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Snipe FAQ's

Kelp Clearing Solutions

What's the best way to get the weed and kelp off my blades?

With kelp beds on both sides of the racecourse at the Worlds this year there were some big concerns about how to get it off of the blades. Several solutions were seen.

Clearing the centerboard

- The first step was to make sure that the leading edge of your centerboard had been sanded very well to make it shiny so you could see the kelp on the board when you looked over the side.

- The most common solution was to pick up the centerboard all the way so that the Kelp would come off. When doing this, you had to steer to Leeward so that the kelp removed did not get stuck on the rudder. This is difficult for weak crews to constantly pick up the board, especially when it is under load while going upwind.

- Sticks were also popular. Either a fiberglass fishing pole, VHF antenna covered with a rope cover, or a ½" square piece of pine (floats if you drop it). These sticks would be four foot long (longer if you also wanted to reach the rudder while hiking) and could be used to swipe the blades from the weather rail. Storage is the bigger problem. They do fit inside your boat but they are hard to get to. We placed adhesive Velcro on the fore deck on both port and starboard, and more Velcro on the stick to hold it on the deck. Doing this we had readily accessible kelp sticks close to the crews’ hands on both sides while going upwind.

Clearing the rudder

White rudders were a must. People with dark colored rudders were warned at measurement but they didn’t always take the advice.

- The hand was the most popular tool but it couldn’t reach the bottom of the rudder.

- Another tool seen was a short stick modified with a V fitting covered in rags at the end.

- Charlie Bustamante’s rudder kelp remover system was added to several boats just before the worlds. This system starts with the V-stick above except that a hole is cut in the back of the boat and a heavy wire is used instead of a stick. The whole system is housed inside the transom and is rigged so that the skipper can pull one line to pull the stick down to remove kelp and then pull another line to retrieve the stick, all from the comfort of his cockpit.

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Soft boat problem-

Maybe you guys can help. I have an 82 McLaughlin and I’ve tuned the rig to the right numbers but the mast is nowhere near the center of the partners. I also have no prebend. I’ve got one hole left on the side stays.. My halyard is set at 21 '3 1/2'' I have marks where the previous halyard was supposed to be but I’m no where near them. I am doing something wrong but I don’t know what it is. should I drop my sidestays down to the last hole? I suppose that would help the pre bend. but I don’t think it would put my mast in the center of the partners. I’m to far back already. Any suggestions?

I had a boat like that, one thing to not worry about - it can be made to go fast. This situation comes about when the mast is stiff (or inverted bend) and the boat is on the flexy side. If the boat is real stiff it could be that the mast step area is giving. Under the mast step on some boats - the support structure is wood. Wood rots if wet over time, if that is what is giving excessively the mast step will support area will need to be repaired. Check to see if your mast is straight. Pay close attention because it may look straight and not be. You want to make sure you compare the sag from one side to the opposite side. Alternatively you can put the mast on the ground and sight it that way, some say, I've never done that. If it is not straight, straighten it. Next put the mast on the boat with the jib up at full tension. Now make a horizontal mark with a pencil on the mast at the level of the deck. The purpose for which is to see how much the mast pops up when you release the jib tension. Make the mark to that it is barely visible when your eye is at deck level. Now release most of the tension on the jib, but not all of it. Did the mark go up 1/16th of an inch? If so your boat is stiff. Did it go up 1/8th" , here you'll start to see discrepancies between what the sail guide has and what you are observing. But much speed can still be generated. Did it go up 3/8th"? Your boat will need repair or you will have to go with a "loose" rig, which can be made to be very fast also, but I don't have much experience with it. Some else can jump in.

If you insist on the tight rig - before you pull out the chain saw, try going to a stainless steel mast step fitting, or a cast aluminum one. Try other similar things a little here and a little there. If you can get to the 1/8th" range you will almost be there. At that point you can make up the difference with your forward puller in light and moderate breezes. One word of caution, don’t go over the recommended tensions, unless you are a very tense type of person, it seems to work for some of those folks. If you don’t have a tension meter, then go by the staring/unloaded measurements specified in the tuning guides.

