The Anatomy of a Takedown: Part IV – The Letterbox Drop


            This is the takedown for when things are way out of control, like when there is so much wind that we don’t even want to put a jib up, we just need to get the chute down—fast. The letterbox drop works a lot like the leeward takedown, but without a jib up, we need to hide the spinnaker behind the main, so we run the lazy guy over the boom and down the companionway. The advantage is it keeps people off the foredeck and collapses the sail as it comes down. This works on either jibe, and the mark is probably irrelevant at this point, but we’ll assume that we are going downwind on port jibe and will not be putting up a jib (yet). The exact timing of all of these maneuvers will be soon—very soon—but only as soon as everyone is ready.


1. The Setup – Once we realize things are out of control:


2. Ready for the Douse – Pretty soon after the setup:


4. Time to Douse – As soon as everyone is ready:


5. Afterwards: Get the boat under control. Clean up the pole and spinnaker gear. Figure out what headsail you are going to put up. Go fast again.