Year 2000 --Banks Sails Santana 20 Tuning Guide
Chris Winnard---  Lance Purdy


Congratulations on the purchase of your new Banks Santana 20 sails.  Banks has been the dominant sailmaker in the Santana 20 Class for years because we care about the class and the people who use our sails.

In preparing to write this tuning guide, we dug into our S-20 ‘Wet Notes’, dredging up practical rig tuning and boat preparation information that we believe lead to success.  After witnessing some very unorthodox methods of boat preparation, used by ourselves as well as the competition, we decided that this guide should focus on the basics.  Keep in mind that what’s useful and important about this guide, is not so much the numbers, but the way in which the boat is set up.  Plain and simply, if it is a pain in the butt to adjust the rig, you won’t do it!


Wipe down the shrouds and spars with Acetone, while visually checking all sheaves and fitting for excess wear or other signs of potential breakdown (probably the most important thing we ever do!).  If the sheaves appear to need lubrication, use a dry lubricant like McLube.  Never use oil or grease as they simply attract dirt.  After examining the rig, measure the distance from the upper shroud tang bolt to the spreader and make sure they’re even.  At this point, we attach six-inch strands of cassette tape to the uppers (about 7 feet up) and one to the backstay.  The tell tales on the uppers are used by the spinnaker trimmer and the helmsman to square the pole and detect subtle windshifts.  The one on the backstay is used by the bowman to call possible shifts as he looks back for breeze


 First, equal out the turns of the upper shroud turnbuckles on the shroud studs and attach the toggles to the chainplates.  The end of each stud or t-bolt should just be showing through the inside of the turnbuckle.  Next, attach the aft-lowers.  We leave the forward lower shrouds loosely tied to the mast.  This reduces the risk of catching a shroud on something or bending a toggle that was cocked near the chainplate.  Next ease the mast to the aft and insert the bolt at the step.  Finally, have someone grab the forestay and someone get under the mast and hoist it.  Once the stick is up, attach the forestay, lowers etc. and run the halyards.  Leave the lower shrouds slack and hand tighten the uppers.  At this point, we recommend that you take some time to relax, before finalizing the tune.


 Mast Rake:

To induce weather helm while steering upwind, the proper amount of mast rake must be set.  To measure mast rake on most boats, you simply attach a tape measure to the main halyard, pull it up until it two-blocks, then measure to a point on the transom or deck.  Because Santana 20’s have so many different mast cranes, halyard sheaves and halyard shackles, the aforementioned system will not produce consistent number from boat to boat.  For this reason, we advise a measurement method that is a bit more complex but extremely accurate.

First, measure the distance from the mast butt to the top edge of the lower black band to assure that it is a class required 22”.  Now, supporting the mast with the spinnaker halyard, disconnect the forestay and bring it back to lay flush against the forward face of the mast.  Put a mark on the forestay that corresponds with the top of the black band and the 22” measurement.  Now, reattach the forestay and ease the spinnaker halyard.  Finally measure from the center of the forestay clevis pin to the mark you’ve made on the forestay.

Recommending Rake Setting = 51”-52” from the center of the forestay pin to the mark

If you are racing with a light crew <450 lbs. The 51” number will work better for you.  If you have regular sized crew of 450 lbs, use the 52” mark.  We have found that to achieve sufficient rake without inducing unwanted mast bend, it may be required to file down the aft edge of the mast butt as much as a third of an inch.

Centering the Mast:

The technical idea behind centering the mast is to align the mast with the keel so that they are on the same plane.  There are many ways to do this but we have faith in the builder and trust that everything is reasonably square.  Upon this assumption we use the following method to center the mast.

Measure 7-8 feet back from the forestay pin along the shearline of the deck and make a mark on either side of the boat on the rail.  These marks are forward of the shrouds, and being equal, allow for accurate side-to-side measuring.  Hoist a measuring tape up the jib halyard, leaving the knot or shackle at least four inches shy of full hoist.  The jib halyard is should be used as opposed to the main halyard, because, on a fractional rig, you only have side to side (centering) control of the mast from the upper hounds down.  The halyard is left four inches shy of being two-blocked to prevent twisting the tape toward one side or the other.  Next, alternately measure down to each black mark and adjust the upper turnbuckles until the distances are equal.  Leave the tape hoisted.

Rig Tensioning:

From each of the four turnbuckles attached to the main chainplates, measure up four feet and mark each shroud with a small piece of tape.  The purpose of the tape is to mark spots to attach the Loos Tension Gage for consistent measurements.  Then slowly tighten the uppers, one half turn at a time, until you reach a base setting of 22 on the Loos Gauge.  Using alternate half turns is critical to keep the mast centered and to prevent locking in a lateral bow.  Once the uppers are at 20, use the same method to bring the lowers up to a setting of 10.  During this process, periodically check that the mast is centered, using the still hoisted tape.

Next, sight up the mast groove looking for any waivers or a lateral bow.  Most discrepancies can be tuned out by adjusting the lowers in half turn increments.  Once the mast is straight, bring the lowers up to a setting of 15, again by using half turns.  Finally, check the mast one more time to assure that it is both centered and straight.  If things are not as desired, a couple of problems may have developed.  You may have miscounted your turns or your spreaders may not be even.  The latter reinforces the need to measure the spreaders against the shrouds prior to stepping.


We have used 6-9 knots to represent our base setting.  Between races, we routinely change our tune to optimize the rig for the wind speed.  However, when first learning, we recommend that you set your rig for the expected wind range and only make changes if conditions change drastically.


       UPPERS                                         LOWERS

WIND                                     Loos       Loos                            Loos       Loos

                                                Mdl. A,  Mdl PT-1                     Mdl. A     Mdl. PT-1

0-3                                           33           24                                15             7         

3-6                                           33           24                                17             12

6-9       (Base Setting)             33           24                                22             14

9-12                                         33           24                                26             16       

12-15                                       35           26                                32             22

15+ w/Genoa                           36           27                                34             25

15+ w/Jib                                 33           24                                32             22


Your Santana 20 Banks Sails are designed to work efficiently through a wide range of wind and water conditions.  To do this, the shape of the sails has been engineered to be extremely sensitive to changes in rig tension, which has already been discussed, and, more importantly, to sail trim.
Basic Upwind Premise of Sail Trim


The basic idea when sailing upwind to start with a full and powerful setup for light wind.  Then, as the wind builds, progressively de-power your sails by using controls that adjust flatness and twist.

