Vibrant Tips for Trimming Mainsail: Am I Possessive? Is the 1 Guest Obsessive?

Apr 9, 2019 | Onboard

Need tips for trimming a mainsail? I need a refresher on “polite ways to deal with guest sailor who knows it all.”

How many crew members offer tips for trimming mainsail? Is it just the mainsail trim person who tends to get possessive over his/her spot on the boat, or does this possessiveness extend to other regions and roles, such as foredeck or pit?

I want trim quality, so I suppose I am a bit obsessive keeping an eye on sail shape. Foredeck definitely has to be obsessive. Pit certainly needs to be obsessive. But does a guest on a boat need to be obsessive?

Does Your Guest Offer Best Tips for Trimming Mainsail?

A guest can be obsessive about temperature of beer he brings onboard, but I do not think it right he be obsessive in vocalizing suggestions for someone else’s sail trim; certainly not if it’s his first time on the boat, AND if his own attention to trim is rather, well, inattentive. Please, no tips for trimming mainsail.

Summer and Smoke often trials a few newbie sail racing candidates. Time for a refresher on “polite ways to deal with guest sailor know-it-alls. In particularly, those with tips for trimming mainsail.” This past weekend’s boat guest was not as bad as Jack, but this person did irk me enough to inspire this post. Here are a few highpoints from our short race:

Guest assigned to port side jib trim; is disoriented re: how to position himself, so alternates between straddling backwards over winch, then standing in pit + grabbing boom-to-traveler sheet for balance. After polite advice to not hang on main block sheet as item to grab for balance, he opts for the boom.

Eventually settles in and initiates jib trim.

  • Six minutes into the race: boom is too far out and blocks his view of telltales, so reaches up and moves boom out of the way.
  • Offers several suggestions: mainsail in, mainsail too tight, mainsail…
  • Repeat reach up and shake boom a few times (because I am not heeding his advice).
  • Repeat voiced trim suggestion several times.

Even our young foredeck understands that tips for trimming mainsail are not always welcomed by a guest on our race boat.

Lou is a regular crewmember. He works foredeck. He seldom has to deal with guest commentary, such as tips for trimming mainsail.

I Think the Mainsail Could Come In

He’s probably an affable enough person (and it is only the start of the season), so I don’t launch conversation with a mean response. From me, he gets a few faked smiles following his repeated, “I think the main could come in.” Ten minutes into the race, and roughly the fifth time he’s moved and shaken my mainsail, it is time to comment. I blurt out a polite, “please don’t move the mainsail.”

It worked. He quieted, the wind picked up, we rounded the mark, then sailed a return back up the channel. During this time skipper assigned him a job to occupy his idle hands and flapping mouth; when not latched around his beer bottle. His new role was to trim the headsail up the Vallejo Mare Island Channel. This geo-patch can be a dead wind zone, or it can be constantly changing. It is usually the latter, which requires constant attentive adjustments to sail trim.

During this time his focus is less on offering tips for trimming mainsail, and now he’s focused on headsail trim. Well, sort of. Skipper had to coach him through jib trim most of the time. It’s rather annoying that distracto-man gave up, and left his station before crossing the finish line.