Squibble collects together what the great ones have said.

This is a precis (remember them at school?) of the articles that have appeared in Squibble in past issues. We have not tried to edit out repeats - if two or more people give the same advice, it must be important. Some advice appears to contradict what others say. There is obviously more than one way to skin a cat - or sail a Squib. If in doubt, check the original article. The context will explain things better. 


Dave Best

• Sand down hull (burnish) before meeting

• Marks on jib and main sheets and jib halyard.

Gerard Dyson

• Keep it simple. Proper blocks and cleats do not need loads of rope

• Rollerball blocks on everything that moves

• Tapered spinnaker sheets

• Main cunningham, kicker and backstay led to the both side decks

• Barbers a hand spread, thumb to little finger, from centre line

Nigel Harris

• Bottom, keel and rudder smooth. Fiddling with the strings won't make a slow hull go fast

• Fico spinnaker pole outer end fitting

• Tapered spinnaker sheets

Jenny Riley

• Jib barber haulers 2:1 purchase - one pull, both pulleys come into the deck

• All pulleys and cleats ball bearing

• Toe-straps adjustable for crew and helm


Mike Probert

• Cannot use a set up to give best speed both upwind and down

• Tension is not the issue. Mast rake is

• Adjust the outer and inner shrouds to suit wind strength

• Apply tension to mainsheet, kicker and outhaul to suit upwind conditions of the day

• Tension the jib halyard, if you need to - there might be enough jib tension already

Nigel Harris

• Plenty of mast rake, very loose shrouds


Mike Probert 

• Lots of twist in the sails and sail free

• Adjust main and jib sheets constantly, easing sheets, sailing free in the lulls, gently pulling in and pointing higher when more pressure

• Take up slack on backstay to prevent top of the mast bouncing around

Gerard Dyson

• Weight low and forward in light weather

Mark Thompson

• Do not move forward in light airs. Stay on point of balance

Nigel Harris

• No backstay, kicker or jib cunningham

• Centre the main

• Sit forward of the track

• Keep the boat heeled to leeward

• Keep movement of tiller to a minimum

Jenny Riley

• Practice roll tacking to improve speed out of the tacks.  Beware of stopping the Squib when tacking


Mike Probert 

• Increase rig tension for more mast rake

• No need to adjust mainsheet and traveller - bending of mast top de-powers main

• Mast rake at maximum - opens the jib slot and depowers. (Elbow on aft deck - deck to boom less than elbow to top of clenched fist)

• Mainsheet very tight and boom a couple of inches off the centre line with traveller centred

• Main cunningham used rarely - only in extreme conditions

• Backstay in force 4 plus - only slightly

• Mast foot forward only in extreme conditions


Mike Probert 

• If over-pressed, pinch a little

• Softer rig - mast top to falls away in gusts

Jenny Riley

• Feather up in gusts, to reduce heeling

• Flat is fast - spill wind early

• Kicker on hard to hold boom down when mainsheet released


Dave Best

• Speed off the line

• Maintain trust in your settings

• At gun, go to your settings and leave it at that

Mark Thompson

• Bad start, cross behind the fleet, get clear air

Christian Brewer

• Superior boat handling is key

• Take accurate line angle using compass

• Boat head to wind in clear patch to determine wind direction

• Less than 90 degrees to line angle, pin is favoured; more than 90 degrees - committee boat end

• Determine how many boat lengths mid line buoy is above or below the line

• Check position relative to mid line buoy for reassurance. Often the middle of the line sags

• Hand bearing compass to judge whether over or behind the line

• Less than your line angle, you are over

• More than your line angle, you are behind

• With 12 seconds to go, should be accelerating into space

• Stationary when gun has gone is a no-no

Nigel Harris

• Start conservatively

• Try for right end, but really aim for clear air

• Keep calm, look around, check where opposition is. 

• Don't be tempted to tack straight away 

• Don't pull everything in tight. 


Mike Probert

• Lot of mast rake for upwind speed

• Jib cunningham tight to deck except in extremely light conditions

Dave Best

• Clear air critical

• Go out to one side or the other. Fewer boats there than down the middle

• Tack less often

• Each unnecessary tack costs 3-4 boat lengths

• The crew calls tacks - knowing tacking angles 

Mark Thompson

• Be willing to bang the corners on the first beat

• Be religious about keeping mast vertical

Gerard Dyson

• Traveller often right up to windward and mainsheet in further than you might think 

• Correct jib halyard tension may differ from one tack to another

• If you are not going well, let off jib halyard tension a little

• Barber haulers not set same for each tack. - punching into waves or sailing down crests

• Don’t tension kicker on the wind in light or medium winds

Jenny Riley

• Keep the boat flat

• Cunningham, kicker, backstay and outhaul if overpowered

• Both lean out hard

Nigel Harris

• Leech of jib follows the same shape as main

• Play barber haulers in unison with jib sheets 


Mike Probert 

• Never helm from behind traveller except in big waves if bow keeps burying

Mark Thompson

• Keep weight over fore and aft point of balance - usually bulb of the keel

• Sit close together, helm astride track

Gerard Dyson

• Beating in medium winds, keep legs either side of the traveller 


Mike Probert 

• Keep mainsheet cleated and release traveller

• Once across the boat, pull traveller, aggressively, right up to windward, then drop it down a bit

• Keep the barber haulers bang in tight.

