Navy 44 Sailing Guides

GYBING THE SPINNAKER

Safety Considerations:

(1) Ensure sheets and guys are clear forward and in the cockpit.

(2) Check to ensure your intended course is clear of other boats, shipping, and navigation hazards.

(3) Ensure crew members are in safe zones for the maneuver.  Specifically, they should stay off the "bridge deck" and be mindful of the mainsheet parts as the gybe is executed.

(4) DO NOT allow boom to gybe without trimming to centerline, even in light wind.

(5) Emphasize that the helmsman is in charge and control of the evolution.  They must be cognizant of the respective jobs and chronology.  Specifically, they must realize that they can slow down or speed up the gybe with helm.  If something is not going correctly, they should slow down or stop the turn until everyone is in sync.

(6) Communication is the key to safe, smooth spinnaker flying.

 

General Situation:

Assume sailing on a broad reach in moderate conditions.

 

Positions Required:

(1) Helmsman.

(2) Spinnaker Sheet.

(3) Spinnaker Guy.

(4) Grinder.

(5) Topping Lift.

(6) Mainsheet.

(7) Bow.

(8) Mast.

 

Sequence of Events:

(1) Helmsman calls out "Prepare to gybe" and lets crew know what point of sail they should trim to upon completion of the gybe.

(2) Spinnaker Sheet ensures both sheets are clear, places sufficient turns on the new secondary winch, stands in cockpit with back against binnacle, continues to trim, and reports "Ready" to Helmsman.

(3) Spinnaker Guy ensures both guys are clear, places sufficient turns on the new primary winch, stands in cockpit forward of Spinnaker Sheet, continues to trim, and reports "Ready" to Helmsman.

(4) Mainsheet takes the preventer off the winch, Mast detaches the preventer and shackles the tail to the lifeline and secures the preventer along the boom. 

(5) Topping Lift ensure topping lift and foreguy are clear, takes topping lift out of self tailer, and reports "Ready" to Helmsman.

(6) Mast ensures inboard end of pole is at proper height for dipping outboard end and tripping line is clear.  Reports "Ready" to Helmsman.

(7) Bow takes bight of lazy guy to pulpit, positions himself forward of the headstay facing aft with lazy guy in hand, and reports "Ready" to Helmsman.  Alternatively, the Bow may chose to face forward, remaining at shrouds until the pole is lowered and then put the new guy into the jaw of the pole.

(8) After receiving "Ready" reports from crew, Helmsman calls out "Bearing away" and turns the stern towards the wind.  Mainsheet, Spinnaker Sheet, and Spinnaker Guy trim to apparent wind.  Basically, the pole should be as far aft as possible before tripping.

(9) When wind reaches 150-160 degrees apparent, Mainsheet trims mainsail, timing it so that the main is amidships before the boat is dead before the wind.  An extra crew member can sit on the cabin trunk and help with the trim.

(10) Helmsman calls "Trip and dip" as the stern passes through the wind.

(11) At "trip and dip" Mast trips outboard end, Topping Lift is eased smartly so that the pole can clear both lifelines and headstay.  If needed, Mast can give a tug on the trip line to get the pole swinging in.  Sheet and guy do not need to be adjusted at this instant if they are trimmed correctly.

(12) As the pole swings through the fore triangle, Bow snaps new guy to into open jaw and, once jaw closes, calls out "Made" and lifts outboard end up with on hand to get it moving up.

(13) At "Made" call, Mast jumps topping lift and adjusts inboard end as necessary.

(14) Topping Lift trims topping lift to proper height and stands by to adjust foreguy as necessary.

(15) Spinnaker Guy begins to trim new guy at "Made" call and eases/casts off old guy.  Position pole to apparent wind.

(16) Spinnaker Sheet begins trimming on new sheet at "Made" call.  Ease off old sheet as new guy approaches the outboard pole end.  "Trimming" in this case does not necessarily mean "pull in."

(17)  Mainsheet eases the main to the expected point of sail and sets preventer if needed.

(18) Grinder assists as necessary; usually the spinnaker sheet winch needs a grinder first.

- This page last updated 05/04/2005 -