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Max Ebb — Ride It Hard, and Put It Away Wet

“Where is the crew?” We were all asking ourselves the same question. The sun was setting, the bar was warm, the drinks were flowing, and we were all waiting for the crew of our competition to make their appearance to receive our congratulations for a race well sailed. Also our taunts for some questionable moves that we probably should have protested if our red flag had been within reach. Making them buy my crew a round or two would be a better form of justice, under the circumstances. Were they afraid to show their faces?

The post-race schmooze, where everyone gathers in the same place to talk about the same things, is one of the main reasons that club-oriented “beer can” races are still going strong while some other race formats are having hard times. But that crew was depriving us of that weekly pleasure.

So I decided to walk down to the dock to see what the holdup was, and Lee Helm, who absolutely had to explain to their tactician why some of their moves were all wrong, decided to come with me. The surprise was that, even though they had finished ahead of us boat-for-boat, and they had a much shorter route to their berth on the main fairway, they were not anywhere near finished putting their boat away.

“The luff tapes should line up exactly,” instructed their skipper as the foredeck crew and trimmer carefully flaked the jib.

“Don’t you want to be able to see the entire luff before hoisting?” asked the flaker at the luff end. “To make sure there are no twists?”

“Oh, no, that would change the angle into the pre-feeder as the sail goes up,” the owner responded. “It increases the wear on the tape.”

“Aye-aye,” the forward flaker responded with a note of sarcasm, and they undid the first three folds to start over.

Max Ebb
Jib flake method A — is this the correct way to stack the luff tape?
© 2022 Max Ebb

Meanwhile, another crew was collecting and coiling the sheets and guys, and piling them into a large bucket while her shipmate fetched the dock hose.

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