Standard operational procedures

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This is a list of concise, preferred operational practices for X-Dimension. For detailed descriptions of systems, please see Systems Descriptions. David Collins, the previous owner, wrote the Manual Of Useful Information.




  • Hoist lazy jack lines. Ensure that they are not snagged on blocks or other fittings on the boom.
  • Remove sail ties after hoisting lazy jacks.
  • Ease the main sheet slightly, disconnect the main halyard from the boom end and attach to the head of the mainsail
  • Optional: assign a crewmember to haul the main halyard at the mast
  • Ensure that the mainsheet and boom vang are free
  • Head into wind
  • With a couple of wraps of the halyard around the port cabintop winch, a crewmember will hoist the main.
  • A crewmember at the mast can assist by jumping the halyard.
  • Hoisting crew must keep an eye on the leech of the sail to ensure it doesn't snag on the lazy jacks.
  • Note: The main sail can be hauled to its full height by a sailor of moderate strength and certainly by two working together. DO NOT use the winch to haul it up - binding is usually due to the halyard being fouled, a sail tie being left in place, or other problem. In these cases, use of the winch will risk breaking the rigging.
  • Once the mainsail luff is fully extended, tighten the luff to the desired tension using the winch

Close-Hauled Trim

  • Set the traveler slightly to windward so that with the mainsheet tight, the boom is on the centerline
  • Trim the mainsheet so that the top telltale on the leech alternately streams back and curls to leeward
  • Note: When close-hauled, the jib tends to backwind the main, creating a slight bubble in the mainsail luff. This is normal.

Reaching or Running Trim

  • If the boom is over the traveler rail, the mainsheet has much more mechanical advantage than the boom vang and should be used as the primary sail shape control
  • If the boom is outside of the traveler rail, the boom vang should be used to control the mainsail shape
  • When broad reaching or running, the preventer (located in the starboard lazarette) should be attached to a bail on the boom and the toe rail and tightened as needed


  • Station two crewmembers (with one winch handle) at the forward end of the boom on the starboard side
  • Station one crewmember at the main halyard & mainsheet winches
  • Raise lazy jack lines
  • Ensure outhaul line is locked in boom clutch, then remove outhaul line from boom winch
  • Uncleat reefing line and put two wraps of the reefing line around the boom winch
  • Ease the mainsheet to depower the mainsail (head the boat to wind if necessary)
  • Ease the main halyard, bring the mainsail luff down, and engage the reef cringle on the reefing horn
  • Tighten the main halyard; one crew member at the mast helps with halyard, the other observes and calls to the halyard crew members when the luff tension is correct
  • Using the winch on the boom, tighten the reefing line until the reef clew is brought down tight against the boom - cockpit crew calls this to the mast crew
  • Secure the reefing line on a cleat on the boom
  • Trim the mainsail as desired
  • If desired, secure foot of sail with lines through reef points and then lower lazy jacks
  • Shake out the reef by reversing the procedure


  • Remove the lazy jack lines from underneath the reefing horn, tighten and cleat the lazy jack halyard, ensuring that the lazy jacks are in place to catch the mainsail
  • Station two crewmembers on each side of mast at the gooseneck and one at the main halyard winch
  • Station a third crewmember with sail ties a the ready at the end of the boom on the cabin top (Note: it is helpful to close the companionway hatch so this crewmember can work safely
  • When the boat is head to wind, ensure that the mainsheet and boom vang are free
  • As the halyard is slowly eased, the crewmembers at the mast alternately flake the mainsail luff to port and starboard
  • At the same time, the crewmember at the boom end flakes the mainsail leech, pulling aft at each flake and attaching sail ties
  • Note: The crewmember at the halyard should be watching the flaking process to ensure that she is easing the halyard at the appropriate rate.
  • Once the mainsail is completely lowered and all ties are in place, the main halyard can be removed from the mainsail head and attached to the boom end
  • Ensure that the mainsheet and boom vang are free, then MANUALLY haul the main halyard to level the boom and secure the halyard
  • Note: DO NOT use the winch to level the boom with the halyard. Recruit a crewmember if necessary to lift the boom. If the boom is stuck, diagnose the problem. It is usually a fouled mainsheet, main halyard, or boom vang and use of the winch will may break the rigging



