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      A Few Simple Rules   05/22/2017

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TimClark

newbie bowman tips

769 posts in this topic

Last year I crewed on a boat twice and was deemed bowman both times. I found out that it was the most kick ass spot on the keelboat (my opinion), so I was wondering if anybody had any advice for being on the bow, gybing the pole, setting the chute, dousing, etc. Also, when people go out on the pole, what do they do besides releasing the chute? Are they hoisted up to the pole and the climb out or do they just climb up and out without being hoisted. What do they use the fid for, I always thought fids were for splicing braided lines, but apparent they have more uses than just that. Finally, do you guys have any tips for what gear works well on the bow? Thanks.

 

Tim

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Reasons to go out on the pole depend on the size of boat. Over 45' these include spin peels, clearing fouled sheet/guy, tripping tack in some situations, taking cool pictures, and impressing the owner's daughter. You generally are doing more harm than good out there on a smaller boat. On a big boat with Syms, you can expect to get pulled up there on a halyard, boats with low pole/assym setups you can probably just slide out yourself.

 

The fid is used to spike trigger-type shackles, thus allowing you to retain your fingers. Generally the blunt type that would not work for splicing is the type you want, unless you are unfortunate enough to use Gibb shackles, in which case you need the sharp point. Convince your owner to buy Tylaskas and I think you'll be happier.

 

Stay off the pointy end whenever possible, it is slow. Learn to manage halyards well. If half way through a race you find yourself unable to use half of your luff system, or set a kite, you have failed miserably.

If doing a night race make sure you have all halyards clean and put away properly before it gets dark. If the kite is up, this means your center halyard is forward by the forestay, otherwise it will only be clear on one jibe.

 

Don't wear your harness to the club after racing you will look like a hoser.

 

Do grow a giant curly 'fro and wear visors whenever possible.

 

Peels can be explained here but are better demonstrated, find a good bow guy and do mast for him/her for a while before getting in over your head.

 

For buoy races, have a copy of the SI's so when the course is posted, you can look ahead and know what types of sets/douses you likely want to do.

 

Standard port-rounding buoy races you should ALWAYS drop the kite on the port side, if you dick around re-running the kite gear it is slow.

 

Keep a sail tie in your pocket, also a roll of tape, knife, fid, and sometimes a joint wouldn't hurt either. You will obviously need to keep this dry.

 

Check and pack the kites yourself before the race. Especially if someone tells you they are packed.

 

When linking pairs of sheets to bring them across the boat, ie. jib sheets over the pole or kite gear around the front, clip one sheet around the line of the other sheet, this way you can attach the first shackle without undoing the other one, and you won't lose one end or waste time opening extra shackles. This can be important when your fingers are numb and you are dealing with a recalcitrant J-lock.

 

The Guy clips to the bail of the sheet shackle. Otherwise you can't remove the lazy guy in light air.

 

Always establish your numbering system with the helmsman. Some guys use one finger for one boatlength, others use one finger for half a boatlength at the start line. Often a closed fist means 'on the line', other times it doesn't.

 

 

 

 

 

Good f'cking luck.

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Best way to be a rock-star bow person is to pick a boat with really good trimmers.

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Well, it changes with different races, due to different reasons. The boats are mostly over 35 feet...I know it doesn't narrow it down at all but its always changing for me, which sucks. Sometimes its a J-37, somtimes its a custom Sabre. I'm trying to find a boat that I can get a solid spot on this year.

'

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... the best advise I can suggest is to start talking with a strailian or zeelander accent... everything else just comes naturally after that. :)

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Tyler, do you have a link for a good fid to use, or would any fat headed fid work well?

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oh pleeez say NO !!

funny....that kick ass job will become the ball and chain of growth .. learn it but do NOT get real good at it....whoever said the bow is only as good as the back (trimmers,pit,mast) is right on the money!!!

 

I have warned you

Please remember "sumpin told me?" hmmmmm

 

ps...when the driver yells, you can tell him whatever the heck you like cause he/she ain't doin' no turns w/o you...like the computer "ignore"

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Lot's of good advice from Tyler - a few comments

 

...

Peels can be explained here but are better demonstrated, find a good bow guy and do mast for him/her for a while before getting in over your head.

 

there was a thread here a while back on doing peels - a good discussion with a lot of practical advice.

 

Standard port-rounding buoy races you should ALWAYS drop the kite on the port side, if you dick around re-running the kite gear it is slow.

 

Can't always do this for tactical reasons, so the crew should learn how to do a windward douse. This is easy on boats under 30', gets tougher on bigger boats. Always a good skill to have practiced.

 

Oh yeah - practice, practice, practice. There's a lot of mistakes to make on the foredeck, it will take years before you have made them all.

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Best way to be a rock-star bow person is to pick a boat with really good trimmers.

 

 

WORD!

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oh pleeez say NO !!

funny....that kick ass job will become the ball and chain of growth .. learn it but do NOT get real good at it....

 

WORD

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Tyler, do you have a link for a good fid to use, or would any fat headed fid work well?

 

 

Just get your local machine shop to make 1 up for you, piece of piss they are to make, get a 200mm long x 20mm round piece of stainless rod and ask them to taper it down on a lathe for you, get it made so its 5mm diameter at 1 end and have it come back to 20mm at 100mm length, cant really explain it all that well but thats how ive made them or had them made in the past, they're stronger than bought spikes as well i find

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Mate

 

You have got the best job on the boat and once you get even half good (sure you are already)...you will always be in demand.

 

Too many new bowmen sit on the rails and end up being re-active to the helm.....keep thinking ahead....what set will the boat want on the mark?........i used boat lengths to the mark at first to give me a cadence for getting the jib up, kite down....if sails are not being called for...suggest it to the tactician/helm. They may well just have forgotten you at the front and think that a perfect set can happen in a matter of seconds (which it will in time....forward of the mast = rock star already).

 

 

Lines...there is no excuse for mis-set sheets and halyards....from the rails check, check and check again....if someone else has set up the sheets to help out just patrol the boat before the race to check that eager help will not F*** you up. Bottom line...it is a relatively simple job until you screw it up and then you lose races quickly....moral of the story, be good, dont F*** up.

