SCOW - Hoofer Sailing Club



SCOW - Hoofer Sailing Club
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hoofer Sailing Club
1.. 20, M . . 20, C-Scow, & E . . Scow
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The Scow Manual Editors
1985 ............................ Tom Germanson (M-20 text initially wIitten)
1996 ............................................... Steve Sterz (C Scow wIitten)
1999 ............ Mary Kay Bates (1-20 added), Dennis Kennedy (E-Scow),
............ , ......... Paul Bates (Scanning), Jim Rogers (Editing & Layout)
C Scow Text and Figures by Steve Sterz
with C Scow drawing by Jamie Hanson
Copyright © 1999 by University of Wisconsin Hoofer Sailing Clnb
Wisconsin Union; 800 Langdon Street; Madison, WI 53706
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Hoofer Sailing Club
Table of Contents
The Scow ................................................................................ 1
Sail Shape ............................................................................... 2
Rigging ................................................................................... 3
Sailing Upwind ......................................................................... 5
Reaching ................................................................................. 5
Coming About (Tacking) ............................................................ 5
Jibing ..................................................................................... 6
Leaving and Landing at tile Pier ................................................... 6
Capsizing ................................................................................ 7
Overboard Rescne ...................................................................... 8
Hull, Bilgeboards and Rudders ...................................................... 9
Rigging ................................................................................. 10
Sailing Upwind ....................................................................... 12
Reaching ............................................................................... 14
Sailing Downwind ................................................................... 14
Coming About (Tacking) .......................................................... 15
Jibing ................................................................................... 15
Leaving and Landing at tile Pier ................................................. 16
Planing ................................................................................. 16
M -201E Scow Spinnaker.. ......................................................... 17
Setting and Sailing tile Spinnaker.. ............................................. 18
Jibing the Spinnaker.. .............................................................. 19
Windward RecovelY ................................................................. 19
Leeward Recovery .................................................................... 19
Heavy Weatiler Recoveries ........................................................ 20
The I-20 Asymmetric Spinnaker. ................................................ 20
Setting tile Bowsprit and 1-20 Spinnaker ................................... 21
Sailing tile Asymmetric Spinnaker .......................................... 21
Jibing tile Asymmetric Spinnaker ............................................ 22
Dousing tile Asymmeu'ic Spinnaker ......................................... 22
Hour-Glasses ....................................................................... 23
Capsizes ................................................................................ 24
Overboard Procedure ................................................................. 25
Safety ................................................................................... 25
The Hoofer SCOlv Manual
An Introduction
................;' ....
. :1
. ... ,
Flat-bottom shallow-draft sailboats have been around for a long time. This type of sailboat is
exemplified by the present scow design which grew in populmity in the early 1890's, especially when the
Seawanhaka Cup was donated in 1895 to promote interest in small boat racing on Long Island Sound.
Invitational regattas were held with scows competing from Wisconsin and Minnesota lakes, Long Island
Sound, and the St. Lawrence River. Angled bilgeboards instead of the vertical centerboard have been in
use since 1902 when a Canadian entry won the Cup with such a bilgeboard design. Presently, the
principle bilgeboard scows are: the A Scow, the E Scow, the C Scow, the M-20, the 1-20, the M-16, and
the MC Scow.
The A Scow is 38 feet long and made of wood or fiberglass. It is sloop-ligged and carries a reacher as
well as a spinnaker. While under sail, the sheer size of the boat mal<:es it one of the fastest sailboats and a
marvelous sight to watch.
The E Scow is 28 feet long, sloop-rigged with a reacher and a spinnal<:er, and made of wood or
fiberglass. In the Ninth North American Championships, an E Scow sailing an equilateral tliangular
course maintained an average speed of 8.44 knots in a 10-12 mph wind. By compmison, the 64 foot
America's Cup defender Columbia, on a similar course with a 12-17 mph wind averaged 7.8 knots.
The M-20 is one of the newest of the bilgeboards scows. It was designed by Harry Melges, Sr. and
Hal1'Y (Buddy) Melges, Jr., as a scow version of the Olympic Flying Dutchman (FD) sailboat class. The
first M-20 prototype even carried an FD rig and sails, but these were modified to increase the power of the
boat so that it would be faster than an FD in smooth water.
The 1-20 (Inland-20 Scow) is a 1997 adaptation of the M-20 rig on the M-20 hull. The major change
from the M-20 to the 1-20 is the larger asymmetric spinnal<:er with the bowspIit replacing the traditional M20 spinnaker pole. Most sloop rigging and upwind sailing techniques are the same for the 1-20.
The C Scow is similar in speed with an M-20, 20 feet long, cat-rigged, and manufactured in either
wood or fiberglass. The "C" class is so large nationally that entries into major regattas are frequently
The M-16 is 16 feet long, sloop-Iigged, and also made of either wood or fiberglass. It does not cany a
spinnaker and is commonly known as the M Scow.
The major manufacturers of scows are Melges Boatworks, in Zenda. Wisconsin, and Johnson
Boatworks in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The M-20 is cunently produced by asp Precision
Composites in Verona, Wisconsin, and Windward Boatworks in Green Lake, Wisconsin, which also
manufactures the 1-20.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The C Scow
The flat-bottomed C Scow is twenty feet long, seven feet wide, weighs 650 pounds and canies a
single 216 square foot sail. As shown in figure 1, it is generally sailed at a 30° heel; this reduces wetted
sUlface area and helps the boat cut through waves. Both bilgeboards are cocked at an outboard angle of
30° so that the leeward board will be perpendicular to the water surface under normal sailing conditions.
The boards are also towed-in to provide some extra hydrodynamic lift; this increases pointing ability. The
boat is sailed with the leeward board down and the windward board up. The amount of leeward
board down vades in the same way as the amount of centerboard down in a tech dinghy. When
maneuvering the boat in close quarters (docking, man-overboard, at the start of a race, etc .... ) both boards
should be dropped down palt-way; this allows the crew to concentrate on other things. The boat is to be
sailed by two to four people (a Hoofer rule).
Board up
Board down
to Water Surface
Figure 1. Proper heel and board placement for a C Scow.
Sail Shape
Three charactelistics desclibe sail shape on a cat-rigged boat: camber, line of maximum camber and
Camber (also called draft) refers to the bagginess of the sail. This is illustrated in figure 2. Increasing
the camber increases the force on the sail until smooth airflow is lost. Decreasing the camber allows the
boat to point higher until there is no longer enough force forward force on the sail for the boat to move.
Less Camber
Side View
More Camber
Top View of a Slice of the Sail
Figure 2. Camber is the curvature of a horizontal slice of the sail.
The Hoofer Scow Manllal
The line of maximum camber, shown in figure 3, is the line formed by the points of maximum camber
of the horizontal slices of the sail. Moving this forward moves the center of effort forward.
Side View
Top View
'-IIIII---B oom
Back View
Figure 3. The line of maximum camber.
Twist refers to the curved line made by the leech of the sail. This is shown in figure 4. More twist
reduces the force on the upper part of the sail.
.-u---B oom
Less Twist
More Twist
Figure 4. Twist is the curvature of the leech.
Painter: While sailing, the painter is led into the cockpit and stowed in one of the compartments
along the side of the boat.