Hope this helps,

Charlie Bustamente

Another area that hinders prebend is how the butt sits in the step. If the butt can't easily rock in the step, the mast won't be able to bend freely. A step that can't rock is "flat footed." As for partner position, I was not sure if you meant fore and aft or sideways. The partners are rarely on the boat's centerline, but fortunately they are cut too wide so you can center the mast with shims. When the rig is at its upwind setting with the jib up, raise a tape measure on the main halyard and lock it. Then measure down to the chine on either side to see if this measurement is the same. Measure to the area of the chine just below the shroud position. If this measurement is off by than 1/8", change one of the shrouds to get the mast tip more centered. As for the fore and aft room in the partner, you are fine as long as the mast has enough room so it never touches the front or back of the partner. To see if your mast is inordinately stiff, I would recommend getting a Loos Tension Gauge. If your rake is at 21'4", you have 1.25" of prebend but your shroud tension is at 210 lbs. or more, your mast stiff. Ideally, the shroud tension should be at 180-200 in the above scenario. Good luck!

Craig Leweck

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How should I finish my Snipe bottom?

Re-gelcoating gives a bit tougher finish and is a little easier to patch. LP paint is a bit less porous. I've done both but I usually paint with LP. With both you must sand afterwards to get smooth. With the Gelcoat you sand aggressively before it gets hard and with the paint you sand slightly with very fine paper to smooth out.

To check for fairness, bend a square aluminum section over the length of the hull. You will be able to see any the highs and lows. Every hull can benefit from a fairing job, some just need more work than others. All hulls also have some print through of the fiberglass weave or mat, bulkheads, the joint of the foam core and a certain amount of roughness in the surface. The boats change over time so if your boat was perfect when is was new it certainly has change a few years later. If you have low spots you must fill with putty. To get rid of any high spots and to do general fairing you need to have a long sanding block, wet sandpaper, and be prepared to get some good exercise. If the boat is really bad you will need to start with very course sandpaper and plan on re-gel coating or painting the boat. If the boat is in fairly good shape you probably can do some fairing and get the boat very smooth without having to paint or gelcoat.

Before starting the fairing, check your boat for scratches or dings. Fill these first, then check your bailer and chines. The bailer should be flush with the bottom of the boat, this is often not the case. If it's not flush take it out and reinstall the bailer getting it perfectly in line with the surface of the hull. Then the bolt holes and the crack around the bailer needs to be filled in with putty.. An epoxy filler like Marine Tex works very well for this. Also make sure that the chine for the last 4 feet and the edge along the transom is as sharp as possible. This will give the water a clean exit. With a white boat you can also use Marine Tex or gelcoat to build up the edge and then sand down using a block and coarse sandpaper. I start at around 100 grit wet sandpaper. Be very careful to keep the block flat with the surface of the hull and sides of the boat so you get a square corner. When you are down to 220 start the fairing of the hull. Your sanding block needs to be at least the length of the long dimension of the sand paper. About 12" is the minimum length. Make sure to sand by holding the block in a diagonal direction but moving for and aft. This prevents the edge of the block from digging in. You should also do some sanding in the diagonal direction to help take out the high spots. If you don't use a course enough paper you can get the boat smooth but not

fair. Fairness is just as important as smoothness, maybe even more important. You can make pencil marks on the hull to see where you have sanded and they will also show you the low spots. Go over the whole boat with every grade until you reach 1000 grit. At this point you may want to buff out the boat with a power buffer and rubbing compound. This gives you the smoothness surface but more important at this point is that it filled the pores slightly and keeps the bottom a little nicer longer.

Mark Reynolds

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How do I set up my Mast Side bend?

I don't mind a bit of this effect in medium air when I want the power. It powers up the rig when it is sagged to leeward in the middle. Side bend is similar to the bend in the fore and aft direction. If it sags to leeward in the middle the main is fuller, if it goes up to windward in the middle it gets flatter. If you have enough weight you can carry this sag or "S" bend in more wind. For sure when you are starting to get overpowered you don't want any "S" bend. At this point though it's hard to look at the mast. Normally I would say that you should have a bit of "S" in light air, straight in medium and some side bend (to windward at spreaders) in strong wind. This will all happen somewhat automatically as the wind increases if the mast is set up with just a bit of "S" in light air. You have to work with the spreader length (as you have) and the angle to get the mast just right. Make sure the mast is tight at the deck and then if you still have about 1" of sag go a little shorter on your spreaders. Also check at this point if the spreaders are pushing hard on the stops. If they are you might want to first allow them to swing back a bit more and see what this does first. It will straighten the mast sideways but let it bend a bit more fore and aft.

Mark Reynolds

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How long should my spreaders be?

