Jump start your opti sailing season with some top Optimist sailing tips from Olympians Sarah Ayton and Saskia Clark. In the nice video below, they gather top insights from young sailors. Here are a few of the items covered:
Main sheet block mod
Doubled up block adds extra “purchase” to make it easier to manage in heavier air.
Opti Sail Ties Along MAST
Sail tie tightness depends on wind strength.
- Light Air: Looser along bottom, tight along top for a better curve in sail.
- Medium Air: All the same and let the mast bend curve the sail.
- Heavy Air: Tight along top and bottom and looser in middle, because the mast will bend more than the curve of the sail.
Optimum Sprit Tension
In heavier Air, use more sprit tension so the sail is lifted higher. If really windy, then only up a little bit, leaving a crease and depowering the sail some.
Boom Vang Help
For some young sailors, it can be hard to cleat the boom vang well. Run the boom vang loose end over the boom. With one hand pull down on the line and push down on the boom with the other.
In heavier winds, flattening the sail can help manage the breeze. Do this by pulling the outhaul tighter to the back of the boom.
2:12 At this point, the video shifts to Optimist sailing tips on the water.
The leader did a good job staying off the layline until very late in the race. This allowed her to take advantage of shifts through more of the leg. After the rounding, she immediately starts bailing while sailing to lighten the boat.
They point out a boat taking a port toward the buoy. This helps to avoid the crowd at the starboard layline, but stay out of the 3 boat circle and be sure to find a clean spot once you get to the layline for your starboard.
After turning the corner, ease the main sail quickly so that the rudder is not fighting with the main and the boat can bear off properly and gain speed. Make sure to note where the next mark is to sail the shortest distance possible.
Choosing the Leeward Gate
- Gate Bias: Is one gate positioned closer to the wind?
- Look over your shoulder upwind. Which side has more “pressure” (more wind)?
Keep your air clear. Push for maximum speed. Hike hard if the wind is strong and keep the boat driving forward.
Push hard all the way through the finish. It’s really easy to lose a bunch of boats if you ease up at the finish area.