Forestay: Easing the forestay depowers the sail by allowing the mast to tilt away from the wind.
This should only be used upwind in heavy air.
Diamond Stays: Tensioning the diamond stays decreases side-to-side mast bend. They should be
tighter in light air and looser in heavy air.
Cunningham: The Cunningham controls the luff tension. More tension moves the line of maximum
camber fOlward and slightly reduces the camber.
Boom Yang: Increasing boom vang tension bends the lower mast and tightens the leech, moving the
line of maximum camber aft. Off the wind, the vang prevents the boom from rising.
Halyard: The C Scow halyard is half rope and half wire. It is set with a Nyco-press secured in a Vjam at the top of the mast
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Leech-Pucker-Cord: Tightening the leech-pucker-cord increases the camber of the sail. It should
only be used on velY low reaches.
Main Sheet: Because of its large purchase, the main sheet can be used to apply much downward
force to the boom. Thus, the main sheet, rather than the boom vang, is used to adjust the leech tension and
maintain sail shape when going upwind.
Running Backstays: Running backstays relieve some of the tension on the sidestays. They must be
switched on tacks and jibes. If this is not done, the boat might capsize.
Traveler: When sailing upwind, the traveler - not the main sheet - is used to position the boom.
Outhaul: Tensioning the outhaul reduces camber.
Traveler Control Cam
Forestay Control Cam Boom Yang Control Cam
Cunningham Control Cam
_---------t::":::J~r-;t-----:::*c:::::S:::i:de:s=tay Chainplate
Main Block
..... 0
Main Cam
Board Line Thru-Deck
Backstay Cam Board Cam
Backstay Block
Figure 5. Top view of C Scow .
i-"'IU-r--DiamOlld Stay
\.....f----Side Stay
R Ullni ng Backs ta y -".--,--4,.,..,
RUllnin Backstay
M,b, Sh,,,
Front View
Figure 6. Front view and side view of C Scow.
Side View
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Sailing Upwind
Close hauled, the C Scow is heeled at 30° to leeward with the leeward board all the way down and the
traveller 3 inches from the centerline, more for higher wind. The crew continuously adjusts the traveler to
maintain proper heel. Weight should be shifted forward until the bow begins to plow, then moved back to
the point where plowing stops.
When first heading up or immediately after a tack, the sail is kept fairly full until the boat reaches full
speed. After that the sail can be flattened by tightening the forestay, Cunningham, main sheet and possibly
the outhauL This allows the boat to point higher. The correct amount of sail flattening depends on the wind
and the waves; lighter wind or larger waves require less flattening.
In heavy air, it is advisable to bear off to a close reach. The leeward bilgeboard should be about threefourths of the way down, and the sail should be flattened as much as is necessary to prevent too much
heeling. Note that there will be considerable weather helm in heavy air. Often, it is possible to plane into
the wind by reducing the heel to 10°_20°.
To handle puffs, use a combination of hiking, feathering and easing the traveler. Do not ease the main
sheet; this will increase the fullness of the sail, which can make the boat heel even further. In extreme
cases, it can result in the boom dipping into the water. The boom dipping into the water is a major
cause of capsizes in the C scow.
Off the wind, the leeward board should be one-fourth to one-half of the way down, the higher the
reach, the further down the board. To adjust the board height, the skipper should briefly jerk the tiller to
windward as if falling off while the crew simultaneously moves the board up or down. Under normal
sailing conditions the board will be pressed against the bunk, and the crew will be unable to move it. To
prevent broken fingers, the crew should use the lines attached to the bilgeboards, rather than the boards
themselves, when making height adjustments, tacking or jibing.
In light winds, the boat should be heeled at 30°; in heavier winds, 10°-30°. The flatter attitude helps
induce planing and prevents the end of the boom from dipping into the water. It is not advisable to sail the
boat completely flat as the ride is very rough and the bow tends to submarine (dive under the waves).
Submarining can swamp or capsize a C Scow. If the boat does start to submarine, head up hard
to increase the heel and force the water off the bow. To prevent this from happening again, shift the crew
weight aft before bearing off to the oliginal course.
Sail adjustments are the same as they are upwind with three exceptions. The leech-pucker-cord may be
tensioned to increase the fullness of the sail; the boom position is controlled by the main sheet (The
traveller is usually centered.), and the boom vang is used to control leech tension and prevent the boom
from lifting. Do not let the boom out too far; the boom and sail can damage and be damaged by the
sidestays, and the boom may dip into the water.
To handle puffs, use a combination of hiking, bearing off and easing the sheet, but do not rely on
easing the sheet alone.
On velY broad, medium and heavy air reaches, the boat is often "reverse heeled" by loweling the
windward board, raising the leeward board and hiking to windward. This improves downwind speed and
Do not sail the C Scow directly downwind unless jibing. It is generally faster to sail several broad
reaches, and an accidental jibe leads to an almost certain capsize and the possibility of injury to the
boat and its occupants.
Coming About (Tacking)
When tacking the C Scow, both the bilgeboards and the running backstays must be changed. The
recommended sequence follows.
1. The skipper says, "Ready about."
2. The crew uncleats the windward bilgeboard (but does not lower it) and says, "Ready."
3. The skipper says, "Hard-a-Iee" and pushes the tiller Lo leeward. The crew drops the windward
Tile Hoofer Scow Manual
4. As the boom sweeps over the deck, the crew tensions the new windward running backstay and
releases the old one as the skipper releases the old windward traveler and adjusts the new one.
5. The crew raises the new windward bilgeboard.
In casual cruising, the old running backstay may be released in step 3. When tacking or jibing, be sure
to tension the new running backstay when the sail is depowered. Otherwise, it is difficult to put sufficient
tension on the backstays. This leads to excessive tension in the sidestays.
Crew weight should be shifted so that the boat spends as much time as possible properly heeled.
Do only controlled jibes in the C Scow. Before the jibe, fall off to a broad reach and be sure the
traveler is cleated on both sides and centered. The recommended sequence follows.
1. The skipper says, "Prepare to jibe. "
2. The crew uncleats and lowers the windward bilgeboard and says, "Ready."
3. The skipper centers the boom with the mainsheet and pulls the tiller to windward as the
crew tensions the new windward running backstay and releases the old one.
4. The skipper straightens the tiller and lets out the main sheet until the sail is properly
tdmmed. The crew raises the new windward bilgeboard.
Leaving and Landing at the Pier
To leave the pier, lower both boards part way, backwind the sail toward the lake and cast off. See
figure 7. When the pier is at least one boatlength away, push the tiller toward the lake and allow the main
sheet to run. When the wind is abeam of the boat, straighten the tiller and trim the sail. Once the boat has
left the mooring field, the windward board should be raised.
Tlim the sheet and sail away
Figure 7. Leaving a pier.
To land at the pier, lower both boards part way and approach the leeward side of the pier slowly on a
close reach, luffing the front of the sail to reduce speed. See figure 8. When the boat is a few feet from the
pier, the crew should walk onto the bow with the painter and the skipper should head up enough to
completely depowel' the sail. If the boat is going a bit fast, backwind the sail. If the boat is going much too
fast, fall off and abort the landing. If the boat stops short of the pier, follow the sequence for leaving and
tty again. Take care not to point too high; the C Scow stalls easily and is difficult to get out of irons. If this
happens follow the sequence for leaving the pier to get underway again.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Figure 8. Landing at a pier.