Spreader length should be as long as possible without the spreader pushing the middle of the mast to leeward. I will always start at the longer end of the length range and shorten the spreader by 1/8th inch increments if necessary. I check the mast by sailing upwind in approx. 8 knots of wind and then site up the front centerline of the mast. The mast should be straight from the deck to the hounds, with the section above the hounds falling off to leeward. Before you do this you should be sure that the mast is centered in the mast partner and that it is shimmed to remain there without any sideways movement.

Spreader angle is less clear. As you are a heavy team, you must be at the widest end of the range to improve mast stiffness and thus sail power. Each mast bends differently so it is impossible to have a constant measurement. As you are new to the boat, when you are overpowered it is hard for you to know the difference between a mast being tuned wrong or you not knowing how to properly depower using the control adjustments. You should know in how much wind will the spreaders lock out and thus start restricting mast bend. You can find this out by pulling back on the shroud in different wind strengths to see when this occurs.

Mark Reynolds

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How should I set up my mast?

When I go upwind with both crew just sitting on the deck, my mast sags to leeward about ¼ inch between the gooseneck (where the boom attaches to the mast) and the hounds (where the forestay attaches to the mast). As the wind gets lighter I will push my forward puller forward to take shape out of the main and open the leech. As the breeze gets stronger I will begin to pull the aft puller on until it gets to the neutral mark. I adjust the cunningham to keep the draft between the first two numbers on the main. This draft position seems to work very well in most conditions. When the breeze gets strong enough so that the spreaders are as far back as they can go I will check the front of the main for how full it is. If it is too flat I will move the spreader tips forward, or if too full they will go back. The further forward, the higher you will point, but if put too far forward your boat will go very slow. I use this just like a lower backstay on a big boat.

Through all of this I am still worried about how the rig is bending sideways. This is difficult to see from on the boat. If you have a friend in a powerboat, have them take your photo from directly behind your Snipe while sailing upwind. You will quickly find out what your mast is doing when you look at the photos. If the middle of your mast is going to leeward, you will point better and have more power (good in lighter air and flatter water). But if it is choppy water you will have problems going through it fast. If the tip of the mast is falling to leeward and the middle of the mast is going to weather, you will point lower and have better speed through choppy water and waves, but in flat water it will be more difficult to point high.

I know that everyone around the world has a different mast rake. The theory is that the further forward your mast rake, the tighter you can sheet your main while maintaining neutral helm. If your mast is raked back more, you will have more twist in your main when you sail with a balanced helm. I find in the ocean that I sail at 21’ 4" while in flat water I can pull my jib halyard 2" tighter (I don’t know what this measures) and I will point higher with the same speed. Unfortunately none of this helps if you had too much fun at the disco the night before.

George Szabo

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Tuning with less rake

Tuning wise I noticed everyone is pulling the rigs a lot farther forward and sailing tighter. I am looking for some base numbers to compare against. I think I'm running 21' 5" with about 2" of pre-bend.

Spreaders are 16 3/4" and 28 3/4" with a side winder mast. Are these numbers similar to what you're going with out there? I don't think there will be any big break through, but hanging with the crowd is an important task. Let me know what you think are good numbers and I'll try them out over here.

Yes the whole world is beginning to put their rigs forward. Many of the top sailors are sailing at 21’5"-21’6". My rake is still at 21"4". The theory is that the further forward the rake, the tighter your main leech will be to balance the helm. Conversely, with your rake aft you will have an open leech to balance your helm. We are adjusting our rake to the twist that we want from the main.

This will make a vertical mast faster in flat water. With aft rake you need to sail very flat but when the breeze comes up you will be able to go faster. I am not too worried about having to go forward yet.

As far as your spreaders go, I am at 16 3/8 and 29 ½ on a European proctor. For a sidewinder mast the range has been 16 1/8 - 161/2 and 29-30. The key here is when both skipper and crew are hiking hard overall but not depowering yet, your mast should have 1/8 to 1/16 inch of sag between the gooseneck and the hounds.

The next theory being that the mast should sag when you need power and the tip should fall off when you want less power or want to go fast through chop. As far as spreader angle I am playing that like a lower runner. The most it gets adjusted is when I go to a heavier or lighter crew.

George Szabo

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Boom vang

To win the big event, speed is crucial. In the Snipe, speed differences upwind are small but offwind they can be huge. One of the little known impact players for downwind performance is the boomvang. Using the boomvang to correctly define mainsail twist will increase sail projection and allow you to sail deeper angles with better speed.

