Close Reach Key Techniques
When sailing at the Close Reach, releasing the sails too much will cause them to flap in the wind, preventing the boat from moving forward. Conversely, if you tighten the sails too much, the boat will also lose potential speed or even come to a stop.
Regarding the boat's position, if you set the sails close-reached but then steer away from the wind, it has the same effect as overtightening the sails. In such cases, you'll need to readjust the sails to find their optimal position.
In practical terms, considering your direction of travel, set the sails (trim the sails) so that they fill with wind without flapping (luffing), and continue steering the boat aligned with the optimal fullness of the sails.
Here are the five steps of the Close Reach technique:
• Angle: Find the right balance in the boat's position by steering closer or further into the wind.
• Trim: Trim both the mainsail and jib so that they fill with wind without luffing (flapping).
• Speed: Keep an eye on speed indicators and adjust sail trim and boat angle to maintain consistent speed.
• Body: Keep low and steady, and if the boat is small, position yourself to counteract the boat's heeling effect.
• Telltales: Learn how to read special pieces of fabric attached to your sails called 'telltales', helping you adjust your sails for maximum efficiency.