Leave and land as close to the lake end of the pier as possible. If something goes wrong it is best to be
away from the rocks. If the boat does end up heading toward the rocks, do not fall off and jibe; head up
and tack instead. That way, if the boat does hit something, there will be less damage due to the lower
If the C Scow capsizes, the crew should climb over the side and get onto the lower bilgeboard as
quickly as possible. This is shown in figure 9. Do not jump on the boards. The skipper should close
the autobailers (They are sharp and can seriously injure someone standing on the bottom of a capsized
boat.), extend the upper bilgeboard, then jump into the water or climb over the side to prevent the boat
from turtling. Always light the boat to windward. As the boat is righted, climb back into the cockpit and,
if the boat has less than in inch of water in the bilge, resume sailing. If the boat has more than an inch of
water in the bilge, lower the sail immediately and signal for help.
Figure 9. Righting the C Scow after a non-turtle capsize.
If the boat turtles, one person must swim underneath and extend both boards. Lean on the windward
board to bring the boat to its side. This is shown in figure 10. Next, lower the saiL Finally, right the boat
as above and signal for help.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Figure 10. Righting the C Scow after a turtle capsize.
-Do not let go of the boat at any time; it drifts fast even when capsized.
-If someone is hurt, turtle the boat and signal for help immediately.
Overboard and Rescue
If someone falls overboard, put both boards part way down and maneuver the boat so that the person
in the water is to windward. This is shown in figure 11. When positioning the boat for the rescue, it is
advisable to tack instead of jibe because a skipper/crew under the stress associated with a rescue is more
likely to make an enor during a jibe. Slowly approach the victim to leeward on a close reach, using only
the back of the sail. (A rescue is similar to a landing.) Be sure the boat is stopped before bringing the
person back on board.
Fall off
Backwind if necessary
Figure 11. Procedure for an overboard rescue.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The 1-20, M-20 & E-Scow
. I
~PJr~ p€NPteULItR
V4TE71{ $U~FA u:Figure 12: The hull of an I-20/M-20
The tunnel-hulled I-20/M-20 is twenty feet long and 5'8" wide. The "tunnel" refers to the fact that the
middle section of the bottom is three inches shallower than the bilges on each side of the boat, malting a
cross section of the hull somewhat like a catamaran. This tunnel promotes planing in heavy air and aids
windward pelformance. In light and medium air, the boat is sailed at a 30° heel which reduces the wetted
surfaces while lengthening the water line.
The E-Scow has a flat bottom, is 28 feet long, and 6'9" wide. The E-Scow is also sailed at a heel to
reduce wetted surface, and weighs about 975 pounds.
Both the I-20/M-20 and E-Scow have twin bilgeboards made of 114 inch aluminum plate and two
rectangular mdders of 3/16 inch aluminum. When the boards are down the boat draws 3'6" of water and
8" with them up. Both boards and rudders are cocked at an outboard angle of 30° so that they will be
perpendicular to the water smface as the boat heels when sailing. The boards are toed-in a bit and provide
for some degree of hydrodynamic lift. The boat is sailed with the leeward board down and the
windward board up. The amount of leeward board which is down depends on the course being sailed
and the wind speed (i.e. similar to the centerboard adjustments made in a tech dinghy). When attempting to
maneuver the boat in close quarters (docking, man-overboard, at the starting line of a race, etc ... ). both
boards should be dropped down half-way. In this fashion, the crew is able to perform other needed
tasks while maintaining a sufficient center of lateral resistance.
The twin mdders provide a fairly neutral helm and excellent steering at high rates of speed through
non-turbulent water, although they tend to lose steerage way at slow speeds and in rough water. In
general, they should be steered gently and never turned more than 45 degrees from their straight ahead
position. At greater angles, they will act as brakes and slow the boat down. It is nearly impossible to scull
with the mdders, and attempting to do so may bend (and hence damage) them.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The M-20 mast is 26 feet high above the deck level (stepped two feet below deck) and the boom is
9'6" long; they are made of aluminum extlUsions. While the main and jib have an area of roughly 176
square feet, the spinnaker more than doubles the total sail area with approximately 200 square feet.
The 1-20 mast is the same as the M-20 with newer I-20s with a deck-stepped carbon-fiber mast. The 120 working sails are cunently the same as the M-20, but the asymmetlic spinnaker is 20% bigger, hoists
two feet higher and is controlled by a retractable carbon-fiber bowsplit.
The E-Scow mast is deck stepped and is 30 feet tall. The boom is approximately 20 feet in length. The
Main sail is 228 sq. feet, the jib is 95 sq. feet and the spinnaker is 550 square feet. It is also important to
contrast these measurements with the lUdder, which measures less than two square feet.
The minimum boat weight for racing an M-20 is 595 pounds as determined by the 1974 M-20 Class
Association Rules. It is recommended by the manufacturer that the boat be sailed by no more than three
people (also a Hoofer rule), and the total weight of the skipper and the crew be no more than 490
pounds. In heavy wind conditions, crew weight beyond this level greatly increases the chances for
breaking the equipment.
An E-scow is crewed with a minimum of 3 crew, and usually a maximum of four. In some
situations, (Hoofer instruction is an example), up to five people on the boat may work, but as noted in the
IJM 20 section above, too much crew weight in heavy winds only results in broken masts, rigging, and
sometimes injury. The maximum weight should be 750 pounds.
Painter: While sailing, the painter is removed from the bow and stowed out of the way under the
deck so that it does not get lost in a capsize. It is taken off to eliminate the chance for it to foul the
spinnaker lines or drag in the water. If day-sailing without a spinnaker, it would not be necessary to
remove the painter. The painter is secured with a "Megles knot". A simple figure eight knot is tied in one
end, and the line is fed through the hole in the bowplate until the knot catches. Once under way, one may
simply pull the line from the knot end backwards through the bowplate hole, and remove the painter to be
stored safely under the deck.
Jib Sheets: The jib sheets are relatively easy to use because of the 2: 1 mechanical advantage and the
cam-cleat to cleat the jib. When attaching the sheets to the jib, make sure that there are no twists or tangles
in the lines. The selection of the jib traveler positions and the fore-aft adjustments on the clew board are
described later in this manual.
Jib-Luff-Downhaul: The M-20 and E Scow jibs contain an internal forestay sewn inside the luff of
the jib. When the boat is sailing, this is the forestay used and tension is removed from the permanent
forestay. This internal forestay slides inside the luff of the jib and is attached to the sail only at the head.
Luff tension is adjusted by the jib-luff-downhaul which cleats in the cockpit under the deck in the vicinity
of the mast well. It can be adjusted while sailing, and works in a similar fashion like the Cunningham on
the main. When the jib is put on the boat, two fittings are fastened at the tack of the sail: the sail's forestay
is attached to the foremost fitting, and the jib-luff-downhaul is attached with the shackle to the
grommet in the tack of the jib.
Cunningham: The Cunningham is an adjustable downhaul for the main sail. It allows the tension in
the luff of the main to be adjusted while sailing. It also allows the luff tension to be increased without
pulling the top of the boom below the top of the white line on the mast. (This is an M-20 Class Association
rule in effect while racing to limit the size of the main sail.) The Cunningham bracket is fastened through a
grommet in the main sail near the tack.
