Print Page | Close Window

trapezing technique

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Technique
Forum Discription: 'How to' section for dinghy questions and answers
Printed Date: 27 Mar 23 at 11:03pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: trapezing technique
Posted By: Hutchi
Subject: trapezing technique
Date 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? 

Posted By: craiggo
Date 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.

Posted By: JimC
Date 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.

Posted By: Ruscoe
Date 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.


Posted By: Mister Nick
Date 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.

Posted By: Rupert
Date 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...

Firefly 2324, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: Oatsandbeans
Date 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.

Posted By: Oatsandbeans
Date 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.

Posted By: transient
Date 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 thenLOL 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 controlWink

Posted By: JimC
Date 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.

Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 11:26am
agreed- keep trap lines clean and for trapping, and keep jib sheets forward, connected and out the way of your feet and legs.

This is a helm issue... if s/he's come from a less powerful boat, maybe where healing is 'okay' and they've never played the main properly before, this will be a big skill for them to learn.  Having crewed for people stepping into a 420 for the first time after Oppies, I can tell you not everyone finds it easy to play the main.

Have patience, feedback as you'll feel it first.  Failing that, take the mainsheet from the boom yourself and play it yourself from the wire so the helm can focus on the telltales and the waves to keep the boat driving.  I know it's probably against 'class rules', but I doubt anyone will protest you if you're still both learning.


Posted By: Oatsandbeans
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 11:30am
I agree that continuous jib sheets are best, much less trouble, but I think that it is essential that they are just the right length, most of the SMOD boats have way too long ropes especially jib sheets. When they are right there is much less to tangle up and you dont have to back up a load of rope when sorting out the lazy sheet prior to a manouvere. Another crew whinge related to SMODs is jib cleat height, it is often wrong, that results in normally it being it impossible to uncleat from flat out on the wire, you should sort them out with shims to get it just right.

Posted By: transient
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 11:42am
Originally posted by JimC

!! Obviously your mileage varies,

Clearly, otherwise I wouldn't have said itLOL

To the OP: try it and see, if you don't like it  don't do it. -
(see technique refinements and what to do with the jib sheet)

Crewing to win by Andy Hemmings covers trapezing in depth and gives pointers on crew/helm communication. 

Posted By: Oatsandbeans
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 2:40pm
No body at the RS500 worlds last year( 64 boats),  had their jib sheets tied to the trapeze handles( there arent handles just disks). I thought all that business went out in the early80's ( the yanks used to do it in Fireballs and 505s). Also the idea of teaching kids to sail a 500 with the crew taking the mainsheet which is not allowed, sounds wrong- teach them to do it right, from day one, they will pick it up, and soon be blowing you away by how good they are at it- kids learn fast but teach them the right way in the first place so they dont have to unlearn a bad habit!

Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 3:04pm
I agree O&B, but if it's a case of permanently getting t-bagged or sent around the forestay and all the helm needs is a few sails with just the rudder to get used to the speed boost, then the crew taking the sheet ain't no big drama.  We used to do all the time in 420s when we were making the transition from very slow boats into them.  

Soon enough the helm will want to take the sheet back again anyway, of course nowadays you could feasible consider the 500 as a training alternative to the 29er and the Olympic skiff pathway... in which case, the crew taking the sheet will actually be exactly what you say... teaching them the 'right' way first ;-)


Posted By: DaveT
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 5:58pm
I find continuous jib sheets pretty hateful things tbh, especially if your sailing boats were you might end up on a windy two sail reach. Likewise, sheets tied to trapeze handles are also the work of the devil. Stick with simple normal jib sheets for now, and learnt to trapeze comfortably flat like people have said.

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 7:44pm
But the crew taking the mainsheer *is* right on a trapeze boat. Its just that a couple of classes prohibit it for some reason.

