The Twelve is a light responsive dinghy that rewards good crew team work with great sailing. They are also easy to sail with a vast range of crew weights and strengths. The short 12’ hull means that fore – aft trim is important to avoid nose diving or dragging the stern and the wide beam (up to 2m) means side to side heel is critical. The tendancy to nose diving or heel will depend on the design. In light winds the Twelve will slice through the water effortlessly and in strong winds they will plane downwind and fly up wind. Here are some basic hints to enable you to get started in a Twelve, this touches on crew work and also the numerous controls on the Twelve which enable the power of the rig to be controlled.
These are the main controls you are likely find.
:Controls the fullness (power) in the bottom half of the main sail
:Controls the fullness in the top half of the main sail
:Controls the leech tension in the main sail, in particular the top of the sail this is set in conjunction with the top tell tale
:Indicates how the wind is coming off the top of the sail, this is quite long on the Twelve so kicking strap tension is critical. Sensitivity will vary depending on whether you have an aluminium or carbon mast
:Provide sideways stiffness for the rig, and also encourage fore-aft bend which is controlled in conjunction with the mast controls.
:Adjusts the mast rake, letting it off rakes the mast back (reduces power), pulling it on rakes it forwards
:Ram / Lowers / Strut – controls the bend in the mast, more bend = less power.
:Used to provide extra jib power down wind by tightening the jib leech
In general the controls can be used in the following ways to manage the power in the rig at different points of sailing.
Controls: SET POWER TO SUIT CONDITIONS
Twelves roll tack beautifully in light winds but can be tricky in strong winds. When tacking use as little rudder as possible, start the tack using a little rudder initially, more rudder movement can be used during the middle on the tack.
Roll tack in light winds:
Flat tack in strong winds:
The steps are the same as for light winds except the crew does not roll the boat into the wind, instead the helm and crew move together across the boat.
Reaching is the fastest and most exhilarating point of sailing in a Twelve. To get the most you will need the rig set to its most powerful.
Controls: SET TO MAX POWER
In general you want max power on the reaches unless it is really windy or a very tight reach. Using the controls below it is possible to create full sails that will drive you along surprisingly well.
Keep the boat flat. Helm and crew should be positioned as follows; in planing conditions you should be aiming for the boat to plane level sitting back in the boat to prevent nose diving, in light winds you will be looking to sit forwards to prevent the transom dragging. Crew needs to watch the jib all the time to ensure it is constantly trimmed for the best effect. Helm should be playing the main to ensure that maximum effect is made of all gusts. Nose diving; if the nose starts to dig then two things can be done,
It is better to avoid the nose dive in the first place, this may require the helm and crew to move a long way back in the boat – (the helm’s bum hanging off the transom and crew’s back touching the tiller is a common sight in strong winds) – keep alert though as if the wind dies you will need to move forwards quickly to prevent the transom dragging.
In light winds the Twelve will slice efficiently downwind. In strong winds team work and quick reactions are vital.
Controls: MAX POWER
The controls should be set the same as for reaching with the kicker eased slightly.
Helm and crew sit as far apart as possible (side to side, directly opposite each other as shown in the photo), this makes the boat more stable. The boat should be sailed flat or slightly heeled to windward to raise the lower part of the sail into better wind. The fore-aft trim is set the same as for reaching and as gusts hit the helm and crew should move back together to prevent nose diving.
PHOTO: Helm and crew sit on opposite decks as far apart as possible to stabilize the boat., dangly pole out to goose wing the jib, outhaul eased and shroud off to allow the boom as far forwards as possible
In light winds the Twelve will gybe effortlessly and come out as fast as she starts. However, in strong winds, good team work is required in order to keep both helm and crew dry. Very different techniques are needed for light and strong winds.
Roll gybe in light winds
Gybe flat in strong winds
Crew now waits to see which way the boat is going to heel and reacts quickly to keep the boat flat and prevent rolling to windward (death roll) or leeward (broach). Watch for the nose dive on exit from gybe particularly if crew has moved forwards for the gybe but does not move back quickly enough. Pulling in the jib quickly on the new side can help avoid this.
These are some guidelines to help you get started. As you practise you will work out new and no doubt better ways of working as a team in your Twelve. To help you practice these skills why not come along to a National 12 coaching day? Once you have mastered the basics, try some of the more advanced techniques as described in the other articles.anced techniques as described in the other articles.