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chucklesR 07-02-2008 03:34 PM

How to tack a multihull
With Alex/Giullieta somewhat off watch I thought I'd fill in the gap with a little instructional series that details the difference between Multi and Mono hull handling. Of course, it contains a little tonque in cheek, wouldn't be me if It didn't.
Video will be posted as soon as I construct an adequate disquise.
The first is "how to tack" (I posted a similar walk thru earlier):

Generally tacking a multihull is somewhat different. I leave instructions posted at my helm station in case I forget, the printable part of the step by step instructions is included below for your reading pleasure:

Decide if you really need to tack (try to stay away from hard objects or shallow (2 feet) depths). Check the speed log and or GPS to make sure you are actually moving in the water. Try to remember if you are anchored, if not anchored proceed, if so you probably don't need to tack after all.

Inform the Admiral that the position of the sun and direction of the wind may change momentarily, she might need to adjust her position for optimum suntan and or cooling.

Put down your drink, you may need both hands if something weird happens.

Approach the helm, look up and forward to the jib and determine which way you will tack, (left or right). As a reminder a tack is turning away from the sail, gybing is turning towards the sail. If you need to gybe, turn to the ‘how to gybe page of this book.

Push the appropriate buttons on the Autopilot to start the tack.

Wait – Leer at the Admiral, maybe if she’s moving parts of her bikini might not be yet 

Release the working jib from the self tailing winch, do not unwrap the line.

Wait – now is a good time to refill the Admiral’s foo-foo drink and replace the little umbrella in the glass if she lost it.

Wait – check the compass and make sure it is spinning around.

When (if) the bow crosses the wind the jib will flap louder than the music, this is your clue that you are about to back wind the jib and you should look forward.

At some point the main sail, and the boom will swing over from one side to the other with a loud crash. Don’t be alarmed this is normal.

When the jib is back winded (see glossary if necessary), count to three, or four, slowly (use all the fingers on one hand).

Release the wraps on the winch so the jib sheet runs free.

Walk (do not run) over to the new working winch on the other side of the boat, put three wraps on the winch but do not tail the line.

Wait – now is a good time to replenish your sun screen.

Pull in the jib sheet to remove all slack, do not strain yourself as neither speed nor effort matter.

If the jib remains back winded you are ‘caught in irons’ and are possibly screwed. If anyone is watching, announce loudly that you have decided to take a break and are now 'hove to', release the main sheet a little bit and go back to your drink - it will still be where you left it.

If caught in irons, turn to the 'caught in irons' page of this manual and follow the instructions (Basically call TowboatUS, again).

If the jib is not back winded you are truly fortunate and have completed the hard part of the tack. Winch in the slack until at least one of the tell tales is fluttering in the breeze (sort of horizontal). You can winch until they all are horizontal if you want, doesn't matter too much but will look more sailor like.

Look up at the main and if the tell tales are not hanging limp you are done. If they are hanging limp pull in or let out on the mainsheet and observe the tell tales, play with it until at least one tell tale is fluttering.

Check the speed log and or GPS to make sure you are moving through the water. Give it a minute to settle down and start moving if needed.

Check the autopilot, if it is cycling insanely and beeping you probably can't make what it considers to be a good course, hit the standby button, wait a second and hit the auto button, it will now maintain your current course as the new course. You should probably look up to see if anything is in your way. If so blow the horn three times and flip this page to the 'Collision response directions' side and follow the instructions (basically call insurance company, again)

Go back to where you left your drink, it will still be there.

Admire the Admiral in her new position leeringly (if leeringly is not a word you know what I mean).

Ponder the joy of sailing until your next forced tack. Don’t forget to use sunscreen.

craigtoo 07-02-2008 03:46 PM


:D :)

Too much sailing stuff in there... How do you keep your drink cold? What is the proper gesture to mono-hullers as you slowly pass them with the sails trimmed to the "in" position? (There are only 2 positions "in" or "out" right?)

djodenda 07-02-2008 03:53 PM

So, really, you need to backwind the jib on your Gemini to tack?

