Recent Sailing News:

Ullman Sails T-Shirt Night
Wed, 20th Jun 2018
It was a great night out sailing Ullman Sails T-Shirt Night during the CRA Beer Can Series.  Thank you all that participated.  Do not forget about Ullman Sails CRA Halloween Regatta in Oc
More..
T-Shirt Wednesday
Thu, 31st May 2018
Wednesday June 20th is Ullman Sails night at the CRA Beer Can Series.  The Ullman Sails Team members will be out photographing and the pictures will be posted here immediately after the r
More..
Seattle POD Regatta
Thu, 26th May 2016
May 21-22 2016 The Second Annual POD Regatta (Puget Sound One Design) was a great success with 54 boats over 8 classes.  Winds were 5-10 on Saturday with some large shifts coming thr
More..
Oregon Offshore 2016
Tue, 17th May 2016
The 2016 Oregon Offshore from Astoria Oregon to Victoria BC is an annual event that has seen some growth in the last few years.  This year it was a great event with wind from the start and lot
More..
Rodrigo Cuellar Dipp to Manage Ullman Sails PV
Fri, 13th May 2016
Ullman Sails excitedly announces the opening of Ullman Sails Puerto Vallarta.  The full service loft on Mexico’s west coast offers new sails, canvas and sail service to the local sailing
More..

Getting Back to Basics

Crew Organization for Spinnaker Hoists, Jibes, and Douses

Wed, 7th Jan 2009
By Ullmans Sails

Getting Back to Basics Crew Organization for Spinnaker Hoists, Jibes, and Douses

Many sailing articles have been written describing how to perform the perfect jibe or spinnaker set, but rarely do you read exactly what the specific tasks of each crewmember are for those maneuvers. The details of each job may sound a bit basic, but this kind of organization is the key to performing your maneuvers well. As we all know, many races are won, not by the fastest boat, but by the boat that makes the fewest mistakes. Having a plan, such as the one we suggest, should help to delegate responsibilities and avoid confusion. It is also valuable when organizing your new crew for the next season or getting a new crewmember aquatinted with your system. The end result will be smoother maneuvers. We hope this will minimize your mistakes, maximize your rewards and increase your fun factor.

The Hoist - Standard Bear-Away Set

Bow Person:

  1. Secure the spinnaker bag to rail.
  2. Hook up sheet, guy, and halyard on the final approach to the mark. Be certain that the spinnaker cannot be dragged out of the bag by a wave.
  3. Help the spinnaker out of the bag on the hoist.
  4. Take down the headsail and have it ready to go back up at the leeward mark.
  5. Clear off the foredeck, ASAP, and get ready for a jibe.
  6. Get weight back on the rail.

Mast Person:

  1. Raise the spinnaker pole at the mast end.
  2. Hoist the spinnaker halyard on command from the cockpit.
  3. Call out when the sail is to the top of the mast and cleated so the sail can be trimmed.
  4. Back up the bow person in taking down the headsail.
  5. Trim vang, ease outhaul, and ease cunningham as necessary.
  6. Get weight back on the rail.

Pit Person:

  1. Raise the spinnaker pole with the topping lift (working with mast person).
  2. Tail the spinnaker halyard going up.
  3. Let the headsail halyard down, not too fast to drop the sail into the water.
  4. Prepare the spinnaker halyard for a takedown by flaking the halyard tail so it will run smooth and free.
  5. Make sure the headsail halyard is clear and ready to hoist.
  6. And, if that is not enough, be ready to grind the spinnaker sheet or guy for the trimmers. This position is nicknamed 'the hot box' for a reason!

Mainsheet Trimmer:

  1. Ease the sheet keeping the sail full through the rounding.
  2. Ease the backstay.
  3. Trim (pump) the sheet as necessary to give added speed and balance.

Sheet Trimmer:

  1. Ease genoa sheet through rounding, approximately 5 feet.
  2. Set up and trim spinnaker sheet. DO NOT trim the spinnaker until the halyard is all the way up. Your hoist will be faster and smoother this way.
  3. Talk with the helmsman about sheet pressure and speed.

 After Guy Trimmer:

  1. Pre-sheet the guy on command. Don't be too anxious, as this can cause problems.
  2. Trim spinnaker pole along with the sheet trimmer.
  3. Control the foreguy. Keep the pole taught!