Key Trim Controls

Backstay:                     Controls the mid to upper main flatness through mast bend, affects the flatness of the jib through control of forestay sag.

Aft-lowers                    Affects jib flatness by control of forestay sag and increases the

                                    depth in the main.

Jib Sheet Tension            Controls jib flatness

Jib Car Position            Controls jib twist

Main Outhaul                Controls flatness of lower main

Main Sheet Tension            Affects Main Twist      

Main Traveler               Also affects main twist.   

Additional controls are:

Jib Halyard                   Affects jib draft position

Main Cunningham            Affects main draft position

The jib halyard and the main cunningham are not listed as primary sail controls for the following reason.  Over tensioning, either the jib halyard, the cunningham, or both, is a common problem with many sailors that should not be reinforced.   This condition leads to a situation where the other trim controls become less effective because it inhibits the sails’ ability to freely change shape.  For most conditions, the jib halyard and the main cunningham should be tightened just enough to remove the major wrinkles in the front of the sails, and no tighter.  In general, it is safer to be too loose than too tight.  Leaving a hint of wrinkles is usually a safe way to guarantee that the halyard or cunningham is not over tensioned.  The only exception to this rule is during conditions when the boat is difficult to control such as in heavy chop or heavy, puffy air.  In these conditions the cunningham and halyard should be tensioned until all wrinkles just disappear.
Light Air, 0-5 Knots

The key to light air is to keep your sails as full as possible without stalling the airflow.   Keep the mast straight and the forestay sagged by using essentially no aft-lowers or backstay.  Ease the Genoa sheets so that the sail can breath and so the foot is not strapped against the shrouds.  In very light air, the foot could be as much as a foot from the shrouds but 6-8 inches is usually sufficient.  As the wind increases, sheet tension can be increased and the foot brought further in.  However, avoid the tendency to bring it too far in, too soon.  Adjust the genoa cars so that the top of the sail (near the spreaders) is about the same distance from the shrouds as the foot.  Move the cars forward if the top is too wide, move them back if it is too close.  The general rule of thumb is to move the cars forward as the wind lightens, but be careful.  If the cars are moved too far forward, the upper leech with close and stall the sail.

Ease the main outhaul until it is essentially loose and the clew is at least 2” from the black band.  Pull the main traveler about 2 inches above centerline, then tension the main sheet until the boom is on the centerline of the boat.  If the telltale on the top main batten is not flowing freely, keep the boom on centerline, but increase twist by pulling up the traveler and easing the sheet.  As the wind builds use more sheet and less traveler.
Medium Air, 6-12Knots

In these conditions worry about stalling the sails takes a back seat to maximizing power and increasing point.  The mast should still be kept straight and the forestay fairly loose, so use only enough backstay to keep the rig and the forestay from bouncing.  Aft-lowers should still be loose or just pulled snug if the conditions are choppy.  Tension the genoa sheet until the sail is 1-2 inches from the shrouds at the foot.  Adjust the cars until the sail is 1-3 inches from the shrouds at the spreader tip.  During puffs, increase the genoa sheet tension for point.  During lulls, decrease sheet tension for power.

Pull the main outhaul out until it is within about ½ inch of the black band.  To increase point, ease the traveler and pull on more main sheet until the upper main tell tale stalls about 50% of the time.  During puffs and lulls, play the mainsheet, not the traveler.  During lulls, ease the sheet until the top tell tail flies, during puffs, increase sheet tension until it stalls.

Upper Genoa Conditions, 13 to somewhere between 16 and 20 knots.

In these conditions the boat is overpowered with the Genoa but it still faster to keep the larger headsail as opposed to dropping down to the jib.  The point at which to step down to the jib depends on crew weight and water conditions.  At one extreme, if you have a light crew and the water is flat, you may be better off changing to jib at wind speeds as low as 16 knots.  Alternatively, if you have a heavy crew and the water is choppy, holding the Genoa in up to 20 knots may be optimal.

In any case, when holding the genoa in overpowering conditions, some steps must be taken to significantly de-power the sailplan.  Tension the genoa sheet until the foot is tight against the shrouds but not stretched.  Set the genoa cars so the upper leech is 2-4 inches from the spreaders.   Pull the main outhaul all the way to the black band.  Tension the backstay until the main becomes board flat, and just shows a hint of over-bend wrinkles (wrinkles leading from the clew to the mast).  Snug up the Aft-lowers until the wrinkles disappear.  Set the main traveler at centerline and ease the main sheet until the upper leech twists off by 10-15 degrees.  To keep the boat flat in the puffs, ease both the main a genoa sheets slightly.   Bring them back in during the lulls.  The idea behind this set up is board out the main and play the sheets to reduce heeling, while keeping the genoa fairly powerful to keep the boat driving.

If you have done all of the above and are still overpowered, you must begin to really flatten the genoa as well.  Move the genoa cars increasingly farther aft twist the leech as much as 6” or more off the spreaders, or until the upper part of the genoa is actually luffing.  Tighten the forestay by increasing aft-lower and backstay tension in tandem.  They must be tightened in tandem because each time you tighten the aft lowers you decrease mast bend and power up the main.  Therefore, the backstay tension must also be increased to keep the mast bent and the main flat.  Continue this process until you are under control or you are sure that one more pound of backstay tension will pull the rig apart.  Continue to ease the sheets in the puffs, sometimes drastically.

Jib Conditions, somewhere between 16 and 20 knot and up

Right on the break where you change to your jib, whether it is 16 knots or 20 knots, you are going to have to make some adjustments or risk being underpowered.  Set the jib cars at their farthest forward position.  Trim the jib hard until the leech stands straight up from the clew, but does not close at the top.  Set the aft-lowers so that they are about 75% as far back as they were with the genoa, which may induce over bend wrinkles.  Ease the backstay until the wrinkles disappear.  Set the main traveler at centerline and trim the main hard until the upper telltale just begins to want to stall.

If still underpowered, ease the aft-lowers and backstay.  If overpowered, or if the wind continues to build, tighten the aft-lowers and backstay in tandem as described above and move the jib cars back.  As usual, play both the main and jib sheets.  If you are still overpowered and the backstay is as tight as you can stand it, drop the main traveler 4-6 inches and continue to play the sheets.  If at, at any time, more than 50% of the main is luffing, it will be faster ease the jib and foot.
Basic Spinnaker Trim

There are lots of sources for spinnaker trim, so we will only touch on basic trim briefly.