  • Free the jib sheets and put two wraps of the working sheet on the primary winch
  • Free the black furling line and fake it down so that it will run without fouling
  • Station one crewmember on the furling line, another at the working sheet, and a third with a winch handle at the ready
  • While the sheet trimmer hauls on the working sheet to unroll the genoa, the crewmember with the furling line should control it so that the line pays out smoothly and under control. Do not allow the sail to unroll violently. In strong wind, it can be helpful to put a bight of furling line around a cleat to help control it.
  • Sheet in the genoa to achieve the desired shape
  • Secure the furling line
  • Note: When reaching or running, the genoa sheets should be lead outboard of the shrouds through the snatch blocks on the rail (make sure that the sheets do not foul on the lifelines). When close-hauled, the genoa sheets should be led inboard of the shrouds through the sheet blocks on the tracks outboard of the cabin top
  • Note: Before tacking and jibing, make sure that the lazy sheet is not fouled on one of the winches on the forward cabin top or on the forward hatch


  • Assign a crewmember to the furling line and another to control the sheets. In strong winds, two crew members may be necessary on the furling line.
  • Ease the working sheet to depower the sail
  • While one crewmember hauls on the furling line, the other puts slight tension on the genoa sheets to ensure that the sail is tightly furled. To aid in furling, alternate back and forth: slack the sheet while the furling line is hauled, then tighten up the sheet while the furler pauses between heaves.
  • Keep furling until there are two wraps of the sheets around the furled sail.
  • Note: DO NOT use a winch on the furling line as you will risk breaking the furling mechanism, the turning blocks, and/or the stanchions

Asymmetric Spinnaker


  • Note: If the course is well off the wind, rig a mainsail preventer
  • Pass spinnaker bag up through forward hatch and clip base of bag to lower lifeline on foredeck on side to which spinnaker will be set
  • Note: Be sure that tack end of bag (green velcro tab) is facing forward. If necessary, open spinnaker bag and check that tack is forward (tack and clew are labeled on the sail)
  • Remove spinnaker sheets from bag and attach snap hooks to sail clew.
  • Rig spinnaker sheets outboard of forestay, pulpit, shrouds and lifelines, through large diameter portion of the turning blocks on taffrail to the secondary winches
  • Note: Be sure that spinnaker sheets are routed outboard of jib sheets
  • Rig tack line from outside the pulpit through the turning block at the base of the forestay to a bow cleat or a winch. For normal operation, the tack line should extend up just at or below the level of the pulpit rail. Attach tack pendant line to spinnaker tack.
  • Ease spinnaker halyard and attach to spinnaker head
  • Free the snuffing line and flake it down on the deck. Be sure it is not tangled in the sail or running rigging
  • Note: Be sure that spinnaker halyard runs outboard of the jib sheets
  • Double check spinnaker rigging to be sure that it will run clear
  • Assign one or two crewmembers to handle the working sheet (ensure that the lazy sheet is loose, but cleated at its bitter end so it doesn't trail overboard)
  • Assign two crewmembers to handle the spinnaker halyard, one to jump the halyard and the other at the winch.
  • Assign a crewmember to feed the spinnaker out of its bag and control the snuffing line
  • Pre-brief all crew on the operation
  • The helmsman should steer for an apparent wind angle (AWA) of about 110 degrees (light air) to 130 degrees (heavy air)
  • Note: These AWA figures may not be as critical when using the snuffer
  • Hoist the snuffed sail until the head is tight at the masthead. Avoid excessive tension with the winch as the halyard can foul in the sheeve.
  • The crewmember on the snuffing line should haul the side of the line not attached to the snuffing "funnel" so that the snuffer retracts along the sail toward the masthead.
  • The crewmember on the working sheet should trim smoothly as the sail unsnuffs so that the sail fills evenly. Do not oversheet as this can cause excess tension on the leech as it pays out of the snuffer
  • When the snuffer is fully retracted and the sail fills, ease the sheet to obtain a slight hook in the luff
  • Secure the snuffing line at the base of the mast
  • As the luff approaches the headstay, the tack pendant can be eased to achieve the proper sail shape
  • The helmsman should keep the boat at a constant AWA throughout the set
  • Note: Clear communication is very important. There should be one and only one person in charge during spinnaker operations. It is best if this person is not one of the crewmembers setting the sail or the helmsman


