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Sail Settings Guide for MKII and Radial Now Available!

Int. Sailing Academy

Active Member
Hi all,

We've got an Upwind Sail Settings Guide now available for the Laser / ILCA Dinghy - you can goto our website to download it. This is a great starting point for setting up your dinghy to go fast!

Settings have been vetted by Olympic Champions and Coaches and include:

Vang Coding/Calibration Guide
MKII Settings Flat Water
MKII Settings Chop
Radial Settings Flat Water
Radial Settings Chop

They are available both in imperial and metric measurements.

Included here is a sample chart for the MKII in flat water.

Hope you enjoy the guide and that it helps you sail faster this weekend!!


Rob B

Well-Known Member
More great stuff. Easy buttons!

BTW- We sail on inland lakes and get real drifters. Upwind our settings in wind of like 1-3 knots have been as follow:

Traveler- Tight
Vang - B2B
Cunningham - Off w/wrinkles
Outhaul - 7"
Mainsheet - 9" - 16"
Boat heel angle - Weight forward and in with a heel angle of 10 degrees or so.

These settings walk away from sailors trimmed tighter, (with boat too flat) and/or using less vang, (which seem to be the most 2 important settings).


Int. Sailing Academy

Active Member
We have seen that setup work well also - and I could see in a lake sailing setting how it could be effective. In our experiments when the wind popped up ever so slightly, the low drag setup users who held onto it just a bit too long ended up getting killed. Same result if some lump/chop appeared.

Definitely you would carry some heel either way to promote some shape using gravity. Weight fore/aft is setup for a perfect waterline and depends a little a sailor weight to refine it. Cunningham... just to distribute the sail and get rid of massive creases but not cleating it.. probably not too many notable differences on those points.

Sometimes in situations as you describe above, the good are sailors doing one thing and the weaker sailors another - and good sailors have a lot more "flexibility". They can make different setups work better in general. Not sure if you've had your best sailors try to make the higher drag setup work or not...? Also if you have guys with older sails that are a bit blown out, that will throw these numbers out the window and generally tighter/flatter will be better.

As you know, the Olympic guys can generate a ton of speed from their tacking and accelerations off the line, and out of mark roundings.... higher speeds are achieved right away, and then can support tighter sheet tensions and allow them to carry them longer. In your fleet, maybe club/masters racers with the low drag setup pickup more speed and gradually build AW with sheet out vs. others who are just... stalled - slow and over-trimmed/overflat.

You may have noticed in the course that we advocated for a lower drag setup similar to what you describe when it first came out (even lower drag with a thinner outhaul). In the end when going public with the charts, we decided that we should remain true to "the gold standard", and what's proven to work at the highest level when we make recommendations like this. In this way they are somewhat irrefutable... and in this case they don't conflict with our own testing. Perhaps it's a slightly grey area - but when something is proven, that is a very strong usage case... we can stand by that confidently until a new standard appears.

All that said, settings are just guides. If you have something that's winning races, keep it! Would be curious to hear more testing results if it's interesting for your fleet!

Int. Sailing Academy

Active Member
Sorry, what does “D” mean in reference to the vang? And also do you generally recommend a 12:1 vang? (Is that the same as minus 1 purchase?)
Hi Chatham,

Did you download the settings guide from www.internationalsailingacademy.com? That has the explanation to setup with the D settings in the PDF.

I believe the stock vang comes at 15:1 and you can connect where the end of the control/secondary line attaches and tie it off on the cascading block. I think that makes it 12:1 but not 100% sure on the math there. Maybe someone else can verify.
Thanks. But more generally I just want to verify that all your vang settings refer to a 12:1 (1 purchase dropped) rather than the stock 15:1. Seems to be what your chart says in the footnotes. (Obv that impacts pull lengths meaningfully). Many thanks!