Set the pole fore and aft so that the leading edge stands as vertical (straight-up) as possible.  If the edge is leaning toward the bow, ease the pole forward.  If the edge is leaning aft or outboard, move the pole back.  In general, farther aft is faster than farther forward, so if in doubt, try moving the pole back and see what happens.

Set the pole height so that, when you ease the sheet, the leading edge begins to break at about 6O% of the way up from the clew.  If the pole is too low, the leading edge will break near the top making it impossible to keep the shoulders open and leading to a pinched look in the top of the sail.  If the pole is too high, the lower edge will break first and entire sail will tend to easily collapse making it difficult to trim.
Light Air, 0-5 knots

In these conditions, the boat cannot be sailed on a dead run and you will produce much better VMG if you come up to slight reach.  How far to come up varies drastically with wind speed but a good rule of thumb is to sail as low as can so long as the spinnaker constantly stays full.  If the spinnaker is difficult to trim, or if it keeps collapsing, you need to come up.  Remember that you will constantly have to trim and ease the main as you change course.  Ease the backstay and aft-lowers completely.  Set the head of the chute so that it is about 6 inches from full hoist.  Position crew weight so that it is centered, forward and low.  The skipper should be in front of the traveler and the forward crewmember near, or in front, of the shrouds.
Lower Medium Air, 6-10 knots

In these conditions the S20 should can be sailed within about 5 degrees of DDW.  Move the pole back to within about 6-8 inches of the shrouds.  The main should be all the way out with just enough vang to keep the upper leech closed.  Keep the crew weight low, forward and roll the boat about 5 degrees to weather.  When a puff hits, allow the boat to roll further to weather and head deeper.  When a lull arrives, allow the boat to roll back up and head up.

Upper Medium Air, 10-15 knots.

In these conditions the spinnaker should still be set for full power and the boat can be driven DDW at all times.  In order to add a bit of stability, make sure the spinnaker halyard is at full hoist and center the crew weight.  Move the skipper just behind the traveler and the forward crewperson to the hole.
Heavy Air, 15 knots and Greater

In these conditions it becomes much more difficult to keep the boat under control and stability becomes a major concern.  To keep the shoulders of the Spinnaker from bouncing from side to side, choke it down by lowering the pole, pulling on the leeward twing and over-sheeting until the foot until it is just touching the headstay.  The pole may be let slightly forward, but not much.  Letting the pole too far forward will add too much depth to the chute making it unstable and the boat prone to roll.  For safety, keep some tension on both the aft lowers and the backstay.  Continue to drive DDW and balance the helm with crew weight, this typically means moving weight to the side of the boat away from the pole (the main side).   The skipper can slide back until he or she is comfortable, but the rest of the crew should try to stay forward because moving weight back makes it much harder to steer.  When the boat begins to achieve such speeds that it is actually catching and plowing into waves, then the crew must move their weight drastically back.  When this happens, hang on and pray you don’t have to gybe.

Banks’ Full Battened Main

Most of the other major sailmakers now build their mains with only one or two full battens.  While Banks has continuously improved our main, with innovations such as custom tapered battens (built specifically for the S20) and lighter, smaller batten pockets, we have steadfastedly held to our full batten design for two solid reasons.

One, full battens are just plain faster.  There is nothing more efficient than a full battened main when it comes to holding a fast, stable shape.  In puffs and heavy air, the battens resist the tendency for the draft to float aft and keep the leech open.  In chop, the battens stabilize the entire sail and keep the boat driving.

Two, unparalleled durability.  There is no question that Banks mains last the longest.  If you look at a two year old partial battened main, you typically see a crease developing that runs from the clew, on up through the front of each batten pocket, and to the head.  This breakdown of the sail shape is terrible detriment to speed, often making it impossible to flatten the sail properly, control the draft, or keep the leech open when overpowered.  You will never see this problem on a Banks main.  The full battens effectively transfer stress from the leech area to the mast.   The full battens also drastically reduce flogging when tacking and luffing.  The result is a main that stays fast for years.

While Banks full battened mains are easy to trim in moderate wind or higher, we sometimes get questions from new Banks owners related initial difficulties with trim in little to no wind.   One of the common problems is a condition where the battens do not “pop through” or stay “inverted” after a tack.  If this happens check the following.  First, make sure the battens are not over tensioned in the pockets.  The battens should just fit snugly, no tighter.  Next, make sure your mainsheet and vang are not too tight for the conditions.  This can inhibit the ability for the sail to freely develop the kinetic energy necessary to “pop” the battens through during roll tacks and roll gybes.  Spraying the leech of the main with McLube also helps in this area.  Finally, and most importantly, make sure you are properly executing your roll tacks and roll gybes.  A little practice in this area will not only help you with main trim, but will improve your speed in general.

Another problem new Banks owners sometimes have is difficulty keeping the main from becoming too flat in light air.  If this happens to you, try the following.  First, make sure your battens are not under tensioned.  A batten with no tension at all will remain perfectly straight in light air, producing no shape.  Next, check your basic sail controls.  The outhaul should be well eased.  The vang and the sheet are not too tight.  Just a little bit of cunningham tension often helps produce shape and bring the draft forward.  Finally, make sure your lowers are not too tight for the conditions (refer to tuning chart).  Loosening the lowers creates a little more depth in the center of the rig, which can significantly help induce shape in the main.



 The following tuning guide is meant to be a good starting point in setting up your boat.  Depending on your crew weight, strength, sailing style and local conditions, you may have to alter your rig tune slightly.  As you read this, write down any questions you may have, and we will be happy to discuss them with you in more detail.

 Our main goal is to help you achieve a rig setup that is fast in all conditions; upwind, reaching and running, and is very easy to adjust or change gears while sailing.  Your new North sails are designed around this all-purpose philosophy.

 It is important to mark all your shrouds, sheets, halyards, tracks, outhaul, backstay, etc.  Keep records of your tuning setups, the conditions you sail in, and how your speed is.  It is essential to be able to duplicate settings from race to race, and also to know exactly how the boat was set up when you were going fast.  Experiment during practice races and clinics.
Rake Setting:  51”

Once the mast is up, attach your jib or spinnaker halyard to the tack and tighten. Disconnect the forestay and bring back to the mast. Pull the forestay tight along the front of the mast and with a black marker, make a mark on the forestay at the location of the bottom of the black band.  This should be 22” above the bottom of the mast. Mark the 22” spot on the mast if your band isn’t in the right place. Re-connect the forestay, apply enough backstay tension to straighten the forestay and measure from the black mark to the center of the forestay pin.