When adjusting the boomvang downwind, only mainsail shape is effected and the reference in the sail is the top batten. When running the top batten should be either parallel to the boom or twisted off. It is preferred that the batten twists off slightly, as this will increase overall sail projection and allow for deeper sailing angles. When the wind is light or the water is confused, the leech may bounce around too much if twisting off. To stabilize the leech when it reacts like this, the boom vang must be tightened so the top batten is parallel with the boom.

Any change in wind velocity will change the top batten’s angle to the boom. It is vital that the top batten be constantly monitored and the boomvang adjusted when any change occurs. The next time you see me looking up at my sail and then reaching down to adjust something, the odds are good that I am adjusting the boomvang.

Craig Leweck

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Where should I trim the Jib leech?

I've noticed my jib shape varies widely depending on the wind strength when beating upwind. While the variation itself doesn't surprise me, the amount does. On a recent race day with 5-12 knots, I began keeping an eye on the leech of the sail instead of adjusting the sail based only on my splashrail mark. I tried to keep the leech of the sail about an inch inside the shroud with the second from the bottom leech patch parallel with the boat centerline. I noticed the leech of the sail would change a lot and the jib foot's relation to the splashrail mark would barely move. Am I on the right track ?

You are right in that our goal for fast jib trim is proper leech twist. Without a spreader window you can not see the jib leech unless the crew is sitting to leeward. Your best solution is the splash rail marks which are measured perpendicularly from the boat's centerline and marked on the splash rail. As this rail position varies from each boat, there is a little inaccuracy in this but it seems to get us in the ball park. We must remember that jib trim must be in the ball park when we are checking our jib leads. The Sobstad recommendation is to keep the foot at the 16 or 17 inch mark on the rail and move the jib leads around until you align the flutter patch (2nd up from clew) parallel to the boat's centerline. This will get both jib trim and jib lead position close. With a spreader window on the main we can easily see the leech of the jib with fine tuning taking place through two boat testing or from the feedback on the race course.

Craig Leweck

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Jib lead upwind

On my boat with the rake at 21’4", the jib leads from the forestay measure 7’ 3 ¼" (2215mm) aft to 7’2 ¾"(2203mm) forward. I use the forward setting and the setting in-between for the Dacron jib. I have been sailing the Mylar jib in the light air at the aft setting.

When you trim your jib off of the marks on the splash rail, you need to think of you jib as a gas pedal. When going slow ease out and when going fast, pull it in until you go slow again and them let it back out. I found that with the Mylar jib I can sheet about ½" (2.5cm) tighter on the splash rail marks. You will also find that it is fast to sail with more wrinkles in the luff of the Mylar jib. Often we would set the jib cunningham by pulling some on, and them letting it off and letting it go where it wanted to. We would then cleat it at this position.

George Szabo

The Jib Lead - Hardware

Many crews have enjoyed the benefits of adding a small ratchet block to the jib lead car. The improved gripping action of the ratchet block’s sheave takes much of the load of the jib sheet, making it easier to uncleat, hold on to and make small jib sheet adjustments. While there are many jib sheeting systems to choose, I like the aft sheeting system shown in the pictures as it offers the option of either myself or my crew to trim the whisker pole downwind.

Due to the length of the ratchet block, its use with the leeward cleating, aft sheeting system requires long plates for the cleats. These plates create a problem as their size limits the crews ability to slide aft and hike. The crew can only move aft to where their calves hit the plate, where after they are forced to hike out at an angle. To minimize this problem, I have developed a simple system that allows the car to slide aft when not being used but automatically move forward to its upwind setting when needed.

Photo 1 shows the windward car in the aft position against the mainsheet cleat. By pushing the car aft, the crew can move back and still have their full extension to hike out perpendicularly to the boat. During the tack, the load of the jibsheet from the jib will pull the car forward where it will stop at the round head bolt (photo 2). This bolt will be positioned in the upwind jib car position (photo 3).

The only risk to this system is that the bolt has no nut. To allow for multiple car positions, the bolt is stuck in one of several holes that have been drilled through the track and deck. Though I have only capsized three times with this system, I have yet to lose a bolt. Instead of the bolt, I have tried using a slider with a plunger pin. This effectively stopped the car, but it was too high and hindered the crews hiking and movement. The simple bolt method has proven to be an effective means to utilize the ratchet blocks while minimizing the related problems.

Craig Leweck

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When should I go to the Barber Hauler?