Boom Yang: The M-20 utilizes a 4: 1 or 6: 1 boom vang. The block and tackle incorporates a cam
cleat shackled to the mast near deck level. The vang is useful during reaches and l'Lms to keep the boom
from rising (i.e. maintaining proper sail shape).
E-Scow vang configurations are many and varied. Hoofers has used "lever" vangs, 4: 1 block systems
(like the M-20), among others, and we probably have not seen them all. Many vang systems are led to
crew positions through the hull allowing the crew to play them in racing situations. In the lessons, the
instructor should familiarize students with the equipment on each of the Hoofer E-Scows.
Halyards: The main and jib halyards are of an internal system and run through the mast. The main is
raised first. It is often easier to raise the boom on the track a few inches above the white line while raising
the mainsail. Also, it important to make sure that all lines, including the mast rake, cunningham, boomvang, traveler, backstay and mainsheet are all uncleated and running free. Otherwise, the main will not go
The Hoofer SCOIV Manual
up all the way. Also make sure the boom is free of the tiller yoke. The main is secured at the top of the
mast with a Nychro-press ("swedgie-ball") secured in a V-jam. Then the "dog-lead" hook at the end of the
wire halyard is secured on the bungie-cord loop at the port side of the mast, near the deck. The rope
halyard can then be removed and stowed below deck for racing. If the boom was raised, it is now lowered
to its normal position at the white line.
On E-Scows, the halyards, like boom vangs, often differ from boat to boat. Instructors will show
students these differences in lessons.
The jib is raised second. Rake the mast forward using the mast-rake control line located under the
deck, near the jib-Iuff-downhaulline. The halyard is secured on the starboard side of the mast, with a
"swedgie-ball" secured in a V-jam. Usually the second ball from the top is used. This rope halyard may
also be removed for racing, and stowed below deck. Remember to release the mast-rake once the jib is up.
E-Scows are similar, but often are also equipped with a "Magic Box" which is a box with a set of
pulleys that allows the ral(e of the mast to be adjusted while sailing. Jib Halyards are generally connected
to one end of the magic box.
Main Sheet: The M-20 is equipped with 5: 1 main sheet in what is known as "mid-boom sheeting."
This means that all the blocks on the boom are located centrally and lead to a traveler which divides the
cockpit fore and aft. This particular system is beneficial in jibes. With the central sheeting capabilities, the
skipper is able to grab all the sheets, pull the boom through the jibe, and remain untangled from the sheets
in the process.
E-Scows have a different main sheet system since the boom is considerably larger, reaching the stern
of the boat The main sheet block is located on the king plank and runs through a turning block on the
boom aft through several blocks attached to the traveler. The E-Scow mainsheet is about 90 feet in length,
and since it runs both fore and aft of the skipper, care should be tal(en to avoid tangling the main sheet
during maneuvers.
Traveler: The traveler is used in conjunction with the main sheet and makes it possible to adjust both
the position of the boom while, maintaining the tension in the leech of the main. In other words, one could
adjust the position of the main sail (in or out) by changing the position of the traveler. It is similar to
sheeting the main in and out without the added motion of the boom up or down.
Backstay: The backstay is a device for bending the mast and for decreasing the tension in the leech of
the main sail. It is used primmily to de-power the main when close-hauled. Unlike the forestay and the
shrouds, it does not support the mast. The backstay should be released when sailing
downwind. It is equipped with a 4: 1 mechanical advantage. The backstay is used to bend the mast,
which spills air from the leech and flattens the luff. Thus, this controls the boat better without having to let
the sail out in heavy air. See diagram #2.
The E-Scow does not have a permanent backstay. Instead it is equipped with two running
backstays mounted on the port and starboard sides of the boat. These "running backs" are located just
forward of the main sheet block and only one is used at any given time on alternate tacks.
These backstays may be equipped with blocks to add a degree of purchase. They can be rigged as simple
as 1:1 or have up to 8:1 purchase. Also called "Instant Capsize Devices," knowing how to use the
running backstays is crucial to sailing the E-Scow. The windward running backstay is secured and
the leeward running backstay is released. During tacks or jibes, the running backstays are changed or
"tacked." The COHect procedure is to secure the new windward running back while simultaneously
releasing the other backstay. While sailing upwind, the crew may be late on this maneuver without mishap
because of the limited distance the boom travels during tacks. However, while jibing, (downwind), failing
to change the backstays can result in a capsize, broken equipment and sometimes injury. One crew
member is usually assigned this important responsibility.
The Hoqfer Scow Manual
/..t!:rtC H
E'!.!:!::. ~1!:.jt; .:Sr;t y
iMt...... IIIiTHIl
Figure 13: Effects of Backstay Tension
Spinnaker Rigging: There are other lines on the M-20 and E Scow besides those described above; most
of the others are for the spinnaker and are covered later in the chapter on spinnaker sailing.
Sailing Upwind
Close-hauled, both the E-Scow and the M-20 have excellent pointing ability and are sailed with the
leeward bilgeboard down and the windward bilgeboard up. The boat is heeled at a 30° angle to leeward
and the sails are trimmed. The main sheet is tlimmed to flatten the leech of the main sail, the cunningham is
used to flatten the luff, and the M-20 backstay is tightened to bend the mast which flattens the mid-section
of the main and twist the upper half to leeward which releases excess air. Running backs on the E-Scow
also affect sail shape. Depending on the amount of purchase, they may also be used to increase the bend
on the mast. This will not only impact the shape of the main, but will affect the jib as well. The traveler is
used to move the boom either to windward or to leeward from the center of the boat, and the leeward
board may be raised to ease the weather helm in heavy air. While the jib is the indicator for how correctly
one is sailing close hauled, it is sheeted in enough so that the leech of the jib roughly matches the curvature
of the luff of the main saiL This space between sails is the" slot." The jib-Iuff-downhaul takes the wtinkles
out of the luff of the jib and keeps the leading edge of the jib finn.
When sailing close-hauled with the sails properly trimmed, the M-20 should have a slight weather
helm. In general, the M-20 sails best with its mast straight up, in contrast with some other classes of boats
which have their masts raked either fore or aft. For proper ligging and helm, it is important to release the
M-20 mast-rake (forestay) after raising the jib, so that the internal halyard of the jib acts as the forestay.
Adjusting the Jib Leads for Close-Hauled
The jib leads are the adjustable guides for the jib sheets. Their position controls the shape of the jib
when sheeted, and can be easily readjusted during any point of sailing. The windward-leeward position of
the jib leads are adjusted with the jib traveler setting which, along with the sheet tension, controls the size
of the slot. The jib traveler is set towards the center of the boat (inboard) for light air and is eased out as
the wind increases. Thus, this allows for the increase in wind velocity to flow easier through the slot.
Therefore, for winds of 15-25 mph, the traveler may be set a few inches outboard from the board well.
The normal, center position of the jib traveler car, for winds 7 -10 mph, is even with the board well.
