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505 Trim
of the
World Champions 2003


The team Wolfgang Hunger and Holger Jess - world champion 2001 and many other national and international successes - provide the trim of the world champion's boat.

In the first place this page are for beginners. The trim table and the exact measures of  mast, stays and centerboard allow everybody to exactly understand the settings of the successful team. It is explained in detail how each individual measure has been taken. Beside that there are additional hints for trim, boat equipment and controls.

The experienced 505 sailor has for sure his own trim measures. Nevertheless it may be interesting to compare with the data of the World Champion team.

We appreciate all hints to mistakes on this web page and for suggestions to make this even better. Please mail to

Holger Jess    
email infoSegelsport        
Volker Görge
email goerge

Version 1.3, 19.1.2003 more small corrections
Version 1.2, 15.5.2002 more small corrections, french version by Jean Baptiste Dupont
Version 1.1, 27.2.2002 small corrections, english version by Volker Görge, finnish version by Raimo Raita
Version 1.0, 09.2.2002 html pages by Volker Görge

Table of Contents:

Trim table by beaufort and knots

The following table provides an overview about the adjustments of  the different controls that the World Champion team used under different wind conditions.

These adjustments (and most of all the mast rake) of course depends also on the crew weight. So here is that information:
Weight of the helmsman Wolfgang Hunger:
78 kg
Weight of the crew Holger Jess:                    85 kg

A light, middle, heavy crew is about 60/75, 70/85, 80/95 kg.
This means that the team consists of a middle weight crew and a slightly heavy helmsman.
The following trim table on two A4 pages as PDF file for easy printing.
AcrobatReader (use Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF pages)

The Trim of the World Champions, Hunger/Jess 2001, SUPER SPARS M2, Bojsen-Møller Sails

Control/Wind 0,5 - 1,5
(1-3 kn)

(4-6 kn)

(7-10 kn)

(11-16 kn)

(17-21 kn)

(22-27 kn)

Mast rake [m]
Jib fairleads


Mast ram
pull up totally, mast prebent
pull up a little
or neutral
neutral or slightly down
down, so that kicker power
 does not bend  mast too much
tight to prebent mast
very tight *)
not very tight,
but  must not be loose
 on lee-side 
a little more loose

to windward
to windward
to windward,
much power on mainsheet

no sagging, but still not tight
a little
totally down,
a little forward, gybing
totally down, gybing
a little up, but still gybing
5 degree back,
not gybing

10-15 degree back
20 degree back
max. tight
open 1cm
open 2cm
max. tight
max. tight
what else ...
sit far to the front,
jibsheet very loose,  fairleads high - the jib has to be open in upper part!
sit far to the front
sit to the front
*) "very tight" means about 200 kg
Jan-2002 contents by Holger Jess

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Mast rake

spiegel take measurement to the lower edge
mastfall2 Mast rake                
The mast rake measure has been taken from the top to the lower edge of the transom. Connect the end loop of the tape measure to the shackle of the main halyard. Then pull it up to exactly the same position that you would use for the main sail.
Note: Most tape measures have a few centimeters of 'dead end'. The scale does not begin exactly with the end of the tape. Also be careful that the tape measure is really straight (not twisted) and you don't have too much wind when taking measures.

For reproducible results please take also the following into account:

In general: the lower the weight of the crew (and helmsman) the higher the mast rake when the wind increases (more mast rake means = higher inclination = lower rake measure value).
Note: some of you know the trim table from Ian Baker from 1994. When you compare the Barker table with this table it's important to know that the mast rake is measured differently. Ian Barker took the measure from top to the inside of the boat (bottom / transom). The result are values about 4 cm less than the ones in this table. Additionally the mast was allowed to freely bend. Mast ram and boom had been removed . So the mast has not been forced to be straight while taking the measures.

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Jib halyard, headstay adjustment 


The jib halyard tackle should have a reduction ratio of at least 24:1 (better 32:1). It should allow for the full mast rake range of 7,80 m to 7,55 m (method as described above).

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Jib fairleads

how to measure

The jib lead position has been taken between centerboard (middle of boat) and the block of the jib leads. It is important to have an in/out and up/down control for the jib leads. It does not necessarily need to look like the ones on the left photo. It can also be a combination of a track for the in/out control and a barber for the up/down control like the ones on the middle photo.
jib track and barber

It is important that the jib fairleads can be used in a considerably high position in light winds as described in the trim table to open the jib in the upper part of the leech. Additionally the block of the jib sheet has to be mounted far enough back to achieve a flat enough sheet angle. Modern jibs like the BM jib have a very high clew.
SchotMarken sheet markings
Jib sheet markings are helpful to immediately find the old position after tacking. A black felt-tip pen can simply be used if the sheet is white.Otherwise apply a whipping of white yarn.

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Mast ram

strut assembly

8:1 system

The most effective mast controller is a strut. It is mounted on the fore-deck and pulls or pushes on about the level of the gooseneck and lower. A 8:1 tackle pulls down, a 2:1 tackle pulls up.

