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kurio99

Arm Fatigue

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Sailing an RS700.  Generally recommended to not cleat on the upwind which is understandable given that responsiveness is key to these types of boats, especially in shifty conditions.  How do you deal with arm fatigue and hand cramping in windy conditions?  I find myself sitting in for some legs to recover.  Any other ways to deal with this?

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Unless you are Hercules, everyone will get fatigued at some point. The way to get in shape for sailing is to go sailing. Tack or gybe occasionally to rest one arm using the other. Keep at it and enjoy your boat. Happy Sailing!

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likely a combination of being weak (just because you can curl 100lbs 5x doesn't mean you're strong in this sense) and possibly under vang-ed. Occasionally i'll pass my mainsheet off to my tiller hand for a few seconds just to shake my hand out. There are very few/rare times when you cleat a mainsheet in a dinghy - being tired is not one of them. 

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drink heavier beers, and more often

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Contrary opinion - Look through the videos of the Musto Skiff worlds, you'll be amazed how much of the time mainsheets are cleated going upwind.  You'll see pretty frequent adjustments but in-between the sheet is cleated.  Generally run more cunningham to loosen the leech and let the rig auto adjust to the puffs.  Lots of vang is counterproductive in puffy conditions.  If I'm fully on the wire upwind I'm cleated most of the time, 100% focus on keeping the boat flat with subtle rudder movements.  All of the above is somewhat skiff-specific, I never cleat when racing my Thistle.

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16 hours ago, ericrayl said:

Contrary opinion - Look through the videos of the Musto Skiff worlds, you'll be amazed how much of the time mainsheets are cleated going upwind.  You'll see pretty frequent adjustments but in-between the sheet is cleated.  Generally run more cunningham to loosen the leech and let the rig auto adjust to the puffs.  Lots of vang is counterproductive in puffy conditions.  If I'm fully on the wire upwind I'm cleated most of the time, 100% focus on keeping the boat flat with subtle rudder movements.  All of the above is somewhat skiff-specific, I never cleat when racing my Thistle.

not even skiff specific - just boat specific. 

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hydration is important be sure drink tons of water. dehydration can lead to 'the Claw'

 

 

theclaw.jpg

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Another thing to look at is what ratchet you are using and where it is in the system. If the ratchet is the last block before your hand, the angle the sheet goes through is 90 degrees. If it is on the boom, it is 180 degrees, and having on the boom gives you close to 40% more grip, which eases the loads on your hand. The issue with more turn is that it doesn't go out so easily, so you need a good (Harken) auto ratchet. Need to check class rules to ensure this is OK, but if you are allowed it, you will see a difference.

The other thing people do not realise they do is to sail with the mainsheet arm slightly bent, meaning the muscles are always switched on. If you can, readjust the position you are holding the sheet so your arm is straight and you aren't relying on the muscles to provide static hold.

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Most people can't sail several days per week, but they can hit the gym.  This made the difference for me.

Mainsheet cleats are for pussies.

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I used to sail a Finn in Greenwich, in the winter.  I wore two wetsuits.  If I cleated I would have died, since I was alone.  I had a soft mainsheet that I clutched to itself around the block.  I have since found that many "primitive" sailors use fuzzy line that clings to itself.

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5 hours ago, Team_GBR said:

The other thing people do not realise they do is to sail with the mainsheet arm slightly bent, meaning the muscles are always switched on. If you can, readjust the position you are holding the sheet so your arm is straight and you aren't relying on the muscles to provide static hold.

That - and use a hand grip (+ sticky gloves and line if you like) that doesn't rely on a pincer grip to hold the line.

 

ala.

 

x700_6.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kh5utdwRXq.jpg

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Another cause is using sheets that are too thin and a skinny tiller extension, 8 mm is probably perfect for a high load sheet providing, as mentioned above , it has the right texture. Tiller extensions are obviously a matter of personal preference, I prefer something in the 25 to 28 mm od range, with a rough enough surface so you don’t have to grip it too hard, this gives your mainsheet hand a rest every time you tack.

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Virtually everyone uses the cleat upwind on single handed skiffs. That said, when learning, I removed the cleat from my 600. You need to massively improve your grip strength and pulling muscles if you're going to sail without it. That means getting in to the gym. Focus on your grip strength and pulling movements. Think farmers walks, rows, dead lifts , trap bar dead lifts, pull ups and lat pull downs. Don't waste your time on isolation exercises for your biceps and triceps. Concentrate on compound movements which will have the most carry over to sailing. If you want to get the most out of your boat, you'll need a level of fitness that simply sailing every weekend won't develop. Endless cardio won't cut it either. If you're new to lifting, I can post a beginner's programme here. 