Helmsman:

  1. Watch teh mark.
  2. Call the hoist.
  3. Drive the boat for speed.

The Jibe

Standard Dip Pole Jibe

Bow Person:

  1. Take lazy guy in hand to the pulpit and face aft, ready to insert the new guy into the jaw as the pole swings through the fore triangle.
  2. Call 'MADE' when the new guy is locked in the pole end.

Mast Person:

  1. Trip the pole on command from the cockpit and swing the pole to the bow.
  2. Help raise the pole once the guy is 'made.'

Pit Person:

  1. Ease the pole down to the bow, quickly and smoothly, using the topping lift/uphaul.  DO NOT hit the bow person in the head!  This might make them very upset and cause dissention.
  2. Raise the pole on the opposite side, not too fast, watching the foot of the spinnaker.  Slow your raise of the pole tip gets too close to the foot of the sail.

Sheet Trimmer:

  1. Stand in the cockpit with both sheets in hand, making sure they are both taught. It is OK to over trim a bit to help the boat stay in control during the jibe, especially in heavy air.
  2. Fly the spinnaker without a pole for maybe 10 seconds or so while the pole is going to the opposite side.
  3. Let go of the old sheet when the pole is "made." This will help the guy trimmer with his/her job.

After Guy Trimmer:

  1. Stand behind or in front for the sheet trimmer, depending on your boat layout or you can use two people, one for each side of the boat. Use whatever is most efficient.
  2. Square the pole to the wind, bring it aft as the boat slowly turns down wind. At the call for the trip, ease the guy to allow the sail to raise out of the jaws as the pole is dropped.
  3. Release the old guy completely.
  4. Do Not pull the new guy until the bow person has secured it into the jaw of the pole so not to pull the line out of his/her hands.
  5. As the pole is going back up on the opposite side, pull the new spinnaker "tack" to the end of the spinnaker pole and resume trim on the new tack.

Mainsail:

  1. Grab main sheet by all purchases.
  2. Watch as the Spinnaker is rotating across. When the spinnaker starts to rotate, pull the main across in one continuous motion.
  3. Make sure it is clear of back stay and trim for speed.

Helmsman:

  1. Make sure spinnaker is full and drawing.
  2. Steer the boat slowly and smoothly through the jibe, carving a nice turn.
  3. It is better to take an extra few seconds to complete a clean jibe than to rush and have to untangle a twisted spinnaker.
  4. Make sure all excess bodies are on the rail to balance the boat.

End for End Jibe

If your boat is set up for end for end jibing, everything we discussed above is the same except for the following.

Bow/Mast Persons:

  1. Stand in front of the mast on weather side.
  2. On command, trip the pole from the mast and step to other side of mast.
  3. Bring the pole into the boat and releasing the old guy from the jaw. The sail is now free flying and the pole is floating across the boat.
  4. Take the opposite sheet/ guy and place it into the jaws of the pole. For a bigger boat, two people make this work a little easier and quicker. Wait for sheet to come to you rather than pull it in towards the boat.
  5. Push the pole out and forward to the clew of the spinnaker and attach the pole to the mast.

Pit Person:

  1. Ease the downhaul and the topping lift as needed by the foredeck crew.
  2. Reset both for proper trim.

The Takedown -Standard Leeward Takedown

No matter what the conditions are, a successful takedown can be simple. There are many variations of takedowns but the two we describe are straightforward, reliable, and almost foolproof. It leaves the gear ready for the next set and has the crew on the weather rail for a fast exit from the leeward mark.

Port Side Weather Take Down

Bow Person:

  1. Drop pole on the deck and secure it when genoa is raised. Make sure it is under Jib sheets.
  2. Open forward hatch and sit with one leg in hatch.
  3. When take down is called reach and grab guy from mast person and gather spinnaker.
  4. Skirt Genoa.
  5. Hike on the rail.

Mast Person:

  1. Hoist genoa on command.
  2. Tighten outhaul, cunningham, etc.
  3. Human pole the guy by holding out and down on the guy while allowing trimmer to still trim the sail.
  4. When take down is called pull guy in and hand it to bowman at bow hatch and help gather spinnaker.
  5. Back up the bow person as listed above.
  6. Make sure headsail is clear to tack.
  7. Get back on the rail ASAP.

