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Eric!

Looking for tips on sailing an 1970's era 18 footer

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I just started crewing on a older Aussie 18. It has a symmetrical chute and non-self tacking jib among other complications. We happen to be the only one here in Hawaii and the owners are self-taught.

 

Are there any resources out there to help coach us through some of the crewing tips? We've been trying to glean information from youtube but it is hard to see the full process in most of the videos because they are such short snips and usually cherry picked action shots.

 

Books, videos, pretty much anything would probably help us refine our techniques in keeping the mast out of the water.

 

Thanks,

Eric

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Where are you sailing Eric ? How much performance dinghy sailing have you guys done ?

 

I'd not rush the kite-work until you get good at calling the puff Off as well as On.

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We're in Hilo bay and the owners have owned this boat for 20+ years. They spent a little time in Australia sailing it before moving to the Pacific Islands (with the 18 footer) and now the Big Island. There is almost nothing on the older style 18s with symmetrical. You can find a few videos from the 70's but that's about it. They've sailed it for many years and know the boat well, however their technique has been mostly trial and error.

 

I've been hoping to find something instructional out there we can learn from, but there seems to be nothing I can find relevant to the 18s. All the instruction seems to just be passed person to person at the clubs, etc.

 

I haven't sailed dinghies before, but I've sailed 30,000+ miles on monohulls and raced quite a bit in the past (with symmetrical too). I know we won't find anything on their style of 18 footer but I'd like to at least borrow some crewing ideas from the other versions.

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First you need a De Lorean,and then a Flux Capacitor!.........................from there its easy.

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There's still going to be plenty of people around who know how it was done. Shouldn't bother with the time machine yet.

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The real trick is to almost always sail over canvased! How good is the mast pusher, With the kites do you have the shortner for smaller non mast head ones? good to practice with. The main secret is all about the twings/ downfuckers or whatever you call the trim rope set up for brace/ sheet. One & one down hard on the go, both almost hard down & sail square so the kite sets then swap the pole only then flop the main! Same with the set, a bit but not too much kicker & skip to sail to the kite to allow the forward hand to secure the pole without pressure. These classics are no different to any high performace craft in that it is more about heads out of the boat & driving faster to changing conditions than getting caught out not fully out on the wire or worse throwing sheet & slowing down, that will only make the next gust hurt more with the differential and inevitable swim.

 

This is helpful. Thanks for the suggestions.

 

I don't see the older 18s being much different from the newer versions they are just harder to sail. We've been sailing under canvased because we are in a gusty location. IIRC we have the 36', 32' and 28' rigs. When we hit the gusts we really take off but often tacking in the higher winds has been a struggle. The owner says jibbing usually takes the crew a long time before they can pull it off, so we haven't done that yet. They keep wanting to set the appropriate size chute, but I now I'm going to push for the smallest for practicing.

 

We are always easing in gusts and I think the main trimmer might be doing too much work. I'll hike harder only to see them easing.

 

 

The main issue is what gear/ spagetti mast combo do you have? The other is friction and a sheet hand who can throw then pull back on 1-3 yards (as we are chatting old school) of main sheet for the duration, helm is kept central so sails steer, boat kept flat as if Farr style not enough freeboard to allow any heel without filling up and being a wallowing duck. :)

 

I don't think the 18s were standardized enough in the 70's to have a set layout. But I don't know the boat that well and I've never seen another 18 up close. We have jam cleats for the jib, which I dislike because they are hard to release and set while moving. I don't know if there is a better option (besides self-tacking).

 

As for the main we usually don't work the sheet that hard. We try to balance with weight and then sheet, sometimes I've seen the helmsman veer as well. When the helm veers, it's usually chaos as we oscillate trying to find balance again between weight and trim.

 

We don't have the double hull so when we start to fill, it's pretty much all over. I'm the lucky one who stands on the bow to try and get the transom out of the water while we try to get it moving again to drain out the scuppers.

 

We might go out again in the next few weeks. I'll try to take some photos and see if anyone has some suggestions. The boat is a blast to sail. I'm completely addicted.

 

Is there somewhere where I could look at rigging options for 18s? I don't even have a baseline for what most people sail to really discuss the differences and problems?

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My 18teen career was 1974 - 1993.

 

The Symmetrical 18teen I sail where Mutual Acceptance, KB, Singapore Airlines, 9 Wide World of sport & the original Entrad/King Gee.

 

They tended to have quite small mast, very few had wings, 9 did and Entrad was 10.5ft wide.

 

1981 was the start of the Asymmetric era!

 

Need to work out which boat it is, before you can work out how to help!

 

Jb

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My 18teen career was 1974 - 1993.

 

The Symmetrical 18teen I sail where Mutual Acceptance, KB, Singapore Airlines, 9 Wide World of sport & the original Entrad/King Gee.

