We see a lot of sailors struggling to pull in their mainsheet rapidly while retaining control of the tiller. As an example, we’ve seen lots of less than ideal techniques for leeward marks: steering with foot on tiller while sheeting with two hands, dropping the tiller entirely, or using your teeth to hold the mainsheet between pulls. Hand over hand sheeting is a better way, and like many techniques, the sailing school kids all pick it up quickly, while some adults struggle with the coordination.
Hand Over Hand Sheeting
Take heart! This is a skill that everyone can and should learn. We’ve taken video of a young whippersnapper using this technique and we break it down for you. All you need is a little practice!
- Learn how to grab the mainsheet with your tiller hand fingers. Make sure you learn how to grab it so the sheet remains below the tiller extension, so it won’t get caught.
- Raise the your tiller hand to sheet in and steer as needed. This will be a fairly short pull.
- Grab the mainsheet with your free hand. Best to grab it down by the ratchet block.
- Release the sheet with your tiller hand and give a long pull with your free hand.
- Repeat as rapidly as needed.
Thanks to Henry Chesnutt for demonstrating!
YouTube Video – Hand over hand sheeting in a Laser
Sailing Forums post on details of how to hold tiller and sheet
Sailors Helping Sailors
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