Mark Thompson

• Roll tack in light and medium airs

Jenny Riley

• Marks on jib sheets, where rope goes through barber pulley

• Don’t waste strength pulling sheets in too tight, too quickly

Chris and Jackie Goodfellow

• Squib carries way through a sharp turn - turns on a sixpence

• Quick but gentle nudge on tiller. Forget about backing jib as in a dinghy, slow long keelboat turns, sail flapping upwind or catamaran “chuck rounds”

• Keep “moment of inertia” down. Cross amidships, avoid weight near the ends

• Look forwards as you tack

• Traveller let down going round and heaved up hard near the new tacking angle

• Mark each sheet 

• Overtight jib tension kills slot and speed out of tack.

• Try looser barber haulers

• Bearing away a little after tacking, may find you out in tide

Nigel Harris

• Roll the boat

• Go a little too far through tack - then bring in sails gradually, as boat gets up to speed

• Play barber hauler, creating backwinding of main - then let it out until it stops 


Mike Probert 

• Must release kicker in strong winds before releasing mainsheet, else something will break

Dave Best

• If tack on the lay line in mid-fleet, boats cross and tack on top, so you fall away. 

• Mid-fleeters - overstand enough to stop this

• Do not approach on port tack

Mark Thompson

• Have the spinnaker up and filling within 3 seconds 


Gerard Dyson

• Kicker and backstay off to prevent broach - on again once gust has passed

Jenny Riley

• Release main and spinnaker in plenty of time to avoid broaching

Mark Thompson

• Never cleat the spinnaker sheet - play it constantly, using ratchet blocks 


Mike Probert 

• Ease off everything - haul on jib halyard to pull mast forward as far as possible

• Run as deep as possible if even if jib hooks to windward. 

• Get clear air. 

• Go one way or the other - not down middle

• If it paid to go left on beat, go right on run 


Mike Probert 

• Re-set the jib halyard first.  (Mark halyard to set it quickly)

• Tighten mainsheet etc. to swing the mast back 


Mark Thompson

• Spinnaker sheet cleated to marks before windward mark

• Pole out just before the windward mark when sure of making it

• Helm starts spinnaker hoist

• Crew pulls guy to mark, filling spinnaker as it goes up

• Cleat the guy

• Adjust and start playing the sheet 


Dave Best

• Wind always shifting to and fro, usually about every 5 minutes

• Use your compass or get your crew to watch it

• If you are near land, use bearings there 


Mark Thompson

• Use weight actively to counteract roll of wave

• Initiate surfing on reach by (legal) pumping of spinnaker

• Weight forward going down wave to pick up speed and back as you start to surf

Gerard Dyson

• Keep helm and crew weight together 

• Assist boat over the waves by movement of upper body 


Mark Thompson

• Reach to reach - pinch up to windward before mark, bear away, gybe at mark from broad reach 

Gerard Dyson

• Helm pulls leeward twinning line down, whilst crew is bringing in pole

• Crew pulls in good length of guy before gybe

• Main goes over

• Helm lets new leeward twinning line off ...and releases new guy as crew pulls spinny boom out

• Old sheet left cleated until after gybe. Helm releases it once gybe complete 


Gerard Dyson

• Twist gives speed and hooking gives pointing - but less speed

• More fullness in jib for sea - for flat water, flatter sail with harder leech

• Not just barber haulers that control shape of the jib but also jib sheet tension

Mike Probert 

• Adjustment for kicker and jib halyard to rake mast back (heavy air) and upright (light) is huge

Dave Best

• The most important 'extra' on Squib is a great big, black, felt pen

Mark Thompson

• Clear responsibilities in every manoeuvre

• Be factual and keep emotion out of it.

• Crew provides maximum information, especially on the beat 

• Retain a positive frame of mind. If it is not positive, don’t say it!

• Treat the Squib like a big dinghy

• Get a fitness training regime

Jenny Riley

• Whatever crew weight, a top ten place at the Nationals is possible

• Get fitter, so hiking doesn’t hurt so much!