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Centre vs Transom Sheeting

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Post Options Post Options   Quote O_Long Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Centre vs Transom Sheeting
    Posted: 24 May 14 at 4:08pm
Hello all, 

I learned how to sail transom-main boats first, and I had a whizz around in a mate's Lark with him on Wednesday. It's the first real time I've sailed a centre main (the actual first time was before I'd ever been told about the different sheeting options and was trying to hold the tiller like a frying pan as I'd been taught - hilarity ensued) and I honestly couldn't see the point. Being on a river gave me lot of practice tacking, but I eventually resigned myself to crew as I was having to tack again before I could switch hands. I liked the way I could see where I was going (though the river was practically empty anyway) but having to do a Houndini routine with my hands behind my back put me off.

I know Topper did the study that found transom-mains were marginally better, but why are most new boats nowadays centre-main? It just removes space in the boat. What do you guys prefer? 
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craiggo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote craiggo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 14 at 4:20pm
Topper originally opted for transom main, but the squads now encourage centre main and I believe new Toppers are centre main.

As you have found out, you can see much more when facing forward in the tacks and this enables you to steer more accurately through the manoeuvre. Gybing is also much easier facing forwards as its easier to hold your balance as the power comes on. It's also easier to grab the falls off the mainsheet to help the boom across.

Transom mains were very useful back when blocks and rope were insufficiently strong to pull lots of kicker tension, but now they have had their day.

Edited by craiggo - 24 May 14 at 4:22pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sawman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 14 at 7:52am
I have sailed both transom and centre sheet boats equally over the years, its just a question of developing your muscle memory. One of the benefit of centremain, is that you can face forwards through manouvers. I sailed on the broads years ago, where tacking in crowded. narrow rivers is considerable easier with the centre arrangement. I stated sailing an old kestrel with transom sheeting, but converted it to centre sheeting, with hilarious consequences for a few outings (tying myself up in knots) We spent a whole weekend tacking and running up and down a stretch of river and got properly used to it. I am ambidextrous now. I recently did an rya dinghy instructor course, and the course leader commented on my inappropriate dagger grip when sailing a transom sheeted wayfarer!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote timeintheboat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 14 at 10:32am
We tried centre sheeting in a N12  and there was just no room, in the end there is a third way of sheeting off the boom which is a bit of the best of both worlds.

Like some other things - sailing is more enjoyable when you do it with someone else
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Post Options Post Options   Quote maxibuddah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 14 at 3:30pm
I always found that on rear sheeted mains when it was windy I was getting pulled backwards so that my shoulders were constantly twisted. On centre main you are only being pulled back into the boat but perpendicularly which saves some twist on the body.

Its also a lot quicker to pull shed loads of main back in when rounding up as you can maximise the amount pulled by both hands.
Everything I say is my opinion, honest
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Post Options Post Options   Quote zippyRN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 14 at 2:38pm
As a number of posters have pointed out  - in a centre sheeted boat you face forwards  during manouveres 

tiller extension holds is an interesting one -  havign been taught the convetional by the book RYA  method in transom sheeted dinghies as a lad  the  frying pan grip comes naturall,y,  then getting introduced to centre sheeting and 'bunny grip'  (and the ability to do a two handed mainsheet  pull - hand over hand style  i later found the a the frying pan grip doesn;t  have to be used in transom sheeted boats ... 

the topper is an interesting  point - isd the centre main  option just for 'sexiness'  or to meet the percieved norms of 'performance' dinghies ( especially  when  you look at the mid nineties dash for sexiness in the double hander world  with cadets and mirrors  marginalised  for the centre sheeted, asy-kite flying 405  in 'the system' )
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Post Options Post Options   Quote NickA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 14 at 9:24pm
Someone at our club decided to buy a training fleet of Comet trios and rig them all transom main "because it's less confusing for beginners" ... consider the look on their face when they graduate Level 2 and get into a 2000 (or pretty much any modern dinghy).

The topper is a pathway class to the laser which has always been centre main to make for easier tacks and gybes whilst facing the right way and fewer tangles as the sheet goes forward and the tiller goes back. 

... interestingly the contender is centre main and quite a few people tack them facing backwards (to avoid smashing their face on the turret I think!)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 14 at 9:31pm
Originally posted by zippyRN

the topper is an interesting  point - isd the centre main  option just for 'sexiness'  or to meet the percieved norms of 'performance' dinghies

Mainly I believe it was to head off the godawful Laser 4.7.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote winging it Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 14 at 8:43am
I think it's already been said that the topper became centre main partly because of introduction of the more powerful and easily adjustable kickers.  We have updated all our club boats and again, as has been said, the transition to bigger/other boats is much less confusing.

I watched some of a recent Ent open at Hunts and initially was surprised at how many racing were still aft main.  Looking closet, however, you notice that the centre main boats have far less space for the crew.

I agree that aft main tacking etc can be smoother and easier than centre, but you do stil get dragged backwards.  I guess as an adult you pays your money and takes your choice, but for beginners centre does seem best.
the same, but different...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 14 at 4:13pm
Mind you, last year I was sailing a vintage Moth for various reasons, which I'm really far too heavy for, so keeping weight forward, esp while tacking, was crucial. After trying a number of alternatives what I found I preferred was off the boom stern sheeting!
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