Team Organization

This is a copy of the handout distributed at the spring 2001 tune up clinic at Pewaukee Yacht Club hosted by Harry Melges and Andy Burdick

Jib Man – No. 1

This person must be on top of sail trim and set up of the jib all the time. Jib cars, Jib luff, height of jib off the deck, tell tails. Communicates lifts to the helmsman and ease to him if need be. Constantly watch your ticklers.

In a breeze you must be ready to ease in the blasts so that the bow can steer up. Bottom line is never cleat your jib. The winds constantly vary so your jib trim will need to vary accordingly. Increase in pressure – trim a click or two. Decrease in pressure ease a bit. Small changes make big speed differences.

Trim your jib until the jib telltale on the leach of the jib stalls. Ease sail until it flows. Watch this as a reference. Also mark your jib sheet so you have references.

Take slack out of the windward sheet after the start, after tacks and after your leeward roundings. You want to be set up for the next maneuver.

Focus at the start! Communicate with the skipper. Be aware of the competition as for where they are setting up, if you need to trim to match boat speed or if you need to slow down. You have to call the distance to the line too so be aware of this. Be ready to trim or ease during the entire sequence.

At the weather mark ease to your telltales. Don’t luff the jib! Work your sail and prepare for the hoist. You are pulling up the halyard.

If light air, drop the jib immediately after hoisting.

Make sure the cunningham is off.

Set up the lazy sheet for your first gibe. Be sure it is up off the deck and off the tack of the jib. Your first maneuver needs to be clean and fast.

Jib set up downwind is critical. Sit on the low side and fly your jib off the course tune sheet unless it is windy. Keep the sail full and pulling on the entire run.

Be ready for a gibe! Stand in front of the spar and over haul the new sheet with aggression. Use that weight to leeward to help the boat roll gibe too. Then get back to flying your jib down wind. Be sure the new lazy sheet is ready for the next gibe.

Takedowns – you control the take release. Release this first except on a Mexican takedown (halyard first on a Mexican takedown). Listen for the word on the release. keep control of the tack line so it stays on the deck – not dragging under the hull.

Make sure to preset jib cars and jib luff before your takedown. Think ahead!

No. 2

Concentrate on the vang and traveler. Stay in tune with the wind and the only way to do this is to watch the breeze. Head out of the boat!

Dropping of boards. Be sure to drop the boards at the correct time. Do not tack on your new board. Drop it midway through the tack.

On the sets you will be pulling the tack out. Do not pull this out until the command or until the head of the kite is at the top spreader! Then go to making sure the vang is set correctly, out haul eased, boards set, begin cleaning up.

Use your weight and help roll gibe downwind.

Takedowns you have to help gather the foot – keep control of this and keep the sail out of the water. Help stuff the kite with No. 3 and No. 4.

No. 3

This person can help with board up on tacks also help with the traveler adjustment.

Work with fine tune after the tacks. Be quick and aggressive with this as it gets your boat up to speed.

On the sets get the kite out of the bag and help feed the head out. You call the tack out once the head is at the top spreader. Make sure to keep the foot of the kite tight. fly the kite after it is set.

Watch the kite and nothing else. Really focus on trim and pressure. Be sure to communicate the pressure with your helmsman so that they can steer accordingly.

On takedowns be sure to pull the kite all the way back and grab the clew on the windward takedowns. Pull right through your deck ratchet to pull sail around and pull the foot tight. Then call for the tack release and then halyard release. Mexicans you do the halyard first!

No. 4

Back stays upwind and downwind – runners and permanent.

Bow sprit in and out and help with the kite. Help stuff around the leeward mark.

No. 5

Mainsheet trimmer is also the teem leader, tactician. You must keep the team informed and keep the intensity level up on the boat. Call out wind for crew and helmsperson. Be on top of this.

Call out traffic at the start – keep the boat in a good lane for the start so you can get the boat ramped up for full speed.

Important to keep the boat at the correct angle of heel upwind. Call for dropping the traveler to depower. When you want to accelerate ease the main. Big difference between the two.

Never cleat the mainsheet! Ease in the shots and trim back in as the boat settles in.

Coordinates and oversees the sets and takedowns.

Keeps the helmsman focused on steering.


Focus on steering and not over steering your boat. Focus on your angle of heel and coordinate your team to move accordingly.

Watch jib telltales and keep your view on the horizon line.

Communicate with the crew on boat speed.

You are responsible for getting a good start!

Other general helpful tips

  • Gibe angle down wind – your mast head fly is the reciprocal for your jib angle. Watch this for laylines.
  • Mexican takedowns – Set up 2 boat lengths to weather of the leeward mark you choose. Remember on your last run you can do a reverse mexican if you choose to go around the other gate mark. A good thing to keep in mind.
  • Drop jib cars if the main is backwinding. Dont trim as tight on the jib if it is really rippin so that the sail induces twist.
  • Boards go up 6 to 8 inches in the breeze in order to neutralize the helm.