Tacking in a Blow (strong wind)

How to tack a Vortex successfully is one of the first questions new sailors ask after taking the boat out in a blow. The other first question is 'why'?.Here's some tips from Jonathan on how to keep the boat moving through a tack when the wind's up.

Jonathan Lister says:I will probably regret saying this, but I don't have too much trouble tacking, even in a blow.

I think there are a couple of important factors.The first is getting through head to wind properly, the second is sailing off on the new tack without screwing up into wind.

My technique for the first part is to keep the power on all the time. Don't even think about easing the mainsheet. Just before the tack I throw the mainsheet away, landing in a coil just behind the jammer. Of course, this is the moment that you get a lift, so you wait for a while.. then, when you have picked the moment to tack, EASE the tiller down - too much steering will kill boat speed. As the rig starts to de-power come in off the wire, landing close to the main jammer.The next bit is crucial in a blow but can be ommitted in light / medium stuff. Uncleat the main and ease it out a couple of feet.

To ensure that you power out of the tack make sure that you bear away onto a fetch. Hook on the trapeze and as you push out simultaneously sheet in. Only as boat speed builds start to come back close to the wind.

When you have ducked under the boom and got to the other side try to move forward quickly up to the dagger board and avoid putting your weight on the transom end. Weight on the transom slows the boat dramaticly but you can use this to your advantage when you want to slow down, ie approaching a start line too soon.