Doublehanded Synergy Article
If you are new to double handed sailing, whether frostbiting ICs, sailing a weeknight series in Snipes, or racing collegiate 420s, you’ll find that success hinges on teamwork. Top double-handed teams share a mutual respect for each other, and the same performance goals. Teamwork starts with excellent boat handling – much more than just taking and jibing. Balance, weight placement, and sail trim are the keys to speeding the boat around the course.
If your goal is to be part of a high school or college team, start with some basics. Get a proper fitting lifejacket, make a bailer from a plastic detergent container and ad a tie-in lanyard, find some foul weather get, sun block and a water bottle. It is also a good idea to carry a small ditty bag with spare ring dings, clevis pins, spare line, duct tape and a small multi-purpose pocket tool. Always know the latest weather forecast, rules and sailing instructions, as well as the boat rotation, courses, and signal flags. And most importantly, practice the boat handling tricks that will put you on top.
Balance is the critical responsibility for the crew. In heavy air, hike hard to keep the boat flat, but in light air, you may have to sit to leeward and induce heel. In moderate conditions, balance means moving in and out, softly responding to the ever-changing conditions and keeping the boat at a constant level of heel without having to be asked. It also means knowing the difference between a heavy-air tack, where the object is to keep the boat flat, and a light-air tack where boat speed is maintained by roll tacking. Know how to tack in different conditions, concentrating on how far you need to cross the boat so that you roll the boat flat without rolling it past horizontal.