The fore and aft position of the jib leads on the clew board are adjusted to control the vertical
distribution of the sail's fullness when sheeted in for close-hauled. The general procedure for setting these
are by attaching the sheets further down the clew board (towards the tack) for heavy air. In heavy air, the
sheet pulls across the foot of the jib to increase Hatness and spill air at the leech. In light air, better sail
shape will be achieved by pulling down the leech to maintain leech tension and the fullness of the jib.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The amount of jib sheeting to use when close-hauled is determined by looking at the luff telltales and
the leech of the jib. Although the proper jib trim will vary in different wind conditions, the slot between the
leech of the jib and the luff of the main should be as even as possible. The jib sheet should not be so loose
that the top of the leech opens up spilling air, nor should it be so tight that it distorts the shape and throws
excessive backwind into the main sail.
When properly trimmed, the pairs of jib luff telltales will fly parallel to each other. A luffing top
windward telltale requires more leech tension, whereas a luffing bottom wind ward telltale requires more
foot tension. Also, if all your leeward telltales are luffing, head up; if all your windward telltales are
luffing, fall off.
Figure 14 (below): Jib leech adjustments
Figure 15: The clew and the Deck of an M-20
Heavy Weather, Upwind
There are several techniques for handling heavy weather, upwind. Feathering is one of them and
involves heading up slightly into puffs to keep the boat from heeling excessively. Often, when the wind is
too strong or puffy, feathering alone is not sufficient. In conjunction with feathering, the main sheet can be
eased out as needed to maintain the 30° heel. The main should be sheeted back in close-hauled as soon as
possible. Another technique for handling puffs involves easing the traveler instead of the main sheet. This
The Hoofer Scow Manual
has the advantage of maintaining leech tension and therefore driving power while letting the boom out to
reduce the heeling force. Raising the leeward board part way is helpful in controlling heeling and balancing
the helm. The amount that it is raised depends upon crew weight as well as wind velocity. This moves the
Center-of-Lateral-Resistance (CLR) aft to decrease the weather helm and control heeling. Also, as a
skipper becomes more competent, he/she will anticipate an approaching puff and compensate for it by
adjusting the backstay and the cunningham. For example, Suzy Sailor spots a wind gust, (by the black or
darkening tipples forming on the water) and prepares his boat by tightening backstay and cunningham, so
that, when the puff does atTive, the sail has been depowered to balance for the increase in wind power. By
tightening the backstay, stability and control are retained as sails are luffing less (sheeting out).
As more pointing ability is retained rather than letting the traveler out to leeward. Basically in heavy
weather upwind, it is important to understand that indeed the boat is overpowered and realize the host of
possibilities which one could adjust to compensate.
On an E-Scow, there is no backstay. Some effort Cat1 be made to play the running backs if there is
enough purchase. The traveler is used more often to depower, and some crews also play the boom vang.
Off the wind, (except on a high spinnaker reach), it will be desirable to raise the leewat'd bilgeboard
about halfway. Having too much board will give the boat a bad weather helm and will malce it more
difficult to bear off in puffs. At higher speeds the board becomes more efficient in controlling sideslip and
less board is needed.
In light air the same 30° heel as was used upwind is maintained for reaching. When the wind is strong
enough for planing, the boat should be sailed natter on the water.
The backstay should not be used to bend the mast while reaching. Easing the backstay lets the mast
rake fOlward. While this is good for the main sail, it may sometimes have the disadvantage of taking too
much tension away from the luff of the jib
The cunningham should be loosened for reaching as this allows for a fuller sail and more power. There
is nothing wrong with wrinkles in the luff when reaching.
The boat will go faster with the main oversheeted. In light air this should not be overdone, but in
heavy air the technique is to ease the main out to accelerate in puffs and then to sheet in while bearing off.
Note that the boom vang should be tight enough to keep the boom low and the leech of the main from
opening up when the main sheet is eased. The boom vang is adjusted easily while sailing upwind.
When a puff hits while reaching, the skipper must bear off to maintain proper heeL Heading up to
feather will increase the boat's heel, slow the boat, reduce stability and may result in a capsize.
The proper thing to do (even when close-reaching) in a puff is to hike out and bear off
quickly while playing the sails. Easing the main initially will make it easier to bear off, as the jib
pulls the bow off the wind. The main can then be sheeted back in quickly. Oversheeting will result in
increased speed while reaching. In contrast to the main, the jib should be the last sail luffed on a reach to
prevent a capsize. Beating off nattens the boat and helps it to drive in the puffs; as the puff passes, the
boat may be headed up to its former course. Heading up at this time maintains the relative wind and keeps
the boat planing for a longer time. In lighter air, a similar technique is used: heading up in the lighter air,
and bearing off in stronger air. This will be the fastest way to sail a reach between two points. These skills
are valuable for increasing boat speed dUling a race.
Sailing Downwind
The plinciples of reaching apply downwind; there are some special considerations that apply to
downwind sailing.
Ease the mainsail all the way out when going downwind, (except with the spinnaker on the 1-20) and
trim it in as you would any other mainsail. The idea is to expose as much of the sail to the wind as
possible, thereby increasing your speed. The sidestay and mainsheet limit how far out the sail can go.
With the spinnaker up, scows have enough sail area to go faster than the apparent wind. Whenever
this is true, it will be beneficial to sail a course higher than a dead run because the boat's velocity subtracts
from the true wind to indicate the apparent wind.
Sailing a broad reach will enable the boat to go faster than the apparent wind, whereas the boat can
only achieve the speed of the wind when sailing a dead run. Therefore, the method of jibing between
The Hoofer Scow Manual
broad reaches is called "tacking downwind" and will be significantly faster than the dead run course except
in extremely strong winds.
In smooth water it may be desirable to use no bilgeboard. The theory behind this says that it is all right
to slip to leeward when that is the eventual destination. The disadvantages of having no board down are:
less maneuverability and a slight decrease in the power of the sails. Yet, a minimal board setting is optimal
here, especially on a race course crowded with boats. Some people prefer to use the windward board
instead of the leeward as the boat tends to be more stable in puffs, in waves, and decreases the weather
helm. This can only be achieved while sailing in a dead run and the boat is heeled to windward. The term
for this downwind technique is called a "reverse heel." When perfonning a reverse heel, one should be
attentive to prevent a capsize to windward (broaching) by sheeting in the main and heading (feathering) to
If the waves are big enough, the bow of the boat may tend to bury itself in them. This is called
submarining and may swamp or capsize the boat. When this happens, the skipper should head up as
this puts the boat at a better angle to the waves and the process of heading up heels the boat allowing for
the water to run off the bow as the natural buoyancy of the boat lifts the bow out of the water.
Submarining can be prevented by keeping the crew's weight aft in the boat. When heading up to free the
bow, the skipper must be careful not to head up too much as this can also cause a capsize. If one is so
inclined to experiment, a quick tiller action which directs the boat to leeward could raise the bow just as
well and faster. While the skipper must be careful not to sail too much by-the-Iee, this quickly eliminates
the problem of submarining and capsizing by decreasing the effort on the sails, and the force downward
on the bow.
Coming About (Tacking)
To change tacks it is necessary to change the bilgeboards as well as the jib sheets when the boat is
turned through the wind. The skipper notifies the crew of the intention to tack by saying "Ready about."