Very helpful are two small pointers mounted on the traveller car and markings on the mast (black felt-tip pen). Make markings corresponding to the different mast rake positions. These positions are called the "neutral positions". Example: lets assume you have marked the mast rake positions "1" for "upright", "2" for "middle" and "3" for "max. rake" and you have always pushed the mast straight. Then you automatically get the positions for the "1", "2" and "3" markings for the mast ram. But these positions are clues only. The position for middle wind and upright mast is regularly a little bit down (more tight) and for heavy wind a bit up (loose) compared to the neutral positions.
usage of mast ram
With the mast upright the traveller should not be at the upper end of the track allowing to be pulled up even more in light winds . Pulling the mast ram up results in a prebent mast. Tight shrouds give you additional bending at the height of the spreaders. The result is a flatter main sail and an open leech.

In the middle wind range power in the rig is needed. The mast ram's neutral position or slightly more pressure is used. This results in good pointing ability sailing upwind. What does neutral mean? This is the position corresponding to the current mast rake (though the measure taken with a straight mast).

In heavy winds there is still power on the mast ram needed. This is important so that the kicker does not bend the mast too much and fulfills his real task: pulling the boom down. With more mast rake pull the mast ram down a little. But with a lightweight crew this should be only a tiny bit.

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rig tension gauge

The trim table gives you only a qualitative description of the shroud tension. For those who still want to measure something: with the SUPER SPAR gauge the tension "tight" means about 200kg.

The shroud tension control should have at least a reduction ratio of 16:1.

Markings for the shroud tension control are very helpful. If the control lines are lead along the bulkhead, the markings can be made right here, like Christer Bergström did it (s. photo).

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Mainsheet triangle

The main sheet triangle decisively determines the angle direction of draught of the main sheet.
  • In light winds pull the triangle to the weather side. This allows the boom to be on or near the centerline of the boat with the least amount of mainsheet tension.
  • In medium winds also pull the triangle to the weather side. But now the sheet tension is higher and induces much tension on the leech.
  • In heavy winds the triangle may be fixed in the middle. It is no more necessary to pull the boom totally to the center. Fixing the triangle in the middle saves the helmsmen the work for re-adjusting the triangle after tacking.
traveller car in mid position

traveller car in weather position

tackles in the middle

tackles to weather

The pictures show the different types of mainsheet triangles that are in use.

The expensive solution with short traveller tracks has the advantage that less power (in your arms) is needed.

The simple version works with two 2:1 tackles. The rope stoppers have to be adjusted in a way that with a totally eased triangle and upright mast there can still be put medium tension on the main sheet. Nevertheless it is not easy to find the right positions for the rope stoppers.

If you make the triangle (the two legs) too short, then you can not pull them enough to the weather side. If you make them too long, it's difficult in medium winds to achieve enough tension on the leech (without also pulling the lee side).

Please look on the photographs and notice also how the end of the main sheet is fixed. To allow the two mainsheet blocks to come very close together (and the boom close to the centerline) there is no becket. The mainsheet goes directly through the (extra wide) hard eye of the short steel wires for the middle block. The mainsheet is then fixed with a figure eight knot.

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A good kicker should have a reduction ratio of at least 16:1. It is also very important to have a wide control range. With the main sail open it should be possible to ease the kicker until it's completely loose. On the other hand you must be able to pull it tight with maximum mast rake.


A cascading kicker system like the one on the left photo is a perfect solution. A lever based system would not be ideal because of the small adjustment range.

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Every boat has two "wings". One above water - mainsail and jib work together as one - and another in the water - the centerboard (working together with the rudder). Both are exactly of the same importance (and nearly as expensive)!
The centerboard should be reworked at least once a season and all scratches and kinks carefully removed. In particular the leading edge and the first 2-3cm of the section must not have any noticeable unevenness or groove.
rubber gasket
The slot gasket has to be strong enough to provide a really good sealing. The best material is a folded double layer of sailcloth. The overlap of the two gaskets has to be different according to the needs:  the overlap is zero in the front part and a few millimeters in the back part of the trunk. The hole in front of the centerboard should be sealed with an additional rubber gasket.

With increasing winds the centerboard has to be raised more and more. This causes the center of effort to move aft and correspond better to the center of effort of the sails (with more mast rake). And additionally this moves the center of effort up, so that the boat can more easily be kept upright. It's reasonable to have markings for some positions on the centerboard (black felt-tip pen, possibly even different colors):

  • all the way down, vertical
  • about 5 degrees forward of the vertical
  • about 15 degrees aft
  • about 40 degrees, reaching position
centerboard angle

The vertical (all the way down) position should be marked very carefully. This position is special: it's the one with the least drag (in relation to  the lift. The lift/drag ratio determines the pointing ability).
How this and some other positions can easily be found is shown in the left drawing.
centerboard position

The centerboard position has to be measured from the aft edge of the transom to the 30% line of the centerboard section. The position of the bolt is irrelevant.

