Tuning – Mainsheet & Traveller

Staff of North Sails Melbourne raced “Flying Circus” in a variety of conditions and successful regattas, including state titles over a number of years in the 1980’s. They compiled a tuning guide which was passed onto Don and David Collins when they purchased the boat in the mid 90’s. Don and David have kindly offered to make this information available to the wider S80 community. We thank both of them and North Sails Melbourne for their contribution.

0-8 Knots Traveller up so boom is on Centreline Mainsheet ON so top batten is 1-2 degrees above boom 
8-14 Knots Traveller positioned so boom is 150-180 mm below centreline Mainsheet ON so that top batten is parallel to boom. 


14 Knots + Use traveller  position to balance boat, and control angle of heel. Mainsheet ON so that top batten is 1-2 degrees below line of the boom.


Remember the Mainsheet and Traveller control the amount of helm, heel and angle of attack that the boat sails at.

  • In light air the maximum height and speed to windward is attained from having the mainsail sheeted so that the sail is right on stall with the boom right on the boats centreline.
  • In medium conditions the angle of heel becomes the most important ingredient in maximum windward performance, the traveller is positioned to give just enough feel to the boats rudder, the mainsheet is tensioned to give a constant angle of heel and the correct height to windward.
  • In fresh conditions the mainsail sheet tension is the accelerator pedal. Too much sheet ON and the boat will have excessive heel and no groove, too much twist and the boat will have insufficient height to windward and excessive back wind.