 

 

Spinlock deck-pro harness...great piece of kit but a touch more pricey than normal climbing harnesses. Have your own so that the owner does not bring some mouldy old bosuns chair for you to get up the mast in. I fit a leatherman, smaller knife with blade, shackle tool and spike, a fid, a strop with karibiner for going out on the pole....tape and sail-tie. small boats you should not need to get out on the pole, bigger ones...clip on to the downhaul (make sure it is tight) and then shin up it

 

Forward of the mast you are a rock-star already...but remember that you are only as good as the trimmers and pit-man let you be....coz they really do cause 90% of the F***-ups

 

Enjoy

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Couple of things to add to what's been posted.

 

Anticipate your next couple of moves, that will help you stay ahead of the game. Use your dinghy sailing skills to do this.

 

Keep in mind that the people in the back may not be intentionally trying to harm you but it will seem that way sometimes. So pay attention and be safe.

 

Make up quick little mental checklists for each task. For example when handling the pole during a dipjibe as mastman "trip, swing, made, bounce, butt". In short, trip the pole, swing it into the bowguy, hold it there until you hear the call "MADE", then bounce the topper, and adjust the butt on the mast track.

 

Always show up early to rig and pack chutes. Let the others cleanup at the end of the day but do not trust them to set up your office because there will be all sorts of macrame. Especially true on club racers.

 

Get over the urge to sail big boats for other folks and get back in your dinghy. You'll be a better sailor in the end.

 

Another couple of things.

 

Rather than use an expression such as shut the fuck up when all the bozos in fantasy land are yelling different things to you about how to do the job that they can't see and aren't able to do, I suggest that you use the dryly expressed words "no cheerleading".

 

Somebody else got this one below and that is beware of hypothermia. I never go offshore without neoprene on anymore because foulies just don't work upfront.

 

And finally if you're on a bridle pole boat rather than a dip boat and the bozos have trouble getting the topper off in the douse just trip the inboard end and toss the whole mess back toward the cockpit and call "clear to tack". You'll only need to do that once because either they'll rearrange their priorities or you'll need to rearrange your schedule for the rest of the season. If the latter case you're better off.

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Don't get flustered. You will get all type of advice from the peanut gallery. If you do all the things listed above, the problem will either be minor (easy fix, tell them to shut the fuck up), or some major screw up (probably caused by the back end of the boat) that will require all hands working together to solve. Work methodically, at your speed. If you try to hurry up due to the guys in the back, you will either get hurt or screw it up worse.

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ALWAYS carry a roll of red & a roll of green tape to identify your halyards. Many times I've gotten away with blaming the back of the bus for crossing halyards using this one.

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I found out that it was the most kick ass spot on the keelboat (my opinion

 

Correct, make sure you get the asshole attitude to go with it. The rest of them think we're crazy so they don't want to argue with us, they think we're unstable already and we'll just go postal on them. Make sure you maintain this image, it's your obligation to the union.

 

oh pleeez say NO !!

funny....that kick ass job will become the ball and chain of growth .. learn it but do NOT get real good at it....whoever said the bow is only as good as the back (trimmers,pit,mast) is right on the money!!!

 

No, they said the "way to be a rock-star bow person is to pick a boat with really good trimmers". The bow can be exceptionally good no matter if the back is simply midly incompetant or complete oxygen thiefs; it just determines how hard the bowman has to work to fulfil his demi-god status.

 

round piece of stainless rod

 

Anodized aliminium, less likely to do yourself damage with it (i.e. catches on the stays as you runs past, bungee strech, cannon shot into your ass).

 

Spinlock deck-pro harness...great piece of kit but a touch more pricey than normal climbing harnesses.

 

Make sure it's a climbing harness and not a abseil harness (they're cut differently) and buy it for walking/running comfort NOT for sitting/hanging comfort.

 

Queen is on the money, we are all rock stars.

 

Rgds,

 

remmie

 

PS *removes tongue from cheek*

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remmie:

 

you going to be demonstrating your prowess on the bow of Walk this saturday?

 

(will help me ID you....)

 

cheers

 

SW

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Hehehe, no, I don't think she's doing Valmadre, just the inshore series (conning boat lifting services) and I've stolen a few of the crew for Lucreca Vander Mylen (powder blue Farr 30). Just look behind you for the wine glass kite, skied poles, broached boat; that'll be my handy work. :)

 

I think I worked out who you were at Mindarie but it's a bit of a blur, Mindarie is always a bit of a blur.

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go to t2p.tv and look at some of the videos Tucker has put up, there are useful, and good for passing time too. Other than that, i'd look like an idiot if i tried to give advice.

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I only have a few tips:

 

- Now you are a bowman you are an all knowing demi god of sailing. Never forget that and never doubt your prowess - the cockpit can smell weakness and will pounce, forever blaming you for everything.

- Check EVERYTHING on the way out to the racetrack (ie halyards, sheets, personal equip. kites, course notes.) If it is not run properly its your fault.

- You should know the course and all the marks, you are the first person they are going to ask if you can see the mark yet.

- Be on the foredeck as little as possible.

- Talk to the helm/tactician before the race so you know what the plan is for the start and have an educated guess at what the first rounding is.

- I always carry a knife (with a spike so I dont use separate fid) and a sail tie when around the cans, more for offshore.

- Yell loudly what you want the back of the boat to do and what you have completed - the trimmers need to be sure before pulling shit on and slicing off your fingers.

- During a gybe (all during all pole manouvres), keep your damn head on the opposite side of the forestay to the pole.

 

Little hard to get into specifics with knowing a bit more about the boat your on and its setup.

 

Remember bow newbie - we have a reputation to uphold. You cant be a proper bowman until you have fucked the owners daughter (or wife) and left a puddle of love on the .5 runner.

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puddle of love......if you get a decent harness you can hang her off a halyard through the fore-hatch.......you did ask for advice!

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mate ur in the right job :P:P .

the thing that helped me most was knowing exactly where ur halyards are at all times, like other posts have said. Action planning (write down every little detail about your movements during manouvers: mark roundings etc.) and also having good communications with the pitman/pitwoman and the mast person will make life a whole lot easier (just make sure they listen to u and not those at the back of the bus) and finally as all the other posts have said; ignore the peanut gallery and its ok to rant and rave a bit - in fact its expected.

:D Have Fun!!!!

AndyH

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Here is a little tip I picked up recently, when doing a head sail change offshore as you take the new headsail forward clip the new halyard to the head as you go past the mast that way eliminating time wasted in the really pointy bit, you know the bit where the sails go up from.

