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trapezing technique

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Hutchi View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Oct 12 at 7:13pm
i am little 5,3 and 15 a crew on a RS 500 i have a problem of getting pulled on so i am almost falling off the edge and forward onto the sail when we are heeling too much... i try to lean back but i just cant enough... we tend not to even be heeling that much, is this due to my technique or just the fact i am too small? 
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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: 22 Oct 12 at 7:41pm
Your post isn't a 100% clear, but I assume you mean that you feel that you are falling forward and back into the boat.

There are several reasons for this:
1. You are not sailing the boat flat enough. If the boat heels it will try to luff up and will slow down. The deceleration will force you forwards if you are not well balanced and the roll of the boat will throw you in to the middle of the boat.

2. You are trapezing too high. If you have enough power that the boat is heeling over when you are on the wire, then ease the adjuster line down until you are almost horizontal. Be careful if you drop too low any lull will see you hitting the water and probably ripping you off of the boat.

3. Your helm is not playing the mainsheet enough. Shout at your helm!

4. You might be sitting up too much in your harness and not using your legs. I once tried a new crew on my 49er who would only bend at the waist to adjust the control lines. If he did it while a gust hit he invariably ended up going headfirst into the boom :( If you need to adjust anything while on the wire bend your legs to reach in.
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 12 at 7:44pm
You might be trapezing a bit too high: it is fashionable to have the adjustment shorter these days than it used to be, but frankly the most likely explanation is simply that you (or rather the helm if the helm takes the mainsheet in your boat) are letting the boat heel too much. I reckon if your trapeze harness is not taking any load if you are just sitting on the topside, but is if you sit out hard then the adjustment is about right.

Get in the habit of yelling "flat" at the helm at regular intervals. It does them good. I expect there must be helms in the world who sail the boat flat enough without being regularly reminded, but I haven't met any yet.

Edited by JimC - 22 Oct 12 at 7:45pm
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Ruscoe View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ruscoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 12 at 7:52pm
I would echo the above you are to high on the wire, try dropping yourself further.  Not sure what the rules state regarding trapeze wires/ropes on 500's but you can make adjustable splices so you can adjust the wire length and therefore do not need a really long adjuster rope.

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Mister Nick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mister Nick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 12 at 8:30pm
Get your helm to sail it flatter, I helm a 500 and to be honest it's the best way to sail it (like most boats). You can help by playing the kicker in the gusts and calling the breeze to the driver. You should trapeze lower too. You're pretty small and presumably light so you should be flatwiring a lot of the time. Keep feeding information back to the helm, you have a much better feel of how much the boat is heeling by from the wire so tell them exactly how they're doing. If the boat is truly flat then it should almost feel like it is falling on top of you slightly. I was about your height and age when I started 500 sailing and I felt like I had the same problem. A big part of it for me was just trusting the helm not to dump you in and getting as low as I could for the conditions. The more trapezing you do the better you'll get at it.

Edited by Mister Nick - 22 Oct 12 at 8:31pm
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 12 at 9:11pm
Being short should help on the feeling of falling forwards, for the same length of trap wire, so it must be the helm. From other posts, is this your dad? In which case, shout at him... he should be used to it...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Oatsandbeans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 7:49am
As the others have all said, the boat has to be flat. When it is breezy the helm has to continually play the main, out in the puffs and back in when it drops, if he isnt working hard enough on this you cannot trapeze confidently. (He doesn't really have much to do helming a 500 so you would think that he could get this right!
Second point trapezing height, you have to go low in the gusts, this means right to the bottom on the bit of rope that RS supply ( it is rubbish and too short so change it anyway to 8mm Maffioli speedline, this is great because it easily is grabbed by the cleat and is good on your hands, but still uncleats). To do this you have to get the hang of easily adjusting your height, as you will be raising and dropping yourself all the time, when you are good. Most crews struggle to do this when they start because they cannot get it out of the cleat. To do this, a little flick of the hips unweights the gear and the rope can easily be pulled put of the cleat, you must get good at this. This is the same technique for when you have to drop or raise your height.
Third, angle your front foot towards the mast with your toes pointed and with the balls of your feet on the gunwhale. This will brace your front leg and make it much less likely to be thrown round the front when you hit a big wave. Twisting your body a bit so your shoulders are not parallel to the water will also stabilise you.

There is a lot there but it isnt easy and most helms are rubbish at it anyway, so go out, practice and get good. If you want to see how it should be done there is a picture of Heather Martin (ex World Champion) on the RS500 web site doing it really well, feet close together, body twisted, and looking over her shoulder, study that and copy her.
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Oatsandbeans View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Oatsandbeans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 9:11am
Sorry that trapeze adjuster rope is 7mm Maffioli swiftcord. It is thicker than what most use, it runs well, but it is really soft, so good on the hands and is easily gripped by the cleat, so your rarely get dropped right to the bottom.
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transient View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote transient Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 11:09am
As others have said it sounds like the boat is not upright enough. Height on the wire is important as others have mentioned. Don't use a continuous jib sheet for the following reason: Tie the end of the  jib sheet to the trapeze handle, it's always there then and it's less cluttered.  Ease jib in the gusts or when you feel the boat pulling you over, if the helm moans tell him to keep the flippin boat upright then LOL Watch for gusts on the water and communicate. Use the downhaul etc if needbe.

Ultimately the person on the wire can only do so much, if your doing all you can then most of the solutions to your problem lie with the helm...Is the so and so hiking? In my experience a lot of helms expect the crew to do all the balancing and don't hike very well. Is s/he easing the main appropriately? Again in my experience many club sailors (particularly men, it must be a macho thing) oversheet the main.

Remember you are a team and you have equal say on how the boat needs sailing. If you're uncomfortable with how the boats being sailed tell the helm, be assertive and polite. Don't blame your self if it's a team issue. Discuss (or even argue) and then resolve. Get you helm under control Wink
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 11:14am
Originally posted by transient

Don't use a continuous jib sheet for the following reason: Tie the end of the  jib sheet to the trapeze handle, it's always there then and it's less cluttered.  

!! Obviously your mileage varies, but I find that setup a complete and utter nightmare: strings always under your feet.... For my taste the minimum clutter is a continuous sheet and the fairlead and cleat no further aft than the shroud, but of course on an SMOD you have to accept where its been put by the manufacturer.
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