Pit Person:

  1. Tighten main halyard for upwind settings.
  2. Tail jib halyard going up.
  3. Ready the spinnaker halyard to come down. Release halyard on command, keeping control of the drop.  Start with one wrap around a winch and completely release once the sail is undercontrol.

Sheet Trimmer:

  1. Have genoa sheet ready to trim on a winch. Do not trim the headsail as it may cause the spinnaker to collapse.
  2. When the spinnaker halyard is released, let the spinnaker sheet go completely.
  3. Trim the genoa for speed as necessary for the mark rounding.

After Guy Trimmer:

  1. Trim after guy after pole is taken off.
  2. Remove guy from winch and make sure it runs smooth after foredeck has spinnaker under control.
  3. Help grind in genoa on other side.

Main Sail Trimmer:

  1. Tighten up the backstay.
  2. Adjust the traveler and running backstays for upwind trim.
  3. Trim the main for a powerful mark rounding.

Helmsman:

  1. DRIVE THE BOAT!
  2. Concentrate on a good, fast, tactical rounding.
  3. Do not over steer. Go for speed.
  4. Communicate with your trimmers for optimum speed.

Leeward Take Down

Bow Person:

  1. Open the forward hatch.
  2. Have the lazy guy in your hand, under the headsail; ready to pull in when the spinnaker is released.
  3. As you pull in the sail, it will come down and under the headsail. Stuff it directly into the forward hatch.
  4. Disconnect the halyard, sheet, and guy from the sail. Connect all three together, close the hatch and get on the rail. There will be time to clean up later.

Mast Person:

  1. Hoist genoa on command.
  2. Tighten outhaul, cunningham, etc.
  3. Back up the bow person as listed above.
  4. Disconnect topping lift. Make sure headsail is clear to tack.
  5. Get back on the rail ASAP.

Pit Person:

  1. Tighten main halyard for upwind settings.
  2. Tail jib halyard going up.
  3. Ready the spinnaker halyard to come down. Totally release halyard on command. If done properly, the sail will invert and hang just above the water as the forelock crew pulls the sail into the boat, quickly.
  4. Release the topping lift for the mast man. Once again, watch out for peoples' heads.

Sheet Trimmer:

  1. Have genoa sheet ready to trim on a winch. Do not trim the headsail as it may cause the spinnaker to collapse.
  2. When the spinnaker halyard is released, let the spinnaker sheet go completely.
  3. Trim the genoa for speed as necessary for the mark rounding.

After Guy Trimmer:

  1. Ease the pole to the headstay on command.
  2. Release the guy completely when the spinnaker is almost half way down.
  3. Grind for the sheet trimmer.
  4. Clear your winch for a tack.

Mainsail:

  1. Tighten up the backstay.
  2. Adjust the traveler and running backstays for upwind trim.
  3. Trim the main for a powerful mark rounding.

Helmsman:

  1. DRIVE THE BOAT!
  2. Concentrate on a good, fast, tactical rounding.
  3. Do not over steer. Go for speed.
  4. Communicate with your trimmers for optimum speed.

Note: After you have the boat up to speed, one person should clean up and prepare the boat for the next mark rounding. The rest of the crew should be on the rail to balance the boat.

Typically, there are more crew members on board than we have listed tasks for. These extra bodies are not 'rail meat,' they are the utility people to assist the others during the mark rounding as well as to watch for other boats and to call waves and puffs.

It is wise to have one person dedicated to oversee and organize each maneuver. This should be someone other than the helmsman or sail trimmers. Communication prior to any mark rounding is key. Conversation on the rail should be about upcoming mark roundings and conditions on the racecourse. It is essential that you concentrate on doing your job 100% correctly.  

Do your job and not everyone else's at the same time! This just spells disaster. By going back to the basics and emphasizing the specifics of each maneuver, you can minimize your mistakes and maximize your rewards.

For further advice on these maneuvers for your particular boat, feel free to contact your local Ullman Sails loft. We will be glad to help out in any way because knowledge is speed.


This article was posted on Wed, 7th Jan 2009