A question for the 505 world...
I am embarrassed... How do you gybe a 505 in over 20 kts without capsizing?
OK, there. I said it. I capsize when I gybe in high wind with the same regularity that the sun rises each morning. The last time we broke our stick, shredded a few sails, and had a hole punched in the hull by an enthusiastic but inexperienced crash boat driver.
I must be missing something so fundamental that I need to purge my soul before the 505 world to obtain the answer. It used to be capsizing at the windward mark - until I learned to pull up the board and blow the vang before the crew swings in to set the pole; duh. What steps do others take at the wing mark?
My process now is:
I'm sure you studied all the gybing basics.....Gybe with speed, catch a wave if you can, ease the vang, not too much board, etc, etc. Really it come down to basic technic with practice, practice and practice. The only good and well working shortcut I know of is......Get yourself a BIG RUDDER.
This is like an insurance policy. When things are on the way to go wrong, you will still have steering to save it. On my prior boat 8049 I had a big rudder. Never capsized in the gybes. On my current 8593 I got a standard rudder, and I started to capsize in the hard wind gybes.[Ed. I can vouch for Mike Smith's (crew on 8593) ability to gybe a 505, so it must be Johan and the rudder] What actually happen was that my gybing technique got sloppy sailing 8049, the big rudder always saved it. Some might say that big rudders cause more drag, but I doubt its important. It can be argued you get some "rudder lift" on the beat. I think my old 8049 won the British Nationals with that big rudder (not in my hands though). You don't have to steer so much, and a big rudder is great on a hard reach. The alternative to a big rudder is again, practice.
Sailing in Northern California
Henry Amthor, often "Chicken gybes" in heavy air. He would just leave everything up, poles, twings etc., gybe the boat and then have the crew deal with it all. I don't know if you can do this with a pole launcher.[Ed. Barney Harris and Jesse Falsone use a Spiro pole launcher].
[Ed. Late crew of 8263]
Apparently living in Seattle
Andy Williams GBR8445
I must confess, when it's over 20 knots, capsizing is not a problem because the straps hold it on the trailer just fine.. (I windsurf when it's like that!)
Yes, you are...
My process now is:
1. bear off,
2. fling the boom over
Seriously, as a newcomer to sailing, let alone 505s I have similar problems. I blow the vang before I round and get the board up too if I can. I'm new at this game and I feel your pain. Do you have a launcher or bags? I make sure the jib is loose as we round, or maybe even a bit before, but I've heard this is a bad idea for bags. It is important to keep your speed up, and this is where I didn't know quite what to do. I think steering down a bit helps, but the concern is slowing down so much that the rig loads up and you take a dunking. One thing my driver has told me is that grace is for beauty pagents, so I will literally dive across the boat (when crewing, not driving) to keep it balanced. A lot of people will prebend the mast before rounding and pull on some cunningham to depower the main. Another thought, I don't know if this is a concern for a Waterat or not, but on the Kyrwood I have been crewing on, I have had a great deal of trouble with the jib recleating during a tack after I have uncleated it. This is an instant capsize I have found out and a pretty violent one at that. Is it possible that Jesse is uncleating the jib only to have it recleat at a very bad time, like mid jybe or tack?
Anyway, *PLEASE* email me with any responses you get or suggestions you have. Us newcomers (read: anyone with less than 20 years driving these boats) need to stick together. Things that the veterans take for granted are new to us, and often they don't think about them, and therefore never tell us. You may want to crew for someone else and see what they do, and have Jesse do the same. Also, thanks for some of the e-mails you have sent to the list in the past, I have found them to be very helpful. Oh, by the way, sorry to hear about the passing of Spot.
USA 6491, Colorado
Your process list neglects to mention anything about that big balloonlike piece of cloth flying out in front of your boat! It sounds like you are capsizing to leeward just after the boom comes over, probably a result of losing too much speed before the boom comes over. Berate your crew some more until he can handle the twings and the pole faster:).
We're coming into the mark. Helm releases vang drastically so boom doesn't get caught on water immediately after gybe. Next, helm takes spin sheet and guy (without un-cleating). I sing in and in the really big wind (20 kn plus) I put both twings on in order to keep the chute depowered then take the pole down. In lesser winds, I blow the pole first and don't touch the twings. The next step is CRUCIAL. My skipper says go and I grab the vang and pull the boom over as quickly as possible. While I do this the driver steers a very quick and big S turn (bearing off hard, gybing and then bearing off hard on the other side). I've found that the KEY is for the crew to be super-aggressive when yanking the boom across. You can't stop part way through - no hesitations just stare the boom down and muscle it over. Allowing it to go on its own has always led to disaster for me (both when crewing and driving). Immediately after the boom goes over, the crew must be prepared to put weight out on the new windward side. Although this is usually only for a very short amount of time until the boat is stable again, it is especially important in the big wind. Finally, pole back on, secure the new guy in the cleat, release leeward tweeker and back out onto the wire (out of skipper's reach).
Used to capsize all the time just like you. But, with a little practise it goes quite smoothly now, to the point where a gybe happens as quickly and instinctively as a tack going up wind. I think that it's key to be quick and don't hesitate.
Hope this helps....
I had some questions about the response from Will Hartje and asked for some clarification. If you are confused about what he said (I was) this may help.
Can you clarify this a bit. I usually crew, but will be doing more driving next year (my 160 is a bit light for the wire).
1. Bear off [ How much? A little or close to DDW? ]
As close to DDW as you can get without precipitating an involuntary gybe.
2. Have crew facing aft for this manouevre, have him/her grab the mainsheet ( all parts) just below the boom blocks.
3. When he/she feels a LULL IN PRESSURE on the boom (ie just starting to skid down the face of a wave) he/she pulls the boom across, attempting to lessen (dampen) the slam as it fills on the other side. [ I try to push the boom over as hard as I can. Is this correct?]
No, you want the boom to travel over as gently as possible, preferably when it is under the least load you can attain, you don't want to do it just as you get hit by a gust, look for a lull or a moment when, because you are sliding down a wave, you get a drop in the apparent wind.
4 .Simultaneously, The helm CENTERS THE TILLER (Momentarily) as the boom comes over, and concentrates on keeping the boat under the tip of the mast. ie : the boom and the tiller are travelling in opposite directions at the moment of the gybe. [Okay, here is where I get lost. Do you mean to briefly center the tiller as the boom reaches center line? Then what?]
Yes, essentially, you want the boom and the tiller to pass in opposite directions at the centreline. Once the boom has completed it's travel you can get on with gathering up the boat and pointing it where you want to go.
5. Once the gybe is completed, the helmsman continues to steer up onto the new course. turning when it happens. In fact, in extreme conditions, it pays to pull the helm up to windward so that the boat is actually turning against the travel of the boom at the moment is slams across. This stops the boat pirouetting and causing the consequential capsize. [ Sorry, can you tell I'm new at this? :) Aren't you already pulling the tiller to windward to gybe the boat? Do you mean steer the boat to leeward? ]
That's right, just momentarily you are steering back the way you came, it will counter the inertia of the boom slamming over which is trying to broach you into a capsize. It is an delicate art though, and can be overdone if you are not practiced at it.
It all condenses down to: