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Test Your Smarts

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Here is a Speed & Smarts Test with 61 questions about all aspects of boatspeed. This entire test appeared in Issue 98 of Speed & Smarts, and the answers appear in Issue 99. The purpose of this test is to get you thinking about boatspeed issues, so pick up your electronic pencil, and good luck!

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1 When you want to point higher, a tighter leech is usually better than an open leech.
True
False
2 A deep sail creates more drag than a flat one
True
False
3 Which of the following may require that you trim your sails differently from tack to tack?
A. ease the sheet to increase twist B. increase vang tension C. add more backstay tension
D. pull harder on the cunningham
4 In which wind/sea condition would you want the least amount of twist in your sails?
A. moderate air and flat water B. heavy air and slight chop C. light air and lump
5 Which of the following does not indicate the possible presence of wind sheer aloft? A difference from tack to tack in:
A. apparent wind angle B. boatspeed C. sail trim or sail behavior
D. true wind direction
6 Which of these is the least effective in depowering your main?
A. ease the sheet to increase twist B. increase vang tension C. add more backstay tension
D. pull harder on the cunningham
7 Which of the following is a good time for trimming your sails on the tight side when sailing upwind?
A. inexperienced helmsperson B. the wind is shifty C. the seas are lumpy
D. you are almost overpowered
8 In choppy conditions you should generally sail with more twist in your sails.
True
False
9 The reason why sails need twist on both tacks is because of wind sheer aloft.
True
False
10 Trimming a sail tighter is one way to increase the amount of its lift, or power.
True
False
11 When you're having trouble finding the 'groove,' which of the following are good ideas?
A. ease the jib sheet slightly B. tighten the backstay C. bear off a couple of degrees
D. trim your mainsheet a little
12 When you are about to hit a couple of bad waves, which of the following is not a good idea?
A. bear off a couple of degrees B. add some twist to your sails C. move your weight forward a bit
D. ease your sheets slightly
13 You are permitted to move your body to help steer the boat through waves.
True
False
14 How many degrees of windward helm do you usually want when you're sailing upwind?
A. 0° B. 4° C. 8°
D. 12°
15 When sailing upwind, which of these should be the lowest priority for the helmsperson?
A. looking at the jib telltales B. watching speed of other boats C. watching the boatspeed display
D. looking at waves ahead.
16 More leeward heel increases windward helm.
True
False
17 Which of the following will not reduce windward helm?
A. flatten your mainsail shape B. move the centerboard forward C. reduce the angle of heel
D. slide crew weight forward.
18 You don't want the front of your jib to be rounder when;
A. the helmsperson can’t find the groove B. you need to accelerate C. you’re having trouble pointing
D. you are about to hit waves
19 When you get a 'velocity header' you should usually:
A. bear off immediately to fill jib B. sail straight until your speed drops a little – then bear off C. head up slightly and trim sails
D. none of the above
20 Which of the following things might you do to increase the amount of pre-bend in your mast?
A. move the mast butt forward B. move mast forward at the deck C. angle your spreaders aft
D. tighten the lower shrouds
21

If possible, you should always tune your rig so the mast is perfectly straight from side to side on both tacks.

True
False
22 One good method for gauging how much rake you have is to measure the length of your forestay.
True
False
23 If you cannot trim your sails identically on each tack, your rig is not tuned correctly.
True
False
24 The primary way to get more rake is by pulling harder on your backstay or runners.
True
False
25 If you have large overbend wrinkles extending from the mainsail clew toward the mast, you might consider:
A. easing the runner or backstay B. tightening the boom vang C. loosening the cunningham
D. moving mast aft at the deck
26 Trim the spinnaker sheet hard enough to keep the sail from curling along the luff.
True
False
27 If you are reaching and you want less power in the spinnaker, lower the outboard end of the pole.
True
False
28 Which of the following is not a good guideline for setting the height of your spinnaker pole?
A. both clews are level B. the luff of the chute rises vertically from the pole’s outer end C. luff curls evenly top to bottom
D. the center seam of the sail angles to leeward
29 You should not let your mast go farther forward than vertical when racing downwind.
True
False
30 A centerline sprit pole should be fully extended whenever the spinnaker is set.
True
False
31 When running in breeze, the tack line of an asymmetrical chute should rise vertically from the outer end of the sprit pole.
True
False
32 The tack of an asymmetrical chute should be pulled down to the end of the sprit.
True
False
33 It is permissible to fly your spinnaker without a pole for the entire run.
True
False
34 You are allowed to pump the spinnaker sheet to promote surfing or planing.
True
False
35 On a heavy-air run, which of the following are not ways to gain more control?
A. ease your vang tension a little B. sail a slightly higher angle C. over-trim your chute slightly
D. lower your centerboard a bit E. move crew weight forward
36 A tighter backstay makes your headsail flatter.
True
False
37 If the leeward luff telltales are stalled, you should either ease the jib sheet or try bearing off a little.
True
False
38 In a typical headsail, how far aft should the position of maximum draft normally be?
A. 30-35% B. 40-45% C. 50-55%
39 When you want to point higher, one of the first things you should try is trimming your jib sheet tighter.
True
False
40 You should set the fore-and-aft position of your headsail lead so that:
A. the front of your sail luffs evenly from top to bottom B. your luff telltales break evenly from top to bottom C. The sail's foot and leech reach maximum trim at the same time
41 On most boats, you should tension the luff of your jib or genoa until you eliminate all the wrinkles.
True
False
42 You can usually point higher by pulling harder on the jib luff tension.
True
False
43 If you add more pre-bend, you will usually be able to sail with a fuller headsail.
True
False
44 The primary way for a jib trimmer to "change gears" is by moving the lead position.
True
False
45 When you ease the backstay, this moves the draft in the main farther forward.
True
False
46 You should almost never position your traveler car above (to windward of) the centerline of the boat.
True
False
47 When you loosen your cunningham control line:
A. the mainsail draft moves aft B. the mainsail gets flatter overall C. both of the above
D. neither of the above
48 The primary reason for tensioning the cunningham is to get rid of wrinkles in the lower part of the mainsail.
True
False
49 The telltale on your top batten should normally be stalling about half the time in:
A. light air and chop B. flat water and medium breeze C. survival conditions
50 In most conditions, a good rule of thumb is to trim your main so the top batten is parallel to the boom, both upwind and when you're running.
True
False
51 When you ease the outhaul, it closes the lower leech and increases windward helm.
True
False
52 You should always keep the mainsail at maximum hoist with the top of the headboard at the black band.
True
False
53 Telltales on the main don't help much on a run, so ease the sheet until the main just starts to luff near the mast.
True
False
54 You normally need to use a lot of cunningham for:
A. a new mainsail B. an older mainsail C. light-air conditions
D. heavy-air conditions
55 In a mainsail, how far aft (distance from luff to leech) should the position of maximum draft normally be?
A. 35-40% B. 45-50% C. 55-60%
56 Which of the following will not help reduce excessive backwind in the main?
A. move the jib lead outboard B. tighten the backstay C. ease jib luff tension
D. trim the mainsheet harder
57 On a beat, you should try to go for speed first and then work on pointing.
True
False
58 You should never heel to windward upwind.
True
False
59 An upwind 'target' is the boatspeed that will give you maximum VMG to windward in the existing wind velocity.
True
False
60 In light air you often move crew forward on a run to:
A. reduce wetted surface B. increase windward helm C. let the chute fly farther away
D. make the boat more stable.
61 The most accurate way to gauge how well you are performing upwind is to:
A. watch your knotmeter B. monitor your VMG readout C. compare speed to nearby boats
D. use your sense of feel