Anatomy of a Tack
1. Ten seconds before
“We’re headed, we should tack.”
“Alright everyone we are going to tack.”
Else: Stay on the rail and hike hard.
2. Five seconds
before the tack
“Get ready to tack” or “Ready about.”
Release: Leave the rail first and go to leeward winch.
leave the rail next and go to companionway.
Trimmer: Leave the rail and go to cockpit side of windward winch.
Go to rail side of windward winch. Stand forward of winch facing aft with
outboard foot against the chock and shoulders centered over the drum.
Else: STAY ON THE RAIL and hike even harder.
3. Three seconds
before the tack
Anyone who is not in position announce
Jib Release: Take handle out of winch and unwind
a couple of turns without easing the jib.
Runners: Load new runner onto winch with three
turns; unwind a couple of turns on old runner without easing.
Jib Trimmer: Check that winch is loaded right:
three turns (clockwise), handle in, high gear. Pull any slack out of new sheet.
Grinder: Get in position so you are ready to
grind. Remember to go clockwise first.
Main trimmer: Check to make sure traveler is
clear on other tack.
Tactician: Double check that there is room to
Everyone Else: STAY
ON THE RAIL until the boat starts to turn.
Hiking now is critical to keep the boat flat and fast going into the tack and
we already have four people off the rail.
4. Start the tack
Turn the boat up, slowly at first, then faster as the jib starts to
backwind. Once the jib is across, turn back up and pinch slightly to let
the crew get the jib in before turning back down to build speed.
Release old runner and pull on new runner hand tight. Put in self tailer and put handle in.
Release: As the boat starts to turn, ease an inch or two of sheet to prevent
the jib from ripping on the spreader tips. Wait until jib starts to
backwind, but before jib hits mast or shrouds. Unwind rest of turns off
winch drum and make sure the line goes out freely.
Trimmer: Pull sheet in hand over hand as fast as possible. Look at jib the
whole time and tell grinder when to stop grinding.
Start grinding in clockwise direction. Spin the drum fast in high gear
before there is any load on the sheet to prevent overrides and build up
momentum for when there is load. When you can’t go anymore, change
directions. When you can’t go anymore again, change directions. Keep
grinding until trimmer says “Stop.”
and Mast: Stand between mast and shrouds and help jib around by keeping
the clew from getting stuck.
or Floater: Grab new jib sheet at clew after the jib is around the shrouds
and run it back to the block.
Change sides quickly and ease mainsheet about 6 inches. Pull traveler up (or
down) to same position as on the last tack.
5. Finish the tack
Make sure new runner is in self tailer, grind it
on to the same setting as the last tack (the mark on the line should be
the same distance from the drum), and get to the rail. Leave the handle in
so runner can be easily adjusted while sailing upwind.
release: Load up winch for next tack—three turns, handle in, high
gear—then get to the rail.
Skirt if necessary, then get to rail.
Else on the Foredeck: get to the rail and hike really hard until everyone
else gets there.
Grind until trimmer says “stop” then get to the rail.
Trimmer: tail the sheet and call the trim, keeping the grinder going until
the jib is inside the lifelines. Call for skirt if necessary. Once jib is
inside lifelines, send grinder to the rail and do final trim yourself. Add
turns to the winch and trim in low gear until jib is approximately one
inch off the top spreader and one inch off the turnbuckles. Adjust jib
lead if necessary. Once trim is final, get to the rail.
Drive the boat down to build speed with both sails eased. Once speed is up
to target, call for both sails to be trimmed in completely.
Trim main to helmsman’s course until boatspeed
is up. Then trim in to help him drive the boat up.