Club 420 Rigging and Tuning Goals

By: Clinton Hayes


This guide is meant to help sailors rig and tune their boat as they progress through club 420 sailing. It can also be used by club programs to help get boats in competitive racing condition. The intermediate level should not be too hard to achieve for most programs and is a huge improvement over the beginner level. Start with getting your boat rigged to the beginner level and move on from there. Note that you don’t have to be able to accomplish the trimming goals or be a good racer to rig your boat to the intermediate or even expert level. Simply put, proper rigging and tuning will get you around the course faster. It’s an easy way to improve your results.


A great guide to all of these tuning hints can be found on the class association page,, under rigging and tuning. Click on the Dartmouth tuning guide. The C of C tuning hints is a great guide for sail trim and high school/college rig tuning.



-Proper length lines in good condition

-All shackles able to open and close properly

-Ring Dings and Tiller Extension connection taped with electrical tape

-Spin Pole ends open and close smoothly

-Rudder down all the way

-Mainsail up all the way

-Jib Halyard tension set so leeward shroud goes just a little slack when mainsail is fully trimmed in

-Topping lift set just higher then perpendicular to mast

-Gybing knots in spinnaker sheets

-Boom is just level or just barely higher then level when jib halyard tension is set properly. Adjust by moving shroud pins up or down.

Trimming Goals

-Able to trim jib and main a little tighter or looser based off wind and waves

-Able to trim windward sheet

-Can keep kite full in most kite conditions



-Everything in Beginner plus….

-Starting to take notes

-Fast pins on the shrouds so they can be easily adjusted. Tied in with sailtie.

-Mast Butt pin in correct position(9’ 4.5” measured from stern)

-Marks on mast next to jib halyard for tension reference

-3-4 marks on front deck as jib trim reference

-Shockcord on forestay to take up slack when jib halyard is tensioned

-Jib cloth tightened to the very top of jib wire

-All telltails are functional. Telltails on both shrouds and topping lift(1-2 feet above hook)

-Jibsheets tied to jib clew with knots(probably bowlines) so leech does not twist when windward sheet in pulled on

-Adjustable bridle. Able to adjust as conditions change

-Mark on centerboard at 50% up point

-Topping lift rigged with only line above deck so pole can’t sky. Knot on uphaul at max down position

-Mark on spinnaker halyard so driver knows when it’s 100% up

-Sail tie around front of mast partners to keep spin halyard from getting caught

Tuning Goals

-Knows how to use tension gauge and tape measure to replicate a specific setting

-Starting to adjust pins for different wind conditions. Able to set them on land based off expected wind conditions. Has at least 2 settings for heavy and light air.

-Starting to adjust pins on the water. Knows how to do it at least in theory.

Trimming Goals

-Able to change shape of jib using windward and leeward sheets

-Able to adjust BOTH sheets for wind and wave changes

-Knows correlation between bridle height and mainsail twist and shape

-Knows what sails should generally look like and can generally reference jib trim based off closed or open jib leech

-Driver can trim windward sheet while crew is on trap

-Can trim guy directly from in front of the guy clip



-Everything in Beginner and Intermediate plus…

-Maintains a notebook and writes in it!

-Lines are upgraded to higher quality line. Most are spectra/vectran cored. Main, jib, and kite sheets are no stretch line that is easy to hold.

-Proper length forestay extender so mast can go as far back as legally possible(front of mast must stay inside partners)

-Covers over chainplates and jib halyard shackle(blown bike tire tubes work great)

-Mark on topping lift when its about 90 degrees to the jib luff. Adjust uphaul knot so max down correlated to wind conditions

-Minimum 4:1 jib halyard adjustment. Easy to adjust on the water(need thinner line)

-Both gross and fine tune adjustments on trap wires

– Leech telltail added to jib about 2/3 up from bottom

-Functional jib cunningham

-Markings on boat and jibsheet so you know how much windward sheet is trimmed

-E-tape at consistent intervals on spreaders for jib trim reference

-Adjustable bridle with single figure trap adjustment so both sides adjust evenly

-Marks on bridle that correlate with each rake setting

-Marks on centerboard at 25%, 50%, and 75% up

-Reference marks on boomvang

-2:1 Cunningham

-Remove guy hooks and get roller pins that fit to the bottom of chainplate

Tuning Goals

-Full tuning guide with at least 4 settings for pin position and tension marked on boat

-Able to adjust pins and tension on the water in any condition

-Owns tension gauge and tape measure

Trimming Goals

-Able to get enough windward sheet tension when crew is on trap. Crew steps into sheet when driver cleats it.

-Able to trim kite from the wire in any wind condition


Super Expert

-Custom tuning numbers that are constantly being innovated

-Knows exact lengths and types of all lines used on boat

-Maintains toolbox with spares of most parts and line