  • The sail trimmer should be positioned at or near the windward shrouds where she can see the luff
  • The sheet should be led from the secondary winch, across the cockpit, where it can be held by the sail trimmer
  • A crewmember should be at the winch to grind when the trimmer calls for it - the trimmer will tail the sheet as necessary
  • The trimmer should trim and ease as necessary to keep a slight hook in the luff of the sail
  • The helmsman should keep a steady course and alter it only with clear communication with the trimmer
  • When on a close reach, trimming may be insufficient to recover a collapsing sail. In this case, the trimmer should call for the helmsman to fall off slightly


  • Assign crew to the tack pendant, and the snuffing line
  • Bring the tack down until it is just above the bow pulpit
  • Free the snuffing line from the base of the mast
  • Ease the sheet to depower the sail and haul down the snuffing line on the side where it attaches to the "funnel"
  • As the snuffer approaches the foot of the sail, ease the tack pendant to allow the foot and the snuffer "funnel" to be brought inboard of the lifeline and placed in The spinnaker bag.
  • If the winds and seas are light, attach the tack and clew to the spinnaker bag and then flake the snuffed sail into the bag as the halyard is eased
  • If the winds and seas are heavy, bring the snuffer down on deck under control, then place in the bag
  • Attach the head to the spinnaker bag and secure the halyard at the base of the mast
  • flake the snuffing line into the spinnaker bag
  • Coil the spinnaker sheets and place in the spinnaker bag
  • Close the bag and pass it down the forward hatch

Tacking and Jibing

  • There are two options for jibing the spinnaker as shown in the videos below
  • Jibing the spinnaker on the outside:
  • Jibing the spinnaker on the inside:
  • On X Dimension, jibing the spinnaker on the inside works well in lighter air (less than about 6 knots). In heavier air, consider either jibing the spinnaker on the outside or snuffing the spinnaker and bringing it around the forestay snuffed before unsnuffing it on the new jibe.



  • Engine Battery Switch above galley sink must be ON
  • Transmission must be in neutral (port lever horizontal)
  • Throttle (starboard lever) up slightly (half an inch)
  • Assure engine stop control (T-handle) is in run position (down)
  • Turn on (up) the grey Ignition Switch on the binnacle; buzzer will sound
  • Press black starter button (middle button above ignition switch)
  • Throttle down to idle after engine starts
  • Check oil pressure gauge to ensure pressure rises after start
  • Check exhaust on the transom to ensure cooling water is being expelled
  • If water is not expelled, turn off engine immediately to prevent overheating


  • Throttle must be at idle before shifting (starboard lever down)
  • Transmission settings (port side lever): ahead propulsion (lever up), astern propulsion (lever down), neutral (lever horizontal)


Stopping Engine While Under Sail (to feather propeller)

  • Transmission must be in ahead propulsion (port lever down)
  • Boat speed must be at least 5 knots through the water so that prop feathers when engine stops (use throttle as necessary to supplement sails)
  • Keeping transmission in ahead propulsion, pull engine stop control (T-handle) up; engine will stop and buzzer will sound
  • Turn off (push down) grey Ignition Switch on binnacle; buzzer will silence
  • Move transmission lever to neutral (port lever horizontal) to prepare for next start
  • Visually check prop shaft (can be viewed easily from starboard lazarette opening); if rotating quickly, then prop has not feathered and process must be repeated at a higher boat speed. If rotating slowly, place transmission in astern propulsion to stop rotation.

NOTE: If engine is stopped while in astern propulsion, the propeller will not feather.

