Solomon of Sailing Speaks
24 October 2011 | Wayasewa Island
Sunset at Wayasewa
24 October 2011
Trimming and coordinating sails requires an aptitude and time-won skill that differs between racers and cruisers.
A sail may be trimmed very efficiently for a moment, but requires constant attention to remain so. While this level of attention, even for a relatively feeble mind, is possible in the course of a 2 or 3 hour race, it is an impossibly formidable task for short-handed crew over several days. In addition, coordinating trim for 3 or 4 cruising sails makes demands significantly greater than those for the typical racing sloop's 2. While time to mark is virtually the only consideration in racing, goals for a cruiser are more diverse and consequently solutions more difficult. (Although time to destination is a variable adding complexity to cruising it is not directly related to sail trim and outside the purview of this short monograph) On passage, even should one assume speed as the sole goal, the intrepid adventurer must develop a feel, over varying conditions without constant ministrations, for best set to maximize this criterion in addition to a sense for when ambient change is of a degree and persistence to warrant adjustment. As is obvious, cruisers must develop multifarious skills that demand preeminent flexibility, intelligence and talent.
As all racers no doubt agree cruising is exceedingly complex compared to their simplistic environment and requires knowledge and skills far eclipsing theirs.
The foregoing conclusion was, of course, complete bull squeeze, is not an indictment of those poor, benighted souls who have nothing better to do than sail around in circles (triangles, whatever) to end up where they only recently began and intimates the danger of allowing ones mind to wander while gliding through a gentle afternoon, gazing out upon sun-sparkled, softly rolling sea en route to a new destination and compelling adventure, eschewing more repetitive and wearisome activity.
P.S. In order to engage the greatest response, please direct hate mail to the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, DC. Depending upon mood, expect further even- handed treatment of monohulls vs. multis and sail vs. power.