• Use the Windseeker to generate boat speed, which creates apparent wind.
Very light air (4 to 6 knots) - Once the wind has begun to fill, or you have been able to create some apparent wind with the Windseeker, you can start to use your working sails to get the boat up to speed. Previously we have discussed powering up sails by adding depth and for sailors it's a natural reaction in light winds to power up their sails as much as they can. Unfortunately this can be counterproductive. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for the wind to flow on to your sails, and off again. If it's really light and you have powered up your sails as much as you can, you might find that the wind does not have enough energy to make it around the point of maximum draft. It will get to that point and separate. On the other hand if your sails are a bit flatter the transition between wind flowing onto the sails and off the sails will not be as dramatic, and the wind will remain attached the whole time, thereby generating power. So in really light winds keep your sails on the flat side.
You can help your sails to set by moving your weight, and the weight of the crew, to leeward. This heels the boat a fraction and often this heel is enough to allow the sails to "fall" into their designed shape and set better. It also helps to move the weight forward. Modern racing boats have wide, flat aft sections and by moving all available weight forward and to leeward, the back end of the boat
Keeping crew weight forward and to leeward can help reduce the wetted surface by heeling the boat and lifting the stern out of the water. Less wetted surface results in more boat speed.
can actually come out of the water, reducing frictional drag and increasing speed. Gains in really light winds are incremental, but put one small gain on top of another and they can start to add up. Keep crew movement to a minimum so that the air flowing around your sails will have as much opportunity as possible to generate power without being disturbed. Remember that while there may not be any wind on the surface of the water, there may be some at the top of your mast. Be vigilant. In really light winds there can be wind shear caused by currents of air rising from the surface of the water affecting the light puffs of wind to which you are trying to trim. You might need to twist the sails more than normal to keep the boat moving. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible to get the wind onto and off the sails so be wary about having your sails wound too tight.
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