I figured that wasn't necessary on the big cats.

I remember the first time I tried to tack a Hobie 14. Never could do it reliably. Got to about a 75% success rate on the Hobie 16 without backwinding the jib.

Teach me, Obi-Wan

chucklesR 07-02-2008 04:19 PM

I keep the ice cold in the refridge/freezer that makes ice. The hand sign I use is a simple 'hi' wave, no need to depress them more than they are.
Sails 'trimmed' ? I don't have a barber on board.

I only have to backwind the jib if the wind is light or I'm moving less than 4 knts, that's not often. Gemini's are one of the smallest and lightess production 'cruising' cat's on the market today.
Without the weight, we suffer for momentum to tack in chop.

chucklesR 07-02-2008 04:22 PM

Figured I go with the gybing part as well.

Gybing a Multihull.

If hard pointy objects or silly stuff like reaching a destination force you to maneuver your boat and gybing (turning the sail boat around by turning away from the wind) is required the following steps are germaine:

Inform the Admiral that you find it necessary to maneuver the boat, her sun tan and cooling breezes might be affected.

Put down your drink, two hands might be needed if it gets hairy.

Check the wind speed, if over 10 knots true turn to the ‘dropping the sails’ page after first completing the instructions on the ‘starting the motor’ page.

If the wind speed is safe for the intended operation continue

Check to make sure the Admirals bikini moved with her – if not, stop everything (momentarily). If so, frown and continue.

Note some cap’ns insist you can gybe with both jib and main at the same time. This is a simpler, safer, and more restful method. Let the other guys do the hairy scary stuff on their boats.

The safest way is to furl the jib, or screacher (depending on which you are trying to use) first. If the jib is out (the little sail, with the black UV cover) release the jib sheet from the winch and let it flap, grasp the skinny green and white line to starboard of the helm and after un-cleating both the sheet and the furler (let’s not try THAT again) pull it in hand over hand while watching the jib sail roll itself up.
If the screacher is in use it’s the same but with the red screacher sheet and the black and white furler line. It’s also harder to furl because it is bigger (and therefore only recommended if you have a ‘volunteer’ crew on board to do the work).

Cleat the furling line, no need to go through ‘that’ again either.

Sample the drink, you’ve earned it.

Approach the helm – cursing Raymarine for having a ‘auto tack’ feature by not a ‘auto gybe’ feature disengage the autopilot by putting it in standby and releasing the clutch (the gray lever behind the wheel).

Announce ‘Gybing’ (I don’t know what this does, but all the other guys do it).

Pull the mainsheet (red string at the center of the pulley thingee) all the way tight. The boat will slow down considerably.

Turn the wheel four full turns towards the main sail

The boom and main sail will cross (eventually) to the opposite side of the boat – pulling in the mainsheet means it will do it slower and with less slamming. I recommend it as the crashing noises might interfere with the music playing in the background.

Once the boom has crossed the back of the boat, turn the wheel back to the center, four full turns.

Look up and see where you are going, check the wind direction. Check the speed log and or GPS and see if you are moving. If somehow you are still moving start letting out the main sheet again.

If you have stopped moving turn to the page “starting the motor”.

Assuming you are moving you can now establish a course (direction to sail) – remember the most important part of establishing a course is picking a direction that provides the longest possible time period before you have to move again, this includes trimming the sails (see page ‘making way in the water without the engine”.

Keep turning the boat until the windex (see glossary and or page “your instruments and you” ) says the wind is roughly 100 to 130 degrees off the stern, let the main sail out until it is nice and billowy, cleat that puppy off.

Re-sample drink, the ice may be melted but do not panic or refill just yet, there is more to do.

Check the Admirals 'position' out. Leer appreciably.

Unfurl the jib or screacher – see page “those other sails on the front and how to use them”.

While the jib is not necessary for down wind sailing it does make the boat look like a sailboat, failure to expend the effort to deploy it will subject you to more ridicule than you normally get for being a multihull catacondo driver.

