Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
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According to my wife, the best way to avoid a broach is to leave the kite(s) at home.
A point to remember is that the spinnaker trimmer is for a large part, in control of the boat. As stated earlier, he needs to change the sail’s angle of attack by easing the sheet in order for the helmsman to drive the boat deeper and steer out of the round-up. The sail can easily over-power the rudder. If he doesn’t, helm can easily stall out the rudder, loosing control of the boat. Thus turning a simple round-up into it’s more exciting cousin, the broach. At that point we’re dumping the vang both to de-power the main and (more importantly) to keep the boom out of the water (and breaking). Meanwhile, helm centers the rudder and waits for water to reattach itself, at the same time, lending encouragement and advice to the crew while maintaining his calm and composure.
We have tended to get into trouble when: Trying to carry the kite too high (depends upon the kite, but in our local conditions anything above 100-90* AWA is high risk). Far better to go down to the Code 1 or white sail; When the wind speed is greater than the sail’s polar’s. (I believe North now when they say “don’t fly the G-2 in winds (AWS) greater than twenty, twenty-five tops”); Gusty conditions – spin trimmer and grinder have to constantly adjust – a lot of work and it wears them out, but it keeps the boat pointed in the right direction and happy; And lastly, reaching through big waves. This is when helm and spin trimmer really need to act as one. Helm needs to “square” the rudder as we catch the next wave (to avoid that broach) while the trimmer eases the sheet. Once we have caught the wave, we can return to base course and harden up on the sheet. The result is a slightly serpentine course through the water. Do a good mainsheet pump at the same time and its surf’in USA time!
That was fun! Next week, can we talk about “after the broach, how the heck are we going to get the boat out of the water and back on her feet?”