 

They tended to have quite small mast, very few had wings, 9 did and Entrad was 10.5ft wide.

 

1981 was the start of the Asymmetric era!

 

Need to work out which boat it is, before you can work out how to help!

 

Jb

 

 

 

......wot's the odds you sailed the boat!? :rolleyes:

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I don't see the older 18s being much different from the newer versions they are just harder to sail. We've been sailing under canvased because we are in a gusty location. IIRC we have the 36', 32' and 28' rigs. When we hit the gusts we really take off but often tacking in the higher winds has been a struggle. The owner says jibbing usually takes the crew a long time before they can pull it off, so we haven't done that yet. They keep wanting to set the appropriate size chute, but I now I'm going to push for the smallest for practicing.

 

We are always easing in gusts and I think the main trimmer might be doing too much work. I'll hike harder only to see them easing.

 

I don't think the 18s were standardized enough in the 70's to have a set layout. But I don't know the boat that well and I've never seen another 18 up close. We have jam cleats for the jib, which I dislike because they are hard to release and set while moving. I don't know if there is a better option (besides self-tacking).

 

 

As for the main we usually don't work the sheet that hard. We try to balance with weight and then sheet, sometimes I've seen the helmsman veer as well. When the helm veers, it's usually chaos as we oscillate trying to find balance again between weight and trim.

 

We don't have the double hull so when we start to fill, it's pretty much all over. I'm the lucky one who stands on the bow to try and get the transom out of the water while we try to get it moving again to drain out the scuppers.

 

We might go out again in the next few weeks. I'll try to take some photos and see if anyone has some suggestions. The boat is a blast to sail. I'm completely addicted.

 

Is there somewhere where I could look at rigging options for 18s? I don't even have a baseline for what most people sail to really discuss the differences and problems?

 

 

Big rig 0-8 knots windspeed probably push it to 10 if good

Medium rig 8- 15 knots probably take it to 18 if good

Little rig 12-35

Best to rig so crew remain on wire in lulls moving in and out is slow and tiring.

 

When overpowered all the usual stuff with more Cunningham and flatten the foot, probably has a mast gate so ease that to allow bottom of mast to bend flattening sail, if it has jib luff tension adjustment pull that tighter when overpowered.

If it has adjustable backstays ease them upwind don't forget to pull them on downwind with kite up, if they are not adjustable you will have to set them while rigging by pulling mainsheet on then shackling it up.

Look for gusts on the water and maybe ease a little sheet just before they hit, look for gusts before gybing or tacking and don't time it so you get hit in the middle of turning.

The forward hand should always have the jib sheet in hand when kite is not up he should ease it to prevent capsize in big gusts.

 

When tacking make sure you have some boatspeed and boat is flat before starting tack, the forward hand should back the jib a bit to help push the bow around.

When gybing sheethand should grab the boom and pull it across it is too slow to use mainsheet for this, look for gusts before gybing and do it before or after gust.

 

Upwind the forward hand moves in and out first in lulls to keep skipper and sheet on the wire, the sheethand gets priority on the wire so he can trim without having to move as well, strong sheethands were required to ease and pull on a few feet in gust-lulls.

The skipper can point a little higher in gusts to help depower, steer for balance.

 

2 sail reaching keep sheethand on wire the forward hand goes in first in lulls, the forward hand should have jib sheet in hand.

 

Kite sets-

Forward hand takes pole off boom and clips on brace before pushing pole out, sheethand will set topping lift as this is being done then sheethand hoists kite, the skipper might set the brace with help from forward hand while sheethand pulls on pole downhaul after hoisting kite, fowrad hand grabs kite sheet and trims it.

The sheethand moves in and out offwind to keep forward hand on the wire.

 

Kite gybe

Gybe the mainsail first then forward hand end for end pole, sheethand should ease about a foot of pole downhaul so forward hand doesn't struggle as much putting pole on mast, the skipper and sheet will sort out the brace and pull on pole downhaul after forward hand has pole secured on mast.

You can square it off before gybing if desired we never bothered with that it worked out a bit slower

 

Kite drop

Forward hand takes pole off mast and hands it to sheethand who stores it on boom then forward grabs brace and hauls foot of kite in while being careful not to drop sheet under the bow, the sheethand releases kite halyard so forward hand can stow it.

The forward hand might then tidy up sheets etc.

 

I have never seen anyone stand on the bow after a capsize we just pulled some sail on got on the wire to get the boat moving and it drained fairly quickly even going upwind.

 

The forward hand should look for traffic upwind as the skipper will be looking at jib, downwind the sheethand looks for traffic because forward hand is looking at kite luff.

Go above everything don't let any traffic take your wind as the momentary lull will make someone have to go in.

