Want to Sail Your Ensign Faster? Try These Tips.

Having the right equipment can only take you so far – you need to know how to use your equipment to make the most of every regatta. Earlier this month, Allan Terhune, Randy Shore, and I held a one-day Ensign clinic at the Newport Regatta to share our best tips for getting the most out of your Ensign. Clinics are great for everyone – it’s an excellent way to have an open discussion about optimizing the boats, and a great way for me to learn how to teach better through open dialogue.

In case you missed it, here are a few key points we discussed for making your Ensign sail faster.

1. Rig Tuning:

Setting up mast butt location and forestay length is critical to mast tuning. Center the rig in the boat by using the genoa halyard and taking side-to-side measurements to the toe rail. Once the rig is centered, tighten the upper and forward lower shrouds by putting on equal turns on each side while continuing to make sure the mast tip is centered and in column. Do this by sighting up the mast.

2. Sail Trimming:

Remember that there is trim for speed (power), for VMG (close hauled), and for point (pinching). Find the balance for these and when they should be used.

  • Power – Use this trim at starts, after tacks, through chop, and to clear your air (don’t be afraid to ease the genoa).
  • Close hauled – Use this trim when you’re up to speed and all’s right with the world. You’ll make your best gains upwind when staring at your telltales and sailing your highest point of sail while maintaining boat speed.
  • Pinching – Use this trim to make a mark, or when coming up on a windward boat to force it over.

3. Genoa:

The genoa controls this boat (the mainsail is along for the ride). Your genoa trimmer should be in constant communication with the helmsman. Before the starts, the genoa trimmer should be staring at the telltales and trimming the genoa for speed at all times, unless the skipper tells you to dump speed/slow down. Some geona tips include:

  • When a lift comes – Ease the genoa to the lift for extra power. You can react to the lift more quickly with the genoa than the helmsman can steer the boat up to it, so take the extra power and tell your skipper to come up to the lift (trim back in with him as he does).
  • Opposite for a header – Trim the genoa in hard against the spreader tip and tell your skipper to come down, then ease the genoa back to close hauled position.
  • Backwind the genoa at tacks – This helps turn the boat and will help pull the genoa through the fore triangle, allowing you to trim it in more quickly on the new tack.
  • After the tack – Look at the telltales and get your genoa pulling ASAP. Get to that power mode (6-8” off spreader tip) – get your boat moving and up to speed. Talk to your skipper and tell him where you are on the spreader or if he should come up or down to get to that power mode. As speed builds, start trimming back to close hauled.
  • Through all of this – The mainsail trimmer should do whatever the genoa trimmer does. When the genoa is eased, ease the mainsail. After tack, before starts, through chop – the mainsail trimmer should copy the genoa trimmer. Your goal through all of this is to keep the boat moving as fast as possible at all times.

4. Crew weight:

Keep the boat flat whenever possible. In light air and chop, a little heel is good. Windward heel can be good downwind in light air, but in anything over 8 knots, keep the boat flat. More heel after tacks is good to help fill the sails and bring the boat up to speed. As sails are trimmed in to close hauled, flatten the boat.

Start implementing some of these techniques and see if they don’t improve your results at your next regatta.

Happy sailing!

Click here to learn more about the Quantum Sails Ensign sail and click here for full results from the Newport Regatta. 

By Doug Burtner, Quantum Sails Rochester
1461 Hudson Ave
Rochester, NY  14621


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Making it in the Competitive World of Women’s Collegiate Sailing

Casey Klingler was born with sailing in her DNA. Not only are both of her parent’s avid sailors, her dad is a world class sail designer. Needless to say, Casey was on the water at an early age and by 11, her love for racing had started to grow.  After the local Opti racing team and international regattas, the next step was obvious and she recently completed her first collegiate season at Yale University, winning the ISCA Women’s National Championship.

Her dad – Quantum’s Kerry Klinger – took some time off this past year to watch her compete. As a father and sailor, he was proud and impressed by her growth.

“It’s always good to see your child succeed and do well,” he said. “Watching her race at nationals was really fun for me, realizing how well she was sailing the boat.

“The Yale team is well-coached and they work hard to get the most out of their sailors. You couldn’t have a better scenario as far as a racing team is concerned. She’s learning and growing and getting the things she needs to become a better sailor.”

Casey recently spoke with Quantum about how she improved last year and how she would encourage the next class of collegiate sailors.

You grew up with parents who sail, but why did you start racing? When I was 11, I decided to try a weekend practice and kept doing it for a while. Eventually I liked the feeling – it felt like I was good at something, and I wanted to pursue it further than just sailing in the summer. I joined the Long Island Sound Opti Racing Team, traveling with them during the winter, which led to traveling with them during the summer. That led to team trials, which led to international regattas.