 

Also I highly recommend keeping quiet when you race, don't be dragged in to slanging matches about who f*cked up the last hoist/drop/cup of tea and only make a choice comment when it really counts, for example when sailing on a 65footer and the 4 biggest guys on the boat spend two thirds of a beat taking all the battens out of the jib you just dropped so they don't hurt the bomb proofed (I know it was I did it) furniture down stairs. A quick shout of get the f*cking sail off the f*cking deck and f*cking hike you fat b*stards seems to work quite well in speeding things up particularly when all you have said is made, ready and take the slack up on such and such halyard.

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Hehehe, no, I don't think she's doing Valmadre, just the inshore series (conning boat lifting services) and I've stolen a few of the crew for Lucreca Vander Mylen (powder blue Farr 30). Just look behind you for the wine glass kite, skied poles, broached boat; that'll be my handy work. :)

 

I think I worked out who you were at Mindarie but it's a bit of a blur, Mindarie is always a bit of a blur.

 

If you worked me out in Mindarie you did well, I was in Singapore that weekend! Blury indeed!

 

Will keep an eye out for you.

 

Good Luck!

 

Cheers

 

SW

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Also I highly recommend keeping quiet when you race, don't be dragged in to slanging matches about who f*cked up the last hoist/drop/cup of tea and only make a choice comment when it really counts

 

Totally agree. There are 3 types of bow- novices, those who think they are demi-gods and those who truly are. The first group gets shouted at, the second does all the shouting and the third keep quiet and do their job really, really well- aspire to be in that group and you'll end up welcome on any boat you choose, and in all the best photos...

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Tyler forgot to mention that Chuck Taylor Converses are a neccesity. Another hand signal is looking back at the quactition and raising the middle finger (You're still number one!), also known as "We're Fucked!"

 

Bob

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Hehehe, no, I don't think she's doing Valmadre, just the inshore series (conning boat lifting services) and I've stolen a few of the crew for Lucreca Vander Mylen (powder blue Farr 30). Just look behind you for the wine glass kite, skied poles, broached boat; that'll be my handy work. :)

 

I think I worked out who you were at Mindarie but it's a bit of a blur, Mindarie is always a bit of a blur.

 

If you worked me out in Mindarie you did well, I was in Singapore that weekend! Blury indeed!

 

 

Bah! A certain dodgy sail maker leading me astray. :D

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Tyler forgot to mention that Chuck Taylor Converses are a neccesity. Another hand signal is looking back at the quactition and raising the middle finger (You're still number one!), also known as "We're Fucked!"

 

Bob

 

Also handy when hoisting anchor. Learnt that one from the old man, raising anchor, I'm on helm, finger comes up; "F**k you too, what's that for?"... "The anchor is UP and the boat is YOURS."

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a few additional thoughts... and some additions to tyler's...

 

#1. slow and smooth is better than fast and fucked up.... fast and smooth will come with time...

 

#2. you likely will go through the 'prima donna' stage that has been alluded to earlier. try to make that transition as short as possible.

 

#3. we (other people that work bow here) have likely seen, and/or been a direct cause of every conceivable form of bow fuck-up you can imagine. when (not if) it happens to you, keep your head up, accept the appropriate amount of blame/ribbing/etc, and move on.

 

#4. for the love of all that is sacred and holy, we all wear shoes we like or go barefoot. i swear if you start a thread on 'shoes to wear' i will hunt you down and hit you in the head with the spin pole myself. :ph34r:

 

 

For buoy races, have a copy of the SI's so when the course is posted, you can look ahead and know what types of sets/douses you likely want to do. and, if you find yourself on a leeward gate course, it is a good idea to touch base with the skipper/tactician earlier rather than later about just which gate they are contemplating going to... then plan for the other!! (ok, just kidding about that last bit...)

 

Standard port-rounding buoy races you should ALWAYS drop the kite on the port side, if you dick around re-running the kite gear it is slow. i 100% agree on this one. and (someone said earlier) to practice windward drops... i agree with that as well- sometimes always bringing it down to port will result in a windward drop....

 

Check and pack the kites yourself before the race. Especially if someone tells you they are packed.

WORD! and check the gear yourself- especially if someone tells you they already ran it...

 

Good f'cking luck.

what he said

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#4. for the love of all that is sacred and holy, we all wear shoes we like or go barefoot. i swear if you start a thread on 'shoes to wear' i will hunt you down and hit you in the head with the spin pole myself.

 

 

Amen ...............

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I concur with a few of suggestions above especially having a really great trimmer and working as a unit; the rest you won't remember from reading it on the interweb but, rather you will learn hands on over time. Practice every chance you are given/even if it is at the dock/over and over again ad nauseum.

 

oh and Always Look UP~!

 

~Skirts.

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Practice every chance you are given/even if it is at the dock/over and over again ad nauseum.

 

oh and Always Look UP~!

 

~Skirts.

 

 

Not sure if practicing on the dock will inspire confidence for the rest of the crew in your ability as a bowman! Might just think you are a little crazy - then again many of us are!

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There's some really good advice on this thread. To summarise and add a bit:

- The pit works for the front half not the back

- To be a good bowman you have to understand what the skipper/tactician is going to do next, and have already started to set up for it (while keeping your options open) before they decide. Once you gain some respect and experience you can call some of the shots

- It's the best spot on the boat (aside from Nav on long races)

- Always have three bowmen in a crew. One in the pit, one at the mast, and one working the pointy end. Ignoring weight, all three of these crewmembers should be interchangeable.

- Most of the stuff that happens up the front is slower than what has to happen in the mast or pit. There is no excuse for making the bowman wait

- Look up. You own the locked out halyards as well as the clean and easy hoists and peels

- Keep a map of the strings in your head - know where they are all the time. You must have this nailed, especially when you get woken up at 4:00 am to do the 10th kite peel in 6 hours, and bringing the new kite on deck with you, have only a minute at most to set up and hoist.

 

Also an addition about fids/spikes. In 30+ years I've never used one. Learn how to blow a clip under load safely using just fingers. You will have to do it someday and knowing how to accomplish what's necessary FAST and safely without mechanical aids will save you some fingers or at least removed nails. Practise carefully though, best done in light air with no hurry. "Get the fucking kite off" in 40 Kn when the fid you so depend on has disappeared into the bilge is not the time to learn. Especially with long races, know the mechanical detail of the stuff you're going to have to work with in the middle of the night, and take the time to make sure that it's properly maintained and lubricated.