If you are sailing really light on crew weight, and the breeze is up you might want to go around 50”

Why do it this way? Because it’s the most accurate way and the measurement is the same for new and old style decks.

Next, make sure the top of the mast is centered in the boat. To do this place a pencil mark on the port and starboard rails at equidistant aft of the tack fitting at about 10” forward of the shrouds. Make sure your lower shrouds and aft lower shrouds are loose. With the upper shrouds hand tight hoist a tape measure on the Genoa halyard and measure from the Genoa halyard block to the pencil marks. Keep measuring side to side and tightening or loosening the upper shrouds until the tip is centered.

Hand tension each forward lower until they are evenly tensioned. Sight up the mast track on the aft side of the mast to see if it's straight from side to side. You’ll find it helpful to take the main halyard and hold it stretched tight centered just above the gooseneck in the mainsail track. Use the wire as a straight-line reference with the track. Tighten or loosen the forward lower shrouds until the middle of the mast is in column with the mast tip.

We recommend investing in a Loos Tension Gauge Model PT-1.  This gauge can hang on the shroud as it is adjusted and won’t stretch out like the Model A gauge.

Using the tension gauge adjust the upper shrouds to the base setting of 25 and the lower shroud to 20. Once the mast is centered it is important to take the same amount of turns on the port and starboard shrouds while adjusting tension in order to keep the mast centered. If the port and starboard spreader tips are at different heights above the deck, the mast will not be straight side to side or the shrouds will have different tension from the port side compared to the starboard side.

The aft lowers should be attached to an adjustable track, because adjustment of these throughout the race is essential.  First make sure the backstay is released.  If they are attached to a track make sure they are evenly set and when trimmed to maximum tension they invert the mast by at least 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 “.
Santana 20 Rig Settings
ApparentWind                                                         Uppers                                    Lowers

0-5                                                                                -1*                                       -1*
5-10                                                                              - ½*                                     - ½*
10-12                                    Base Setting                       25                                        20
12-15                                                                              +1 ½*                                 +2*
15-20                                       Genoa                             +2*                                     + 2 ½*
15-20                                       Jib                                    Base                                   +2*    
20-25                                       Jib                                    +2*                                     +2 ½*

 * Denotes one full turn of the turnbuckle barrel using standard open body turnbuckles.

Set up the rig at the base setting before you leave the dock, adjust the rig as conditions change but remember to keep track of any changes.  Just to make sure there is no confusion, all the changes reflect turns on or off from the base setting – not from the previous setting. Also, mark your deck with an arrow and a ‘T’ for the tightening direction and replace any cotter rings/pins with turnbuckle nuts - they’re much easier to adjust!

Light Air (0-5 Knots):

In these conditions keeping the boat moving fast and not worrying about pointing makes bigger gains around the racetrack. Therefore set the boat up to maximize boat speed instead of pointing ability.

JThe golden rule in all conditions is “If you want to point you have to be going fast first!”.  In light air set your sails up for maximum power.

First set the aft lowers at a position so the mast is perfectly straight yet there is enough tension that when the backstay is pulled the mast will not bend down low. Get in a habit of sighting up the backside of the mast to see how the mast is bending.  Next, sheet in the main sheet so that the top batten cups slightly to windward. Now pull the backstay until the top of the mast bends enough to allow the top batten to twist to leeward so that it is parallel with the boom. Make sure the telltale on the top batten is not stalled. The small amount of backstay tension will provide the correct amount of headstay sag. The boom vang should be eased all the way and the traveler pulled to weather enough so the lower battens are just to leeward of the backstay. The outhaul should be 1-2” from maximum. The more chop there is, the looser the outhaul should be set. The cunningham should be pulled on just enough to remove major wrinkles from the luff.

Tension the genoa halyard enough to remove the luff wrinkles. This will pull the draft forward and open the leech of the sail. With the draft forward the boat will be easier to steer. The open leech will help air flow across the sail without stalling. The foot of the genoa should be 3-4” from the shroud turnbuckle, and the leech should be 2-3” from the spreader tip. Make sure the leech lines are eased.

J Remember in these conditions keep your head out of the boat and sail towards better wind velocity on the course.

Light to Medium Air (6-12 Knots):

These conditions call for a good amount of power as well as the ability to point.


The aft lowers should be set at their medium position which puts 1” – 1 ¾” inverse bend into the lower section of the mast. Determine the medium air backstay setting by using the same technique as described for light air. The traveler should be pulled to weather with the boom on centerline to help the boat point, but eased to leeward if too much weather helm is felt or if the boat starts to heel too much.

The outhaul should be eased ½” from the maximum position. The cunningham should be pulled tight enough to remove all wrinkles from the luff. The boom vang should be pulled in just enough to snug up the line (preset for downwind). Start with the main sheet set with the top batten parallel to the boom. If your boat speed is good and you want to point higher, try pulling harder on the mainsheet and stall the top batten telltale 50-80% of the time. Beware, if your speed starts dropping off ease the mainsheet.


Set the halyard so some wrinkles show in the luff of the genoa. This will flatten the genoa entry and move the draft aft in the sail, allowing for more power and higher pointing. Set the leads so the foot is 1” – 2” from the shroud turnbuckle and the leech is 2-3” from the spreader tip.

Medium to Heavy Air (13-18 Knots):

Once the wind has reached this level, it is time to start thinking about de-powering the sails to keep the boat from healing too much.


The aft lowers should be set tighter with 3 ¼” – 3 ½” of inverse bend. This allows more backstay to be pulled on letting the top of the main twist to leeward, while at the same time placing more tension on the forestay which improves pointing and flattens the genoa. In order to determine backstay tension, pull the main sheet in enough so that the top batten twists to windward even while the backstay is at it’s medium setting. Then pull just enough backstay to let the top batten twist to leeward about 15 degrees. The cunningham should be pulled tight enough to remove all wrinkles from the luff. The boom vang should be tightened enough to hold the boom down at its sheeted height even without mainsheet tension. The outhaul should be at its maximum position.


