The Anatomy of a Takedown: Part I – The Weather Takedown


            The weather takedown is the ideal takedown because it allows you to carry the spinnaker to the last possible moment. Also since the sail comes down on the port side of the boat (usually), all of the spinnaker gear is in the correct spot for a bear-away set at the next windward mark. This is the takedown that we will usually use when coming into the leeward mark on port jibe for a normal port rounding. The exact timing of all of these maneuvers will vary with windspeed, boatspeed, and competition, but the harder it is blowing, the sooner everything has to happen.


1. The Setup - About three quarters of the way down the leg (or as soon as the back of the boat figures out that we are coming in on port jibe):


2. Raise the Jib - About four boatlengths from the mark (more or less depending on the windspeed):

·        Mast – jump jib halyard at the mast always watching the sail to spot any problems

·        Pit – overhaul jib halyard. Once the mastman can’t jump it anymore, put four turns on the winch and put the halyard in the self tailer. Grind the sail up to the proper upwind tension (this should be marked on the halyard, but the bowman can call it if necessary). Make sure to watch the sail for any problems. Leave the jib halyard on the winch and in the self tailer to minimize any chance of slippage. Make sure spinnaker halyard is flaked, out of the bag and ready to run.

·        Bow – Watch the jib luff feeder for any problems and be ready to run forward and help feed if necessary. Try to keep your weight as far back as possible.

·        Floater/Pit – tighten outhaul to upwind setting (probably all the way). Cunningham can wait.

·        Main - tighten backstay about halfway to upwind setting.

·        Jib Trimmer – no need to trim the jib yet, its not driving the boat (you are probably still on the guy or the sheet anyway) but make sure it is not flogging.


3. Ready for the Douse - About three boatlengths from the mark:


4. Time to Douse - Two-ish boatlengths from the mark (can vary on any number of factors including windspeed, boatspeed, overlaps, starboard tackers, confidence, etc.):


5. Rounding the Mark:




Partial Glossary:


Weather takedown (also windward takedown or douse) – taking the spinnaker down on the windward (i.e. side that the main is not on) side of the boat, inside the jib


Spinnaker (also chute or kite) – the big, round, colorful sail that you use while sailing down wind


Port – left


Spinnaker gear (also spin gear) – all of the stuff that attaches to the to the spinnaker. Usually used to refer to the sheets and guys


Bear-away set – when the boat turns downwind (bears away) at the windward mark and the spinnaker is set to leeward. This is the normal spinnaker set (as opposed to a jibe set – more on that later)


Port jibe (same as port tack) – when the boat is sailing downwind with the wind coming over the port side of the boat. The sails (main and spinnaker) will be on the starboard (right) side of the boat and the spinnaker pole will be on the port side. For the purposes of the right of way rules, the position of the main controls which jibe (or tack) you are on (more on this much later).