To compare the position of two centerboards, it is important to compare the positions of the center of effort of the two centerboards. The center of effort of a vertical centerboard is always between 25-35% of the section chord (width of the centerboard). To make it simple we calculate with 30% now.

Ok, how do we compare the position of centerboards with different widths? Put the boat on the side, centerboard perpendicular to the bottom and measure the width. Determine and mark 30% of the width. Then measure the distance to the aft edge of the transom.
centerboard halyard

The arrangement on the left photo has been proven to be a very good solution for the centerboard control line. Namely the centerboard moves on its own to the reaching position once the control line is out of the cleat. This is supported by a strong elastic. This mechanism allows you to ease the control line while you are still approaching the weather mark. The centerboard stays down until you bear off and then it moves up on its own.
To raise the centerboard totally, the end of the control line has to be unhooked.

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Clew outhaul control

"Max. tight" means really tight with a wrinkle in the foot of  the main, possibly with the clew being out back to the black band. On the mast side the clew is best fitted with a shackle and a slider in the mast slot. If the foot is very long then you better tie it around the mast.

Some booms have two holes and a split pin on the gooseneck side: saw them off. They are useless for the modern sails (e.g. BM-sails) that are not fixed in the slot over the full length of the boom.

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With the modern sails (like the BM-sails), that are not fixed in the boom slot over the complete length, the cunningham line is connected to the lower clew. Both the slider/shackle (see above) and the sail (leach) are pulled down when tension is applied. The upper 2nd clew (if it exists) remains empty.

With older sails the 2nd higher clew must be used to connect to the cunningham line.

Trim: the Cunningham line is not very important. This is the reason why it is not mentioned in the trim table. Keep it loose except in high winds. With cunningham tension applied, the center of effort keeps in place. This means the camber does not move aft and causes closing the leech.

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Mast trim data and centerboard

The following table contains the measures used by the world champion team 2001 Hunger/Jess for a SUPER SPARS M2 mast with  Bojsen- Møller sails.
The following sections exactly describe how these measures are taken.
spreader length 415 mm
spreader angle 148 mm
spreader height
3050 mm
mast position
3048 mm
shroud plate position
2320 mm
head stay position
4780 mm
centerboard position
2500 mm
Jan-2002 measures by  Holger Jess

The mast has to be exactly straight in the boat. Pull a tape measure up the mast with the main halyard. Then check and compare the distance from top of mast to both shroud plates. If they are not exactly the same, change the length of one shroud until they are (all with tension!)..

Again with tension in the rig, look at the boat from the side in a distance of about 10-15m and try to optically hide one shroud with the other. If this is not possible, then the spreaders are unsymmetrical. This can be corrected by moving one spreader fore or aft one or a half hole. This means to intentionally adjust the spreaders unequally. The reason may be a somewhat asymmetrically mounted spreader bracket.

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Spreader length, angle, height

measure the spreader length

The spreader length measure is taken from the shroud wire to the side of the mast section. A lightweight crew can use shorter spreaders (410 or 405 mm). The same is valid for a crew with average weight and more wind (see crew weight ).
measure the spreader angle
To take the measure for the spreader angle put a ruler on the shroud wires and measure the distance to the mast slot. To eliminate the looseness in the spreader bracket, press the spreaders up to the load position beforehand!

The spreader height is the measure from top of deck to the spreaders. This is always the same for all SUPER SPARS masts (bought at Segelsport Jess).

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Mast, shroud plate, headstay position

positions overview

Mast and shroud plate positions determine spreader angle and spreader length. Spreaders and shrouds are a rather complex system. Strictly speaking none of the measures can be looked at on its own. It is important that you think about these interdependencies before applying the measures to your own boat. If e.g. the shroud plates are not exactly at the same position, then you cannot directly compare the spreaders length and angle!

The position of the shroud plates is measured from the fore stay.
The headstay position is measured from the transom (aft edge).
mast position

The mast position measure is taken from the aft edge of transom to the aft edge of the mast section. The measure in the  table (3048) is the smallest allowed value (most aft).

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What else is important  ...

How to mark controls, sheets and halyards

It is very helpful to have markings on controls and control lines.
Here is a summary:

Fore/aft weight trim

light winds

With light winds its important to trim your weight far forward to avoid dragging at the transom. To achieve this the helmsman usually must sit in front of the main sheet triangle. Some people even use plexiglas flaps for the drain holes in the transom to exactly see whether they sit far enough forward. You can see the bubbles very well..
medium wind range

In the medium wind range and with few waves it is important to use the maximum waterline length to achieve the highest possible pointing ability. The bow has to be in the water until to the very fore located part. The crew can see this very well from the trapeze. The crew eventually has to stand with one feet even in front of the shroud wire and walk fore and aft to avoid to hit the bow too deep into the waves.
upper wind range

In the upper wind range the boat trim should be further aft to allow surfing more easily. The same is right for medium winds and waves in the open see.

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Links to other trim tables:

North Sails Tuning Guide
North Sails Australia
Basic Tuning by Ian Barker
Pinnel & Bax Sails Tuning Sheet