Cruising

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The bow is the last place you want extra weight when approaching a windward mark in a tightly packed fleet. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to keep the bowman off the foredeck during sets. It works best on boats with retractable sprit poles, but it can be adapted for boats that use standard poles.

The gear All you need is a swivel-mounted snapshackle, some lightweight cord, and some rigging tape.

The fix Figure out where you normally launch your kite from in relation to your lifeline stanchions. Next, lash the spinning snapshackle to the base of the nearest stanchion with some lightweight cord and wrap the cord securely with rigging tape. The shackle should point forward and run parallel with the deck. Next, take roughly 8 feet of lightweight cord, tie it to the shackle’s trigger, and run the cord up to the mast under any working lines. Last, tie a generous loop at the end so the line is easy to grasp.<

The solution As you approach the windward mark, the bowman, when prepping the kite, should clip the halyard to the snapshackle so the sail’s head can remain either belowdeck or in a sail bag. Close to the mark, the sail’s tack is pre-fed to the end of the pole. Then the mastman blows the snapshackle’s trip line and hauls up on the halyard before lowering the headsail. David Schmidt

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