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J/30 Crew Assignments

by Dave Dodson, Mondial

Last update: January 3, 1997 (Copied from old J/30 website)


Crew Positions

  • Driver
  • Mainsail Trimmer & Tactician
  • Port-Side Genoa & Spinnaker Trimmer
  • Starboard-Side Genoa & Spinnaker Trimmer
  • Pit
  • Mast
  • Foredeck

Before the 10-Minute Gun
Driver Relax and focus on boat speed and wind conditions.
Tactician Write down wind directions and port and starboard tack headings. Check the current. Figure out where to start.
Port Trim Get the leeward mark in the GPS and enter the windward mark position.
Star. Trim Shoot the starting line with the hand-held compass. Tell Tactician the number. Start the timer on the Sailcomp at the 10 minute gun.
Pit Be sure the spinnaker is packed correctly and the radio is on the channel for over-early calls. Be sure the main halyard is at the proper height and tied around the cleat. Hoist the genoa.
Mast Check the course type, distance to the windward mark, and heading to the windward mark. Be sure someone writes it down. Help raise the genoa.
Foredeck Be sure the spinnaker gear is ready to go. Jump the genoa halyard at the mast. Watch for other boats from the bow.
Boat Check wind direction and port and starboard tack headings with crew in their proper upwind positions (to windward in heavier air and to leeward in lighter air).

At the Start
Driver Drive!
Tactician Call the start.
Port Trim Trim the genoa.
Star. Trim Be prepared for a tack.
Pit Listen to the radio for over-early calls. After hearing whether our sail number was called, put the radio on channel 16.
Mast Sit to windward in heavier air and to leeward in lighter air. Call out the time every 30 seconds.
Foredeck Help call the starting line.
Boat Point high and go fast!

Going Upwind
Driver Concentrate! Feather the telltales occasionally in medium air, hardly at all in light air, and quite a bit in heavy air.
Tactician Watch for wind shifts.
Port Trim Watch the genoa trim.
Star. Trim Watch the genoa trim.
Pit Keep your weight in the right place. Add heel in light air by sitting to leeward. Sit out on the rail in medium to heavy air.
Mast Call waves.
Foredeck Call puffs.

Tacking
Driver Make sure the crew is ready; wait until the genoa is uncleated. Steer slowly and smoothly, carrying as much speed as far upwind as possible without stopping the boat. Switch sides after the Mainsail Trimmer.
Mainsail Pull the traveler up as the boat turns into the tack. On the new side, ease the sheet 4-6 inches for acceleration out of the tack. Ease the backstay in medium air to aid acceleration. Gradually sheet in (and tighten backstay) as the boat returns to normal speed.
Port Trim When tacking from starboard to port tack. In light to medium air, release the old genoa sheet and make sure it runs out freely. In heavy air with the #1 genoa, release the old genoa sheet and cross over to grind the winch for the new sheet. When tacking from port to starboard tack, do the job described for the Starboard Trimmer.
Star. Trim When tacking from starboard to port tack. In light to medium air, tail the new genoa sheet and grind in the last part with the winch. In light air, trim in 8-10 inches initially; as speed builds, trim to 6-8 inches. In medium air, trim in 6-8 inches initially; as speed builds, trim to 3-4 inches. In heavy air with the #1 genoa, tail the new genoa sheet and tell the Port Trimmer when to stop grinding. Trim in 7-9 inches initially; as speed builds, trim to 4-5 inches. In heavy air with the #3, tail the new sheet and grind in the last part. Just grind in the last part slowly until the clew of the sail is 8-10 inches from the block. When tacking from port to starboard tack, do the job described for the Port Trimmer.
Pit Make sure the genoa sheet runs through the block freely, especially in heavy air. Shift sides as warranted by the wind.
Mast Shift sides as warranted by the wind.
Foredeck Help the genoa around the mast and skirt it. Move to windward or leeward side as necessary.

Approaching the Windward Mark
Driver Drive.
Tactician Watch other boats.
Port Trim Near the mark, set up the spinnaker sheet on the large cabin top winch with lots of slack. Make sure the port twing is off. Stand by to ease the port genoa sheet.
Star. Trim Near the mark, set up the spinnaker guy on the large cabin top winch and put a handle in the winch. Make sure the starboard twing is on. Stand by to pre-lead the guy.
Pit On the last port tack, bring the spinnaker on deck. Make sure the genoa halyard is untangled and ready to run (you may want to flake it on the cabin floor). On the final starboard tack approach, uncleat the foreguy and hoist the topping lift. Re-cleat the foreguy.
Mast On the last port tack, see if the spinnaker lines look hooked up properly and clear for use aft. Do this sitting down though.
Foredeck On the last port tack, hook the sheet, guy, and halyard onto the spinnaker (double check them to be sure they are right). Be sure the guy is in the jaws of the pole. On the final starboard tack approach, hook up the topping lift and foreguy. Attach the pole to the mast and lift it into position.

Rounding the Windward Mark
Driver Bear off smoothly. Keep an eye on trailing boats, delaying set to defend clear air if necessary.
Mainsail Ease the mainsheet as the boat turns. Ease the backstay.
Port Trim Ease the genoa sheet slightly and cleat it. Start trimming the spinnaker sheet.
Star. Trim Pre-lead the guy to the pole. During the hoist, bring the pole back square to the wind. Don’t get the pole too far back until the sail fills. Make sure the foreguy is eased as you square, but don’t let if off completely in heavy air.
Pit After the Foredeck person says the spinnaker halyard is made, drop the genoa halyard, but not so fast that it falls overboard. Adjust the pole height, if necessary, with the Foredeck person.
Mast Cross to leeward as the spinnaker is being hoisted and help gather in the genoa as it comes down. Release the cunningham and outhaul. Be sure the vang is tight enough.
Foredeck Be sure the spinnaker doesn’t come out of the bag while the guy is being pre-led. Hoist the spinnaker and yell “made” when it is completely up. Gather the genoa as it comes down, flaking the luff. Re-insert the head of the sail into the pre-feeder. Check the heights of the spinnaker clews to be sure the pole height is correct. Adjust it, if necessary, with the Pit person.