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Upwind especially properly sailed dinghys  should be perfectly upright, or even healed slightly to windward. Like this pic of the 49ers at the London Olympics:images.jpeg.a6f11745d8e8028729e71fec81b5a671.jpeg

To do this you need to keep the sheet moving. See gusts coming and anticipate when the sheet needs to be eased to maintain zero heal. There is absolutely zero form stability from the hull when saile this way. You can not sail this way with the sheet cleated.

Anyone who argues otherwise disagrees with these guys who are the best skiff sailors in the world.

wrt to the picture of the singlehanded skiff above. This guy would do much better to shorten his trap wires and sail the boat flat by playing the sheet. 

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On 10/25/2017 at 10:10 PM, duncan (the other one) said:

That - and use a hand grip (+ sticky gloves and line if you like) that doesn't rely on a pincer grip to hold the line.

 

ala.

 

x700_6.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kh5utdwRXq.jpg

uhhh yup!!!!!

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32 minutes ago, Phil S said:

Upwind especially properly sailed dinghys  should be perfectly upright, or even healed slightly to windward. Like this pic of the 49ers at the London Olympics:

 

xacry.

Good dinghy sailors learnt this fifty years ago.

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2 hours ago, Phil S said:

Upwind especially properly sailed dinghys  should be perfectly upright, or even healed slightly to windward. Like this pic of the 49ers at the London Olympics:images.jpeg.a6f11745d8e8028729e71fec81b5a671.jpeg

To do this you need to keep the sheet moving. See gusts coming and anticipate when the sheet needs to be eased to maintain zero heal. There is absolutely zero form stability from the hull when saile this way. You can not sail this way with the sheet cleated.

Anyone who argues otherwise disagrees with these guys who are the best skiff sailors in the world.

wrt to the picture of the singlehanded skiff above. This guy would do much better to shorten his trap wires and sail the boat flat by playing the sheet. 

The 49er is an entirely different question for the simple fact that it is a double-handed boat. The nature of a single-handed skiff is such that you simply can't react to gusts in the same way that a 9er crew does. In the Musto, 700 or 600, you simply can't play the main as effectively as a crew with both hands on the sheet. The problem is compounded when you consider what happens when the single-handed skiff sailor eases in a gust. On these boats, the ergonomics of the boat prohibit you from keeping to the tried and tested 'ease, hike, trim' method for responding to gusts. If you get hit by a gust, and ease the sheet, you can't allow the sheet to run through your hand as you would in a sitting down boat like a moth or a laser, where the extension is held across the body. Because the tiller is over the rear shoulder, or, worse, in a 'pan-handle' grip, you simply can't sheet in and out as effectively. Instead, you end up bringing your weight inboard as you ease. This compounds the effect of the gust. Now, not only is the boat heeling due to the effect of the gust, it's also dipping the leeward rack as you follow the sheet in. If you watch the top Musto sailors in breeze, you'll notice that they control the power with the tiller, not the sheet, for this very reason. It's not the most efficient use of a sail. Ideally, as the apparent wind goes aft in a gust, you would ease the main to adjust the trim. However, it is the fastest way to sail these boats.

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So there ar big gains available for someone in Mustos when they work out a better technique for sail trimming. Trimming with the trap wire in the way is not impossible. Been there done that.

We did it 43 years ago when I sailed this 12ft skiff, they were all 2 handers but both crew held a sheet, skipper trimmed main and steered and my crew trimmed the jib, easing jib in the biggest gusts so we could foot off and gain speed. 

Reduce the main purchase so that the diference between straight arm and bent elbow is enough ease to keep the boat flat, yes some steering is also needed but not enough to slow the boat.

No other boats in the photo, they were behind us.

img004.thumb.jpg.132f09cfa57269ed7126fbea54e9d7bf.jpg

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14 hours ago, dohertpk said:

The 49er is an entirely different question for the simple fact that it is a double-handed boat. The nature of a single-handed skiff is such that you simply can't react to gusts in the same way that a 9er crew does. In the Musto, 700 or 600, you simply can't play the main as effectively as a crew with both hands on the sheet. The problem is compounded when you consider what happens when the single-handed skiff sailor eases in a gust. On these boats, the ergonomics of the boat prohibit you from keeping to the tried and tested 'ease, hike, trim' method for responding to gusts. If you get hit by a gust, and ease the sheet, you can't allow the sheet to run through your hand as you would in a sitting down boat like a moth or a laser, where the extension is held across the body. Because the tiller is over the rear shoulder, or, worse, in a 'pan-handle' grip, you simply can't sheet in and out as effectively. Instead, you end up bringing your weight inboard as you ease. This compounds the effect of the gust. Now, not only is the boat heeling due to the effect of the gust, it's also dipping the leeward rack as you follow the sheet in. If you watch the top Musto sailors in breeze, you'll notice that they control the power with the tiller, not the sheet, for this very reason. It's not the most efficient use of a sail. Ideally, as the apparent wind goes aft in a gust, you would ease the main to adjust the trim. However, it is the fastest way to sail these boats.

