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Standard stuff dinghies have that we tell beginners not to use on Tech

  • vang / gnav
  • hiking straps: adjusting, being ready, using to hike, pull toward you, can use far side if tall
  • tiller extension: for hiking, hold like microphone, push by sheet for tacking

Standard things about sloop

(Other sloops: FJ, 420, V-15, RS400 with spinnaker)

  • crew jobs: handle jib, lookout (jib window), adjust centerboard, vang, outhaul, etc.
  • crew/jib role in tacking (ease when luffs, trim when over centerline, may tie sheets)
  • crew/jib role in gybing (not so important, video says before main, I would do after, whatever; remember, loose after jibe unless plan to go close-hauled immediately)
  • jib trim: generally same as mainsail, use telltales, can adjust jibcar, except:
  • crew/jib approach to wing-on-wing (heel, prevent, skipper trims), broad reaching
  • communication: ready about? ready. hard to lee! prepare to jibe! ready. jibe-ho!
  • communication: moving weight, desired point of sail and trim, whether to adjust helm or trim for on close-hauled or free direction, using tell-tales.
  • backing jib to get out of irons or turn hard. How sails affect steering.
  • heaving to

Things they may not teach for provisional but I think you should know

  • gybing with roll and by the lee, CB down
  • controllable approach to dock (and MOB)
  • planing or surfing: keep flat, bow up, steer for lowest point

Unusual features of Firefly

  • colored sails, for team racing
  • very narrow boat
  • fully battened mainsail
  • ability to adjust jib luff tension (and mast rake)
  • may catch mainsheet on rudder -- similar to Laser transom corner and sometimes on Lynx. trim to avoid?


  • prevent by hiking more, heading up (feathers a lot itself!), easing sheets
  • do deliberately by overtrim, fall off, go to wrong side. in middle, front of pavilion, clear of other boats
  • mainsail headboard flotation, against turtling and getting stuck in mud
  • if possible, go up as capsizes and onto CB, but do not hang on boat or mast
  • check both crew ok, sheets are not tangled (or cleated, in general)
  • one can take bowline to try to orient into wind (definitely not mast into wind)
  • if turtled: stand at gunwhale, hold CB, lean back, to get to capsized position
  • pull on CB near boat not at end, can pull torso on, or even climb up all the way
  • climb in boat while righting if possible, else around stern, holding onto hiking straps
  • check again sheets are clear, keep boat in wind
  • second person can be hoisted by PFD, or can try 'scoop method' if necessary
  • some water will have come in, can bail. Capsizing actually removes most water.


After the Firefly class, everyone gets the basic Firefly rating.

The Advanced Firefly rating is basically sailing in moderate wind (say 12-14 mph) with a crew, and showing you can rig and unrig, take proper care of the boat, sail at all points, execute reasonable tacks and jibes, and do a man (or woman) overboard test. Should know how to reef and some basic rigging adjustments. probably don’t need to capsize. Main benefit is that the staff will know you can take it out in (virtually) all wind conditions.

Class Order of Events

  • get sail (matching hull), rudder, reef envelope and dongle
  • rig, including reefing. plugs, jib, main.
  • demonstrate? roll jibe, backing jib, heave-to, capsize? dry! dock approach
  • everyone rigs
  • practice launch, tack, jibe, landing
  • practice capsizing
  • free sailing, questions, etc.
  • de-rig
  • give basic Firefly rating