 

Some advice for newbies: find someone older who's willing to teach. At least in Aus most bowmen who've done the hard yards are only too willing to mentor or take on an apprentice.

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Get experience on multiple boats if possible. It is easy to learn quickly if you have three or four opportunities a week for a year or two to see how different boats operate. Furthermore, if you have a good crew regularly, you may not get an opportunity to see all the wicked stuff that can happen up front.

 

Set the bow of the boat up the way YOU want it, not the way the owner wants it. If changes need to be made, ask the owner if it is permissable. This year the brain trust asked me how I wanted things, and we made some changes to the bungie system and the downhaul. So far it is working much better than the previous years on the boat.

 

Tape everything. If it has even the slightest possibility of catching you, your equipment, sails, lines, etc. tape it down. Tape is alot easier to replace than holes in new spinnakers.

 

Other stuff has been mentioned. Good luck!

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Get experience on multiple boats if possible. It is easy to learn quickly if you have three or four opportunities a week for a year or two to see how different boats operate. Furthermore, if you have a good crew regularly, you may not get an opportunity to see all the wicked stuff that can happen up front.

 

Best advice yet. Lots of sailing makes a good boater. Lots of boats makes a good sailor.

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

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Bowman?

Identity: the man who controls the foredeck.

Role: he plays a leading role in virtually every maneuver. In the pre-start and start phases he signals to the helmsman the distance from the starting line and from the opponents; during jibes he handles the spinnaker pole, the sheets and the sails; in tacking he helps the genoa change sides; during hoisting and dropping he brings the sails forward and sets them up. This is the most dynamic role aboard, highly sought after and usually reserved to extremely expert sailors. There is no room for error during the races.

Requisites: agility, strength, courage and determination.

Physical exertion:great.

 

Best Job ever because you run shit. I've been doing bow for like 6 yrs on anything from a 24 to a 40. who ever said it was right, even if you're the bowman try to stay off the bow. It really effects the skippers stearage and is slower then hell. Play out every hoist and dousse before it happens to make sure the halyards are straight and not twisted. when setting the sheets and guys run them OUTSIDE of everything then back to the Blocks/winches. AND Don't be afraid to tell the crew what to do!! Because it's ur ass on the pointy end.

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

 

Real bowfolk don't wear underpants :lol: makes it easier to moon the competition!!

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can i get away with the skimpiest of thongs between the cheeks of my butt

 

 

can i get away with the skimpiest of thongs between the cheeks of my butt

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

 

Real bowfolk don't wear underpants :lol: makes it easier to moon the competition!!

 

 

Going commando is not a good idea on the bow. Think about climbing harness and you dangling 50 feet off the deck. Up there there is no way to free pinched body bits affectively.

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Remember bow newbie - we have a reputation to uphold. You cant be a proper bowman until you have fucked the owners daughter (or wife) and left a puddle of love on the .5 runner.

 

You don't need to fuck her, simply tossing her a quart of throat yogurt will do.

 

I used to wear Chuck Taylors until they changed the soles, now I have some Helly shoes that are basically the same idea, they just don't look quite as cool.

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

 

Real bowfolk don't wear underpants :lol: makes it easier to moon the competition!!

 

 

Going commando is not a good idea on the bow. Think about climbing harness and you dangling 50 feet off the deck. Up there there is no way to free pinched body bits affectively.

 

Hasn't been a problem to date, you sure you're strapping the right bits in the right places?

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The harness worn around the YC shows everyone you are at the top of the heap, and you mean business. A strategically placed spud will ensure your legendary status, along with your Mt Gay Hat, worn backwards of course.

 

Remember to bring a 12 pack to other foredecks in your class. Just leave it up front, and back away slowly, Do this for the entire race season. The following year it should be a bottle of the best Planters reserve. Again, just leave it on the foredeck and move along. This is tradition and it is bad voodoo to not follow suite.

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Get a job on a prodder, you will thank me later

 

And don't believe this. There is, in fact, no bowman required on a prodder. Don't let any Jsprit "bowman" tell you otherwise.

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a few additional thoughts... and some additions to tyler's...

 

#1. slow and smooth is better than fast and fucked up.... fast and smooth will come with time...

 

#2. you likely will go through the 'prima donna' stage that has been alluded to earlier. try to make that transition as short as possible.

 

#3. we (other people that work bow here) have likely seen, and/or been a direct cause of every conceivable form of bow fuck-up you can imagine. when (not if) it happens to you, keep your head up, accept the appropriate amount of blame/ribbing/etc, and move on.

 

#4. for the love of all that is sacred and holy, we all wear shoes we like or go barefoot. i swear if you start a thread on 'shoes to wear' i will hunt you down and hit you in the head with the spin pole myself. :ph34r:

 

As suider said, everybody is going to have something go wrong at one point or another if you do enough sailing. What will set you apart is how you handle it. When a cluster occurs, just do what you need to correct it, and don't be afraid to ask for assistance if needed. Do NOT start making excuses for said cluster--there is a time and a place for things, and during the race when needed to correct it is not the place.

 

Regarding the J/37--find a boat without those toe rails. With the deep keel it is a reasonably quick cruiser/racer (the one I raced on rated 63 PHRF, and we were very competitive), but uncomfortable to hike on for any distance.

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

 

Real bowfolk don't wear underpants :lol: makes it easier to moon the competition!!

 

 

Going commando is not a good idea on the bow. Think about climbing harness and you dangling 50 feet off the deck. Up there there is no way to free pinched body bits affectively.

 

Hasn't been a problem to date, you sure you're strapping the right bits in the right places?

 

My bits are bigger and get in the way of strappy parts. I need to wear something to keep them in place!

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

 

True bowmen go commando.

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Also, does anybody have tips for a J105?

 

Don't ask bowmen about a 105, as mentioned, no real bowmen sail on such boats. The front crew member on the 105 is responsible for hooking the kite on, and tugging down and back on the sheet / leech of the kite in jibes. This requires only slightly less skill then the leeward runner trimmer.

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There actually is quite a few good tips on here. I think one of the most important things to remember is that to become a solid big boat racer you have to know the boat front to back. Bow (or mast then bow) is a great place to learn the mechanics of the boat which are essential to doing any other position on the boat. This include being a good sail trimmer, driver and especially tactician. Any good sailor should master (or become proficient) in every position. I'd agree that good bow guys/girls are always willing to teach. Alot of this is goodwill but some is ego as well. Often they have become good at their job because they have a good system so they want to pass on, which is key. Have fun but don't take tips from people in the back of the boat who don't know the job.

