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Genoa Track Install

Day two of the Genoa track installation!

I wish I took pictures on day one, but here is a summary: Calvin and I removed the old track, bored out the holes to get to clean wood/fibreglass and filled up the holes with epoxy. Worked like a charm (except we bored the holes by hand with a single spade bit, which got duller as we went: blisters!)

On day two, gadget, squirrel and I lined up Both sides of the track, drilled all the holes and trimmed up a backing plate. It was an all day job and we burned through ten drill bits and one knuckle (Gil’s), but we went home tired and proud of 66 new holes perfectly lined up, and ready for installation. That will be day 3.

So, every time we are sailing the big Genny, thank and Gil and Calvin for their expertise and days of effort. I basically vacuumed and brought lunch.

Oh and Lazy sheet popped by with coffee in the afternoon. A well timed perk!

Kiwi at the Helm

Kiwi at the Helm

Wind: 8 knots steady W
Course: 14-3-12-14

Weather:  Partially Cloudy 18 C

Crew: StarPort, Squirrel, Nonsuch, Lazy Sheet, Afterguy and Kiwi
Video playlist at:

Well no matter how you slice, Kiwi lead us through an awesome race!  Start was perfectly timed and even pushed SandPiper away from the committee boat so they had to tack around before starting.  Upwind we held our own against three J-boats that only gradually pulled away.

Our hoist at the windward mark was flawless, but perhaps a wee bit early (who was that guy on the Halyard, anyway?).  We nearly brushed the mark with the sail as it was filling, but no harm – no foul and we put in a quick jibe to head into better air.

Great moment along the Hamilton wall on the run to mark 12 as we caught up to Christephanie and a few others.  Once we got into their bad air we couldn’t overtake, so we jibed away, sailed hotter for a minute and then jibed back.  By then we were well ahead of them all — great tactical lesson for all of us.

The douse was nice and quick, and just before the leeward mark, where we jibed around for the straight line to the finish overtaking Misty-C and Chewan before the line.

Thanks for a great night guys, it was the perfect tonic after a lousy day in the office!

Spinnaker Hoist/Dowse

We’re starting to build a rhythm around our big Spinnaker maneuvers, and as the bigger challenges are overcome, smaller ones come into focus, so I’d like to offer some fine-tuning that can help us simplify.  I’m assuming a crew of five people:

  • Foredeck
  • Pit
  • Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer
  • Mainsail Trimmer/ Spinnaker Assist
  • Helm

But when we have six on board, then Mainsail Trimmer stays focused on the mainsail, and the sixth person takes the role of Spinnaker Assist.



(I’m focusing here on the bear-away set from the bag on the deck – which will be the hoist we use most often)


Set up (on the approach to the windward mark)

  • Helm: call “Prepare the Hoist!”
  • Pit: retrieve the Spinnaker bag from the cabin, hand to Foredeck.
  • Foredeck:

o   Bag position just ahead of the shrouds, port side of boat

o   All lines routed to this position prior to race start

o   Clip on all lines, removing Velcro straps from sail, leaving Velcro on top of bag closed

o   Ensure tack line is routed outside the lifelines/stanchions

  • Pre-feed the tack:

o   Foredeck: open the front half of the Velcro on the top of the bag

o   Pit:  tighten up the TACK line

o   Foredeck: ensure no catches.

o   Foredeck: calls “Made”

  • Prepare the spinnaker sheets

o   Helm: take control of the main sheet

o   Spinnaker Assist:

  • ensure both spinnaker sheets are free and clear,
  • route the first active spinnaker sheet to the free winch (starboard side, ie: criss-crossed).  Load with one wrap, no handle.
  • head to the mast to assist the hoist



  • Helm: call  “Ready to Hoist?”
  • All(when ready): answer “Ready!”