These conditions are at the upper wind range for the genoa. The decision to switch to the small jib will depend on crew weight, consistency of the wind and waves. Choose the size of your headsail based on the strength of the wind during the lulls. The larger the waves the larger a headsail needed to power through them. If the Genoa is used tighten the halyard to move the draft forward and open the leech. Set the leads so the foot is against the shroud turnbuckle and the leech is 4” – 5” from the spreader tip. To de-power twist the Genoa by easing the sheet 1” – 2”.

JRemember the tighter the aft-lowers and backstay are, the tighter the forestay is and therefore the flatter the Genoa.


The crossover to using the class jib can be found in this wind range.  Lighter crews, or sailing in flatter water can allow you to go to the small jib and still be fast.

Keep the leads forward and don’t strap the jib in!  The S-20 likes to be rolled up to speed and a strapped headsail won’t get you there!

We also recommend a 2:1 jib sheet system.  The sheet should be dead-ended at the jib car, go through the jib clew, through the jib block then back to the Genoa ratchet and up to the weather side. This makes adjustments to the jib easy while trimming from the high side.


The 13-18 knot range of apparent wind can really separate the fleet.  Make sure the boat is tuned for the conditions and the headsail.  The key is to keep the boat moving fast and pointing high, you should roll the boat up to speed and keep the weather tell tales at about 45 degrees for maximum VMG to weather.

Heavy Air (19+ Knots):

In these conditions the sails need to be flattened as much as possible and set up so the boat is as easy as possible to steer.


Pull the aft lowers on to their maximum setting of 4” of inverse bend. Tension the backstay in the same manner as in the 13-18 knot conditions, except that 20 degrees of twist is desired. Begin vang sheeting by pulling the boom vang on hard, which bends the lower section of the mast thereby flattening the lower part of the main. The cunningham should be pulled in enough to remove all wrinkles and move the draft forward.  Set the outhaul at its maximum setting. Let the traveler all the way down to the edge of the cockpit.

If the boat is still overpowered with the top batten inverted and the main flogging it’s time to go into super twist mode. Pull the traveler all the way up past centerline and ease the mainsheet so the boom is on centerline. Keep the aft lowers, backstay and vang snug. The outhaul can be eased ½” for power in the lower section of the main.


The jib should be sheeted to tracks mounted on the round cabin top inside of the shrouds. The track should have a sheeting angle of 11° off centerline. To find this angle measure horizontally 19 ½” outboard from centerline behind the mast. This is where the jib track should be installed.

Pull the jib halyard tight enough to remove the wrinkles in the luff. Set the jib so the top tell-tales break slightly before the lower tell-tales. If the boat need a little bit more power, move the jib lead forward to give the bottom of the sail some depth and sheet the sail so the leech is pointing straight aft. To de-power move the lead aft to flatten the bottom of the sail and twist the top off.

JThe main and headsail need to work together. If the genoa or jib is twisting off at the top, so should the main. If the genoa or jib is sheeted hard, so should the main. When the wind is blowing hard, adding twist to the main and jib will help give the boat a larger groove to steer in.
Aft Lowers

Wind Speed (knots)                 0-5                                6-12                  13-18                            19+

Inches of inverse            Tensioned yet                            1-1 3/4”             3-3 1/2”                         4”

bend                             straight mast

Wind Speed (knots)                 0-5                                6-12                              13-18                19+

From black band                        1-2”                               1/2”                               Max.                 Max.

                        GENOA TRIMMING GUIDE

Wind Speed (Knots)                             0-5                    6-12                  13-18                19+

Sail from spreader tip                             2-3”                   2-3”                   4-5”                   6”

Foot from turnbuckle                              3-4”                   1-2”                   against              against

Luff Tension                                           smooth-------><----slight wrinkle-----><-------smooth

Leech Line                                            <----------just tight enough to prevent flutter---------->


Downwind the main should be set at its fullest settings.  The backstay should be eased.  The jib halyard should be attached to the jib tack hook and tightened.  This allows the mast to remain forward and stable at all times.  In breeze over 15 knots it is a good idea to keep the backstay tensioned a little to prevent total mast inversion.  The aft lowers should be released all the way immediately after the weather rounding.  The outhaul should be 2” from maximum tension.  The cunningham is always eased all the way on a run.  Boom vang should be set so the top batten is parallel with the boom.

While reaching the main should be powered up most of the time. The backstay should be eased, aft lowers off, cunningham loose and outhaul eased. A little bit of twist in the top of the main is okay. Make sure the top telltale is not stalled. Once the boat starts to be overpowered on the reach it is time to depower the main. Pull the backstay on a little to keep the mast in column. Ease the vang to allow the top of the sail to twist off. Pull the cunningham on to open the leech of the main. Tighten the outhaul.

North’s full radial spinnaker likes to be flown with the spinnaker pole lower to project more area. A good starting point is for the pole to be connected at the mast 44 ½” up from the deck. The pole should be flown parallel with the horizon. The halyard should be raised as high as it will go to increase projected area and stabilize the sail. When running, square the pole so it is perpendicular to the apparent wind and make sure the sheet does not go past the headstay.

The trimmer should keep a slight curl in the luff of the sail. Remember that an under trimmed spinnaker is much faster than an over trimmed and stalled spinnaker. Spinnaker trim needs to be constantly adjusted due to the changes in apparent wind caused by velocity changes, steering, waves and changes in boat speed. To help the boat accelerate faster be ready to ease the sheet 5” – 12” when a puff hits. The ease of the sheet will move the driving force of the sail forward instead of healing the boat to leeward. Never let the pole rest on the headstay; it should always be at least 2-3’ aft of the headstay.

When running, concentrate on steering your optimum down wind angle. Good drivers are sensitive to small changes in boat speed. When the boat is going slow, head up a little to increase boat speed. If the boat is moving fast or in a puff, bear off to ride the puff longer and use your extra boat speed to sail lower. Good communication between helmsman and trimmer is important.

J Make sure one of the team (not the spinnaker trimmer) is constantly watching for puffs and velocity downwind.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about your new Santana 20 sails, we will be glad to discuss them with you.


For tuning information and complete details on how to setup your Santana 20 sails contact the North Santana 20 experts at:

voice 619 226-1415
fax 619 224-7018
Chris Snow

voice 510 522 5373
fax 510 522 0597
Chris Winnard

Good Sailing !