Going Downwind
Driver Steer down in the puffs and up in the lulls. Sail higher in motorboat chop.
Tactician Watch the wind and competition.
Port Trim Trim the sheet on starboard tack and the guy on port tack.
Star. Trim Trim the guy on starboard tack and the sheet on port tack.
Pit Help play the foreguy if necessary, especially in heavy air.
Mast Help watch other boats and waves.
Foredeck Help watch other boats and waves. Keep an eye on the spinnaker clew heights.

Jibing
Driver Steer slowly and smoothly. Do not turn any faster than the spinnaker is rotated by the trimmers. Keep the boat under the spinnaker, pausing dead downwind briefly if necessary. The turn will be wide in light air and narrow in heavy air.
Mainsail Pull the mainsail to the center, holding it there briefly, and then letting it go across.
Port Trim When jibing from starboard to port tack. Go back to the port winch and put a handle on it. Ease the sheet slowly, keeping the spinnaker full. Do a final ease as the Foredeck person puts the pole on the mast. Trim the guy back if necessary. Put on the port twing. When jibing from port to starboard tack, do the job described for the Starboard Trimmer.
Star. Trim When jibing from starboard to port tack. Grind back the guy until the pole is fully squared, keeping the sail full and flying. Release the twing. When the pole comes off, look up on the new windward side and start trimming. You now have the sheet and may need to trim in more after the pole is on the mast, particularly as we head up in light air. When jibing from port to starboard tack, do the job described for the Port Trimmer.
Pit Sit on the cabin top and play the foreguy.
Mast Help get the new twing down below the lifeline. In heavier air, help the Foredeck person with the pole.
Foredeck After the pole has been brought well back, disconnect it from the mast. Release the old guy from the jaws. Insert the new guy into the jaws. Push the pole outboard and forward, re-attach to the mast, and yell “made”.

Approaching the Leeward Mark
Driver Drive.
Mainsail In heavy air, tighten the backstay.
Port Trim For a starboard tack approach (the hardest). As the genoa is raised, come back and control the genoa sheet (probably by stepping on it), while keeping the spinnaker flying. As the spinnaker is doused, take all but one of the spinnaker sheet wraps off the winch. Start trimming the genoa–it will probably need easing. For a port tack approach, do the job described for the Starboard Trimmer. You would be preparing for a tack, not a jibe, though.
Star. Trim For a starboard tack approach (the hardest). As the genoa is raised, wrap the genoa sheet around the winch and put on a winch handle in anticipation of the jibe. When the spinnaker is doused, release the guy once the gatherers have their hands on the sail. Take all the guy wraps off the winch and be sure the line runs out freely. Get ready to trim in the genoa after the jibe. For a port tack approach, do the job described for the Port Trimmer. You would be preparing for a tack, not a jibe, though; and the genoa would need to be trimmed in, not eased out.
Pit Hoist the genoa. Take the spinnaker from the Mast person, stuffing it down the companionway. Do not detach any gear from the spinnaker yet. Ease the topping lift to lower the pole to the deck. Get ready to move to the windward or leeward rail.
Mast Tighten the outhaul and cunningham. Help raise the genoa. Gather the spinnaker and pass it to the Pit person. Be careful to keep the sail out of the genoa sheet and winch. Get ready to move to the windward or leeward rail.
Foredeck Jump the genoa halyard at the mast. Blow the spinnaker halyard all at once when the Driver or the Mainsal trimmer gives the call. Remove the pole from the mast and clear the topping lift for a jibe or tack.

Rounding the Leeward Mark
Driver Come in wide and go out close. If jibing, do it fairly early. Make sure that you pass close enough to the mark so that there is no room for the competition to get inside.
Mainsail Trim the mainsheet in fast to help turn the boat to windward.
Port Trim If jibing from starboard to port tack, ease the port genoa sheet and set it up again on the winch. In heavy air, grind the winch for the Starboard Trimmer. Move to the windward or leeward rail. If just tightening up on port tack, be sure the port genoa sheet is set up on the winch for a tack. Move to the windward or leeward rail.
Star. Trim If jibing from starboard to port tack, trim in the starboard genoa sheet as the sail crosses over. Trim in the final amount faster than you would after a tack. Move to windward or leeward as soon as possible. If just tightening up on port tack, trim in the starboard genoa sheet, bringing in the final amount faster than you would after a tack. Move to windward or leeward as soon as possible.
Pit Move to the windward or leeward rail depending on the wind strength.
Mast Move to the windward or leeward rail depending on the wind strength.
Foredeck Get off the foredeck as soon as possible. Move to the windward or leeward rail depending on the wind strength. Clean up the mess after the boat is settled down and moving well.

After Rounding the Leeward Mark
Boat Concentrate on trimming the mainsail and genoa, then finish cleaning up the spinnaker gear.
Driver Concentrate on speed and pointing.
Tactician Watch surrounding boats and decide whether to stay or tack.
Port Trim Watch the genoa trim.
Star. Trim Watch the genoa trim.
Pit After the boat is settled down and moving well, remove the halyard, sheet, and guy from the spinnaker. Pack the spinnaker.
Mast Help clean up the spinnaker lines on deck.
Foredeck Reset the spinnaker lines to the port side.
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