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On an end for end pole, don't ever be caught looking straight down it during a gybe.

 

If you feel the words "get off my bow" start to come out of your mouth, make sure you have your next ride lined up.

 

Anticipation and discussion of what's coming next, especially with the parts of the boat you directly intersect with -- pit and trimmers -- can't hurt.

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I have done bow for years on 35' - 40' symmetrical boats. I recently tried bow on a j-105. I would rather keel sit and drink beer the whole race then do bow on a j-105 again.

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On the douse, there is only one thing the bowman must worry about: Is the boat clear to tack?

 

Do the bare minimum at the bottom mark to clear for a tack, then get the fack off the bow and hike like a mother (or help pull the kite out of the water). You get no points for neatness in the first minute(s) after the mark rounding.

 

After they get the kite down below and all the shrimp are thrown overboard, ask the quacktitian if the boat's up to speed before you get off the rail and go forward to clean up the rest of mess.

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During a gybe (all during all pole manouvres), keep your damn head on the opposite side of the forestay to the pole.

 

I can second this Gun,

Mac race, 30 + from nothing, spiked the chute while reaching and no down haul. (back of boat Farkd up. Below for rest of race, stiched up 22 hours later by a dentist from another boat at 2 AM.

Still got the Scars on the noggin. Chicks on the island digged it though. :D

 

 

Good times

 

Shag

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TD's pretty much hit the main points. Two more items to check before you go sailing, the luff foil, particularly the feeder part, and the top of the luff tapes on the genoas, the one that you don't check will almost definitely be too frayed to go up. I recently got on a boat that had only been buoy raced and the right-side feeder was totaly facked. Also check that the pole functions properly before you leave the dock, because of where the pole jaws live they tend to be in salt water a lot, and they will get jammed from corrosion. This is not a fun item to fix on deck, especially if you have to remove the end fitting.

 

Although your mast person should ideally be a big gorilla, I've had a few mast people who weigh a good bit less than me, if I'm confident of their skills I'll send them forward to do certain jobs going upwind as it hurts the boatspeed less to have them off the rail and on the front of the boat. On a 40', me off the rail is worth about 2/10ths of a knot, me at the front is another 2/10ths, and if we hit a wave it takes twice as long to accelerate if I'm at the front. That's really not fast.

 

 

And one more thing, the quote I always remember is "Doing bow on a sprit boat is about as much fun as trying to jack off to daytime television".

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a few additional thoughts... and some additions to tyler's...

 

#1. slow and smooth is better than fast and fucked up.... fast and smooth will come with time...

 

#2. you likely will go through the 'prima donna' stage that has been alluded to earlier. try to make that transition as short as possible.

 

#3. we (other people that work bow here) have likely seen, and/or been a direct cause of every conceivable form of bow fuck-up you can imagine. when (not if) it happens to you, keep your head up, accept the appropriate amount of blame/ribbing/etc, and move on.

 

#4. for the love of all that is sacred and holy, we all wear shoes we like or go barefoot. i swear if you start a thread on 'shoes to wear' i will hunt you down and hit you in the head with the spin pole myself. :ph34r:

Suider, your turn of phrase captures the general sentiment so succinctly! Thank you. :D

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All good advice! I would add that you need to teach the goofballs on your crew how to fold a headsail. If the luff is not all together at the front of the sausage youa re wasting valuable time/speed. When a sail comes back from the loft, reflake it!! Lofts are notorious for mucking this up.

 

As previously stated, the best boats are loaded with current and former bowmen. We make the best trimmers, pitmen and drivers.

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some very sage advice in here.

 

some additions:

 

1. GROW REALLY THICK SKIN*

2. you're doing this for fun

3. don't wear cotton from the waist down (except for perhaps your socks)

4. don't wear a hat unless you intend to lose it

5. always buy your mast and pit their first drink...unless they fuck up. then they buy all nite.

6. always keep a few beers squirreled away in the hatch bag

 

7. when talking to other bowmen or sailors who know more than you (and the best rule of thumb is to give the benefit of the doubt that they all do until they prove themselves shmucks) remember that you have 2 ears and only 1 mouth

 

8. GROW REALLY THICK SKIN*

9. politely thank anyone who helps rig the bow; then rerig it inconspicuously

 

10. the more you shut your mouth, the more you learn. the more you learn the better you get. the better you get the more invites come your way. the more invites that come your way the more compliments

you receive. the more compliments you receive the more humble you become. the more humble

you become the more you shut your mouth.

 

 

oh yeah, I almost forgot. GROW REALLY THICK SKIN*!

 

*-everyone ~thinks~ they have thick skin. working the bow teaches you how thin it really is, trust me.

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Check all your own lines and pack all your own kites. When things go wrong you will get the blame, you might as well be sure it is your fault.

 

Yelling at the trimmers will only make the next manouver more difficult.

 

Treat the equipment with respect - sheets and sails are expensive, knives are a last resort.

 

Layers and foulies on early - it is easier to stay warm and dry than to recover from cold and wet.

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When a sail comes back from the loft, reflake it!!

 

This is key. We once got half way through a change from the L1 to the H1 before we realized the loft had put them in the wrong bags, and we already had the H1 up! This was at Race Rocks in swiftsure so we'd already had the wrong sail up for a while. I'm still not totally sure why the trimmers weren't bitching a lot more that the heady wouldn't open up in the light air at the start, must have been brutal.

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I've pretty much been a bowman all my life and there is a lot of good info here if you can sift through the arrogance and the pretentiousness. The funny thing to me is all of the adrenelin junkie bs flying around. I have a ton of war stories like any other offshore bowman; however, by far most of my experiences are rather mundane. I have more such experiences as I get older, and dare say, better at the job. The more you think a move through, the better. the better you understand what the back is trying to do tactically, the easier and better you will do your job. The take home advice from this rant is become a thinking sailor rather than a reactive one. plan your moves, think twice and act once. There will always be those situations where heroics are called for, but the best bowmen avoid, rather than seek out such engagements because bow tricks and gymnastics, while impressive to the layperson, tend to do bad things to boatspeed. The best way to become a better bowperson (switching to gender neutrality out of respect) is to master the mechanics and then spend a lot of time sailing, especially in dinghies, so that you can anticipate jibe sets and know which side the jib goes back up on at the leeward mark.

