We heat up in the lighter going. I think this is common. It increases the relative wind velocity and helps keep the kite full. As the breeze builds, we sail closer to straight downwind. Like you, we heat up a bit at the top end to reduce the death roll tendency. We do find that a bit of pole forward in the stronger stuff stabilizes the boat and permits us to sail pretty close to straight downwind.
We sail vary much as Al describes. In light to moderate breeze, sail as deep as you can while keeping the kite full and powered up. My trimmer lets me know when pressure gets light and I heat it up a bit until we can return to our base course.
As the breeze gets heavier, particularly in waves, I’ll head up slightly. If you aren’t doing it, coordinate your trimmers with your helm movements in waves to help initiate and maintain surfing – this is one of the best downwind speed boosts you will get.
Bruce – You sound like a guy with instruments on the boat. What are you using?
Having come up through dinghies, J/24s and the like, AWA on our boat is a bit less precise due to the ‘seat of the pants’ measuring device. :) Been thinking about instruments, but haven’t found that I’ve needed them $2000 worth yet. Is it worth the upgrade?