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The Ideal R Class For'ard Hand/Sharpender

Helpful (?) hints for the aspiring crew
  1. Must have ability to put centreboard down while fully stretched on the wire.
  2. Must have the ability when approaching the bottom mark to instantly untangle kite halyards with figure 8 knots superimposed on double overhand clovehitches that want to make whoopy to both your ankles while the skipper quietly directs proceedings from the talking stick.
  3. While completing no. 2 above, must have at least 4 free arms to respond to commands from the rear passenger, such as a. Come baaaaaaaaack (yes, he's losing control again) b. Jib in (buoy must be close) c. Plate down (you must be around the mark) d. Leave it and come out (this means that by now you should have the bloody thing in the bag and be out here by now).
  4. Must have the ability when light breezes prevail to totally contort the body in such a way as to avoid an involuntary enema from the centre plate and strangulation from the misery in every crew's life - the kicker. Just as this fluid leeward position has been attained, a light gust appears and the "ring master" calls for an appearance on the windward rail. A good crew responds in an instant, ripping off part of the left ear on the aforementioned kicker and denting the piles on the centre case to arrive (codding himself on newly fitted cam cleat) in time for the command from the Ayatollah "get back down to leeward".
  5. Must have the ability to keep the boat upright and stationary whilst the skipper dithers around trying to line up two pins with two rapidly moving holes. The skipper will be issuing commands such as "deeper ... deeper ... further out". At this stage the ideal crew is up to the armpits in water, it's blowing a southerly with a dead low tide off the CYMBC slipway and one more step will be fatal. The command is repeated and "Blurbghlyphblybble" the crew drops off the edge of the continental shelf (and the "Bwana" couldn't give a continental). All is not lost though, because unless you're on Reggae, the rudder clicks down just in time and the dripping crew flops into the boat and loyally sits next to the totally dry and relaxed skipper before being told to "ease the jib and get on the wire".

Essential Terms Aspiring R Crews Should Know

Jib commands:

  1. Ease it - On its own, at the crew's discretion.
  2. Ease it a bit - Around 1-2 inches.
  3. Ease it a little bit - Around 1/64"-1/32". Never correct first time. Only issued to humour the skipper's frustration at the lack of boat speed.
  4. Ease the b....y jib - Command usually issued when a gust is encountered while carrying the maxi kite and trying to make the wing mark in 20 knots of breeze. In order to hear this at its best, it is desirable for the ideal R crew to be fully stretched on the wire with the jib sheet safely tucked away behind the centre case to leeward.

Spinnaker commands:

  1. Let's have it - Calmly issued when the wind is picking the water off the harbour and the skipper decided to carry the double luffer.
  2. Drop it - Calmly issued while the skipper is standing on the kite halyard.
  3. We'll go to weather of them - Ideal crew must now move the pole down to the forestay while keeping the kite filled and adjusting the jib ... too late, you didn't do it fast enough they saw us coming. Crew must polish crystal ball for next downwind engagement (or get prod kite for skipper's next birthday).
  4. Ease it - Generally accepted by alert crews as a swear word. For others, this means until the luff is almost curling in. Then you will be told not to collapse it.
  5. Eaase iit - 1st warning (skipper is not yet panicking, but be warned).
  6. Eeeeeaaaase iiiiiiiiit - Forget the b....y luff curl unless you want to go in the p..s. A collapse of the kite is not unheard of when this command is gently eased from the lips of your greying skipper.
  7. Let it gooooooooo..... - At this point the ideal R crew will do just that and execute a nice swan dive into the horizontal mainsail just below the spreaders, thus leaving a safe and clear passage for the skipper to climb over the hull and deposit himself in the dominant position on the centre case.

Jonathan Smith. From the Leander 92 programme.