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Remember bow newbie - we have a reputation to uphold. You cant be a proper bowman until you have fucked the owners daughter (or wife) and left a puddle of love on the .5 runner.

 

You don't need to fuck her, simply tossing her a quart of throat yogurt will do.

 

I used to wear Chuck Taylors until they changed the soles, now I have some Helly shoes that are basically the same idea, they just don't look quite as cool.

 

So THAT'S why I was slipping all over the place in my spankin new CT's. Dammn that's disappointing.

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Slipping due to throat yogurt usually means she didn't swallow.... Oh you mean the shoes, yeah that was a bummer.

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always stay low. People in the back like to see where their boat is going for some strange and messed up reason.

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"Seventh buy lots of cheap sunglasses."

 

i could have used that advice several hundred dollars ago.

 

however, Native Eyewear and Smith Eyewear both have lifetime guarantees.

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Suider

 

What shoes do you suggest? It might be worth suggesting a colour of underpants for our new man of the bow too

 

Real bowfolk don't wear underpants :lol: makes it easier to moon the competition!!

 

 

Going commando is not a good idea on the bow. Think about climbing harness and you dangling 50 feet off the deck. Up there there is no way to free pinched body bits affectively.

 

Hasn't been a problem to date, you sure you're strapping the right bits in the right places?

 

My bits are bigger and get in the way of strappy parts. I need to wear something to keep them in place!

 

Good for you! Mine are detachable - nasty incident with a leeward shroud! Still I have interchangable attachments now. Personal favourite is my jack hammer attachment does all the hard work for me.

 

Which is a good point for our newbie, when climbing the rig what ever you do keep on the windward side of the rig on and hold the f*ck on the leeward shroud doesn't take prisoners and 99 times out of 100 you will take it slap bang in the crown jewels. :blink:

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Which is a good point for our newbie, when climbing the rig what ever you do keep on the windward side of the rig on and hold the f*ck on the leeward shroud doesn't take prisoners and 99 times out of 100 you will take it slap bang in the crown jewels. :blink:

 

Yeah, don't try and climb; walk up the main battens. If you've got a really nice crew they'll actually oversheet and heel her over for you, although if they do you have to pay your way and get up quick smart.

 

Also an addition about fids/spikes. In 30+ years I've never used one. Learn how to blow a clip under load safely using just fingers. You will have to do it someday and knowing how to accomplish what's necessary FAST and safely without mechanical aids will save you some fingers or at least removed nails. Practise carefully though, best done in light air with no hurry. "Get the fucking kite off" in 40 Kn when the fid you so depend on has disappeared into the bilge is not the time to learn. Especially with long races, know the mechanical detail of the stuff you're going to have to work with in the middle of the night, and take the time to make sure that it's properly maintained and lubricated.

 

Ok, you're one of three things (in order of likelihood),

o smarter than me

o never sailed on anything over 40' in 25+

o a lucky idiot

On the boat I sail on, I head the spinnaker and the halyard will strech about 0.7m (2ft) which will need to be winched up. To unlock a camclear you have to take a full low power wind on the winch.

 

Unless you are using 0% stretch rope you can not stick your finger in there, the kick from the stretch release will fuck your pinkie up. You might get away with it using a Gibb clip but even on the lever point (rather than the fid point) it'd be risky.

 

Wanna explain where you fit into that group and/or techniques?

 

Rgds,

 

remmie

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When a sail comes back from the loft, reflake it!!

 

This is key. We once got half way through a change from the L1 to the H1 before we realized the loft had put them in the wrong bags, and we already had the H1 up! This was at Race Rocks in swiftsure so we'd already had the wrong sail up for a while. I'm still not totally sure why the trimmers weren't bitching a lot more that the heady wouldn't open up in the light air at the start, must have been brutal.

 

DO NOT SAIL ON THAT BOAT

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On a 40', me off the rail is worth about 2/10ths of a knot, me at the front is another 2/10ths, and if we hit a wave it takes twice as long to accelerate if I'm at the front. That's really not fast.

That's very good advice that is often way overlooked

 

Learn tactics. Second best tactician on any boat should be the bowman.

Amen.

 

Check and recheck everything.

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I nearly forgot the training aspect for your future forward of the fat part.

 

Climbing is essential and you should treat any perspective yacht you wish to crew on as your

personal jungle gym. And while it's nice to have the safety of a harness and someone to crank you up the stick, this is not only unnecessary but unpractical. Most times you'll need to go up is because some nitwit dropped the spin halyard on a douse and their is no backup anyways.

 

So choose a boat and climb away! I reccommend a shorter, stouter rig to begin with and work your way up to the big boys on the outter edge of the dock as your muscles and confidence grows. Any perspective owner

looking for a quailified bow dude or bow dude-ette would warmly welcome you choosing there vessel as the one you chose for your training.

 

But simply climbing will get old and you'll need to vary your routine, so I recommend borrowing your little brothers paper boy bags and load it up with rocks, and climbing. This will not only make you faster but

more nimble and sensitive to changes in weight. And remember you'll be packing plenty of tools upstairs

on a regular basis, and wasting time having someone hoisting them to you will lose valuable seconds on the course. As you progress, loosen up the dock lines or cast them all off all together and wait til you see

tug or ferry traffic coming by, before starting your climb. This will not only increase your agilility, but rythym as well, as you learn to take advantage of the heel and can ascend quicker. Resting on the spreader is always a good idea and will help you get spring to the next level.

 

Never mind re-tethering the boat when you are done, that's what dock masters are for an the Union frowns on members doing other member work.

 

Good luck and go get em!

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Also, does anybody have tips for a J105?

 

Don't ask bowmen about a 105, as mentioned, no real bowmen sail on such boats. The front crew member on the 105 is responsible for hooking the kite on, and tugging down and back on the sheet / leech of the kite in jibes. This requires only slightly less skill then the leeward runner trimmer.

 

 

Ha ha...I've always wondered what people do when actually sailing that say they are the bowman on a sprit boat. B)

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The Volvo thing is a bit different from your average Jboat. At best most J120's have two kites, 105's usually just have 1. Throw in some code 0's and things get a bit more interesting but I still say real bowmen have massive poles.

