The principles of roll tacking are similar to any other 2
person dinghies but once you've learnt to roll tack the 12 you
won't want to go back to any other boat.
The golden rules are:
Keep it smooth
Use your body movements to help turn
Don't use too much rudder
Use plenty of heel
Choose when to tack
If in choppy waves choose your place to tack carefully (as tacking in chop
can seriously dent your speed). Look for a flat bit of water.
The kicker should be loose enough so as to not hook the top batten, but
should be tight enough to provide enough leech tension to flick the top batten
as you come out of the tack.
Going into the tack the helm and crew will be sitting forward to lift the
transom (creating less drag). Stay forward as long as possible.
Heel to leeward to initiate the tack
Helm and crew should move to leeward to heel the boat to leeward. This starts
the boat turning without the use of the rudder.
Helm/crew positions will vary depending on the relative weights and also wind
strength. The steps below give an idea of positions but yours might be
different. Try experimenting.
The boat starts to turn into the wind
Let the boat turn in her own time, don't use too much rudder. If she's not
going then try using a bit more leeward heel.
As she approaches head-to-wind
The helm can use a bit more rudder and also squeeze the mainsail in, this
encourages her around more quickly.
Helm should change hands (swap main sheet and tiller extension).
The tiller extension on a 12 tends to be quite long. It is best to push it
out in front of you (as shown here) to get it out of the way.
Start the roll
Start rolling the boat to windward as she goes through head-to-wind
To help the roll:
The crew comes across to windward
The helm moves backwards to give the crew space whilst staying on the deck
Helm and crew stay on the windward side to ensure a good roll. Aim to dip the
gunwhale but not to ship water.
The crew backs the jib to help the nose turn.
The helm can now ease the mainsheet to:
allow the boat to turn onto the new tack without the mainsail filling and
fighting the turn
allow the mainsail to be squeezed in on the new tack - which helps flick the
top batten and also accelerates air across the sails.
After the boat goes through head to wind the helm can move across to
the new side.
A quick move all the way across is best. If you are stopping mid way
then you are either:
not turning the boat enough, or
not putting enough roll in, or
moving too soon, or
crew isn't compensating enough.
Completing the tack
Crew stays down on the new leeward side to balance the helm and pulls the jib
through. It is very important that the jib crosses the boat freely. If it gets
caught then the air flow will be cut off when the boat is pulled upright and the
boat won't accelerate.
When the helm gets to the other side the tiller should be in the middle. This
ensures the boat accelerates in the correct direction.
Flick the top batten
It is really important that the top batten flicks as the boat comes upright.
The best approach is to bring the boat up smoothly, squeezing the main and jib
in together at the same time. Don't bring the boat up too fast as you won't get
the acceleration. If you bring her up too slowly you won't create enough airflow
across the sails.
Common reasons for the batten not flicking are:
Too little kicker on - boom lifts up too much
Too much kicker on - top batten hooked
Sail fast on the new tack
The crew may need to help bring the boat up by moving to the new windward
side if either the wind increases or the helm is light.