Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gybe Talking

In preparation for rounding the upwind mark there are two ways to set the spinnaker based on your mark rounding and downwind strategy, commonly referred to as spinnaker sets. The most common is the "bear-away set". The bear-away set is the easier of the two to execute. The bear-away set is as the name infers, bearing away around the mark and hoisting the spinnaker on the port side as you start rounding the mark. The advantage of the bear-away set (particularly in the J24 and fleet racing) is that it allows you the opportunity to head higher into clear wind after the mark to maintain speed.

The bear-away set is the only set we have executed during our 9 races this season. In race 8 we wanted to stay on the inside after rounding the upwind mark and the gybe-set would have been the optimal tactic. The wind was tracking to the right and this would have been the better gybe to be on but not having practiced this move at all I was reluctant to make the call.

The gybe-set consists of executing a bear-away spinnaker set but immediately gybing around the mark heading to the left of the course. This is considered the toughest sailing maneuver to pull off. The spinnaker set on a bear-away set can be tricky enough without adding a gybe to the mix.

One way to make the gybe-set more effective is to hoist the spinnaker without the pole and fly the chute on it's own. While making the gybe, ease the spinnaker to the starboard side and then make the pole.

In preparation for the up and coming regatta we will be perfecting both sets on the water.

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