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Up until this year I'd agree with you guys, as I've sailed nothing but symmetrics. But now sailing a Farr 36, I can tell you it's a shitload of work too. Two less lines to deal w/ but a 36 foot boat with a sail that's roughly twice as big as the chute on our ILC 40 was. Plus we carry five of them. Mentally it's nowhere near as complex, for sure, but the physical aspect has definitley elevated, and to do it well you still have to have a grasp of tactics to be able to put yourself in the right position and be efficient

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Interesting discussion---as a pitman-- I spend lots of time before the race discussing manuvers with the bowman----having a pitguy who has done bow is invaluable---I am able to anticpate most of the bowman's moves--and I can help keep track of halyards.

 

one thing I disagree with--- TD suggested that the guy shackle be attached to the sheet bail--I like to have the sheet and guy each hooked into the spinnaker clew separately--if the sheet should get detached (or broken, or tangled) the kite is under control with the lazy guy

 

 

this from bitter experience

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Interesting discussion---as a pitman-- I spend lots of time before the race discussing manuvers with the bowman----having a pitguy who has done bow is invaluable---I am able to anticpate most of the bowman's moves--and I can help keep track of halyards.

 

one thing I disagree with--- TD suggested that the guy shackle be attached to the sheet bail--I like to have the sheet and guy each hooked into the spinnaker clew separately--if the sheet should get detached (or broken, or tangled) the kite is under control with the lazy guy

 

 

this from bitter experience

I agree totally, from experience as well.

 

and our pitman is our old bowman :)

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i can see your point.

 

does having it rigged that way pose any downside other than the inconvenience of having them separate?

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i can see your point.

 

does having it rigged that way pose any downside other than the inconvenience of having them separate?

Not really, it just takes a few seconds longer to hook up the kite before the hoist (two shackles on each clew vs. one). It's a worthwhile few seconds to sacrifice for the one time it saves you five minutes.

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i can see your point.

 

does having it rigged that way pose any downside other than the inconvenience of having them separate?

 

 

 

Nope--if the breeze goes light--you can still detach the lazy guy from the sail---in heavy air it is essential to have backup --if you lose your spin sheet you have control of the kite

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one thing I disagree with--- TD suggested that the guy shackle be attached to the sheet bail--I like to have the sheet and guy each hooked into the spinnaker clew separately--if the sheet should get detached (or broken, or tangled) the kite is under control with the lazy guy

 

Unless the guy is on it's wench already having it clipped separately won't really matter = Guy attached separately, sheet lets go Guy smokes free cause it's not secured. Or causes a world of trouble cause it's around a cleat and you can't let it go under load.

 

I was always taught that the guy clips to the clew and the sheet clips to the guy. As usual it's probably a situation of "Different geographical location teaches different tricks to the trade."

 

SO what do the rest of the bowfolk teach/do? And Why? For me the why = Cause that's how I was taught and it hasn't yet failed me.

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i can see your point.

 

does having it rigged that way pose any downside other than the inconvenience of having them separate?

 

 

 

Nope--if the breeze goes light--you can still detach the lazy guy from the sail---in heavy air it is essential to have backup --if you lose your spin sheet you have control of the kite

 

 

How does your cockpit handle the lazy guy when not in use? On a cleat, around a winch, flaked in the cockpit? I don't actually know how our cockpit deals with it.

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I do it not only for the security of a back up, but also I prefer to keep the sheet clipped over the guy on the clew, which makes it easier for me to keep it above the pole and prevent the lazy sheet from fouling the pole. I think my cockpit flakes it and puts it around the primary about 1 wrap, but I'm not sure

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one thing I disagree with--- TD suggested that the guy shackle be attached to the sheet bail--I like to have the sheet and guy each hooked into the spinnaker clew separately--if the sheet should get detached (or broken, or tangled) the kite is under control with the lazy guy

 

Unless the guy is on it's wench already having it clipped separately won't really matter = Guy attached separately, sheet lets go Guy smokes free cause it's not secured. Or causes a world of trouble cause it's around a cleat and you can't let it go under load.

 

I was always taught that the guy clips to the clew and the sheet clips to the guy. As usual it's probably a situation of "Different geographical location teaches different tricks to the trade."

 

SO what do the rest of the bowfolk teach/do? And Why? For me the why = Cause that's how I was taught and it hasn't yet failed me.

 

fine--but if the breeze goes light, you can't take the guy off to reduce the weight on the spin clew. If you know that the lazy guy is your backup for the sheet in heavy air--you keep it around the winch, with a little slack (it is around the winch anyway in anticipation of it becoming the working guy--right?)---as long as the guy trimmer is aware that it is a backup--it never caused any problems on our boat--and has saved losing the kite several times

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1) while standing on the wobbily bow pulpit trying to open a shackle with a fid one handed.....yeah it looks cool from the back of the boat so, DON'T FALL OFF THE BOAT!

2) it can't be said enough....check your gear

3) let adventurland drink more than you the night before.....your screw ups will be less than thiers.

4) get to know exactly what the tack and clews look like.....son, no one likes a sideways kite.

5) Chuck Taylors, yes...beanie cap with propellar...no....well maybe.

6) team up with your pitman....he's your only friend on he boat.

7) get a nickname....and get used to it.

8) you now have the best seat in the house to watch the crash and burns from....just jam yourself into the bow pulpit, hang on and watch the show while looking aft.

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i can see your point.

 

does having it rigged that way pose any downside other than the inconvenience of having them separate?

 

 

 

Nope--if the breeze goes light--you can still detach the lazy guy from the sail---in heavy air it is essential to have backup --if you lose your spin sheet you have control of the kite

 

 

How does your cockpit handle the lazy guy when not in use? On a cleat, around a winch, flaked in the cockpit? I don't actually know how our cockpit deals with it.

If the shackle on the sheet lets go, the kite will run and start flogging. At this point you put the lazy guy on a winch and haul it's ass back in. This is opposed to having to douse the kite, rerig, and rehoist. BTW, to answer your initial question, the lazy guy sits slack ready to go for the next jibe.

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one thing I disagree with--- TD suggested that the guy shackle be attached to the sheet bail--I like to have the sheet and guy each hooked into the spinnaker clew separately--if the sheet should get detached (or broken, or tangled) the kite is under control with the lazy guy

 

Unless the guy is on it's wench already having it clipped separately won't really matter = Guy attached separately, sheet lets go Guy smokes free cause it's not secured. Or causes a world of trouble cause it's around a cleat and you can't let it go under load.