Winning in the SantANA 20


Ullman Sails



Welcome to the fun world of Santana 20 sailing. This tuning guide’s purpose is to help you set up your boat properly and to provide a tuning reference. Boats vary as do sailing styles, conditions and sailors. Please use this guide as a base and modify it to fit your style and what you find to be fast for your boat. If you have any questions or comments, please call or e-mail us at the Ullman loft. We will be happy to assist you and hear your tuning ideas.


Boat Preparation

The goal here is to have a boat that is fast, easy to sail and will not fail. Make sure the keel, rudder and bottom are smooth and fair. This will ensure good underwater flow. Set up the deck layout so it is comfortable, functional and as simple as possible. This willeliminate broken or poorly placed hardware hindering the crew. This is very important so the crew can concentrate on the race and not the boat. The next item is to make sure the mast and rigging are in good working order and are as light, clean and streamlined as possible. This will prevent failure and increase speed. The final item is to have sails that are of current designs and not so worn that their designed shape is no longer functional.


Rig Tuning

The goal of rig tuning is to set the mast up so the mast is at the proper rake to balance the helm, is centered in the boat and is set for the current wind and wave conditions. To set the rake, tie a metal tape measure to the main halyard, not the shackle, and raise it till it is two blocked. Pull on enough backstay tension so the forestay is just tight, without slack. Measure to the center of the transom where the hull and the transom intersect near the water line. This rake number is 31 feet. This rake can be adjusted with the forestay turnbuckle.


Once the rake is set, the next project is to center the mast in the boat. Place a mark on both rails, equidistant from the tack fitting, about 10” forward of the chainplates. This is a reference mark for centering the mast. Hoist the tape measure on the spinnaker halyard till it is two blocked. Measure to each reference mark and adjust the upper shroud turnbuckles till the measurement number is the same.


After the mast is centered, sight up the mast track on the aft side of the mast and adjust the lower shrouds till the middle of the mast is in column with the mast tip. The mast should now be centered and straight. The next step is to use a Loos Model A tension gauge to measure the shroud tensions. Set the shroud tensions to the following numbers; Upper Shrouds: 33 (320 lbs.), Lower Shrouds: 35. The adjustable aft lower tension should be set so the tensions are the same on both sides of the boat and when they are in their maximum aft position the mast has 3-4” of inverse pre-bend, approximately 11 on the tension guage. Go sailing and site up the mast for the final rig tune. The mast tip should remain centered on both tacks and adjust the lower shroud tension so the mast is straight and remains in column at the spreaders on both tacks.


Upwind Mainsail Trim

Light Air: 0-5 Knots

The goal in these conditions is to keep the boat moving as fast as possible at all times. Speed is more important than pointing. Set the adjustable aft lower shrouds so the mast is perfectly straight with a slight bit of backstay tension. Trim the mainsheet till the top batten hooks 5 degrees to weather of centerline and then pull enough backstay to twist the top batten till it is parallel with the boom. Set the traveler so the boom is on the centerline of the boat and there should be no boom vang tension in these conditions. Ease the outhaul 1-2” from its maximum tight setting, 1” in flat water and 2” in choppy water. Set the cunningham with slight horizontal wrinkles along the luff of the main. Adjust the traveler and the mainsheet to keep the boat moving fast at all times.


Light to Medium Air: 6-12 Knots

These are efficient and maximum power conditions. The boat should be sailed flat and powered up to maximize speed and pointing. Tension the aft lowers to invert the mast 1-2”. Set the mainsheet and backstay the same way as above. Set the cunningham so it is max loose like above. Play the traveler in the puffs and lulls to keep the boat flat. The crew should hike hard in the puffs!


Medium to Heavy Air: 13-18 Knots

The Santana begins to become overpowered in these conditions and the goal becomes to keep the boat flat and reduce leeway. Set the aft lowers with 3-4” of inverse bend. Trim the main really hard and tighten the backstay till the top batten twists 10-15 degrees from parallel to the boom. Tighten the outhaul to its maximum setting and tighten the cunningham to remove all luff wrinkles. Take all of the slack out of the boom vang to hold down the boom. Play the traveler to keep the boat flat and hike!


Heavy Air: 19+ Knots

As above, the goal is to keep the boat on its feet and to reduce leeway. The mainsail should be as flat as possible. Set the aft lowers to their maximum setting of 4” of inverse bend. Set the mainsheet and backstay with 15-20 degrees of twist. The outhaul is set at maximum tension and the cunningham is tight. Tighten the boom vang to flatten the bottom of the main and keep the leech in control. Drop the traveler to keep the boat as flat as possible and hike!


Downwind Mainsail Trim

The goal for downwind main trim is a full sail and to keep it on the verge of luffing at all times. Ease the aft lowers all the way forward and ease the backstay so the mast is raked forward. Ease the outhaul just enough to open up the foot, but not so much to loose projected area, about 2-3”. Ease the cunningham all of the way off and play the vang so the top batten is parallel to the boom. Play the mainsheet constantly to keep the main flowing.


Upwind Genoa Trim

Light Air: 0-5 Knots

The goal in such light air is boat speed, keep it moving forward. Set the genoa halyard so the luff is just smooth to provide a wider steering groove. The foot of the genoa is trimmed 3-4” from the shroud turnbuckles and the genoa leech is trimmed 2-3” from the spreader tip. Set the leads to achieve this set up. Make sure the leech and foot lines are completely eased. Trim the sheet in the puffs and ease in the lulls.


Light to Medium Air: 6-12 Knots

These conditions are maximum power and pointing conditions. Ease the halyard so there are slight luff wrinkles to increase pointing. Set the leads so the genoa foot is 1-2” from the shroud turnbuckle and the leech is 2-3” from the spreader tip. Trim the sheet in the puffs and ease it in the lulls.


Medium to Heavy Air: 13-18 Knots

These conditions are approaching the top of the genoa’s effective range. Tighten the halyard to move the draft forward and flatten the upper leech. Set the leads so the foot is tight against the shroud turnbuckles and the leech is 4-6” from the spreader tip. Play the sheet to keep the boat flat. In the big puffs, easing the sheet a couple of inches is more effective than luffing the mainsail. Just remember to trim it back in as soon as the puff ends.


