Quantum Sail Design Group’s David Flynn takes a look at the Zen of sailing better and faster in his series, “The Racers Edge.”

Last month we looked at perfecting the tack. For our next act, we need to master the gybe.
With the season just beginning for many of our local sailors, I thought it might be a good time to get back to the basics.
As I head back from another Key West Race Week, I can’t help but reflect on the simple things that more often than not end up being the keys to doing well.
I was out blasting around testing reaching spinnakers the other day on a new C&C 30, and I was reminded of how much fun sending it on a close reach really was.
Argghh matey… there’s nothing like the leeward rail buried in the water, the tiller or wheel gripped firmly fighting the pressure, or is there?
Downwind starts make even the best tacticians nervous. Volumes have been written about proper technique, tactics, and strategy for upwind starts.
What angle should I sail at downwind in light air? It can be useful to divide sailing downwind into three modes: under 10 knots true, 10-14, and over 14.
The more you race, the more you will realize which things have to happen and which can wait. 
I am a mainsail trimmer and my skipper and I are always arguing about de-powering. Which should I be using, the traveler or the mainsheet?

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