 

I was always taught that the guy clips to the clew and the sheet clips to the guy. As usual it's probably a situation of "Different geographical location teaches different tricks to the trade."

 

SO what do the rest of the bowfolk teach/do? And Why? For me the why = Cause that's how I was taught and it hasn't yet failed me.

 

The downside to the "Sheet to the Guy" attachment is if it gets light enough to remove the guy, you can't. (edit--I see this has already been commented on...)

 

For handling the lazy guy, I pull enough forward that I am ready for the gybe, and the cockpit has it loaded on the winch.

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The downside to the "Sheet to the Guy" attachment is if it gets light enough to remove the guy, you can't. (edit--I see this has already been commented on...)

 

For handling the lazy guy, I pull enough forward that I am ready for the gybe, and the cockpit has it loaded on the winch.

 

 

For the record. The breeze rarely gets light enough to have to worry about that. Seriously weather that light is something I worry about maybe once per season. If that.

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For handling the lazy guy, I pull enough forward that I am ready for the gybe, and the cockpit has it loaded on the winch.

 

I take what I know I'm gonna need. Put it where I want it and don't worry about the cockpit. There's a couple of really good guys back there. I just don't have to worry about them taking care of business. Until now I've never really thought about it. I trust them(gasp!)

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Keep a sail tie in your pocket, also a roll of tape, knife, fid, and sometimes a joint wouldn't hurt either. You will obviously need to keep this dry.

 

 

You get one of those ali tubes big fuck off cigars come in. Stick a couple of pre rolled in there. Then your only problem is lighting it. Every one know that right?

 

Dude, "everyone" is down wind of you....they'll know.

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Keep a sail tie in your pocket, also a roll of tape, knife, fid, and sometimes a joint wouldn't hurt either. You will obviously need to keep this dry.

 

 

You get one of those ali tubes big fuck off cigars come in. Stick a couple of pre rolled in there. Then your only problem is lighting it. Every one know that right?

 

Dude, "everyone" is down wind of you....they'll know.

 

Not necessarily: Depends on the heading, depends on the boat size.

 

It's very cool when afterguard on the boat ahead starts looking around, trying to figure out who's burning one.

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some very sage advice in here.

 

some additions:

 

1. GROW REALLY THICK SKIN*

2. you're doing this for fun

3. don't wear cotton from the waist down (except for perhaps your socks)

4. don't wear a hat unless you intend to lose it

5. always buy your mast and pit their first drink...unless they fuck up. then they buy all nite.

6. always keep a few beers squirreled away in the hatch bag

 

7. when talking to other bowmen or sailors who know more than you (and the best rule of thumb is to give the benefit of the doubt that they all do until they prove themselves shmucks) remember that you have 2 ears and only 1 mouth

 

8. GROW REALLY THICK SKIN*

9. politely thank anyone who helps rig the bow; then rerig it inconspicuously

 

10. the more you shut your mouth, the more you learn. the more you learn the better you get. the better you get the more invites come your way. the more invites that come your way the more compliments

you receive. the more compliments you receive the more humble you become. the more humble

you become the more you shut your mouth.

 

 

oh yeah, I almost forgot. GROW REALLY THICK SKIN*!

 

*-everyone ~thinks~ they have thick skin. working the bow teaches you how thin it really is, trust me.

 

 

jap-army_sun_hat_front.jpg

 

 

Sun hats are important, just use the chin strap and its all good... *Guy LeDouche recommended model shown!

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I still say guys clip to sheets. this saves time one the set, the drop, and especially on the last-minute switch to jibe-set. I can't ever recall having a sheet come undone, what kind of shackles are you people using?

 

If there is a twist in the clew of the kite in the bag, and you attach both lines to the clew, they will be twisted, if you attach the guy to the sheet bail, it can swivel and clear itself. Also I'm trying to figure out if this is a practical thing when doing a peel. I guess it wouldn't matter much, but peeling with everything on one shackle is pretty straightforward.

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For handling the lazy guy, I pull enough forward that I am ready for the gybe, and the cockpit has it loaded on the winch.

 

I take what I know I'm gonna need. Put it where I want it and don't worry about the cockpit. There's a couple of really good guys back there. I just don't have to worry about them taking care of business. Until now I've never really thought about it. I trust them(gasp!)

 

The great thing about that is you aren't thinking about it then and are focusing on what is going on around you and where you will be going next (and what you need to do for that). One of those benefits that comes from sailing with the same group for a while...

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I still say guys clip to sheets. this saves time one the set, the drop, and especially on the last-minute switch to jibe-set. I can't ever recall having a sheet come undone, what kind of shackles are you people using?

 

If there is a twist in the clew of the kite in the bag, and you attach both lines to the clew, they will be twisted, if you attach the guy to the sheet bail, it can swivel and clear itself. Also I'm trying to figure out if this is a practical thing when doing a peel. I guess it wouldn't matter much, but peeling with everything on one shackle is pretty straightforward.

 

 

thanks Tyler. I was trying to go over all the procedures *sure* I was missing something that would make clipping them separately a disaster. The last minute gybe set. That'll screw the pooch.

 

I have seen jib sheets with j-locks come undone a few times. Rankles the hell out of the afterguard. We used electrical tape on them to keep 'em closed. Assuming you don't unhook the clews from the sheets/guys...and you shouldn't...you might try that if you're worried about the shackles giving out.

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I still say guys clip to sheets. this saves time one the set, the drop, and especially on the last-minute switch to jibe-set. I can't ever recall having a sheet come undone, what kind of shackles are you people using?

 

If there is a twist in the clew of the kite in the bag, and you attach both lines to the clew, they will be twisted, if you attach the guy to the sheet bail, it can swivel and clear itself. Also I'm trying to figure out if this is a practical thing when doing a peel. I guess it wouldn't matter much, but peeling with everything on one shackle is pretty straightforward.

 

 

I can't for the life of me understand how setting up for a gybe set would be a problem --you can clip them together to pull the gear around the headstay--then clip them into the sail---and how do you get rid of the guy if the breeze dies--if the guy is clipped to the sail and the sheet is into the bail on the guy--you can't do it.----if the kite is twisted after the douse--the bowman should know and run the tapes before it is hoisted. a I have seen shackles let go ---maybe not properly closed--I have seen spin sheets let go in a broach and seen them fail (bad splice for example)---it doesn't hurt to protect yourself with redundancy.

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