Heavy Air: 19+

For most crews this is small jib wind. The only reason to have the genoa up is if the waves are larger than the wind speed and if your crew weight is very heavy. If this is the case, set it up as above. We recommend using the new inboard class jib tracks for the small jib. The tighter sheeting angle and smaller jib increases pointing and improves crew work. These two items far out weigh the small loss in sail size of the old style 110% jibs. Tighten the jib halyard just enough to remove the wrinkles. Set the leads so the top telltales break slightly before the bottom telltales. You can also use the leech battens as a guide. The top batten should twist open 5-10 degrees and the middle batten should be twisted 0-5 degrees. Place tape marks on the spreaders to use as a trim reference to line the leech of the jib with. Trim the jib between 3-5” in from the outboard end of the spreader. If the water is rough and the wind is at the bottom of the jib range, you may have to power up the mainsail to keep the boat moving fast.


Spinnaker Trim

The Santana is a blast to sail downwind and rewards its crew for good spinnaker trim and crew work. The halyard should be raised as high as possible to stabilize the spinnaker and increase projected area. Play the pole height and trim constantly. Set the pole height so the spinnaker curls on the luff just above the half-height. This is in the top third where the top of the horizontal panel meets the bottom of the radial panels. If the pole is too high, the curl will be too low in the spinnaker and if the pole is too low the curl will be too high in the spinnaker. It is not as important, but if it is easy, adjust the inboard end of the pole to keep the pole 90 degrees to the mast. Play the guy and the sheet to keep the spinnaker on the verge of collapsing with a slight luff curl. Remember, an undertrimmed spinnaker is faster than an overtrimmed spinnaker.


The trimmer and the skipper should be in constant communication while talking about wind pressure in the spinnaker. In the puffs, the skipper bears off and the trimmer squares the pole back and eases the sheet. As the pressure eases or the wind lightens, the skipper heads up and the trimmer eases the pole forward while trimming the sheet. This should be a constant “S” course to maximize VMG downwind. The foredeck crew should be looking aft and helping the skipper keep the boat in the most wind velocity and clear air.


Crew Weight Placement


We recommend sailing with a combined crew weight of 490-600 lbs. The crew should sit as close together as possible. This concentrates the weight and reduces the pitching of the boat. The skipper should straddle the traveler bar and use it to hook his/her feet under it for balance. The middle and forward crew should sit together just forward of the skipper at the widest part of the boat. They should hike with their legs over the side when on a tack for a long time and face in during close quarters or when tacking a lot. Use your crew weight to roll tack the boat. In light air, especially in waves, it is fast to have the foredeck crew sit below deck to lower the weight, reduce windage and increase thevisibility of the skipper.



The skipper should sit wherever he/she is comfortable and can see, but near the traveler bar. The trimmer needs to be to weather to see the spinnaker. The foredeck sits on the leeward side just aft of the cabin and moves side to side and fore and aft to keep the boat balanced. In light air, the foredeck can stand in the companionway. Use your crew weight to steer the boat to reduce rudder movement. Heel to leeward to head up and to weather to bear off. A roll to weather in the jibe helps steer the boat and rotate the spinnaker.


Crew Work

The Santana is a crew sensitive boat. Practice and good crew work produce good race results and make sailing more fun.



The skipper’s job is to steer the boat as fast as possible at all times. The skipper is responsible for main trim, the backstay, traveler and calling the boom vang and outhaul adjustments. The Ullman mainsail has a spreader window in the luff of the main so the skipper can call the distance the genoa leech is from the spreader tip. The skipper should help with strategy before the start and leave the tactics to the crew during the race except for the close quarter boat tactics and mark roundings.


Middle Crew

The upwind job is to help with tactics and call boat speed relative to other boats. During tacks, he/she trims in the headsail and hands it off to the forward crew to cross sheet on the windward winch. The middle crew can sometimes help the skipper with the backstay adjustment. Downwind the middle crew trims the spinnaker and does the twings in the jibes. On the spinnaker douse, he/she releases the spinnaker halyard and trims the headsail around the leeward mark.


Forward Crew

The upwind job is to call puffs, waves and crossing situations with other boats. He/she also fine tunes the headsail sheet after the tacks, adjusts the boom vang, outhaul, cunningham and the aft lower shrouds. At mark roundings he/she must set the pole, hoist the spinnaker, stow the pole and gather the spinnaker. The downwind job is to jibe the pole and keep the boat in the most velocity on the race course. The foredeck job is the hardest on the boat and requires the most practice and crew support. The better you get at it the better your boat handling will be. This will lead to better results and give you the pleasure of passing people at mark roundings.



The key to this tuning guide is not just memorizing these settings and recommendations, but understanding how they work and how they influence each other. The goal is to be able to feel that something is wrong and having the knowledge to quickly fix the problem to keep the boat moving fast. We design the Ullman sails to be easy to trim and very forgiving so you can concentrate on race tactics and strategy instead of sail trim. If you have any further questions or would like to order new sails please call Ullman Sails and ask for Charlie Ogletree in the One Design department.


Ullman Sails                   

410 29th Street

Newport Beach, CA 92663

949-675-6970 phone          949-675-6276 fax


                        Ullman Trim Summary


Wind Strength

                        0-5                              6-12                            13-18              19+


Shroud Tension

Upper 33                                33---------------------------------------35-------------------

Lower 33                                35---------------------------------------37-------------------


Inches of Inverse Pre-Bend ( aft lower adjustment)

                        Straight                     1-2”                             3-4”                             4”


Jib Selection



Genoa Foot (distance from shrouds)

                        3-4”                             1-2”                             Tight            See “Genoa Trim”


Genoa Leech (off spreader tip)

                        2-3”                             2-3”                             4-6”                 See “Genoa Trim”


Jib Halyard Tension

                        Smooth                        Wrinkles                        Smooth                        Smooth


Main Cunningham

                        Loose             Wrinkles                     Smooth--------------------


Outhaul (inches from band)

                        1-2”                             1/2”                             Tight---------------------


Upwind Vang Tension & Degree of Upper Batten Twist

                        no vang----------------                        10-15°                        15-20°


Traveler (inches above or below centerline)

                        +2”                              Center                        0 to -3”                        0 to -8”


Backstay Tension

                        Loose             Medium                      Tight                Maximum


Updated 2/1/02

Spinnaker Setup Notes

Following is a collection of excerpts/comments from the Bulletin Board. Descriptions below are the opinions of the person providing the comments.