The jib must be trimmed outside the shrouds as soon as it is laying against the shroud when trimmed properly. You will be on a tight reach when this occurs. Ideally, it will be light enough to have your crew to leeward so they can hand trim the jibsheet. They will be moving the sheet both outboard and forward. If it is too windy to afford their weight to leeward, the barberhauler must be pulled on.

The best procedure I have on initiating the barberhauler is as follows:

1) Let go of jibsheet

2) Pull on barberhauler until two-blocked

3) Grab jibsheet from barberhauler block and trim jib straight from barberhauler block

The best procedure I have on releasing the barberhauler is as follows:

1) Take out the slack in jibsheet and trim jib from jib cleat

2) Uncleat barberhauler line

3) Pull on jibsheet to take out slack from barberhauler

Executing these steps quickly is critical to keeping up top boat speed. Getting the barberhauler block round the shrouds is often the problem. Fast pins in the shroud adjusters will be a hindrance, as will be a bulky knot on the barberhauler block. I used some sailmaker's hand sewing thread and sewed the barberhauler line to the block, which made for a very clean attachment. One might also try a short section of PVC to cover the adjuster to help the barberhauler block turn that corner. Let me know if I can provide more help.

Craig Leweck

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Do I need a removable jib wire?

The advantages of a removable luff wire are that you can raise your jib off of the deck in light air, that you can lower the jib in heavy air and that you have only one jib wire. The big disadvantage of this system is that every time you re-tie your jib to the wire, your jib lead position changes. For the sailor that is unable to sail all the time they will be going slower more often because of an incorrect placement of the jib lead. Our feeling is that the present way of manufacturing the jib with the wire in it is very clean and helps prevent the forestay from getting snagged on the head of the jib. We measured our wires and the variance in length was 1/16". We have opted to not manufacture our sails this way in order to make it easier for the customer.

George Szabo

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Watch out for your shrinking boltrope!

As your sail gets older the boltrope will shrink. The problem is that you will not be able to get enough cunningham tension ever. To fix this problem the boltrope should be eased and a new piece put inside the sail in its place. All of this can be done by your local sailmaker. In 1995 we changed the type of boltrope that we use so you should not have this problems with your newer sails.

George Szabo

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How can lightweights sail in heavy air?

Lisa Griffith and I have been pretty fast in comparison to heavier teams for that last two years now. A lot of our technique I learned from Craig Leweck who has always been fast when sailing with his wife, regardless of the breeze.

One key, is to drop the shrouds a few holes. You should increase the rig tension, while still pulling the rig up to about the same place. I sail at 190lbs on Loose gauge and go up to 230 in the breeze while still pulling my rig to the same mark. If its really honking, I may not even get to the same rake mark, but will still have a lot of tension.

Upwind, it is key to ease the traveler, until the center of the bridle is under where you are sheeting the boom to. I have eased the traveler as much as a foot or more in the breeze to get the boat scooting.

I apply a lot of vang right before the start and balance it out with enough aft puller to keep the mast from bending too much down low. If its totally crazy out, I may let the mast go all the way forward in the partners.

The key is to still sail the boat absolutely flat, no matter how much main you have to ease. The aft quarter of the sail may be the only part that is working. The jib should be eased out to match the main and prevent backwinding. I ease my jib out past the splash rail (18 inches off centerline) or more. Another key is to keep the boat steady - heeling and flattening too quickly is just as slow as just heeling too much. Try to keep the boat on an even keel and board flat. Many people overplay their main - trying to react to each puff. When in doubt, just let it out. Its better to more steady and a little less overpowered than trying to react to every puff.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Hiking hard is a huge element. Many teams can win just on heart alone. A physically fit team can dominate much larger teams. Also. dress for success - sweatshirts and other gear should be worn. Obviously, you must stay within the rules for this and the Snipe class is pretty strict about it, but it can definitely help. Also remember to hike your hardest for the first two minutes of the race - this usually gets you out in front and then you may be able to relax a bit.

I hope some of this info helps. Good Luck,

Will Graves

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I can’t keep up with the top guys on a reach, what do I do?

As far as going fast on a reach, I was also slow jib reaching at the beginning of the summer. Here are the things that I found to help me go faster:

On a jib reach with no pole up, I set up my boat with the centerboard all the way up, with the outhaul tight, with the aft ram on to the neutral position, and with the vang set so that the top batten was just open from being parallel with the boom. The tight outhaul relives helm, the aft puller provided more power (straight mast) and a better driving and accelerating sail shape, the high board worked well, and the open vang made steering and sheeting easier. The jib halyard was in the upwind position.

