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Learn to Sail

UK Sailmakers is committed to helping you to improve your sailing skills and safety. On this website, we publish an ever-growing collection of Learn to Sail Videos, Articles, and Safety at Sea Videos.

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Letterbox Takedown

The letterbox takedown is the safest spinnaker drop when sailing offshore or in heavy seas. This video shows how to set up and execute this maneuver.

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Stretch-and-Blow Spinnaker Douse

The Stretch-and-Blow Spinnaker Douse allows you to sail practically right up to the leeward the mark with the sail drawing fully. This takedown is uncomplicated and easy for the crew.

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Mexican Takedown

The Mexican take down is a jibe drop. As the boat to jibes to round the mark, the spinnaker is over sheeted, then dropped onto the windward side of the jib, keeping the sail on the deck.

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Spinnaker String Takedown

Spinnaker take downs can be intimidating, but when you have a handful of methods available, you will always have a good option. This video teaches the belly-button retrieval method.

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J111 CAG Letterbox Takedown

The letterbox spinnaker takedown is the safest spinnaker drop when sailing offshore. It keeps people off the bow, keeps the forward hatch closed and it prevents the sail from getting away from the crew.

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Spinnaker Takedown Gone Wrong

This video shows a spinnaker takedown going wrong. Whatever could go wrong, did, except at the last moment when everything went perfectly right.

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Avoid a Gybe Broach

When sailing dead downwind in heavy air on a boat with a symmetrical spinnaker, control of the boat eventually will become a problem. Watch for tips on how to stay under control.

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Duck Another Boat Well

Ducking a starboard tacker can be the better choice over tacking if done well. Check out these tips to improve your ducking technique.

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Judge Crossing Situations

How to judge if you are crossing another sailboat.

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Late Main Gybe

This video shows a late main gybe by letting the spinnaker fill in first before letting the boom swing.

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Lead a Staysail Sheet

Finding the optimal position to lead a staysail sheet to on a boat with no toe-rail and few pad-eyes can be hard. This video shows a creative solution for getting the proper sheeting angle.

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Spinnaker Staysails

In the right conditions, a spinnaker staysail will increase your speed up to three quarters of a knot, without changing your rating one bit. Staysails are free sail area. The spinnaker staysail is a tall, narrow, high-clewed, very light sail used under a spinnaker, symmetrical or asymmetrical.

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Proper Pit Procedures

This video shows proper pit person procedures by an experienced crew members. Notice how they keeps their eyes on the bow team at all times.

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Tweakers and Twings

Tweakers or Twings, two names for the same sail control, are used to deflect a spinnaker sheet down to control leech tension on a spinnaker or flying sail.

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Leech and Foot Lines

This is a two-minute tutorial on how to use leech and foot lines teaches how to stop sail damage from the edges of the sails fluttering. By stopping edge flutter, sail life can be extended.

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Singlehanded Asym Jibe

Watch as UK Sailmakers’ Adam Loory figures out how to jibe the 180 square meter asymmetrical spinnaker by himself on his own boat in light wind.

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Power Free Instruments

Non-electronic wind indicators like telltales and the wind vane at the top of the mast need to be your primary instruments for what the wind is doing. They don’t need electric power.

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Setting Outboard Leads

For the most powerful jib trim when reaching, you’ll need to set an outboard lead to control leech shape and keep the slot between the main and jib open. Learn how to reach faster.

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Setting Halyard Tension

Being able to repeat fast sail trim requires sailing by the numbers. This video shows your halyards to that crew can get the halyard tension right, race after race; genoa hoist after genoa hoist.

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Setting Pole Height

Setting the height of the spinnaker pole controls how the luff of the spinnaker breaks. This article tells you what to look for when positioning the pole properly.

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Gaining Extra Height With Inhaulers

Boats designed with non-overlapping jibs can point higher and go faster by installing inhaulers that move the lead position inboard to get the leech of the jib closer to the mainsail.

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Code Zero Sailing

While the code zero is a weapon on the race course, it also makes cruising and daysailing more fun.


The Cruising Spinnaker Trailer

All the basics you need to know about cruising spinnakers from A to Z.

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Dousing Sock Tutorial

Using a dousing sock is a fool-proof method to douse a cruising spinnaker. Watch to learn how to tame these big sails with just two people.

How to claw you way back

Comeback Hacks

We’ve all been over early and had to restart after the fleet has sailed away or we have to comeback from missing a big shift. Mike Considine of UK Sailmakers Chicago offers some great comeback hacks for getting back in the race after you fell behind.

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How to Center your Rig

The first and most important step in tuning the rig is to get the tip of the mast over the center of the boat. If the mast is off to one side, it will cause the boat to go better on one tack than the other.

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