Posted By: Neptune
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 8:22pm
So the crew is nearly doing everything now so might as well just get a Musto/ 700 each and get more Boats on the water :-)

Musto Skiff and Solo sailor

Posted By: simsy
Date Posted: 23 Oct 12 at 9:39pm
Oatsandbeans has is spot on. There's no place for the crew taking the main on a 500. The boat's designed to be sailed a certain way, that should be the way it's sailed. There is a learning curve with every boat, some substantially more dramatic then others. There has been some fantastic advice given in regards to trapeze height (which I think in your case would really help), and it's most likely down to the helm not sailing the boat flat.

In relation to Pondmonkey's post, the RS500 is nothing like the 29er. As much as it would be great for an RS500 to be a transitional boat to a 29er, the only thing the boats have in common are they both an asymmetric with a trapeze. The 29er learning curve would be a slightly steeper.

Posted By: Medway Maniac
Date Posted: 24 Oct 12 at 11:05am
Is a 5'3" crew ever likely to be heavy enough to sail a 500 seriously?  The 500 ended up pretty heavily canvassed for its size, despite the intentions at the concept stage.

Otherwise, yes it sounds like a question of trapezing lower while the helm works harder on the mainsheet to keep the boat flatter.

-------------" rel="nofollow - Wilsonian SC" rel="nofollow - 3000 Class

Posted By: winging it
Date Posted: 24 Oct 12 at 12:15pm
Originally posted by Medway Maniac

Is a 5'3" crew ever likely to be heavy enough to sail a 500 seriously?  The 500 ended up pretty heavily canvassed for its size, despite the intentions at the concept stage.

My thoughts exactly.  I sailed one in some blowy stuff earlier this year and I'm 5'11" and pretty experienced on the wire.  We kept it flat, but I cna see that someone shorter and lighter is going to struggle no matter how high or low on the wire.  If you're sailing for fun, fine; live with it and learn what techniques you can to get by.  If you're aiming to be a serious racer then change class to something that suits because otherwise you'll end up disillusioned, injured (back problems) and disheartened.  Why not choose something like a 420 to get started in until you grow more?  If you're not going to grow, start helming or get a Farr or a light skiff.

the same, but different...

Posted By: Jack Sparrow
Date Posted: 24 Oct 12 at 3:38pm
@ 13.1m2 upwind sail area I see no reason why a 5'3" crew should have difficulties. There were / are plenty of 97' rules ( single wire 12.5m2 ) Cherub sailors out there at that size. I'm one of them.

-------------" rel="nofollow - Farr 3.7 Class Website" rel="nofollow - Farr 3.7 Building - Facebook Group

Posted By: pondmonkey
Date Posted: 24 Oct 12 at 3:51pm
Originally posted by simsy

In relation to Pondmonkey's post, the RS500 is nothing like the 29er. As much as it would be great for an RS500 to be a transitional boat to a 29er, the only thing the boats have in common are they both an asymmetric with a trapeze. The 29er learning curve would be a slightly steeper.

Which is precisely why I used the word 'alternative' in my post.  Confused  

So if the OP's intention is to sail a 500 for a couple of years at club level and then get into a 'proper skiff' when they've got a bit experience, quite frankly b**locks to the class rules that prohibit the crew taking the mainsheet.

Better to be out there enjoying the boat 'out of class' on a minor technicality, than be forever peeved off and disillusioned as the crew goes through the mainsail, around the forestay or worse, back in for early shower never to be seen at a sailing club again.

Jack's right (yep I did say that LOL), there's no reason at all a 5ft 3' person shouldn't be enjoying a boat like a 500.  There's even the dacron smaller (S) rig to make it easier.


Posted By: getafix
Date Posted: 24 Oct 12 at 5:27pm
Trapeze lower than you think/feel you should be and use your legs to adjust the trim, if you feel like you're getting pulled <back> into the boat and you're crewing, stick your free hand over and behind your head, pro-Olymipic-styleee, this looks flash and also moves your CofG.
As far as alternatives or move-ups go, I'd have thought a V3000 was more suitable as a stepping stone to a 29er than an RS500, but sail wot ya got first & foremost

Print Page | Close Window

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 9.665y -
Copyright ©2001-2010 Web Wiz -