Over Sheeting

Several of us had a discussion about starting up and also lite air sailing. We all agreed that over sheeting is a common problem especially among lesser experienced sailors. A sail is an airfoil just like an airplane wing and an airfoil at too great an angle of attack will stall (like when you're oversheeted). When a wing stalls, it losses lift and it falls out of the sky. A stalled sail has very little power. Any airfoil starts stalling from it's trailing edge and the stall moves forward until the entire foil is stalled. What does this mean to us? It means that when you're starting or sailing in lite air, you have to pay attention to the trailing edge of your sail. In practice it means you need tell
tails near the leech of the sail. I have them about 2/3's of the way up and about 10" in from the leech. Watch the leeward leech telltail. If it's fluttering it means the leech area is stalled. To maximize the power from your sail,sheet out until it flows back. As your speed increases, you can sheet in until the leech stalls again , then sheet out a little till the telltail flows back again.
Eventually you'll be block to block.

Good Tips

This will be my 4th year on the ice. The first 2 were spent getting acquainted with the speed, the boat, and the weather. Last year I started really wanting to go fast. Had a lot of trouble figuring out why I would stall out when over sheeting too quickly. I finally got the hang of it by letting out the sail until I got the right speed. Then slowly sheeting in. I had a worse time downwind. I learned I had to pay a lot more attention to the sail and the direction of the boat even more so than going upwind. It's cool to see someone talking about sheeting techniques. We all want to go faster.

three pumps to start

in light and medium air i like to do three pumps on the sheet when trying to start off. that way the sail is trimmed right at some time.. haha.. but it helps to make sure the flow is attached.. then you can sqeeze it in till before it just starts to stall... and then repeat.. repeat.. and you generate a lot of flow.. the timing is different of course depending on everything.. and the third pump is much smaller then the first.. but i suppose everybody has a technique.. and you could watch some of the faster starters closely..

and then downwind when you stall it really sucks and you have to dump the sheet and head way up... or just go slow.. but it's the fastest, easiest way to get hooked back up again.