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foredeck follies

Class 40 Dragon skipper Mike Hennessy explains just how differently doublehanders go about things in this post from the Atlantic Cup thread. You in the NY area?  Get down to the water to watch the Saturday start of their sprint to Newport!  And follow along with Dragon here.

So you ask “hey, mister… how do you swap out your kites in the middle of the night, with 20+ knots of true wind and only two of you on board”.  Well, Johnny, let me tell you how it is done:

Picture a messy, quartering sea in the stream that allows for a little bit of surfing, but mostly just limits your use of the pilot.  Imagine winds in the mid-twenties.  Envision the big ass A2 kite up, doing perhaps a bit too much work for the conditions.  And progosticate that a front will be coming through in about two hours with rain, more wind, and lightning.  Now do this all with your eyes closed, since with no moon or even stars it is as dark as dark can be.

This is how it works:

  • 1. One of you sits on the helm, the kite cross sheeted to your hand.
  • 2. The other suits up, clips in and stumbles / slides to the foredeck with the new sail  (really looking forward to the refit this summer and new non-skid!)
  • 3.  Clip the bag for the new sail to the life lines
  • 4.  Open the forward spin tack clutch
  • 5.  Sort your halyard tail which has been washed into a tangled mess.
  • 6.  Sort out your haul down line for your sock.  Curse your head lamp whose over taxed bulb won’t illuminate what you really want to see up top.
  • 7.  Call for ease (and poke the boat down) from the helm.
  • 8.  Haul down the sock
  • 9.  Helm blows the aft clutch on the spin tack line, puts the boat on pilot, clips in, then stumbles / slides forward to feed you the halyard.
  • 10.  Haul down the sock to the deck and frantically try to collect the foot.
  • 11.  Open up the hatch and dump the whole mess into the sail locker.
  • 12.  Helm stumbles back to the cockpit
  • 13.  Hook up all the bits of string to the A5 kite, trying not to trap anything in the dark
  • 14.  Question what circumstances in your life led you to pursue this relaxing pasttime.
  • 15.  Tie down the haul down line, cuz if you don’t it will sky as you hoist the sock, your partially hoisted kite will pop open and you will have a really crappy morning.
  • 16.  scream back to the helm to sheet on and go deep
  • 17.  Pull on the tack line.
  • 18.  Wrap one arm around the sock to keep control over it and then hoist with the other, whilst attempting to stay on your feet.
  • 19.  Curse as the sock flips over the forestay, then flop around trying to get it sorted
  • 20.  The sock finally gets somewhere near the top.  You “confirm” with the helm that he has sheet ready, and you haul up the sock.
  • 21.  Your kite made, you then toss the bag into the forepeak and hopefully remember to dog the hatch or unhappiness ensues.
  • 22.  Grind on the last bit of halyard.
  • 23.  Sort your tail, knowing that despite your efforts it will be a tangled mess when the clew of the A5 rips off three hours later and you need to do a quick douse.
  • 24.  Stumble back to the cockpit, wish you had a beer, and then go on watch.

See, Johnny?