The skipper pushes the tillers over to leeward, saying, "Hard-a-Iee" and changing his/her position to the
other side of the boat bringing the main sheet with him/her. The crew drops the windward board, releases
the jib as it breaks (luffs), changes jib sheets, sheets in the jib, then raises the windward bilgeboard. (In
racing, a good crew can change bilgeboards and jib sheets after the command "Hard-a-Iee" in about two
seconds.) When there are waves, the skipper must take care not to turn the boat into a wave as this will
stop the boat.
For reasons of safety, crews should be warned about not wrapping their fingers around the ends of the
bilgeboard. This is an easy way to break a finger while raising or lowering the board. It's easier and safer
to use the line tied through this pmt of the bilgebom'd lever.
In light conditions a "roll tack" may be performed. The crew and skipper's weight is used to speed the
hull into a heeled position on the new tack. By hiking hard on the windward side at the initiation of a tack,
the boat swings through the eye of the wind, reduces the time the hull is nat (slow) and enables the sails to
fill more readily.
With the high-aspect sail, the M-20 is an easy boat to jibe, even in the heaviest winds. When the boat
jibes from one downwind course to another, the bilgeboards can be changed anytime before, during, or
after the jibe. However, it is advantageous to lower the windward board first, jibe, then pull up the new
windward board which increases the boat's stability and the skipper's controL The jib sheets are changed
whenever the jib comes over. As for the boom, it is deceptively small looking. Yet, there is a lot of sail
above it developing large forces and velocities that could result in serious injury. Hence, it is important for
the crew to duck both the boom and the boom vang to avoid any undesirable experiences.
In jibing, the skipper warns his crew by saying "Prepare to jibe." After the crew says, "Ready," the
skipper tums the boat before the wind, then grabs the group of main-sheet lines between the traveler and
the boom and uses these to throw the boom over. Usually the jib comes across before the main. In heavy
air it may be necessary to sail by-the-Iee before grabbing the main sheet lines.
As mentioned previously, jibing on an E-scow requires one crew member to be in control of the
running backstays. The crew must release one while secming the other and ducking as the boom comes
across the cockpit.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Leaving and Landing at the Pier
After the painter is released and the boat is going backwards, it will not always back up in a steerable
fashion as is the case with other boats. Instead, the bow will turn to one side or the other and the boat will
begin sailing forward even with the sails luffing. Backwinding of the jib, to the side of the boat opposite
the desired direction, greatly aids in turning the boat.
To back the boat away from the pier, either a person on the pier or the crew must give a good push to
the boat in the backward direction. This initial thrust allows the rudders to gain control of the boat. Once
the boat clears the other boats around it, the boat can be steered out of irons, the sails trimmed in, and the
boat sailed forward into open waters. If things are to go right from the beginning, the person who shoves
off must know what to do. Time should be taken to instruct the person before casting off. The initial push
when leaving the pier must be lined up the wind's axis, and the technique of backwinding must clearly be
explained before leaving the pier.
If something goes wrong and you find yourself headed back towards the shoreline, do not bear off and
attempt to jibe. Besides breaking one of the cardinal rules of the club, jibing risks sailing the boat into the
rocks or hitting another boat's crew with the boom. Rather than jibe, tlim in the main and point the boat
upwind to land slowly at the pier and cast off with a fresh start.
To insure maneuverability when leaving or landing at the pier it is a good idea to have both
bilgeboards down half way.
When landing, a Scow will coast considerably ditTerent distances in different air and wave conditions.
Due to the different coasting distances and fragile nature of the boat, close hauled landings are required (to
refresh yourself with this technique, please consult a tech manual). Backwinding to slow the boat down
should only be used to make minor corrections in boat speed. If you are clearly too fast, abort
your landing and head back to the lake.
One of the preferred techniques taught, especially for E scows, is a "spin landing." In this type of
landing, the helmsman approaches shore parallel to the pier on a reach, a little over a boat length away
from the pier. The crew depowers the jib, and then the skipper turns the boat sharply over to the opposite
tack, but does not "power up" the sails. This will leave the boat slowly coasting toward the pier. If the
boat is too close or too far, the bow will be pointed towards the lake, allowing the crew to backwind the
jib to head out for another landing.
Many pier bumper boards are too high for a scow, so it is especially important to have the boat
stop at the pier when landing. Immediately after securing the painter, first raise both boards, then rake
the mast forward, lower the jib and secure it with a lifejacket. Make sure that all the mainsail control lines
are uncleated, then raise the boom and lower the main. Do not lower the main first, especially in heavy air,
because this will cause the boat to dodge back and forth 011 her painter, damaging the bow against the pier.
For the same reason, even with the sails down, keep a scow painter relatively short while the boat is at the
pier. Pennitting the jib to luff can cause sail batten damage as well as knocking the jib halyard off its
sheave in the mast. If the boat is to be left for a while, bring it up on a dolly. The scows (or any boat)
should not be left at the dock unattended.
A planing boat is one that is no longer supporLed on the water entirely by buoyancy alone but is
instead supported by dynamic lift with the boat skimming the water's surface. As the speed of an object
increases through the water, the water's resistance LO forward motion also increases. After a boaL reaches a
certain speed, called hull speed, roughly proportional to the square-root of the boat's water length, it
begins to disturb the water considerably more. If conditions permit, the boat may then begin to ride its
bow wave, producing a dynamic lift that removes part of the hull from the water, thus decreasing the
water's drag resistance. As the speed increases, the dynamic lift also increases. A full plane is said to
exist when the boat's weight is primarily supported by dynamic lift with the boat skimming the water
surface resistance to forward motion is now from wave-making resistance rather than from the usual drag
resistance. Planing is characterized by the bow being higher in the water, sensitive tiller action, abundance
of spray, and exciting high speeds.
The scow hull shape will plane very easily. Scows plane best with the hull nat on the water as this
shortens the water length and gives the boat more of a surface to ride up on the water. For planing, the
crew should usually move aft ancl hike to keep the boat tlat.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The M-20/E Scow Spinnaker
The spinnaker is a three--comered sail that can noticeably increase boat speed while reaching or
mnning. It is a parachute-type sail (also know as the chute. The traditional spinnaker used on the M-20
and E scow is a min·or image--it can be rigged with either lower corner fOlward, and uses a movable
spinnaker pole to hold out one corner. In contrast, the 1-20 uses an asymmetlic design-it can only be
ligged in one orientation, and the retractable bowsplit permanently mounted on the bow of the boat takes
the place of the spinnaker pole. The 1-20 spinnaker is addressed in a later section. The Hoofer M-20s were
all converted to I-20s in 1998, so although this Clment section also applies to the M-20, it will primalily
address the E Scow.
To sail the E Scow spinnaker, it is necessary to become familiar with an additional group of lines.
There are three lines that fasten to the three corners of the spinnaker. The spinnaker halyard fastens to
the head of the sail. The spinnaker guys fasten to the two clews of the sail. In addition, there is the
topping lift which adjusts the height of the spinnaker pole (sometimes called the spinnaker boom).
The topping lift has a part that pulls up on the pole (the topping lift uphaul) and a part that pulls down on
the pole (the topping lift downhaul). Both of these fasten together to the center of the spinnal<er pole.
