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Eight Important Skills to Keep Fresh

Quantum experts share their list of less common, albeit important, skills to practice from time to time to keep fresh for when you really need them. Download the checklist here and read on for more information.


Download a printable list to keep on your boat.


There are a number of maneuvers you do every time you hit the water: tacking, jibing, and setting and dousing the kite. But what about the less common skills that make a big difference, some of which have to be executed flawlessly when needed? Here is a list of skills that many teams do not practice regularly but are very important to execute.


Tuning the Rig

A well tuned rig is a happy one and you will see it reflected in your sail shape, heel, and performance. Not to mention, improper rig tune can be dangerous and damaging if ignored and left to it's own devices. If you don’t tune your rig for each event or sail, make sure you check it throughout the season and adjust as needed. Here are some helpful tips to hone your tuning skills:


 

Reefing The Mainsail

Sometimes cranking on the backstay and moving the jib cars back isn’t enough. No one’s having fun when the leeward rail is dragging in the water. Assign roles and make sure everyone knows the process for reefing the mainsail. This is even more important when communication is limited due to rough conditions. Check out this video of putting in a reef to make sure you’re set for the next time the breeze comes up.


 

Sailing to a mooring and anchoring

Whether you’re heading for some overnight boat camping or to a sandbar for an afternoon swim, the last thing you want is to struggle with the mooring. The safety of free moorings is sometimes questionable, so be ready to dive in and inspect the chain. You may also want to set an anchor light. If a mooring isn't an option, you'll want to make sure you can safely anchor. Read this article for some tips on anchoring.


 

Repeatable Settings

This isn't a "skill" per se, but as you go through this list, it's a perfect time to check and calibrate repeatable settings. Marking and recording high-performing setups makes them easier to repeat and allows you to switch roles more seamlessly. In this video guide, Quantum’s Dave Gerber shows some locations on the boat you can easily track settings and trim.


 

Depowering your full-size sails

When the wind comes up, do you know what to do to keep your boat flat? Do you ease the mainsheet or traveler? Put on the backstay? Wind on the check stays? Move the jib cars back? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, since every boat is set up differently. Make sure your crew knows their roles and what they need to do when there’s a big puff on. For more information, read our article Depowering the Mainsail with the Traveler and Mainsheet.


 

Headsail change

It’s not uncommon for the weather to change the moment you hit the racecourse or just when you lose sight of the mooring. Make sure you know how to best manage headsail changes with your set-up and practice tack and in-line changes. Not sure where to begin? Check out this video on Mastering Headsail Changes.


 

Man overboard

This might be one of the most important skills to review and practice regularly. There are a lot of opinions on the right way to do it, but what really matters is finding a method you and your crew are comfortable with. Read through our list of resources to get you started practicing your MOB drills.


 

Steering with the sails

Whether it’s because you’ve lost your rudder or need to check if your sail trim is balanced, knowing how to steer your boat with the sails is a valuable skill. Watch a few members of the Quantum team maneuver the sailboat through a tack without ever touching the steering wheel. All it takes is proper sail trim and crew weight placement. For more information on honing these skills, read our piece on finding balance.


 

There are other great skills to add to this list, but this should get you started. Download a printable version here, including a place to add your own skills. If you need assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your local loft or one of our experts.

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