Stopping Engine

  • Transmission in neutral (port lever horizontal)
  • Throttle at idle (starboard lever down)
  • If engine has been running hard and is hot, allow to idle for a few minutes to cool before stopping engine
  • Pull engine stop control (T-handle) to up position; engine will stop and buzzer will sound
  • Push down the grey Ignition Switch (starboard on binnacle, under start button)
  • Turn off the Engine Battery Switch (above galley sink) before leaving the boat



House Battery Switch

  • The House Battery switch should be turned to HOUSE when you enter the boat. This supplies power to most of the electrical systems and allows the battery to be charged if you start the engine.
  • The House Battery switch should be turned OFF when you leave the boat.
  • The House Battery switch should never be turned to "Both" or to "2" except in the event of an emergency.

Charging Batteries

  • Switch the House Battery Switch to HOUSE
  • Turn on the Engine Battery Switch
  • Start the Engine (see above)
  • Check the HEHR Regulator on the bulkhead inside the starboard lazarette
  • The orange, yellow, and green LEDs on the regulator should be on
  • If the red low-voltage LED is on, increase the engine throttle until the red LED turns off.

Navigation Instruments

Quick start for GPSMap541:

  • press HOME
  • select "Charts" with the arrow keys, then press SELECT
  • Select "Navigation Chart" with the arrow keys, then press SELECT

Please read the owners manuals for the GPSMap541 and the GM10 (located in the documentation folder inside the navigation table) for more detailed operation of these units.

VHF Radio

The fixed mount VHF radio receives latitude and longitude data from the Garmin GPSMap541. Always make sure the "Navigation Instruments" are turned on at the breaker panel whenever the VHF Radio is turned on. A "satellite" icon will appear on the front panel of the radio to indicate that it is correctly receiving position data from the GPS.

In a life-threatening emergency, an automatic distress call can be initiated by lifting the hinged red plastic cover labeled "Distress" and holding down the button for five seconds. This should send out a digital distress call and then switch the radio to channel 16. You must also make a voice Mayday call on channel 16.

For more details about operation of the VHF radio, please see the owners manual (located in the documentation folder inside the nav station table).

Navigation Lights

Navigation lights must be turned on between sunset and sunrise.

  • Under sail power in a harbor

Turn on "Running Lights" only. This turns on the red and green sidelights in the bow and the white stern light. Note that these are easier to see by nearby boats than the Tri-color.

  • Under sail power in open seas

Turn on "Tri-Color" only. This is easier to see from a distance than the running lights and uses less power.

  • Under motor power

Turn on "Running Lights" and "Steaming Light". Use of the tri-color is not allowed while motoring.

  • At anchor

Turn on "Anchor Light" only. Note that the anchor light is not necessary while in a "Special Anchorage".

Emergency Battery Operations

The House Battery Switch should normally be turned to HOUSE for operation of the 12v systems and for proper charging of both Engine and House batteries, or OFF before leaving the boat. The other switch positions should be used only in emergency situations. For example:

  • If the Engine Battery is depleted and the engine needs to be started in an emergency, the Engine Battery bank and the House Battery can be tied together in parallel by switching the House Battery Switch to "both". If there is enough power left in the House Battery bank, it may be able to start the engine. Note that this will immediately start draining the House batteries as the dead Engine Battery pulls current from them. Also note that the charging system may not work properly in this configuration.
  • If the House Battery bank is depleted and electrical systems need to be used (such as the VHF radio), the Engine Battery can be used to power the 12v systems by turning the House Battery Switch to "2". The "Engine" and "Fuel Pump" breakers can be turned off in this situation to save power and quiet the alarm buzzer. Note that this will not power the electric bilge pumps. To power the bilge pumps in this situation, the House Battery Switch should be turned to "Both".



Lighting Galley Stove

  • Open valve at top of propane tank (located in Port Lazarette)
  • Switch on electrical panel above galley sink to 'on'
  • Switch on bulkhead above galley stove to 'on' (Note: pilot light on switch inoperative)
  • Light butane lighter or strike match
  • Press in control knob for desired burner on stove and turn to light position
  • Light burner
  • Hold in knob for about 20-30 seconds then release

NOTE: Turn off both electrical switches and close valve at top of propane tank after each use