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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 09-09-2003
jbr jbr is offline
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Configuring a trapeze

I''m configuring my boat, a 17'' planing dinghy, with a trapeze for single-handed sailing. This is a fast daysailer, and it wasn''t originally designed for it. Basic wires, handle, dogbone, and bungee are fairly straightforward. My questions: 1) Does anyone have experience with a "return line" which is used to keep one from swinging forward towards the mast? It seems like it would be helpful when single-handing on a trapeze if one''s footing slips so you''d stay in reach of the tiller. Any input on configuringing this would be helpful, ie, what is the best way to make it adjustable, what is the best way to hook it in, and is there a good way to secure it while not in use with a self retracting bungee similar to what is used for the rest of the trapeze hardware? 2) My boat will definitely keep sailing if I fall off (I use bungees on the rudder) so I''m less afraid of capsizing than just falling off and having the boat sail away. Therefore, I''m considering using a tether or maybe using the return line as a tether (using a quick release snap shackkle so I could release if I needed to). Any experience or thoughts on this would be appreciated. For example, will I get into trouble if I capsize to leward while on a tether, etc. Thanks for any input.
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Configuring a trapeze

On a Hobie 16, the bungee which extends under the trampoline and is connected to the trapeze wire on the other side acts as a sort of "preventer" to keep you from doing the grand circle if you plow into a wave with the bow.

Your bungee, if it helps pull you in toward the cockpit, could also act as a preventer to some degree. If you want a more secure line to attach to the rear of the boat temporarily, you could certainly do it.

One feature catamaran trapezes usually have is an adjustment to allow you to effectively vary the length of the trapeze wire. It really helps for visibility (seeing through the window in the sails) and comfort on long hikes. The trap wire has a block or loop on the end through which a short line is run; one end has the dogbone or whatever connector you are hooking up to; the other end has a loop attached to the bungee. In the line towards the bungee loop is a plastic block used to adjust how much line pays out as you hook up and push out from the boat (see diagram in Murray''s catalog page 25:

http://murrays.com/archive/archive.html#anchor73592

As you can see, they''ve got fancier systems which allow you to adjust on the fly as well.

If you want to single hand it would be a good idea to set up your boat with a bit of weather helm so it doesn''t sail away from you if you fall off!

Allen Flanigan

Alexandria, VA

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Old 09-09-2003
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Configuring a trapeze

A simple ''light line'' from the stern with a terminal "J" hook to fit to your harness would be proper. There is danger in all this as the more ''clutter'' you add to a trapeze arrangement the greater the danger of a non-release or entanaglement when you (you will) capsize. The greatest danger in singlehanding while on a trapeze is that all the harness connections should be "bombproof'' for instant release - especially when you are underwater and upside down! Be sure to always wear a very sharp sheath knife!
For boat control and recovery "after" you fall off, simply drag a light polypropylene line with a loop in the terminal end, the other end is connected to the tiller. If you can grasp the loop, a strong pull will swing the tiller to full athwartships position ... but then you probably will have to re-right the boat.
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Old 09-09-2003
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Configuring a trapeze

Allen and Rich, thanks for the great input.
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