Marco Gradoni Optimist Tuning Guide

Read here for tips and tricks of Marco Gradoni  of  how to  tune  your Optimist  Sail.   Three times  world  champion  is sharing his   experience  about  regulation of Optimist sail in light, medium and strong wind. 


Ever wondered what is in the mind of a 3 times world champion? Today you can have a small taste of what such an extremely talented sailor thinks and uses as tactics to be the fastest. Marco Gradoni, the well-known, 3 consecutive times world champion in the optimist class, the first athlete who has done so in history. He has been awarded the Rolex Sailor of the year prize. Demonstrating to be one of the best Optimist sailors ever existed in this super popular class.

Willing to know some tips from the most impressive optimist sailor ever?

We have divided this tuning guide in three parts, light, medium and strong wind tips and tricks.


With a light wind condition, so 0 to 8 knots, the sail ties of the boom are quite softer than usual, with a maximum distance to the boom of 1 cm, however, to make sure class rules are followed he has always done maximum 8 mm for all of the 6 ties on the boom. With this light wind condition, the clew angles have to be softer, so with a maximum of 6 mm.

Then on the tack angle we make the sail ties 6 mm approx. too. Nevertheless, the one nearest to the mast can be 2/3 mm of distance from the mast too. The sail ties of the mast; the first two eyelets from the bottom, and the first two from the top, around 2/3 mm and the middle ones 1/2 mm. Finally, the head sail tie has to be 2/3 mm and the height of the sail 80/90%.



With a medium wind condition, so from 8 to 15 knots, we regulate the sail similarly to light wind. The small differences are the sail ties of the extremes. The clew angle needs to be tight to the boom, 4/5 mm. The sail tie on the tack angles has to be 4/5 mm too. The sail ties of the mast can be kept similar to light wind condition. The ones near to the extremes can be tensed to keep the sail quite straight, so 2 mm, and the head tie too. However, the big difference is the height of the sail which is 65/70%.



The last condition is the strong wind one, so more than 15 knots. The clew angle has to be much tighter, around 3mm. All the sail ties have to be around 6 mm. The tie nearest to the tack angle has to be super tight, so 0 mm. Then the one next to it, has to be 2/3 mm. Opposite from light wind, the sail ties on the mast have to be tighter on the extremes than in the middle. The tiles on the extremes have to be the tightest so 0 mm and the ones in the middle 2 mm. Finally, the head has to be the tightest of all, even on a “negative” distance from the mast, so tighter than 0 mm. The height of the sail has to be 50%, and with super strong wind 25%.


How was it getting inside the tactics and the head of such a legend for a second?    Share with us your questions about tuning and we will  do our best to help :)