Mast rake is determined mainly by the forestay (stay running to the bow). The rake is the degree of tension and subsequent bend on the mast. The rake effects the centre of effort and subsequently the balance of the helm. In heavier winds the mast is normally raked aft (back) which has the effect of moving the centre of effort towards the stern causing the boat to head up into heavy gusts rather than just blowing over sideways. It also opens up the jib leech, depowering the jib sail. To find out more about rake and general rigging contact your boat manufacturer or the class association or failing that pick up a book!
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