Kite Drops

Leeward Cockpit drop

This can either be done by letting windward sheets and guys fly – or by spiking the tack. First check the spi halyard is expertly flaked , then the genoa is pulled up to the appropriate mark under direction of the Pianist.

Spike drop

Before the drop the lazy guy is led between shroud and runner and through gap between foot of mainsail and boom. Mast takes hold of this but stays to windward . At the last minute Spi Trimmer hands the spi sheet to Sweeper or Genoa Trimmer and joins Mast in preparing to retrieve the kite. Bow stands forward holding the forestay with one hand and reaching up with the spike with the other.

Do not stand aft of the pole as it will spring back and bite you!

Trimmers mate eases pole forward , the Pianist slowly lowers the uphaul and Sweeper pulls downhaul down . This should result in a controlled descent of the pole to be within reach of Bow. If either lets off too much ( or heaven forbid releases it altogether !) it slams against the forestay, becomes impossible to spike and we roll into a drop by letting windward sheets run.

Assuming we have managed to place the pole end within reach , Helm calls “Spike”, Bow spikes the Sheet, Mast and Spi Trimmer haul on the lazy guy and haul the spi under the mainsail to Sweeper who bundles it below. Bow stows the pole and clips back the uphaul so we can tack and skirts the genoa.

Having done so shouts “Clear to tack” (NOTE – genny sheet can easily slip over the end of the pole . and when you try to tack you cant- so before clipping back Bow AND Mast must check genny sheet is entirely ABOVE pole in all manoevres – this will save a lot of embarrassment)

Genoa trimmer concentrates on sheeting the genoa to the exclusion of all else. The temptation is to sheet it early (before we have headed up onto closehauled )- but this is slow. So is rounding the mark with the genoa flogging – so aim for perfect trimming throughout the turn. Everyone else hikes hard. Spi trimmer looks at course made good out of the mark on the GPS and makes a very early call as to wether we are lifted or knocked compared with earlier readings – or if appropriate wether we can lay the mark in one tack / can crack off. The various headings should have been discussed long before the rounding . Once settled sort out the sheets and guys from the rail , the Pianist will usually have to adjust one sail or other , and the trimmers start their search for speed.

“Let –Fly”  drop.

Essentially the same except that windward sheet and guy are let fly. Both must have been flaked before the drop (responsibility of Trimmers Mate) – something that should be done before a spike drop as well just in case it goes wrong.

Cockpit drop followed by a gybe

This occurs when you havn’t had time or opportunity to approach on the correct gybe. It is precisely the same as a spike drop except it it is important for Bow to clip the  uphaul back and check lazy genny sheet is above the pole ready for the gybe. When this is achieved Bow shouts “Clear to Gybe” ,  Trimmers mate releases the old genoa sheet through the gybe and pulls in the new runner , Genoa Trimmer gybes the genoa and sheets on. The boom swings over to the cry of “Heads” , Main works like a dervish to get the sail in and hopefully the Pianist , Spi Trimmer and Mast hike hard leaving Bow to skirt and the helm to let out a sigh of relief if it all works.

Windward Float Drop

Used in light to moderate airs when you can ( or must) run deep into the mark and round without gybing. It is most effective if you are dead downwind or even slightly by the lee.

Genoa is first hoisted 5 boat lengths out , Spi trimmer hands sheet to the Pianist and holds out windward guy whilst holding on to shroud. Meanwhile forehatch has been opened and Sweeper is below holding on to lazy guy which is led around forestay , over windward bow and down hatch. Main calls “Trip and Stow” – Mast trips pole end , Pianist lowers pole and Bow clips uphaul back ensuring genoa sheets are not tangled. The kite is flown well to windward by Trimmers mate on guy , Spi trimmer holding guy out to windward and pianist on sheet. Only as the vessel makes her turn to windward round the mark does the pianist release the sheet and blow the halyard . Trimmers mate pulls guy back until the sail collapses. Bow and Mast gather furiously and Sweeper pulls the sail into the forehatch. If all goes well the spi is funnelled via the genoa into the hatch as we turn into the wind. Genoa trimmer , as before, ONLY sheets the genoa, ignoring everything else. If all goes well Spi trimmer hikes hard , soon joined by Mast and Trimmers mate and Pianist.

Gybe and Float drop

Use this if you are approaching on the wrong gybe in light to moderate winds.

It is important to be able to steer deep for the last 5 boatlengths – otherwise drop early into the cockpit and then gybe ( but do NOT retrieve between boom and sail!)

As Helm bears away on the final approach , Sweeper goes below , opens forehatch and takes the lazy guy UNDER THE GENOA and hangs on. Helm calls “Pole Back” and Trimmers mate pulls windward sheet back . Spi trimmer hands sheet to the Pianist and struts the windward sheet. Helm calls “Trip and Stow” and Mast trips the pole. The pianist lowers uphaul , Bow stows pole onto foredeck and clips uphaul back – ensuring genoa sheet (previously over pole in front of uphaul take-off) is not tangled. Pianist and Trimmers mate fly kite well to windward using both sheets. As the mark approaches ( runners must be tied forward for this manoeuvre) Helm calls out “Gybe” and starts the turn , boom comes over to the cry of “Heads” , the Pianist and Trimmers mate steer the kite to the new windward side watching the sail all the time ( Pianist trims on , T-M eases). Genoa trimmer gybes the genoa leaving it overtrimmed on the new gybe .As the wind comes on the quarter , Helm cries “Drop” , the Pianist blows the spi halyard ,Sweeper pulls like hell on guy and the sail is pulled into the forehatch aided by Mast and Bow.

It is important that before the drop the Pianist has managed to get most of the sail round to the new windward side so it is fed into the forehatch by the genoa. If the Spi trimmer can get across during the gybe to strut the new windward sheet prior to the drop , so much the better. As the sail is taken in , the boat is hardening up , the main and genny come on and Spi Trimmer , Trimmers mate Mast and the Pianist hike , and another perfect drop and rounding has been achieved.