What attracted you to the Yale University sailing team? I had two main priorities – strong academics in combination with a strong sailing team. Of the schools I looked at, the Yale team was a good fit personality wise, and I really loved the campus.

How was your first collegiate season? It was really cool. I was coming from high school sailing, where I was one of the best, to an experience where I wasn’t. I learned a lot from being around people who were so much better than me. The growth in my sailing ability was pretty huge this year. Plus, getting to know my teammates is what made it a fun and rewarding experience.

What was your favorite part of the season? One of my favorite things was getting to the end of the spring season and doing regattas. It was cool to see how far I’d come at the end of the season, especially seeing how far my crew Isabelle and I came.

What was the most difficult part of the season? The end of the fall season. That season was so long that it was hard to stay in it mentally, especially as it got colder. Wanting to go sailing was a challenge, so I worked on keeping focused and motived.

What surprised you the most? I wasn’t used to being at practice and regattas with that high level of competition all the time. It was a great experience to be constantly surrounded by people who are really good at what they do and really love doing it.

You and your crew finished fifth in your division at the ISCA Women’s National Championship this year – what did you do well that weekend? What was your biggest struggle? We were really good at being conservative and having consistently good starts. The wind wasn’t super shifty, so the big thing was paying attention to what the current was doing and making sure you stayed with the fleet, not sailing off to another side.

Sailing 420s, our struggle was that a lot of other teams had had bigger crews. We were too small. When it got really breezy, we struggled with speed.   The breeze was less of a struggle in FJs. 

If you could, is there anything you’d like to do over or do differently? Nothing! It was a great season. I’m happy overall.

What kind of advice would you give to next year’s freshmen? Watch. Your best resource on a college sailing team is your teammates and the people around you. Watch what other people do, ask them about it, and try to replicate it in your own boat. Learning from other people is what I most benefited from this year.

Quantum wishes Casey all the best and we’re excited to continue following her sailing career!



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Helping Veterans and Winning Races: U.S. Patriots Sailing Shines at the 35th Annual Solomons Island Invitational

The weekend of July 10th-11th marked the 35th Annual Solomons Island Invitational. Competing in the PHRF A1 Division was Blofish, a 1D35-Turbo owned and skippered by Dailey Tipton. Tipton along with his crew, including five U.S. Patriot Sailors, raced from Annapolis to Solomons Island in this 45 nautical mile course.

Tipton, a former Naval Officer and Dessert Shield Storm Veteran and Peter Quinn, Director of U.S. Patriot Sailing and Naval Officer, connected while Quinn searched for replacement gear for Flyer, his Oyster SJ-35. Quinn hosts U.S. Patriot crews for Thursday night racing in Norfolk, VA. Realizing their shared Navy affiliation, their conversation turned to U.S. Patriot Sailing, and Tipton suggested he would be happy to host crews on Blofish. Tipton has sailed on the Chesapeake for over 20 years and has run many successful programs including the J24, Melges 24, Olson 30, Farr 30 and now the 1D35-T. Tipton wanted the Blofish program to give back to our Warriors.  Besides supplying his boat, Tipton has acquired outside sponsorship to support the U.S. Patriot Sailing. All sponsorship for the Blofish program goes directly to fund travel, equipment and event expenses for the Warriors.

Quinn founded U.S. Patriot Sailing Program in 2013 after his friend returned from his fourth high intensity deployment. “His difficulty with reintegration after combat moved me to build a program which offers Warriors access to a healthful environment, one that naturally fits with the Warrior ethos of TEAM, camaraderie and all-in-competition.  Competitive sailing is a perfect match.  In military life, Warriors are assigned a job, trained, integrated into a team and sent off together to accomplish the mission. Sounds simple, but in reality, every Warrior will do much more than the job description states.  With ‘on the job training’ and their ‘never fail’ determination, Warriors become experts in teamwork – much like a good race crew.  By building teams of Veterans to race together, U.S. Patriot Sailing offers Warriors a new mission, within a familiar setting.” Quinn described.

Blofish started on Friday sailing downwind through the night with a medium to light breeze and finishing on Saturday July 11th with a corrected time of 09:52:41.0 and placing first in the PHRF A1 Division. “We assumed we did well, but since we could not see anyone – we figured we were out there somewhere. It had been fun and we were tired!” said Brian DeBrincat, trimmer and tactician aboard Blofish. DeBrincat has been sailing with Tipton since 2003.

Blofish has already competed in the NERY Invitational, Solomons Invitational and the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge. The team’s next events include the Governor’s Cup, Annapolis Yacht Club Labor Day Regatta and expect to add several others to the schedule.

You can learn more about this awesome program and how you can contribute here!

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