North Sails Testing Session at Shilshole

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Tuning | Comments Off on North Sails Testing Session at Shilshole


To:      Seattle J-24 Fleet

CC:     Chris Snow & Jack Christensen

From: KW

Date:  5/17/2012

Re:     Report on sail testing / tuning session

On the weekend of May 4th, 5th and 6th The Tundra Rose / Mark Laura and Pat Dore teams did a two (2) boat sail testing and tuning session off Shilshole.  First we all want to thank Jack Christensen and Chris Snow with North Sails for bringing their expertise and test sails to the event.  We also want to thank Harry for the loan of Self Abuse (and his new genoa).

Chris Snow did an excellent presentation Friday night on tuning at CYC and I hope most of you were able to attend. For the weekend testing, we used Self Abuse and Tundra Rose as the test boats, we set the rigs up identical and I am sure either boat is fast enough to win a worlds.

While the sailing conditions are always the variable, we had the rest just right, two fast and identical boats, a tow / coaching boat, a photo boat, good teams including many from the fleet, a bunch of new sails and very smart experts (Chris & Jack) and even the wind pretty much cooperated.

We started by getting the boats even, set up with two new North San Diego Mains and two  new North San Diego paneled Kevlar Genoas.  After getting the boats “even” we tested three (3) other North Genoas, one North Newport Main and a North Newport Kite.

Doing this sort of stuff, line ups, openly discussing everything including the conditions, set up, shifts, puffs and results is absolutely one of the best ways to improve.

After two days of sailing and testing, a ton of line ups, lots of down-loads, here is what I think the TR team learned and believe:

1)      Sails

While we only tested in the 3 to 12 knot range and J-24 sail genoas need to go from 0 to 20 kts, what we believe we learned is as long as the sails are pretty new, in good shape (All tired sails are slow) and you set them up right, things are pretty even.  The small halyard adjustments (Like ½” inch),Genoalead adjustments (Like 1”) traveler adjustments (Pull it up) and main sheet adjustments (Tighter) made a much bigger difference for speed than the actual sail design.

2)      How you sail the boat.

We found that how you sail the boat was huge.  To go fast these boats need to be sailed absolutely flat with a bit of lee helm.  We found that the bow-person sitting forward of the shrouds is fast and also weight below in light air is very fast.  No question the helmsman needs to be forward of the trailer both upwind and down in all but extreme conditions.  It was amazing how much of a difference it made when a “small” puff hit and we moved one body up.  Small things matter!

3)      Steering

I have been driving a J-24 for about 25 years now and I thought after all those years, I was pretty good at it and did not need to work at it.  What we learned is “not so much”, when I concentrated 100%, we were fast, when I did not…..we were not.  The lesson I learned was that I should not assume “fast”…………….”fast” takes focus.



Sails need to be in good shape, but once you have that, what you do with them and how you sail your boat is what counts.

Thank you all for your participation, this is what we believe we learned and we hope it helps.