When the spinnaker is not hoisted, it is kept in a Dacron bag just next to the mast. This is called the
spinnaker well. The spinnaker pole is stored and secured out of the way in the bilge or on the boom
when not in use. The spinnaker guys should be left attached to the sail. The halyard is unhooked from the
spinnaker when sailing upwind, and hooked to a hole in the chain plate.
SPI f>JH A~ 5i A. 0.#
Po\\'f rAe.J(
Figure 16: Spinnaker Lines
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Setting and Sailing The Spinnaker
On the E-scow, the spinnaker can be hoisted either to windward or leeward of the jib. If hoisted to
leeward, then it is less likely to tangle or hour-glass (this is described later). Therefore, 90% of the time,
you will hoist to leeward, and douse to windward.
To hoist the spinnaker to leeward, the windward guy and the topping lift downhaul controls are
uncleated so that the pole can be clipped onto the windward guy, the topping lift can be clipped onto the
center of the pole, and the opposite end of the pole can be clipped to the mast. It is important to set the pole
properly to insure a well flown spinnaker (i.e. the guy and sheet must be unrestricted, the topping lift
control must be adjusted correctly, and the halyard must be attached to the spinnaker but to the
outboard of every jib line). Once the pole is attached the sail can be hoisted.
When the spinnaker is being hoisted to windward of the jib, it is necessary for the crew to use the
spinnaker sheet to guide the sail around the forestay as the skipper hoists the sail. Note that it is not
necessary for the crew to take the sail out of the well and throw it around the forestay (and more often than
not, into the water): he/she must simply guide the sail as the skipper hoists it. Before beginning the
windward set, it is necessary for the skipper to uncleat the windward guy so that the sail can be guided by
the crew around the jib. Tangles (like an hour glass) can be avoided if the skipper pulls in the guy and
sheet as soon as possible after the sail is hoisted. When the sail is hoisted, the crew sets the pole.
Once the sail is up, the windward guy should be pulled so that the comer of the sail (now called the
tack) is touching the spinnaker pole and so that the pole is perpendicular to the apparent wind. Generally,
if the boom is set correctly, the spinnaker pole will be set 1800 from the position of the boom so that the
boom and pole form an imaginary straight line. The guy should never be "twinged" under the bolt on the
sidestay chainplate; this is not necessary and is the easiest way to break a spinnaker pole. The sail is
sheeted in by pulling the leeward sheet until the sail is full. The spinnaker is played like any other sail
using the sheet, which is eased out until the luff (the windward edge of the spinnaker) begins to curl over,
then is sheeted back in.
The skipper and crew operate the guys in any convenient distribution of work. Usually it is easier for
the skipper to adjust the guy and the crew to play the sheet. When a course is being held, the guy is cleated
and the sheet played.
The height of the spinnaker pole is controlled by the topping lift contl;ols. The desired height depends
on the strength of the wind, and the course sailed. The pole height controls the shape of the sail. In
moderate air it will be higher when reaching than when nmning. In very light air the pole will be at its
lowest. A simple guide for setting the spinnaker pole height is to put the tack of the spinnaker at the same
level as the clew. Raising the pole has the effect of cupping the sail in the vertical plane. If the pole is too
high, the spinnaker will be too cupped and will not develop enough power for downwind runs. If the pole
is too low, the spinnaker will be too flat and will not point as high on the wind as it otherwise could. Note
that the pole cannot be set lower than parallel to the water or higher than perpendicular to the forestay.
Also, care must be taken to prevent the pole from pressing against the forestay. If you are sailing such a
high reach that the pole needs to be so far forward that it bends on the forestay, you will probably go faster
by taking down the spinnaker. A full sail does not necessarily mean that it is propelling the boat forward.
How high a reach the spinnaker can be canied depends on the wind strength. Generally, the lighter the
air, the higher the spinnaker can be taken effectively. In light air the spinnaker can be used somewhat
above a beam reach. While in heavy air, a broad reach will be the highest course possible.
When it is not too windy, there are several techniques which, when understood and practiced,
maximize the boat's speed for a high spinnaker reach. During high spinnaker reaching:
The leeward bilgeboard is 3/4 of the way down.
The spinnaker halyard should be eased 6 in. to I ft. Depending on conditions, this allows a
breathing slot between the spinnaker and the main and jib
The spinnaker pole should be in its high position, so that the pole is raised approximately
perpendicular to the forestay.
The jib must not be oversheeted~ This draws the spinnaker in toward the main and jib, thus
changing its shape and losing power.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
The main sail should be slightly oversheeted to increase its projected area and to guide the air flow
The boat should be heeled at 30° so that the leeward bilge board is perpendicular to the water
BUT: The exact trimming techniques will depend on the specific design of each spinnaker and are
best learned by experience.
Jibing and the E Scow Spinnaker
In addition to the other things normally done to jibe, when sailing with the spinnaker, the pole must be
switched from the old windward spinnaker guy to the new windward spinnaker guy. This involves
removing one end of the pole from the ring on the mast, then releasing the other end from the old guy
using the trip cord on the pole, securing the end just released from the mast onto the new guy, and
secming the other end onto the mast ring. It should be done in one smooth motion, pulling the pole
straight across from one side of the boat to the other. In heavy air, it is especially important to release the
old guy before putting the pole on the new guy, or the spinnaker will pull the pole out of your hands.
Following is the recommended sequence for jibing the spinnaker:
a) The skipper says "Prepare to jibe."
b) The crew flying the spinnaker takes both the spinnaker sheet and guy.
b) The crew changes the boards, uncleats the jib, and says "ready."
c) The crew sitting closest to the skipper prepares to switch the running backstays.
d) The skipper calls "Jibe Ho:' then ducks while the crew moves the boom across the boat and the
spinnaker tlimmer continues to fly the spinnaker, while the running backs are switched before the
boom flies across.
e) The crew then releases the old guy, changes the pole to the new guy, and secures the pole onto the
mast ring.
f) The windward spinnaker guy should be adjusted and cleated.
f) The crew trims the jib and the spinnaker sheet.
Windward Recovery of The Spinnaker
Although on large boats spinnakers are taken down to leeward of the main and jib, the E Scow is small
enough that windward douses are usually done and recommended.
The skipper notifies his crew that the chute is to be taken down. The crew detaches the spinnaker pole
from the mast, the topping lift, and then from the windward guy; the sheet is left free, and the pole is
stowed. The crew pulls the sail around the forestay with the guy, collects the foot, asks other crew
members for the halyard to be released, and stuffs the spinnaker into the spinnaker bag. Care must be
taken by the crew not to twist the luffs around each other or to stuff the sail between or over the jib sheets.
After the sail is completely stuffed, the spinnaker halyard may be left to hang loosely while attached, or
may be "twinged" by hooking it under the outboard bolt on the windward chainplate. The guys should be
tightened and cleated as soon as possible to prevent them from dragging in the water and fouling the
rudders or boards.
