Topic : Top batten won't tack

Help!  I'm a new Merlin sailer, and I'm having trouble getting the top of the sail to tack, particularly in light wind. I've slackened the top batten off as far as it will, but this doesn't help much. Can ayone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Posted: 31/07/2008 11:52:31
By: Alan
Use the forum search box, as this topic has been covered before. I'm sure you'll get some helpful answers below too...

Batten tension isn't everything - you'll find technique when tacking does help to make sure it pops. I find it helpful to have the crew pull down on the kicker (grab the whole thing off the boom, don't pull it through the cleat).

Posted: 31/07/2008 12:18:38
By: Mags
Search result #1

Posted: 31/07/2008 12:18:55
By: Mags
Search result #2

Posted: 31/07/2008 12:19:07
By: Mags
Search result #3

Posted: 31/07/2008 12:19:22
By: Mags

I also had a similar problem on joining the fleet and here is how I have got around it... Sure a more seasoned merliner can add detail or correct and I still have the occasional problem but this is the perspective of someone who came into the class last season...

Pull the slack in on the kicker if very light rather than leave to hang slack and always release the main sheet a few inches as you move into the tack. Roll gently to windward as the bow passes the eye of the wind.

Pull the boat upright with a jerk and pump the main at the same time - feet in toe straps as you jerk your body weight to over the side and hike hard for a second or two. This will pop the batten but you need to be violent enough to get the boat literally coming over on top of you. To counter this the crew leans to leeward shortly after the jerk for just long enough to hold the boat on upright and then pops back into position (opposite where they were sat before the tack to keep the boat upright). This is something that I haven't found necessary in other classes. If you have a small crew they may even have to hike for second on the wrong side. Practice this and it will work and as you get better tighten the batten as ideally you should have the batten tight.

I have also discovered that pre-roll does not work in a Merlin and allow plenty of time for a tack. A very slow entry with very little rudder angle - unlike freddies or larks where you chuck them into tacks.


Posted: 31/07/2008 12:35:56
By: Mark
Sometimes a little cunningham helps!

Posted: 31/07/2008 12:49:45
By: ..
Sometimes a little cunningham helps!

Posted: 31/07/2008 12:49:49
By: ..
Technique is very important and it is important that the crew works with the helm not against, I tend to use a counting system 1-2-3-up-back when I can if the timing isn't working.
But as mentioned a touch of cuningham can help, as over tight leech can cause problems even with the batten fairly loose,
but before you put the cunningham on, see how much mast bend you have, in light winds you should have flatish sails so the wind doesn't have to bend too much and flow detaches, a bit of bend flattens the sails and opens the leech.
With your spreaders set correctly you shoud be able to induce bend by increasing the rig tension.

Hope that helps.

Posted: 31/07/2008 17:27:51
By: Alan F
Everyone, thanks for your help - not sure if I'm hoping for light winds at the weekend now, or not..............

Posted: 31/07/2008 18:08:16
By: alan
Short tacking up the river, it's not worth repeatedly trying to make the batten're about to tack back in 20 seconds anyway! It makes a great excuse for rocking the boat though, so keep things fair folks.

Posted: 01/08/2008 11:07:36
By: Mags
HE moves in mysterious ways!!! I was just about to raise this very topic. We got our Merlin last year and have been plagued by the top batten curse. Yes , you are now thinking he takes a whole year to do anything about it!!. Well not quite. Other, more knowlegable sailors have been trying solutions and I forgot I was a member of the Merlin Association. Thank you to everyone. I will go try out the various suggestions. Hope it works.

Posted: 04/08/2008 19:52:45
By: IanC
Try moving the screw-together plastic luff stopper further from the mast

Posted: 07/08/2008 15:07:32
By: Berry


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