Here are some slides of my Gaastra Cross 6.4 and my Remedy 6.0 taken a few weeks ago.
|This is my 6.0 rigged on a Fiberspar Radius 430 mast..|
|This is the same sail on the ground. The outhaul looks too tight to me in the picture. I would have loosened it before setting off.|
|Here is my Cross 6.4 rigged on a Gaastra Silver RDM mast. Once again I would have released about one cm of outhaul before setting off.|
As you can see, the Gaastra Crosses require quite a bit of downhaul. The reason that the outhaul setting on both sails was a bit tight was because the wind was a lot stronger in the previous session. When we store our sails we simply release downhaul tension and hang them up. When we next rig them, we set the downhaul for the prevailing wind and re-set the outhaul to match the new downhaul setting. Both sails are set for medium/strong wind.
Sail the Crosses overpowered in this way and they are light and fast. Be very careful to optimise the outhaul setting once you have downhauled correctly. Half a centimeter either way can make a huge difference to the sail's performance. Experiment!
Another really important aspect of sailing soft sails is the degree to which you sheet the sail in on various tacks. It is easy to stall the sail by sheeting in too much and when you do this you lose masses of power. Sheet out slightly when going downwind for example. Far more than a race sail, a soft sail needs to be "flown" with sensitivity to get the most out of it. I have my lines perfectly balanced for both tacks and make minute adjustments from this position. Andy rides with a bit of back hand tension. He says that this gives him the ability to feel and to constantly make the adjustments he needs.
This is an area which is not learned from theory. Be conscious of the need to adjust sheeting angles and experiment! Over time your body will learn how to maximize drive over a range of sailing angles and water states.