Troubleshooting directory

Source: Cat’s brain

As all/most trouble situations are caused by rigging problems, having EXCELLENT knowledge of boat rig is the best way to stay out of trouble. That said, things happen.

Situation: Broach

Why? Helm: did not bear away before/when the boat started to give(lose control) or failed to signal to trimmers that he/she was losing helm control. Too much rudder use in strong wind conditions is usually the cause. Remember the boat moves even after your rudder stops moving.

Mains/Mast/Bow: failed to accurately inform the crew that the gust was hitting. (trimmers: should have been prepared to ease if the gust made the boat give)

Mains/Kite trimmers: failed to ease trim when they felt the boat lose control, further forcing the boat up.

What to do?

1. Ease sails! Spin SHEET off, mainsheet off, vang off (if the vang is tight, easing the mainsail will cause the boom to go hit the water, making it impossible to ease further to free load off the mainsail)

2. *SQUARE back the pole/guy until the spin is directly above the bow (As the kite sheet is eased, squaring back the pole without load on the spin should not be too much trouble)*this is the key to recovery.

3. Bear back down to a normal, safe downwind angle. EVERYBODY on the windward rail, help the boat to bear.

4. Sheet on (before you sheet back on, make sure your spin is directly above your bow considering your pole setting- the helm has more control)

If all else fails, drop the spin. But the above is unlikely to fail. In the future: address the whys and you will not broach.

Situation: Spin shackle unclips/halyard runs up

Why? It happens.

What to do? You’re in a race! Drop the jib, and use the jib halyard to hoist the spin(the distance between where the jib and spin halyard run out is small- your spin will still have the same rough shape)After the race, send someone up to get it down. In choppy conditions, it’s good to get your mainsail down before sending a man up.

In the future: tape the spin shackle.  Minimize risk of it opening.

Situation: the spin tears!

Why? Carelessness!

What to do? If it’s a manageable hole, leave it to the end of the race and the bow can patch it on the upwind. (crew: standby with scissors, tape for the upwind ASAP). If it’s impossible to sail, take it down. Sail with goosewinged jib.

In future: tape up places where it could catch and tear ie. toilet bowl, hatch opening, jib hangings etc . Be careful during spin hoists, spin drops, jib ups. Tearing your spin during your race just means you are doomed to be slower than others.

Situation: the spin explodes at the head

Why? Happens when you go on to tight a reach, the symmetrical spin shape is unable to take the load and explodes, with effect.

What to do: pick up the rest of the kite from the sea. Goosewing your jib for max speed for the remainder of the race. Remind yourself not to be so stupid next time. Next step: get the loose bit of spin and halyard down at the end of the race, and beg a new spin.

Situation: Spin or spin sheet falls under the boat

Why? Bow did not take in the foot of the kite during the drop. Mastman dropped the halyard too fast (before the bow had a hold of the spin).

What to do? If it’s the spin, pick it out of the water. if it’s just the spin sheet, the bowman can simply run the spinsheet out from under the bow by reaching down and hooking it over the bow. If, in the event, the spin sheet is close to the middle of the boat and the boat is moving so fast, you find it impossible to move the spin sheet, untie the clew end, and pull it out from the (assumed: sb) tweaker. And re-rig. In future: the crew can help! Eg. the trimmer is also watching, if you see the line going under the boat, strap the sheets in so that it stops falling. It helps if the trimmer does not release excessive amounts of spin sheet (only what is necessary) 

NB: you may consider putting an ‘extension’ at the bow to ‘catch’ the sheet

Situation: Spin wraps wildly around the forestay

Why? Trimmer was dreaming. (for the spin to have wrapped, it must have not been flying).

What to do? Get the pole down. Send the bowman to manually untwist it. Drop the halyard. Pull like mad on one side of the spin to bring it down along the forestay. (DO IT FAST OR IT WILL TWIST MORE AND YOU WILL BE IN MORE TROUBLE! TRIMMER: STOP IT THE MOMENT YOU SEE IT HAPPENING) Rest of the guys, concentrate on moving the boat as fast to the finish line. After the finish line, head away from obstacles (while it is preferable to stay downwind, you may run out of runway but I personally find it preferable to point up if you are fast approaching a crash site) 

Situation: Spin is twisted after a set(hoist)

Why? Bowman failed to effect a clean drop and the spin twisted when packing. If it was the first set,  chances are it was traced incorrectly.

What to do? If the twist is near the top of the kite, bounce the halyard (ie. pull the spin halyard up and down) If the twist is in the middle, the trimmer can try to pull alternately on sheet and guy to untwist it. The bowman should also trace along one end of the spin and tug to untwist it.

(THINK! The spin halyard shackle is rotatable! Tracing one end of the spin and tugging it forces the twist upward, allowing the spin shackle to turn to untwist itself) twist to the bottom, at either clew end: bowman to manually untwist, trimmer to pull on sheet and guy to untwist.

Remember: BE FAST in going about rectifying it!! Getting the kite full is the priority downwind!

In the future: if the bow feels that it twisted during the packing, simply retrace the spin on the upwind if there is sufficient time.

Situation: you hit a sand bar!

Why? You sailed toward it.

What to do? Drop your sails IMMEDIATELY (or you will keep sailing deeper into it), take out your motor. Reverse out the way you came (remember! Don’t keep turning! It’s easiest to come out the way you came in). Heel the boat to one side such that the keel is off the sand bar and reverse.

If all else fails, call for help and do whatever it takes to keep the boat from going further into the sand bar- sometimes this is hard as waves may be against you. Or if situation is as such, wait for tide to turn. In future: sail AWAY from sand bars, whatever the problem on your boat. Better to be heading away with your spin uncollapsed, then heading toward rocks/land/sand. Read the tide tables to be wary of potentially shallow areas.


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