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North Sails RESOURCES

Sabot Tuning Guide

SETTING UP THE BOAT

When buying a boat the important thing to look for is the condition of the hull. The brand is not that important as long as the hull and blades (leeboard and rudder) are in good shape. The bottom and blades should be free from all nicks and scratches.

For masts there is little difference between the Proctor, LeFiel and Gold Finger spars. Again look for a mast that is free from dents and that is not bent permanently in any one direction.

MAST RAKE

Mast rake is a very important consideration in the Sabot. It determines how much helm the boat will have upwind and has a great deal to do with boat speed in general. To measure mast rake, tape a tape measure to the top of the mast and measure down to the top center of the transom. This measurement should be about 13’3 3/4″. There is no way to change the mast rake on the water. So you’ll have to come back to a dock and get someone to hold the mast for you while you change the setting.

** Remember these settings are only a starting point, the best way to find your perfect rake is to go sailing and to see what works best for your boat. A good reference point on the water while you are sailing is that when the sail is fully sheeted in the boom should be about 16 inches above the corner of the transom. A boat that has a problem pointing or holding a lane may have too much mast rake. On the other hand, a boat that points well but can’t go through the water may have too little mast rake. These measurements can be a matter of an inch or two. It’s always good to get the opinion of someone else or take a picture of you sailing to see for yourself.

LEEBOARD POSITION

The leeboard and rudder are important parts of your boat and taking care of them carefully should be your first concern. The best shape for either blade is very thin and as wide as possible below the waterline. The thickness of a well-shaped blade is 3/4″. A good way to get this is to try and get a hold of some templates and shape them skinnier than the slot and max in the mold. When sailing upwind rake the leeboard slightly forward until about 10 knots. I about 10 – 14 knots you will start to rake the board more straight up and down. If the breeze increases more and the boat still has a lot of helm you may need to rake the board just slightly aft.

** Remember upwind on starboard tack to sail the boat as flat as possible. It is OK on port tack to sail with a slight heel.

SAIL TRIM

UPWIND

When sailing your Sabot always be aware of your mainsheet tension, as this is a gas pedal as well as a brake if you’re not too careful.

When sailing upwind in light air (0-7 knots) be careful to not pull on the mainsheet so hard that it stalls your upper telltales and closes down the back of your sail. You will also have no downhaul or boomvang on. You will have a very powered up sail at this with the outhaul eased having about 6 inches between the boom and the sail. It is always better to err on the eased side of things when sailing in light air. As the breeze increases you will have to trim things a little harder.

When sailing upwind in medium breezes (8-13 knots) trim your mainsheet so that you are just beginning to stall the top telltales about 30% of the time. You will be pulling on the downhaul just enough to get rid of the wrinkles and then easing it off again as to not have much tension on it at all. You will also have your outhaul a little tighter, as you will need to pull it to the point where you are just beginning to see a very small crease in the foot of the sail. As the breeze gets windier (13+ knots) you will have to start to pull everything a little harder. The outhaul will be pretty tight. The downhaul will be just tight enough to take all of the wrinkles out of the sail, and you will be sheeting pretty tight, but never past the corner of the boat. You may in the puffs be easing the mainsheet enough to get you on your feet again. When easing the mainsheet in a puff try to anticipate the puff and never ease more than 3-6 inches, anymore and the boat will stop going forward. You will also have your boom vang on just snug so that when you ease in the puff the leach of your sail doesn’t twist off too much. You want to try and maintain the same tension on the leach as you had while you were trimmed in.

** Marks or reference points on all of your control lines are a great idea!!!

DOWNWIND

When sailing the sabot downwind find a comfortable angle of heel so that you can concentrate on the BIG PICTURE around you and not weather your boat is going to flip over. When sailing downwind it is recommended that the leeboard be lifted out of the water, but only if you feel comfortable doing it. Be very aware that when the leeboard is out of the water this limits your maneuverability on the course. (i.e. heading up or gybing)

When sailing downwind remember to ease all of your control lines off, as this will severely hamper your downwind speed. The vang should be pulled on just enough as to have a firm leech with the batten parallel or with a slight twist to it. Experiment with this and you will be able to tell the difference pretty quickly. Also downwind you should never let the boom out past 90 degrees. In more than 14 knots you may have the boom pulled in a little to help with the stability of the boat. Try to feel comfortable in the boat and do not use downwind as a time to rest as some of the biggest gains on the coarse can be made on the downwind legs.

SUMMARY

When sailing upwind be aware of how your body weight effects how the boat lies in the water, so that the bow is not digging and that the stern is not dragging. Because everyone weighs a little different this position may vary from person to person, but the general rule of thumb is to sit as close to the thwart as possible. Remember to always keep the boat driving forward, especially in chop. In flat water if you can sail the boat a little higher, but not to give up any speed on your competitors try to, this can be a huge weapon. Remember that a happy medium is the best way to sail your boat. Try these settings, practice and go sailing. If you find something that works a little better for you or have any questions about the Sabot in general please contact our Sabot experts at North Sails San Diego.

Good luck with your new T-5/T-6 and sail fast!

 

UPWIND

LIGHT (0-7 knots)

MEDIUM (8-13 knots)

HEAVY (14+ knots)

OUTHAUL

6 inches from boom

4 inches, just showing creases in foot

2 inches, tight always showing crease in foot

DOWNHAUL

None

1/2 of the wrinkles out

No wrinkles

MAINSHEET

All telltales flowing

Top telltales just stalling 30%

All top telltales flowing

LEEBOARD

Raked slightly forward

Straight

If too much helm rake slightly aft

VANG

None

None

Just snug, maybe vang sheeting

DOWNWIND

LIGHT (0-7 knots)

MEDIUM (8-13 knots)

HEAVY (14+ knots)

OUTHAUL

Eased

10-8 inches from the boom

6 inches from the boom

DOWNHAUL

None

None

None

MAINSHEET

Eased to 90 degrees

Eased to 90 degrees

Pulled in to 80 degrees

LEEBOARD

Pulled up

Pulled up

Pulled up

VANG

Top batten just twisting off

Tight, top batten parallel

Tighter, top batten parallel

Rev R05

Class Experts

Eric Doyle

San Diego, California
eric.doyle@northsails.com