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In the early '70's most of the Australian boats were designed for a four man crew .. at that time NZ was introducing three man boats .. by the late '70's most were three man boats .. do you know the original name of your boat?

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Thanks for all the feedback. There are some good information for us to try and I've made several notes about things we aren't doing.

 

Perhaps these 2 older photo will help identify it better. I'm not sure if the boat ever had a name. I'm pretty new to the boat and I've only sailed it 4 times. They usually have 4 for crew especially with the chute. We sailed it last week with just 3 (and one 9 year old) and no flying sails. I think it could be handled by 3 once the crew has some skills and good teamwork. However if I had some kind of tutorial or slow videos on how to execute tacks/jibes and sets/douses I think it would help me personally visualize what things should look like when they are right. The advice given in this thread will definitely help too.

 

We hit some pretty fast speeds (no chute) the last time we went out and I'd like to up our game more as we dumped it 3+ times. Would using a camera help? Sometimes things go wrong so fast we don't know what happened exactly.

 

Fgv8wQ7.jpg

 

 

R2HZ49u.jpg

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There's a Facebook page "The Facebook 18' Skiff Club" that may lead to some good info for you guys. This page ranges from historical 18's, modern 18's, 12's, 16's and everything in between.

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So the boat is from the Tia Maria ear, so very late 70's early 80's.

 

I was owned by the SFO based promoter, whose name escapes me.

 

Something like Puktue Sha (Indian sort of name)

 

Probably find it was put together by Andrew Buckland.

 

I do remember it in SFO when we went through there in 83

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Wondering if that's the boat that Bard and the Hulse Spars boys built in Alameda around '80?

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Wondering if that's the boat that Bard and the Hulse Spars boys built in Alameda around '80?

 

I know the owners bought it in Australia.

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Wondering if that's the boat that Bard and the Hulse Spars boys built in Alameda around '80?

Trevor, that is for sure the boat that David, Joe, and Bard built. In fact, you just make out the Hulse-Chrisman Spars logo on the bow.

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Wondering if that's the boat that Bard and the Hulse Spars boys built in Alameda around '80?

Trevor, that is for sure the boat that David, Joe, and Bard built. In fact, you just make out the Hulse-Chrisman Spars logo on the bow.

 

 

 

The mast and spreaders are different to the Murray package boats of that era,the mainsail is slightly different as well were the sails made in the USA for that boat?

 

There is some footage of it on SF bay-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyKlSX7EdmE

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Thanks for all the feedback. There are some good information for us to try and I've made several notes about things we aren't doing.

 

Perhaps these 2 older photo will help identify it better. I'm not sure if the boat ever had a name. I'm pretty new to the boat and I've only sailed it 4 times. They usually have 4 for crew especially with the chute. We sailed it last week with just 3 (and one 9 year old) and no flying sails. I think it could be handled by 3 once the crew has some skills and good teamwork. However if I had some kind of tutorial or slow videos on how to execute tacks/jibes and sets/douses I think it would help me personally visualize what things should look like when they are right. The advice given in this thread will definitely help too.

 

We hit some pretty fast speeds (no chute) the last time we went out and I'd like to up our game more as we dumped it 3+ times. Would using a camera help? Sometimes things go wrong so fast we don't know what happened exactly.

 

Fgv8wQ7.jpg

 

 

R2HZ49u.jpg

 

 

We sailed it last week with just 3 (and one 9 year old) and no flying sails. I think it could be handled by 3 once the crew has some skills and good teamwork. However if I had some kind of tutorial or slow videos on how to execute tacks/jibes and sets/douses I think it would help me personally visualize what things should look like when they are right. The advice given in this thread will definitely help too.

 

We hit some pretty fast speeds (no chute) the last time we went out and I'd like to up our game more as we dumped it 3+ times. Would using a camera help? Sometimes things go wrong so fast we don't know what happened exactly.

 

 

There are no tutorial videos I am aware of for those boats, if you take some video and edit it we can give some advice on sailing it.

 

It looks like the bowsprit is missing in those pics which means the big rig might not be used because jib luff to long to fit, the intermediate rig would set the jib about 6 inches in front of the bow with the big rig around a foot maybe a little more.

There was a stay going from near bottom of bow to bowsprit it looks like something else it attached to it.

 

I would put some nets on the wings to make it easier to stand up and run across when tacking-gybing, back in the day we went down to the Fish markets and bought some net for about $20 then cut it and lashed it on, Kevin Nixon started making nets from spectra in the GP era.

The nets will remove need for footwork like a ballerina and make it more comfortable to sit on when underpowered.

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Wondering if that's the boat that Bard and the Hulse Spars boys built in Alameda around '80?

Trevor, that is for sure the boat that David, Joe, and Bard built. In fact, you just make out the Hulse-Chrisman Spars logo on the bow.

