International 110 Tuning Guide

North Sail’s philosophy has always been to make tuning sails easy. We feel that it is very important to spend your time on the water sailing, and not thinking about your sail, rig and boat settings.

When Oakley Jones and I sailed in the 110 Nationals, we wanted to be able to set up the boat quickly and concentrate on making the most of the wind and current conditions. The following measurements and concepts are those that we found to be the fastest for the North 3DL RM sails.



Keep the traveler in the middle third of the traveler range. In light air (0-9kts) keep it pulled up to the top of the middle third (about 9-11” above center). Once the wind increases to marginal hiking/trapping (9-13 kts) keep the traveler in the middle region of the track. In stronger winds (above 13 kts) utilize the bottom of the middle third (about 9-11” below center) of the track.


Light air or whenever the boat needs power, ease the mainsail until the top telltale is fully streaming. The last thing you want in light air is for the sail to be stalled. When the telltale is streaming aft this ensures that there is an even flow of air across the sails two surfaces.

Heavier air or once the wind increases to 9 kts or greater the main can be sheeted in hard.


In boats with an overlapping headsails, like the 110, it is important to have the bottom third of the mainsail flat. The outhaul should be pulled on very hard in most conditions. The only exception to this would be in 0-5 kts where it can be eased to create a little bit of pocket in the sail.


The backstay should remain off (no tension) until the winds reach approximately 18kts or stronger. When the winds reach this level the backstay should be used very sparingly. However, if you find yourself wanting to “foot” pulling on the backstay (a bit) can increase your power through this type of move.


Pull on the Cunningham until there are only very small horizontal wrinkles along the luff of the sail. In heavier winds 18kts and over the Cunningham should be on full and the luff should be wrinkle free.



Light air or 0-9 knots: sheet in the sail until the foot is slightly touching the base of the shroud at the chainplate.

Medium air or 9-13kts: make sure it is pressed up against the shroud base.

Heavy air or 13kts or more: trim the sail until the foot is aggressively rubbing against the shroud base.


Our boat did not have adjustable leads so we set them up at the start of each day and never changed them from then on.

We use the age-old technique of making the telltales break evenly from the top to the bottom.


Tension the halyard until no horizontal wrinkles appear on the sail. If the wind increases to heavy, 13knts or more, then you can pull it till vertical wrinkles JUST START to appear along the luff of the sail.


Adjusting the tension on a 110 can be a hassle so it is a good idea to choose just two settings.

Light air: In the light stuff we adjusted the shourds till the leeward shroud just started to show some dangling.

Heavy air: From the light air setting, we put turns on enough to keep the leeward shroud taught and not dangling.

We used the light setting on the first day approx. 4-9kts and the heavy air setting on the last two days with winds 10-18 kts.


Light air: 3” of prebend in the mast is most effective.

Heavy air: 2-3” is best in order to keep the mast straight so that the forestay does not sag.


110’s, like most racing one-design sailboats, sail faster when they are flatter and kept inside the “groove”. Being in the “grove” can be described as a balancing act between maximum pointing ability and stalling the boat. Most boats perform their best within the “groove” and maintaining it involves a certain amount of concentration. Once the boat is in the groove you will have to do very little adjusting, don’t over steer.

While we cannot guarantee immediate victory by following this guide, we can assure you will be taking a major step in the right direction. After experimenting you may find a slightly different setting that may mean even better boat speed for you and your style of sailing. If you have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to call. We are anxious to help you go faster and win more races!

Good sailing!

Class Experts

Ched Proctor

Steelpointe Harbor, Connecticut

Will Welles

Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Newport Shipyard

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