Tips - Sprinting

Trapezing with two sails to control needs practice but when you've cracked it the boat goes like a rocket. The extra power in F4 and above is more controllable from out on the wire and much drier. So for current and budding Sprinters here's some tips on sailing the boat single handed Sprint style.

Beginners don't try everything at once, sail with main and jib but no trapeze the first few times out. The main tips here are to use the jib woollies when beating to indicate if you are sailing too close to the wind. You will find when Sprinting you need to sail a couple of degrees further off the wind than una rig boats for maximum speed. Also use the jib backed to help when tacking. The backed jib improves tacking speed and ensures you don't get stuck in irons.

When you first try trapezing choose a day with a steady F 4 and start with the mainsail only. To be most comfortable when on the wire you should invest in a long tiller pole. The one to buy is a Dart 20 tiller and cut about 6-8" of the end and re-rivet the end stop. Before flinging yourself out on the wire check the trapeze loop is the correct height, i.e. pulling upwards when sitting on the side deck. If it's loose the trapeze loop will fall off the harness hook as you push out and you'll get wet.

Getting out on the wire takes practice but the main tip is not to hesitate. Ease your bum out over the side deck, then in one smooth but quick motion, push out with your front then back leg (front leg always first). Keep your back leg slightly bent but your front leg straight. Try not to hold your body weight on the trapeze handle, if you do you will be pulled towards the bows (moon walking). As you are pushing out, let the tiller pole (which should be resting on your shoulder) slide between your fingers.

Do the same with the mainsheet in the same hand. Let go of the trapeze handle as soon as you are out. This free hand (front) is first used to lower yourself down using the trapeze loop adjusting rope until you are just above horizontal. When you are the correct height grab the mainsheet with that hand leaving the back hand free for the tiller.

To come in off the wire, reverse the above except get your back leg inboard just before your front leg. After practising this a few hundred times you will be ready to handle the jib and main together. After a number of capsizes with both sails I realised that I needed to deal with all the ropes and tiller in the correct sequence to avoid lots of swimming.

The method I came up with to handle the jib and main is as follows:

Traveller in the middle.
Main in as far as possible without raising windward hull.
Cleat off main.
Jib in until it stops flapping.
Cleat off jib and place jib sheet between windward shroud and first toe loop (sheet dangling over hull side).
Hook on trapeze loop and push out while running tiller and mainsheet through back hand.
Bend legs and pick up jib sheets from between shroud and toe loop and sheet in jib (with front hand).
Sheet jib in until woollies flying correctly.
Drop jib sheets back in position between shroud and toe loop.
Lower trapeze loop with front hand so just above horizontal.
Adjust mainsheet using front hand for maximum power.
If wind strengthens ease traveller out.

Note:- I have removed the traveller rope from my boat and use the mainsheet as a continuous main and traveller sheet. It is plenty long enough and less rope sloshing around is easier to handle from the trapeze.

Mike Cemm 1717