 

 

 

The mast and spreaders are different to the Murray package boats of that era,the mainsail is slightly different as well were the sails made in the USA for that boat?

 

There is some footage of it on SF bay-

 

 

 

I'd personally like some nets as it can be hard to step from bar to bar. Are nets typically tied as tight as possible so there's little sag in them like a catamaran? Also my shins take a hard beating as the forward man on the struts, centerboard casing and beams when climbing around.

 

Are there any simple improvements that can be made to the running rigging to make line handling easier?

 

Thanks for the video. That's the boat alright! I'm not sure where the sails were made but I do know they are original if you can believe that!

 

Something to think about, with your NOTE: 80s style 18footer, is in windier conditions with more chop & in lighter stuff while reaction times are slow, is to set up a wing flopper that lifts the leward wing out of the drink! see vids, i am sure there is a turning block or at least en eye pad on the mast near the top spreaders or above trap keyhole position.

 

Our wings can't be lifted (there's two pins on each strut) and there's only one cable and it is tied off at the wing where it goes from wire to rope and the owners have told me it is not designed to carry a load and they definitely don't adjust it at all.

 

Would any of the books by Frank Bethwaite be applicable or helpful?

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Hi All Scallywags,

Thank you for the interest in my old 18footer. I bought her from the Hulse Brothers in 1986, who built her in Alameda, California. They purchased plans from Iain Murray, and so she is a sister ship to Color 7. She is 3/8 " Kledgecall, with carbon fiber/epoxy skin, and weighs 250 pounds. The racks were hinged, but we fixed them. She had a short bow sprit [16 inches] for securing the #1 forestay, which we have removed, because we do not sail with the 36 foot mast. We get in enough trouble with the 32 foot mast. We are cruisers,not racers, and have never belonged to a yacht club. As Eric has said, we have learned by trial and error, mostly error. We always enjoy sailing this exotic race machine in 2 to 20 knots. We only need a lizard's breath to have a good time flying the 600 sf spinnaker. We now have a 9 year old grandson who LOVES to trap out, and is brilliant with the boat.

Around 1970 I sailed as crew on a wooden Travel Lodge in San Francisco Bay. The two guys from Australia needed 2 hands to sail for Sail Magazine, who were taking photos of this unusual craft. We sailed in the usual 25 knots of breeze and I simply had the shit scared out of me. I vowed that I would buy one for myself when I had the money. In 1986 I made the purchase and have lived happily ever after.

We have sailed her in California [Lake Cachuma mostly], Palau [an island in Micronesia] and now in Hilo Bay, Hawaii. In Palau [population 20,000] we trained crew who had never set foot on a sail boat, and who were from Palau, Russia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Vietnam, and the Yap Islands. We sailed almost every Sunday for about 10 years. Palau was a challenging venue for the gradient winds might be 5-10, but the squalls packed 25-30 knots. And there were no facilities for launching, sometimes requiring that we sail downwind at 15 knots approaching a seaplane ramp and dodging bommies along the way.

We love to fly the spinnaker, but we are proficient in 15 knots only with the small rig. On a gybe we head down, bring the boom across, set the new after-guy [brace I think you call it] to its mark, bring the pole back, end-for-end the pole, and bear off on the new course. We help the foredeckman set the pole by keeping down, and by easing the new sheet. We learned the hard way that we do not ease the new afterguy for this purpose. We learned the hard way that we must to travel at maximum speed before gybing. It was Howard from the Long Beach YC that told us, "gybe the main first, and sort the rest out later." That proved to be good advice. Any tips from you old salts and racers is always appreciated.

The skiff has been perfect for us as we are getting older, as we can "under-sail" her by rig selection. I am 77, and my beautiful mainsheetman is 70. In short, you can say that this OLD fart simply loves to sail this OLD 18.

 

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Hi All Scallywags,

Thank you for the interest in my old 18footer..... ... ...

... ... ... ...

The skiff has been perfect for us as we are getting older, as we can "under-sail" her by rig selection. I am 77, and my beautiful mainsheetman is 70. In short, you can say that this OLD fart simply loves to sail this OLD 18.

 

 

Best thing I've read this year !! Seriously, thank you for posting the story. Stuff like this is why I come to SA discussion

 

FB- Doug

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Good to see you join in here Richard! Thanks for correcting my faulty memory.


 

Best thing I've read this year !! Seriously, thank you for posting the story. Stuff like this is why I come to SA discussion

 

FB- Doug

 

 

Doug -- that's nothing you should see them sailing that skiff! I'm here trying to get ideas of how to catch up with them and not be the guy screwing up.

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Thanks for the "old fart boats" thread. We read the article and feel the old Ausssie 18 checks all the boxes. Easy on the body, performs well, and by under sailing her you can get out on the water with some help from younger sailors like Eric.

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