The Stealthy Getaway
The Stealthy Getaway
If you like the option of a quick, opposite-jibe getaway from the windward mark, add the Sambuca to your team's bag of tricks. "From the Experts" in our April 2010 issue
While best suited for sprit boats, the Sambuca will work with boats flying either asymmetric or symmetric spinnakers off a pole. In either case, the first step after the Sambuca is called is to trip away the pole and get it back on deck. An A-sail will be hoisted with the foreguy/downhaul pulled snug. Use the starboard sheet to pull the sail around the headstay. Transfer the spinnaker to the pole after the jibe. Do your best not to trap the pole under the jib as it comes down.
With a symmetric spinnaker, two things are critical for a successful Sambuca. Prior to jibing, the pole must be tripped away from the starboard sheet and afterguy. And after jibing, because the tack (the port corner) will want to rise up to the same height with the rest of the kite as it goes up, someone must go forward and act as a human pole to keep the tack as low as possible. This will help the kite to fill quickly.
Before you go lighting up the fleet with a Sambuca at every windward mark, here are a few things to consider.
A successful Sambuca will have you plunging back into the top of the last beat-on port jibe with a kite up-where you're likely to encounter a maze of upwind boats who will be as surprised to see you as you are to see them. While this can be good for the spectators, it may raise your pucker factor when you look up from your mainsheet block after the jibe.
If the upwind fleet is set up in a more predictable fashion (on the starboard tack layline), then you will potentially be sailing directly through a lot of bad air and disturbed water. If the wind is light, this could be a death zone of no wind until the boats behind you clear out.
Even if the traffic is light on the last quarter of the beat, you'll still be sailing through your own bad air and disturbed water after the jibe. This is more of a problem on the larger boats that cast enormous wind shadows. On the 95-foot Wally, we don't attempt the Sambuca in under 7 knots of wind for that reason.
Just as with a jibe set, you need solid teamwork and communication to pull off a good Sambuca. You also need a compelling reason to do it: more pressure on one side, a shorter course to the leeward mark, a chance to split from the nearest competition. But if the situation is right, the Sambuca is a stealth weapon that can win you races.