The Anatomy of a Takedown: Part III – The Mexican Takedown


            Why they call this the Mexican Takedown, I don’t know, but it’s probably a good story. The Mexican is a great trick to have up your sleeve because you usually pick up a boat or two when you pull it off (or lose four when you mess it up). The Mexican is similar to a weather takedown, but you use it when you are coming into the leeward mark on starboard and will have to jibe to go around it. This will let you hold the inside position until the last possible moment and pass any boats you are overlapped with. Basically it goes jib up, pole down, jibe, chute down. Like the weather takedown, the sail and all the gear will come down on the port side of the boat and be ready for a bear away set at the next mark. 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. This is a good one to talk through quickly once we know its happening.


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 starboard jibe):


2. Raise the Jib - About five 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 close to 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.

·        Spin sheet trimmer – load the lazy spin sheet onto the winch, take the slack out of the lazy sheet and get ready to fly from both sheets.


3. Pole Down – About three boatlengths from the mark:


4. The Jibe – Whenever it is right—probably within two boatlengths, but try to give the crew enough time to get the spinnaker down afterwards.


4. Time to Douse – One-ish boatlengths from the mark or very soon after the jibe (can vary on any number of factors including windspeed, boatspeed, overlaps, starboard tackers, confidence, etc.):


5. Rounding the Mark: