at the North Sails training camp in Newport, RI
Tim Healy coordinates the Japanese J/70 Training Camp in Newport, RI