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Racing and IOM - More learnings from Gosport

Yesterday, I said I would talk a bit about sailing downwind. It is hard to go wrong on a downwind leg on a windward leeward course, you let the sails go out as far as you can, goose-wing the jib and point at the next mark. Or is there more to it?

If you do not have some kind of wind indicator how do you know whether you are square downwind so here are some pointers as to what to look for to go fast.

It might sound obvious but get the wind directly down the centre line of the boat to ensure the main and jib operate effectively when goose-winged. Sometimes you see boats sail downwind with the jibs flapping meaning the boat is running by the lee or they are just sailing too high and loosing ground. Find a burgee or strip of ripstop nylon or something similar and watch that as a guide for the wind direction when you next race to guarantee you sail on the optimum gybe to the next mark.

Always be on the gybe that takes you closest to the mark unless you are hunting for a puff or trying to avoid a lull near a mark caused by a tree.

Watch the boats behind as they are the best indication of new wind coming from behind.

Focus on these techniques over the winter so you get the max out of your boat downwind.

"Fast is Fine but accuracy is everything" Wyatt Earp - He knew the secret and he never sailed an IOM.

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Nigel Barrow
Nigel Barrow
Dec 24, 2021

The only comment I have seen on iom”s is one from BG who suggests getting the jib boom as close to 90 degrees as possible. The main boom is limited by the shroud but is close to 90 degrees. Of course in a breeze you want the main boom just off the shroud otherwise you might break it.



There's a YouTube - - in which an american 'professional sailor' demonstrates how to tune a DF95. At about 09m 45s he recommends, contrary to the Joysway booklet, setting the main boom at 90 degrees to the centreline and the jibboom at more than 90 degrees, for downwind racing. I've tried this and believe (how do you ever really judge?) that this does give a downwind advantage. So now I'm trying to similarly set-up my IOM, as the physics is presumably similar for both classes. This is contrary to everything else I've seen and read, which generally points to an angle of about 80-85 degrees for both booms. Any thoughts? John

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