Rounding & Hoist

  1. Helm: call “Hoist Away!” and “Rounding!”
  2. Simultaneously:

o   Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer: ease jib to lifelines, cleat in tailer, switch to other winch to be ready for spinnaker sheet.

o   Foredeck (at bag): open remaining Velcro, apply slight tension along spinnaker luff as it is being hoisted (avoids hourglass formation)

o   Spinnaker Assist (at mast):  haul in the spinnaker halyard

o   Pit: haul in the spinnaker halyard

  1. Spinnaker Assist(at mast):   Once Spinnaker is all the way to the masthead, call “MADE”, head back to mainsail position
  2. Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer: Haul the active sheet like mad, until too much tension
  3. Pit:  add wraps to spinnaker sheet, insert handle and grind
  4. Foredeck: Remove bag, ease outhaul, ease cunningham, tension boom vang
  5. Pit: free jib from winch and furl it
  6. Pit: ease main halyard if needed
  7. Breathe!


What are the significant changes:

  • Calling “MADE” when the Spinnaker reaches the mast-head – this is the trigger for hauling the spinnaker sheet.
  • Loading spinnaker sheets criss-crossed – this has several benefits

o   Avoids situation where two lines need the same winch (jib sheet and spinnaker sheet)

o   Places Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer trimmer in the optimal place to see spinnaker luff curl, ease and grind without moving around

  • Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer focuses on the sheets, and only the sheets
  • Pit focuses on getting the spinnaker set before anything else
  • Putting the jib away is Pit’s job – there is no hurry





  • Helm: calls “Prepare to Douse!”
  • Pit: tightens main halyard
  • Foredeck: tightens outhaul & cunningham, eases boom vang
  • Pit: opens the jib (not tight, just inside the lifelines), three wraps, cleated into the tailer , insert winch handle
  • Foredeck: ensures lazy jib sheet is aft and to leeward of the hatch
  • Spinnaker Assist goes into the hole
  • Foredeck gathers lazy spinnaker sheet in front and to windward of forestay, hands to Spinnaker Assist
  • Foredeck grasps tack of spinnaker from in front and to windward of forestay



  • Helm calls: “Ready to Douse?”
  • All(when ready): answer “Ready!”



  1. Helm calls: “Douse Away!”
  2. Immediately and simultaneously:
  3. Jib/Spinnaker trimmer blows the Spinnaker sheet, ensures it runs free, then goes to jib winch to prepare for upwind sailing
  4. Pit blows the tack
  5. Spinnaker Assist begins hauling
  6. Foredeck brings tack of sail to Spinnaker Assist
  7. Then as soon as possible
  8. Pit opens halyard clutch and eases quickly, just slowing halyard a bit if needed to keep spinnaker dry
  9. Spinnaker Assist hauls spinnaker through the hatch (from below)
  10. Foredeck keeps the spinnaker from filling (ie: make a circle with arms, start at hatch, shift to forestay)
  11. At the mark
  12. Helm calls “Rounding!:
  13. Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer begins to harden the jib sheet
  14. Helm hardens the mainsail and heads upwind
  15. As soon as spinnaker is entirely below decks
  16. Spinnaker Assist returns to station to trim the mainsail
  17. Foredeck clears jib sheets and calls “Clear!”
  18. Once we have trimmed our sails for the upwind leg:
  19. Pit: tidies lines in front of cockpit
  20. Foredeck: tidies lines on foredeck
  21. Spinnaker Assist: tidies lines in back of cockpit (ie: spinnaker sheets)


What are the significant changes?

  • Prepare the mainsail for the upwind leg first.
  • Pit opens the jib, and gets it in ready position
  • Jib/Spinnaker Trimmer stays focused on the Spinnaker trim until the sheet is blown, then focuses only on the jib trim
  • Foredeck uses the jib to blanket the spinnaker, and the forestay to remove air and keep it high above the waterline
  • Halyard is lowered very quickly – watching at the waterline to ensure it stays dry
  • Done correctly, this will leave the lines connected properly to allow another bear-away set