Downwind Sailing in Greece

Downwind Sailing in Greece is almost an art; basically, whenever you want to sail off the wind, you need to pay attention to small details that will determine your speed, your safety and will ensure a happy sailing in Greece and the Greek Islands.

There are a few tips and hints that you should be aware if you want to secure proper downwind sailing in your vacations. These tips are also very important if you decide to participate in any sailing race in Greece, since the off wind legs of the race are the most challenging ones.

Downwind Sailing in Greece – How to Trim your sails

sailing off wind in Greece

Spinnaker Trimming

When double-slotting keep the halyard off 2 ft. Generally, at all other times, the halyard should be approximately 1’ off except in heavy air dead downwind, the use a full hoist.

The pole height is quite simple. Just match the guy side of the spinnaker with the sheet side. Even if the sheet side is at deck level, match the pole side with it. The old trend was to keep the pole extremely high on the reaches. We have found that this is not effective. Just match the clews and GO!

Mainsail trimming

Off the wind, the main should be kept as full as possible. This means the backstay and cunningham should be as loose as possible and the outhaul eased 6″ from the black band.

The most important adjustment o the down-wind leg relative to the mainsail is the boom vang. If you have too little vang, you will spill off desired wind in the top half of the sail. If you have too much vang, you will close the leech and destroy wind flow.

A slight curve, drawn between the end of the boom and the top of the mast, is the optimum setting.

Double Slotting & the Genoas – How to Trim the Sails

downwind sailing in GreeceWhen double slotting with the 180%, you must be on a broad reach or tighter for it to be effective.

The most important thing is not to oversheet the genoa. If the sail is pulled in too far, it will suck air away from the spinnaker, making it either very hard or impossible to fly.

If your spinnaker does collapse, ease your genoa out until It luffs. This will allow the spinnaker to refill.

Once you have the spinnaker flying gain, re-trim your genoa. You will find it much easier when double slotting with the 150%.

Handy tips that come to mind for downwind sailing in Greece:

  • install PVC pipe on pole ends attached to trip wire for easier access to open jaws
  • bottom handle winches – the hand is always there
  • inboard sheeting is must with the 180% genoa, outboard for the 150%
  • spinnaker launching bag – the chute is always ready to go (no packing required) and is easily stored away when not in use.
  • pre-guy the spinnaker behind the genoa – this does 2 things’ prevents the spinnaker getting snagged under the genoa and brings the clew closer to the pole for quicker set. The sheet should be cleated at pre-determined mark for a close reach
  • use ratchet blocks for spinnaker sheets (located just forward of the genoa winches on the outboard rail) no cabin top winches required -primary winch can be used if necessary
  • install cleat for spinnaker halyard on mast at eye level (starboard side) with the spinnaker halyard led aft through a block on the deck 6″ to the starboard side of the mast to a cleat on the bridge – this allows the bow person to hoist the spinnaker and the cockpit person to douse it.


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