the fact that it's double handed does not change his point, that sailing the boat flat is key - it may be more challenging in a singlehanded musto but it's still doable and the people who do it best will be the people at the front of the fleet

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On 10/27/2017 at 7:33 AM, dohertpk said:

 If you're new to lifting, I can post a beginner's programme here. 

input always welcome

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On 10/28/2017 at 10:18 AM, dohertpk said:

The 49er is an entirely different question for the simple fact that it is a double-handed boat. The nature of a single-handed skiff is such that you simply can't react to gusts in the same way that a 9er crew does. In the Musto, 700 or 600, you simply can't play the main as effectively as a crew with both hands on the sheet. The problem is compounded when you consider what happens when the single-handed skiff sailor eases in a gust. On these boats, the ergonomics of the boat prohibit you from keeping to the tried and tested 'ease, hike, trim' method for responding to gusts. If you get hit by a gust, and ease the sheet, you can't allow the sheet to run through your hand as you would in a sitting down boat like a moth or a laser, where the extension is held across the body. Because the tiller is over the rear shoulder, or, worse, in a 'pan-handle' grip, you simply can't sheet in and out as effectively. Instead, you end up bringing your weight inboard as you ease. This compounds the effect of the gust. Now, not only is the boat heeling due to the effect of the gust, it's also dipping the leeward rack as you follow the sheet in. If you watch the top Musto sailors in breeze, you'll notice that they control the power with the tiller, not the sheet, for this very reason. It's not the most efficient use of a sail. Ideally, as the apparent wind goes aft in a gust, you would ease the main to adjust the trim. However, it is the fastest way to sail these boats.

What a load of ill informed bullshit. The most ridiculous comment is that your weight goes inboard as you ease.You need to go back to basics, because that is beginner stuff. You can ease by slipping sheet through your hand. The top Musto sailors can sail in different modes, just like you do with a 49er. Sometimes it pays to keep the main in and to steer, pointing up in gusts etc, but there are times when you need to ease and play the sheet and it is possible to do so. There are many different ways to play the sheet effectively and people need to experiment until they find a way of doing it that suits them. I can assure you I can sail a single handed skiff and play the sheet quickly to keep the boat driving if that is what is needed. One hint I can give is that most people sail with the wrong length tiller extension. Think about it. Somebody who is 6'6" needs a different length to somebody who is 5'6" but they sell the boats with one size fits all extensions. Then you have to decide what compromises you make. If you want the extension comfortable in light airs while forward, it will be over length for other times. In most boats, my reference is to have to stretch in light winds so it is short enough to actually hold it with your hand basically at close to your hook going upwind in the normal upwind trapezing position so you can sheet more like when sitting in using both hands without the extension hitting you in the face. The guys who sail with extension over their shoulders when sailing upwind in the "normal" position are almost always using too long an extension.

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On 10/25/2017 at 8:59 PM, torrid said:

I’:m just a pussy Laser sailor.  What do I know?

you can just say Laser sailor

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The feeling of my arm getting tired from holding a mainsheet or tiller is something I expect to encounter when I get old. 

On the other hand, old women sail and some do so quite effectively. 

Anyway, are the other authors in this thread in their seventies, eighties, or are you older?? 

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On 10/24/2017 at 7:31 AM, kurio99 said:

Sailing an RS700.  Generally recommended to not cleat on the upwind which is understandable given that responsiveness is key to these types of boats, especially in shifty conditions.  How do you deal with arm fatigue and hand cramping in windy conditions?  I find myself sitting in for some legs to recover.  Any other ways to deal with this?

I had some arm cramping issues on my Laser earlier this year and my solution was 3 fold - 1. depower the boat better. you shouldn't be fighting the sheet, 2.) electrolyte tabs like Nuun or Fizz in my water bottles and 3.) I heard that chewing a TUMS tablet before going out for a long day of racing can help prevent cramps. I now bring both Nuun and Tums on the boat with me if I can. Research is starting to indicate that cramping has something to do with electrical signals from the brain to nerve endings getting disrupted, and that magnesium-to-calcium ratios play an important role in cramp occurrence. It never hurts to hydrate, but I think scientists are moving away from dehydration being the major cause of cramps.

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10 hours ago, dgmckim said:

I play an important role in cramp occurrence. It never hurts,  I think  away; the major cause of cramps.

Edited for clarity 

 

oh noooooo!! My fingers are cramping from all this hard typing.

sooo hard 

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On ‎10‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 12:10 AM, duncan (the other one) said:

That - and use a hand grip (+ sticky gloves and line if you like) that doesn't rely on a pincer grip to hold the line.

 

ala.

 

x700_6.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kh5utdwRXq.jpg

This.  I switched from an 8mm rooster line to a 6mm line that has a spectra core and some kind of "fuzzy" cover.  Between the cover and my $1 rubber coated gardening gloves my grip can last forever.  The gloves are great on the carbon tiller extension as well.

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