One Design:
Ullman Santana 20
Rig & Sail Tuning Guides

Ullman Santana 20 Tuning Guide

How to optimize power and pointing

This guide will provide you with the basics of tuning a Santana 20. Settings may vary on your sailing style, crew weight and your sailing conditions. We strongly recommend you experiment and find out which settings work best for you.

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 Prep & Rig Tuning
  • Sail Trim
  • Spinnaker Trim
  • Crew Placement & Crew Work
  •  Printable Guide

Ullman fibre path genoa - Genoa trim techniquesSantana 20 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 will eliminate 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.

Santana 20 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: 33. 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.

Santana 20 Sail Trim

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 leach 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+ Knots - 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.

Santana 20 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.

Santana 20 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 the visibility 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.

Santana 20 Crew Work


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

Please feel free to give us a call or e-mail us to discuss sailing, ask questions, or order a new sail. We are here to help you achieve your sailing goals.

If you have any questions about Santana 20 Ullman sail trim that are not answered here, please contact us.