Downwind legs in a TIWAL in 20 knots can be fast and exciting but also wet! Here are a few tips for sailing downwind in breezy conditions:
1. Sit back. Get your weight as far back towards the stern of the boat as you can.
2. Surf the waves. As you come down the face of a wave, head the boat upwind slightly, find an escape from the trough ahead and look for the next wave to use.
3. Sheet on. In the big gusts pull in 2-3 feet of mainsheet in to reduce the surface area of the sail to the wind.
4. Sail high. The best way to stop nose diving is to sail higher towards the wind until you regain stability and the boat is planing fast. Continually work up and down to keep the boat going fast and staying upright!
I am a New Zealand sailor who learned to sail in the beautiful Malborough Sounds and then went onto represent NZ at the 2000 Olympics.