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Maintaining Momentum in Light Air

The Quantum Sails MC Triple Crown Series kicked off on Lake Eustis with a record-breaking turnout at the Southeast Regional Regatta November 13-14. The Quantum Sails Powerzone continues to lead the MC Class with this latest victory at the SER on Ted Keller’s boat. Fellow Melges/Quantum Sails teammate Eddie Cox debriefed with Keller after his victory at the SER.

EC: Ted, how do you get moving so quickly in the light air?
TK: The Quantum Sails Powerzone is my definite sail of choice in light to medium air. It’s got horsepower and you’re always able to get the optimal sail shape. Keeping speed in the boat is the key in these light conditions. I do have a little bit of outhaul tension – some people ask about easing the outhaul going upwind. I don’t think you gain anything from doing that. I look for that little knuckle of cloth on the foot of the sail. I don’t really worry about pointing either. I’m just trying to get the boat moving through the water as fast as I can. I’ll ease out a bit and once I’ve got speed in the boat, I have the choice to trim in a few clicks and maybe get 3-5 degrees higher. The other trap is pinching. As I said, you can’t be concerned about pointing in light air – you just have to focus on going fast through the water.

EC: Can you tell us about your setup?
TK: I’m following the Quantum Sails Tuning Guide for my setup. I set the sidestays so they have a little bit of play in them – looking for a 1” circle that I can make with the stays about 3-4 feet above the deck. If I know it’s going to be a light air race all day long like the Masters on Lake Lanier, I would ease a little bit off of that and have kind of a loose rig, but I didn’t do that here on Lake Eustis. I think the standard mast rake and stay tension setup for the Powerzone works effectively.

EC: It’s hard for a lot of people to see their sail when they’re on the low side or under the boom. What are some keys to ensuring a consistent angle of heel and proper trim?
TK:
Very true. I’m using the boom on the corner of the transom for reference. Anytime I’m moving to the low side, I’m going to ease 2-3 inches just to be able to get under the boom. To not be anywhere near over-trimmed, I’m going to have the boom closer to the corner of the transom. If I get some speed to trim in a couple clicks and try to milk a little more speed out of the breeze, that’s fine. But if I’m shifting to leeward, I make sure that the sheet is going out as my body is moving into the boat. I think about moving laterally – trying to sit in the same position when I move from the deck to the inside edge of the deck to maybe even the cockpit. There’s just that awkward point when you turn around when you spin in the cockpit to get down under the boom. You try to keep it as smooth as possible while steering as straight as possible, but your weight has to come in and down. If you get stuck in the cockpit and think “Well, I’m on the edge; maybe I can stay here and not move,” you’re going to flatten out and it’s going to cost you. I’m fairly aggressive about going weight down to ensure that I don’t flatten out and get stuck like that.

EC: I think being patient on the leeward side is really important too – not moving your weight all the time while sailing at a consistent angle of heel is key. It means being patient and maybe slightly uncomfortable under the boom, but keeping the boat at a steady angle of heel is paramount to your speed.

Coming up next for the Quantum Sails Triple Crown Series is the Train Wreck January 28-30, 2022. The Melges/Quantum Sails Zenda Team looks forward to seeing the MC Class at the next event!

Article originally published on Melges.com

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