so here's the question. sailing solo sitting on the hull, wind is blowing medium with gusts that occasionally lift the windward hull out. you have 2 choices
1.trap out to keep the windward hull in the water and main sheeted hard
2.stay on the windward hull and/or tramp and try to keep windward hull out most of the time but when the gusts come you have to dump the main to stop going over and sort of splash back and die in the water
which is faster?
attached is pic from this year's summer races. getting very comfortable solo on the nacra 5.2. in fact with crew it now feels too heavy and slow. tacks still a bit of a handful with; bringing the boat around, coming in off the trap while steering through the wind, blowing the main while going under the boom, hooking on other side, un-cleating the backwinded jib and pulling in and cleating new side, pulling in the main while getting footing and pushing out on the wire again
pic shows boat in what i assume is fastest trim, windward hull just out and tilting forward. know i could be trapping lower but with just a windsurfer waist belt this is feeling comfortable. slowly adjusting the height down. note makeshift righting pole has dropped down from rear of tramp and skipping along the water. yet to test if it works
It looks to me like you have a lot of twist in the main if you are going to windward. I would have sheeted the main in by about 2 meters :shock: Your jib looks like it is blown out as well.
I think you would have noticed a very large improvement in control and handling in gusts with new sails. Less heeling and more acceleration and speed. I know this was not what you asked about, but it was what struck me once I looked at your very nice picture.
To answer your question, I think it is fastest to trim for max speed in the lulls, and dump power in the gusts. Tired sails makes this harder as the extra draft and draft position tends to drag you over sideways. Your trapping style is very nice <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Going for a real trapeze harness will probably make it more comfortable, but you look good to me.
Does your boat have hiking straps? If so, these can be used effectively when there is only the occasional gust. Put your feet under the straps and swing as much of our upper body over the side as you can.
Work on constantly looking upwind to spot puffs before they get to you. Also work on getting in and out from the trap smoothly so you can work the gusts effectively.
If there's enough wind to keep the boat at even a slight leeward heel, it's probably worth it to stay on the wire. But if the boat heels to windward or you drag in the water, that's not fast. Remember, you can always sit up in the harness or even bend your knees and get your weight in real close to the hull during the lulls.
If the 5.2 is anything like the 5.8, getting your weight forward is critical. The boat is faster and points higher with the bows about half in the water.
I've found that it's easier to steer while way forward from the wire rather than sitting on the front crossbar. So I generally get out on the wire before it's necessary to keep the boat down.
Often in light air, I'll be on the trap on one side of the boat while my crew is on the trap on the other. We won't be stretched out, but at least hooked in - actually, my crew is always hooked in, and going upwind in he's always forward of the crossbar, generally up by the bridle foil.