1. hoisting to leeward
- raise the CB to be only about 1/3 down
Always plan to hoist to leeward. It is safer
and simpler. Before a race check the course and rig the spinnaker so that
it will be to leeward for the first reach.
Free the halyard and the sheets.
Cleat the uphaul for the approximate pole height
desired as per threads in control line.
Pre-cleat the guy in the approx. position per
coloured threads in the sheet and guy.
Adjust the main, jib and centerboard for the
new course to keep up boat speed before hoisting.
Helm hoists the spinnaker. (If it is heavy
air ease the main and raise the CB most of the way before hoisting so as
to keep the boat under control until helm and crew can hike).
Crew fits the guy to the pole, fixes the uphaul/downhaul
to the middle of the pole, and then hooks the pole to the mast.
While the crew is doing this, the helm hikes
the boat flat. Keep the pole end hooks pointing up to help prevent the
guy from falling out.
Crew then takes control of the sheet and guy.
and hikes to keep the boat flat. It is critical to keep the boat flat on
spinnaker reaches & runs. The boat will quickly broach and capsize
once it starts to lean in strong winds. If necessary, release the sheet
to get the boat flat. If the helm can not bear off quickly enough in the
gust, it often pays to heel slightly to windward until the rudder is perfectly
It is exciting to plane with the spinnaker flying
in strong winds. The secret to survival is to keep the boat flat:
- both helm and crew hike well out
- do not overtrim the sails; partly luff the main if needed
- bear off quickly in gusts, head up in lulls
- if starting to lean in a gust, release the spin sheet momentarily until
the boat recovers
- on runs, avoid "death-rolls" by putting the CB most of the way down,
oversheeting the main and spinnaker
2. hoisting to windward
Bear away to a broad reach then set main, jib
Cleat the guy to the "preset" mark.
Crew frees the halyard and sheet, takes the
sheet in one hand then gathers the sail up in a ball and throws it to windward
of the forestay as the helm quickly hoists. Immediately after throwing
out the sail, the crew quickly trims the sheet so as to pull the sail around
behind the jib. (If the spinnaker blows between the jib and the mast, it
will be big trouble!)
Helm takes the spin sheet, keeping it trim,
heads up to the proper course, and readjusts the main.
Crew installs the pole then readjusts the sheet
Retrim the jib, adjust the CB and go!
3. gybing the spinnaker
note: The priority when racing is
to make a crisp smooth rounding and quickly position the boat on the best
tactical course (usually to go high to prevent others from taking the wind).
Hence get on the new course, set the main and jib, then fix the spinnaker
(Al’s note: The
system that follows was based on the tapes which were made before Uncle
Al fell in love with the “balls” system which in my opinion is the best
spinnaker system available to us! With the "balls", all that guy hook and
pre-cleat stuff is basically not necessary.)
Approach the mark wide to windward. Try to time
the gybe to avoid gusts and, in major wind and waves, to coincide with
Crew eases out the sheet (soon to be the guy)
and pre-cleats it to the mark which will have the pole just off the forestay
after the gybe.
Helm eases the main all the way out while bearing
away to a dead run. Crew trims the old guy in until the pole is parallel
to the thwart, removes the guy from the guy hook & pre-cleats it to
the mark set for the new sheet. (Do not pre-cleat this line in strong winds!)
Crew sits on the center of the thwart for the
gybe, releases the jib sheet and raises the CB most of the way up (only
if heavy air).
Helm bears off for the gybe. Crew can help bring
the main over using vang. Helm grabs the parts of the main sheet
(between the traveler block and the boom) so that they do not catch on
the transom corner.
Helm trims the main for the new course. Crew
recleats the jib, helps helm to balance the boat and fits the new guy under
the guyhook on the side deck.
When the boat is under control on the new course,
the crew stands up, unhooks the pole from the mast, trips the old guy (Al’s
note: my daughter, Joanna, wanted me to be sure to explain which "old guy"
we were tripping - it's not George Blanchard!!) from the pole,
fastens new guy in the pole hook, checks that the uphaul/downhaul is secure,
pushes the new guy end of the pole up to the new spinnaker tack and connects
the other end of the pole to the mast.
While the crew is changing the pole, the helm
hikes the boat flat and steers for tactical advantage.
Crew hikes to windward, trims the spinnaker
sheet, adjusts the guy, then retrims the jib. The CB can then be reset
to approx. 1/2 down if it has been raised for safety in the gybe.
4. Dousing the Spinnaker
Always bring the spinnaker down to windward.
Arrange the windward jib sheet so that it is
aft of the crew’s legs. This insures that the spinnaker will be stowed
to leeward of the jib sheet ready for the next hoist.
Crew hands sheet to the helm, stands up, and
unhooks the pole from the mast.
Crew pulls the pole aft, releases the uphaul/downhaul
and slides the pole into the supports along the boom, then releases the
Helm releases the sheet, crew pulls in the guy,
gathers in the foot of the sail and tells the helm to release the halyard.
Crew drops the sail into a storage bag (or just
under the deck) being sure to get all the sail off the deck, while the
helm lowers the CB then begins to sheet in the main. Approach the
leeward mark wide so that the boat can be hard on the wind as it passes
just to leeward of the mark.
Crew gradually trims the jib and begins to hike,
as the boat heads up for the beat.
Once the boat is trimmed for the beat, crew
secures the halyard under the guy hook, organizes the old guy and cleats
it to keep it out of the water. The old sheet is organized, put under the
guy hook and cleated when on the next tack.
Remember to readjust the outhaul, vang and cunningham
if they had been reset for the reach or run.