Go back to drink, sit, hang out until either someone blows a horn at you or you are forced to move again.

Stillraining 07-02-2008 11:06 PM

Too funny Chuck...

craigtoo 07-02-2008 11:36 PM

Monohull Tacking - A multi-huller's perspective...
So... you're a Multihuller and you want to particpate in a Monohull Tack.

First, let me set-up the situation....

When you arrived at the dock with your life jacket to join this motley crew you proudly showed off your collection of imported beers and top shelf rum and asked where the fridge was. You were immediately labled as a "multi-huller" and given 3 minutes to strip down to your boxers leave everything at the dock (including your priceless collection of Airline stirrers that you've been working on for years) except your Lifejacket. This was the first sign that you may be getting into something over your head....

You're on the water no less than 2 minutes...

You hear the skipper scream "Ready to Tack!!!" Note.. this is NOT a question but an order.

At this point, the boat is violently heeled over, your grasping for dear life with both arms around the windward winch - tossing your cookies overboard... again and again. Your feet are dangling in the cockpit. You are pale and actually find pleasure in the waves that crash over the bow and cleanse the hull (and your face) of your breakfast.

As you struggle to free one hand enough to wrap the sheet around the winch, (which way does it go again?) you notice a Cat "stroll by" whilst the captain is delivering a drink (with umbrella) to his hot wife who is sunning herself on one of the floatie things.. You notice that the front little triangle sail isn't even rolled out... a small tear rolls down your cheek.

The monohull skipper violently throws the wheel over and as the boat swings in the opposite direction you get a bloody lip on the winch, this is immediately followed by a rope burn on your cheek as the front triangle sail (which is *way* to big in your opinion) is pulled violently against the wires which hold the stick up.

There is a bright spot...You've managed to tune out the screaming by the other crew members at this point. It wasn't difficult considering the only words you had to ignore were "TRRIIIIIIIMMMMM" and "%^$&#*@(*#$&CK" it seems that's all you have to know of the English language to crew on a monohull...

The "Tack", -now complete- finds you upside down with your head in a combing compartment on the leeward side. You swear you just saw Jesus. No need to worry about taking the blessed escalator, a winch handle is holding you in the boat right where the guy who screams "TRRIIIMMM!!!'" left it.... in your rib cage.

At this point the skipper assigns the "multi-huller" (no one even asked your name) to what appears to be an extremely important job. Depth Monitoring... As it turns out, mono-hullers panic at anything below 12 feet of water... it becomes your job to constantly scream out the depth (probably because the rest of the crew only knows those two words and not numbers...) so that the skipper can "Tack" again.. and again... to get away from the evil shallow water.

As you swear for the 50th time to yourself that you'll never agree to "crew" on a monohull again you remind yourself with some satisfaction that it took no fewer than 13 glasses of rum punch last week at the party on your cat before you finally "caved" and agreed to join the loud man (friend of a friend) on an afternoon sail on his new Sabre 34...besides it was all an effort to get him to shut-up. He kept trying to pull all the strings and make one of the floatie thingys come out of the water. Doesn't he know that you might spill your drink?

:) :D :) :D :) :D :) :D :)

SEMIJim 07-02-2008 11:39 PM

chucklesR 07-03-2008 08:36 AM

Ah, memories of the old days.
In truth catamarans are not that fast - I have a range between 15 and 20 kts where it gets sweet, under 15 I'm running a 8knts or less just like you lead mines, over 15knts on anything but close haul and I can get up and go at 10+ knts. Over 20 and I have to reef. Keep in mind I reef for gusts, you reef for steady. Takes some of the stuffing out of my sails.
If I get my webcam working this weekend I'll make a couple of video's detailing the above procedures. Of course the Admiral won't wear her bikini anywhere near a webcam :( so they will be short video's.

Meanwhile, see you saturday at 10 am. I believe we will be committee boat, or participating. Channel 68 monitored, somewhat :)

BreakingWind2 07-03-2008 08:44 AM

You guys are killing me. Keep it up!

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