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Spinnaker Lessons

Race Details

  • Wind: 10-15 knots, gusty
  • Course: 6S-1-6-1-7-14F
  • Temperature: 27C°C
  • RaceQs Link: Visit
  • Results Link: Visit
Course Map


  1. Bowman: Fourhands
  2. Mastman: Squirrel
  3. Understudy: null
  4. Pit: Afterguy
  5. Foresail Trimmer: Lazy Sheet
  6. Mainsail Trimmer: Skootch
  7. Helm: StarPort

Tonight was the windiest race of the season so far, so we opted for the #3 jib (100%) rather than the newly repaired genoa.  In hindsight, we could have carried the bigger sail and competed well with the rest of the fleet, but with the lighter artillery, we just couldn’t keep pace on the upwind legs.  Downwind we were fast, and made up a lot of distance, flying our big blue spinnaker in plenty of breeze.

It was a great night for working on our maneuvers.  We’ve got most of it down, but there were a few good lessons in there, that are captured in the highlight reel so we can all learn from them. And there are some fantastic moments to celebrate as well.  Check it out!

Our start was unexpectedly tight, as most of the fleet went for the pin end of the line, where the wind was stronger.  As a result, we ended up in a sandwich, almost (but not quite) able to push Eclipse over the line, and forced up a bit after the start as Sabotage climbed up over our bow.  We tacked away as soon as we could, to get some clear air and start sailing as quickly and as high as we could.  But with all the big boats flying their big jibs, we fell the back of the queue by the time we rounded the windward mark.  It was nice to see Battlewagon put in a great start and be amongst the first to round.

Our hoist was great, and we accelerated quickly, but somehow the guy became uncleated and the pole went forward to the forestay.  That was lesson #1.  A great stretch of tweaking our point of sail, the pole position and managing gusts, and then it was time to jibe.  Couple of lessons in there as the guy popped out of the pole, and then went all the way forward again.  But we’ve got it now:  cleat the guy, and when something goes wrong — ease the sheet until the guy is in the right spot.

Another great stretch and we were bearing down on Black Magic, Eclipse and Battlewagon at the first leeward mark!

Our douse was pretty smooth, all things considered.  Probably should have started a little earlier, since there was quite a bit of traffic.  As a result, we didn’t have time to get the jib out until we were rounding.  But the beauty was that by now we were just a few boatlengths behind our fleet — I love the new spinnaker!


With plenty of traffic, and better wind over to Hamilton side of the bay, we tacked as soon as we were ready, and started slipping a bit further behind our fleet on the next upwind leg.  Four hands repacked the bag in no time, and we were riding the gusts once again.  Did I mention the gusts?  Skootch was a busy boy easing the traveller, hardening the traveller, easing the main, hardening the main.  He reacted to every gust to keep us as flat as we could be, but there were exciting moments of whether helm that brought water into the cockpit, and there was even a moment when I grabbed Skootches pants to keep him from falling further to leeward.  PERSPECTIVE was a bucking bronco!

The next hoist was great, but we learned another lesson (the foreguy — aka pole down — lesson), and nearly launched FourHands in the process — good thing he has froggy feet that suction onto the deck :-).  That was quickly fixed and we blasted by Christephanie at the start of a long run downwind.  We found a lot of speed and Lazy Sheet and Afterguy really developed the feel for adjusting the pole position and the sheet tension as we would alternately sail a bit higher (for speed) and lower (toward the mark).  Our next jibe was really smooth, and showed just how quickly we are all learning.  I think the pit position really does need a few more arms!

By the second leeward rounding, we had once again caught up with our cohort — we were within a boat length of Black Magic as we doused in traffic and powered up quickly in pursuit, but the little jib was no match for the others.  The last upwind leg was a lot of fun, though, as we had plenty of traffic to cross (shaving them all close), and the setting sun created a gorgeous watercolour canvas to welcome us across the finish line.

One thought to “Spinnaker Lessons”

  1. NEWS FLASH: despite our 6th (last) place finish last night, PERSPECTIVE remains in first place for the Thursday Spring Series. We have a two point margin on Battlewagon. There are two races left, and we will miss one of them. If I understand correctly, we get to drop our lowest result (which will be the race we miss).

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