Now assuming that your main and jib are trimmed well (all jib telltales flowing, leech telltales on main just stalled) , the next two important parts are sitting aft in the boat (crew in the skipper straps at times), and keeping the weather chine barely out of the water until you get planning. Only when you are planning can the boat be sailed flat. When you slow down you need to get the weather chine back out of the water. This is what helps to make the really big gains.

After that, it comes down to technique. One error that I used to make was I would go too low on the waves an kill my speed. By getting out of waves earlier I am able to keep my boat planning longer.

George Szabo

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Jib reaching - board and heal

George, One point you never hit on in our discussion about jib reaching is... Don't you ever lower the board some (and how much) when the reach is a close reach? In other words, how far off of close hauled do you decide to go all the way up with the board?

By the way. the leeward heel, board all the way up, ... jib reach tips do seem to be giving results. I believe its the digging of the leeward chine that is key. On a Jibetech this is much more of a heel than on a Persson. Looks a little awkward but we are at least keeping up most of the time, even making big gains against not the best sailors, while only loosing slightly to the best.

I am glad that your reaching speed is getting better. As far as when let the board down some, I have only let it down when it just looks ridiculous to keep it so high. When I built my flopper I made it so that it had four different heights for sailing and another height for the trailer. After trying all of these positions I found that I was using the board all the way up all of the time except when the boom was just off of the corner. This only happened for about three-hundred yards as we went around some geography during our Thursday night races. I don’t have any exact numbers here. Part of the answer is tactical, if there is the need or the possibility of the need to go high quickly then you want your board lower than the guy who is below you just in case he suddenly stops liking you.

George Szabo

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How do I set my jib while running?

1) When I am running I will shorten my whisker pole about 6", 15cm. After I do this, I pull the jib sheet back so that there is still some fullness in the foot. If I need to sail lower I will make the foot tight. The rule of thumb here is that if the luff of the jib luffs first you need to pull the pole aft while if the leech of the jib luffs first you need to ease the pole forward. Downwind in waves we found that in the ocean if we lightly tensioned and cleated the leeward jibsheet while the pole was up so that it acted as a foreguy on a spinnaker pole, and we would go faster because this stopped the leech of the jib from pumping.

When reaching, I make the pole as long as possible. Another thing that I have found to be fast is to play the jib halyard so that the pole is level with the horizon. This seems to work best in the lighter airs.

George Szabo

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Pole Launcher

You are coming into the leeward mark on starboard tack, about to retract the pole and jibe. The crew releases the launcher line and ..... the pole gets stuck in the boom vang, the main can’t jibe and the leeward mark never gets rounded. All the benefits of the pole launcher seem to be lost in this one instance.

There are two common problems when retracting the pole. The first is if the pole does not travel in a parallel plane as the boom, the inboard end will either be aiming into the boom (starboard tack) or away from the boom (port tack). Both instances will cause friction points to slow the pole’s travel back, plus on port tack the inboard end may hit the crew and on starboard tack the pole can either tear the main or get hooked on the boom rigging. The solution is to give the jibsheet a quick pull when releasing the launcher line, which will keep the outboard end of the pole from blowing forward and becoming "unparalleled".

Craig Leweck

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Boat Handling

The common hurdle for those practicing roll tacks and gybes is security. Following the roll, the effort to cross the boat is similar to climbing up a hill. In this situation, if you can’t climb the hill you get wet., which is a significant penalty. Confidence begins with secure foot placement, which must allow you to push hard to begin this climb. This task is difficult without support.

The Eclipse, Jibe Tech, Mueller and Persson hulls have designed their floor liner so that it wraps up to the deck, offering the feet a wall to push against. However, McLaughlin and Phoenix hulls offer no such support. The addition of teak strips to the floor (see photo) is an easy task that gives the critical support the feet need.

The crew needs a single length on either side for the initial push. Once started across the boat, their next step can use the daggerboard trunk for support. The skipper needs both a strip on each side and then a strip on either side of centerline. I have found the center strip to be critical for offwind jibing at close angles, particularly if it is 20 knots and you are jibing just before the leeward mark and then rounding to go upwind. After watching my feet go out from underneath me more than once a few years back at the SCIRA Midwinters, I was possessed to address this problem.

The only mistake I have made when mounting the teak is not to drill the last screw holes close enough to the end. In use it is possible that your foot will push off at the end of the strip, which will break the tip of the strip if it is not fastened there.

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