Spinnaker Pole

I used 1 1/2" Forespar pole ends from West Marine at approx. $55 per end. Other ends are available (like RWO) through Defender, etc. For the pole I went to a Wire Rope supplier and ordered 1 1/2" Pike Pole tubing (which is anodized aluminum) I got 16' for about $30, and now have an extra pole in my garage. It was just as cheap to get 16' as it was to get 8'. If you have any questions let me know, It's much cheaper to make your own pole.

Greg Smith

Launching/Dousing a Spinnaker

Spinnaker is packed on the forward port hatch. You would normally have a spinnaker bag inside the boat and attached to this hatch. The popular configuration seems to be the use of continuous spinnaker sheets. Spinnaker sheets must go outside of the forestay and all shrouds.

The spinnaker halyard is the topmost exit on the mast. This halyard is led over the shrouds to the port side to a shackle attached to the port spinnaker ratchet block. This keeps the halyard away from the jib sheets. Just before you tack on the starboard layline to the windward mark, the halyard is released from the shackle so that the spinnaker can be hoisted. Instead of using a person to unshackle this, some have used rubber bands to hold the halyard. Others have also used velcro.

When you are on the starboard layline, it is time to set the pole. The pole arrangement varies. Some have it on the boom and others lay it on the deck. Attach the pole to the afterguy, and clip the other end to the pole car on the mast. The foredeck then needs to open the hatch and begin prefeeding the spinnaker. This is done by pulling on the afterguy back and forth until the end of the spinnaker is near the pole and over the forestay. Then position the pole back towards the desired position. Topping lift and pole car height is also adjusted to the proper position.

(By the way, the selection of type of pole arrangement - end for end, trolley system, etc. would be the subject of another topic. Also some poles have a bridle, some don't. Some use thick poles some use thinner poles. So let me know if you need help on this).

After reaching the windward mark and while bearing away, the foredeck can now hoist the spinnaker and the middle crew fine tunes the guy to the course and then begins to trim the sheet. The foredeck can now douse the genoa/jib, and place it under the bungee cord on the deck.

Twing lines (tweakers) are used instead of a foreguy on other boats. These lines are attached to the spinnaker sheets somewhere near the hatch area forward of the shrouds on the gunwale. These are trimmed during maneuvers (jibes) which keeps the spinnaker sheet/guy closer to the deck. This keeps the pole from rising and during maneuvers, chokes the spinnaker so it can be controlled. When on course, the sheet side tweaker is eased and the pole side is kept trimmed tight (almost to the deck).

On an S20, the spinnaker is always hoisted from the port hatch and the pole is stored on the starboard side. This makes a "jibe" set unlikely. To do the equivalent of a jibe set, you would have to either (a) hoist the spinnaker without a pole and attempt to balance the spinnaker in the center of the boat (a difficult manuever) or (b) jibe shortly after the bear away set.

To douse the spinnaker, hoist the genoa first. This will blanket the spinnaker so it can collapse. Then, the foredeck should release the spinnaker halyard (usually the foredeck will control the spinnaker halyard while forward) in a controlled way while grabbing the spinnaker from the port side. The foredeck will stuff the spinnaker directly into the hatch. If the spinnaker hoisted properly on the previous run, you will expect the spinnaker to come out properly again without any repacking.

In some cases, it is possible to douse the spinnaker on the starboard hatch (if this is necessary for the course) but this is usually only done if the spinnaker will no longer be used.

Roberto Cordero

Spinnaker Setup with Trolley System vs. End-for-End

My system is a lot like Robert described, it's a trolley system on a bungee around the mast. This does eliminate end-for-end jibes since the inboard end of the pole is attached to the trolley. so, you're locked into a "bayonet jibe" where the pole comes off the guy and the mast, is slid part way back along the main, then the main comes over allowing the pole to go out on the other side.

The extra lines attached to the sheet and guy are called "tweakers" or "twings" and they do provide some downward pull on the guy. (You want to have the twing on the sheet side off except in heavy air.) My spin sheets are run through blocks on the twings, but some use cunningham hooks so they can come off easily.

We've found that, in some conditions, the twings don't pull the pole down enough on a tight reach, so we have a foreguy that's rigged to the pole in heavy weather.

When the pole is stowed, we clip the forward jaw into a line at the gooseneck to keep it from bouncing around.

If you want to use end-for-end jibes, you can still stow the pole on the boom. You'll need something like a ring or cap at the aft end and something to clip it to in the front. You would rig the topping lift to the center of the pole or on a bridle. Rig the foreguy to the center; don't use a bridle here unless you want to strangle your crew. When the pole's stowed, clip the foreguy into the jaw to keep it out of the way and leave some slack in the topping lift so it doesn't destroy the shape of your main.

Where to hoist from: EVERYONE launches from the forward hatch - bags are slow. If you use a bag, you have to re-pack and re-rig before you can hoist again. with the hatch, pull the chute down into the hatch, close it and you can hoist again in a heartbeat. Don't untie any lines, or they'll be fouled when you re-tie them.

You can launch from and take down into either hatch; just remember the chute has to come out of the same hatch it went into.

Douses are usually done on the weather side of the boat, unless you want to make your foredeck miserable.

Ralph Taylor


Spinnaker Questions

1. What is on the front part of the pole to hold it up?
2. Do the topping lift and down tension lines remain attached?
3. Is it always better to launch out of one of the hatches or use a bag?
4. What is the best method of running the bungee lines to tuck the Jenny during a spinnaker session.

... On my boat, I attached the topping lift to one end of spinnaker pole end fitting and removed the foreguy(down tension sheet). To control the spinnaker pole from rising, I've attached a stand-up block to the port andstarboard railing and about one foot in front the mast. A block is ran through each spinnaker sheet and is attached a sheet to the stand-up block and back to a camcleat by the cabin/cabinway. The spinnaker pole is a trolley system which hold one end close to the boom. The trolley line is a bungee cord attached to starboard clew of the boom the front the mast and then back to the port side clew. I stored one end of the spinnaker pole in a PVC cap near the tack of the boom. The shock tension keeps the polein the PVC cap until needed.

I launch my spinnaker from the port-side hatch since majority of my spinnaker setting is for a bear-away set. I've got two bungee cords running from the bow to the shrouds/aft lowers and then a small bungee cord with hook attached.

Robert Kontra