Leeward Recovery
On a leeward recovery, the forces tending to foul the sail are smaller, but care must be taken to stuff
the sail clear of the jib sheets. Packing the sail takes a little longer because the jib, the mast, the boom, and
the vang are in the way. There is the annoying tendency for the spinnaker, as it is packed, to pull part of
the jib sheets into the well with it. Don't forget to clean up the spinnaker guys after stowing so these lines
will not run free, tangle or become fouled in the rudders.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Heavy Weather Recoveries
In heavy weather the skipper and crew will be hiking out just prior to the recovery. One thing that
really helps here is for the skipper to head the boat deeper downwind to take some of the pressure off the
spinnaker. This will slow the boat down and give the crew some ease to work with. The crew is going to
have to stay to the windward side of the boat. For reasons of stability, the crew is also going to have to
keep their weight aft most of the time to keep the bow from burying. After the skipper tells the crew to take
down the spinnaker, sometimes the forces on the spinnaker pole make it difficult to unclip from the mast.
If this happens, the trimmer should luff the spinnaker immediately to relieve these forces. The crew stands
forward in the cockpit, preferably not on the bow, to un clip the pole from the mast, and the topping lift.
The crew then slides the pole into the bilge and unclips the pole from the windward guy without letting the
guy out of their hand. (Otherwise it will fly out of reach or over the mast or under the bow.) Still in the
cockpit the crew pulls the sail around until he/she has the windward tack The crew does not bring the rest
of the sail around, but stuffs the luff of the spinnaker into the bag while sitting forward in the cockpit.
The 1-20 Asymmetric Spinnaker
The asymmetric spinnaker, developed largely out of the 1992 America's Cup, where some of the
boats had good results sailing downwind under a sail known as the gennaker, a combination of a genoa
and spinnaker. The idea is that this design is more efficient because, with the jib up, there is another slot
created between the spinnaker and jib. A boat with this configuration is much faster on a reach, though
usually can't sail as deep as with a traditional spinnaker and pole. Jibes go much faster with a bowsprit
because the crew does not have to go forward and jibe the pole. However, the crew must sheet much more
to turn the asymmetrical spinnaker inside-out, as the clew must come all the way forward, around the
forestay and all the way to the other side of the jib.
Buddy Melges, who designed the M-20 with his father Harry, was the skipper of the winning
Ame11ca3 Syndicate. Soon after the America's Cup, Melges Boatworks designed their very successful and
popular Melges 24. This was the first of the sport boats with a retractable bowsprit and asymmetric
spinnaker. A few years later, the A scow, the most open of the scow classes, moved to a retractable
bowspdt and asymmetric spinnaker. The E scow and M-20 classes have been slow to adopt the more
modern design. Hoofers chose to convert their M-20s to 1-20s and adopted the more modern rig design,
and class association policies more open to expe11mentation. This new class is growing rapidly.
The 20-foot spinnaker scow is particularly suited to the advantages of the asymmetric spinnaker
because of the boat's low freeboard and its tendency to submarine downwind. With the bowsprit extended
five feet, and the spinnaker forming another slot with the jib, the sail plan is much more efficient than with
the traditional spinnaker. The extra slot and the bowsprit pushing the spinnaker forward combine to pull
the 1-20 bow up out of the water and induce planing more rapidly. This is much safer since submarining is
eliminated as is the accompanying chance of equipment breakage and crew injury. Adding to the safety and
ease of the 1-20 design is the elimination of the spinnaker pole-the crew never has to go forward (which
also helps to eliminate submarining) and wrestle with a pole, which can be dangerous in heavy air.
The 1-20 spinnaker is about 20% larger than the M-20 spinnaker (which increases boat speed
downwind) and hoists about two feet higher on the mast. Because it is asymmetric, it has a definite
clew and tack, unlike a traditional spinnaker. The leading edge or luff of the 1-20 spinnaker has a
green tape indicating the luff and a red tape on the leach side. You will note that the luff of the asymmeu1c
spinnaker is much longer than the leech.
To lig the 1-20 spinnaker, first find the green tape and attach the tack of the sail to the tack line,
which comes out of the end of the bowsprit (Green Goes Forward). Make sure the tack line is pulled out
and around the front of the forestay, and over the jib sheets. Next, attach the sheet to the clew, indicated
by the red tape. Finally, attach the halyard, taking care to make sure the halyard goes outside and over the
jib halyard. The spinnaker may now be stowed in the spinnaker well, just to the port side of the mast.
Note that unless the spinnaker is in use, the bowsprit must be fully retracted. If this is not
done, the sprit may catch on the pier and may be damaged.
The Hoofer SCOIV Manual
Setting the Bowsprit and Asymmetric Spinnaker
One of the practical things you will notice with the asymmetlic spinnaker is that the luff is longer
than the leech. If you have the spinnaker rigged backwards, the crew will immediately notice upon the
hoist. It is impossible to sail in the wrong orientation. If you have the spinnaker ligged backwards, you
must immediately recover it and re-rig the sheet and tack line to the opposite corners. In so doing, the crew
must make sure to mn the tack line over the jib sheets.
Once you are assured everything is rigged properly, the skipper heads downwind. The skipper
must closely watch the sidestay tell-tales. If the boat is on a reach rather than mIming while hoisting the
asymmetdc spinnaker, it can pull the boat light over into a capsize. But be sure to not sail so deep that the
jib comes over and you're sailing by-the-Iee. The proper sequence of events in hoisting the asymmetric
spinnaker is as follows:
1. The skipper heads downwind and the crew reaches forward and pulls open the spinnaker well
cover and helps the spinnaker out of the bag.
2. The skipper begins to hoist the spinnak:er. On the Hoofer boats, the bowsprit control is connected
to the halyard, and the sprit will extend as the spinnaker nears the top of the hoist. This is a safety
measure to prevent breakage of the carbon-fiber pole in case the spinnaker falls in the water.
3. The crew helps the spinnaker out of the bag and around behind the jib and helps to keep the
corners on deck, to keep the spinnaker from "shrimping".
4. The crew pulls the tack around to the end of the bowsprit--depending on the wind, the tack can be
anywhere from right to the end of the split, to two feet up. In heavy air, the tack should be no
more than six inches up--this will help to keep the bow up. Cleat the tack line at the desired
5. The crew then sheets in the spinnaker and begins to play it. At this point, the skipper sheets in the
main and begins to head up. The skipper should always be sitting to leeward except when close
reaching or in heavy air. The crew will move to the low side as the conditions demand.
Sailing The Asymmetric Spinnaker
Because of the greater sail area and because the spinnaker is much farther forward than with the
traditional sail, the asymmetlic spinnaker will create lee helm where with the traditional spinnaker the helm
would be more neutral. There are a couple ways to offset this effect. The first and best)s to heel the boat to
leeward. This is easy to do, because the proper position for the skipper downwind is on the leeward side
anyway. This is the best way to see puffs coming. In light air, the crew should also be sitting to leeward,
although this will make it more difficult to see the luff of the spinnaker when on a close reach. The leeward
board can be dropped a little farther to create more weather helm, but this will also slow the boat slightly.
The lee helm will be most noticeable at slower speeds. The effect decreases with greater boat heel and
faster speed. As the boat speeds up, you will need less board. It is very important under these conditions
to sail the boat heel. As a puff hits, it is important to bear off, ride the plane and then head back up as the
puff fails. This is known as scalloping and is a very efficient way to sail the asymmetric spinnaker
Another way to help ease the lee helm and to make the boat more efficient is to drop the jib traveler all
the way out. This will open the slot between the jib and the main, matching the slot between the spinnaker
and the jib. In addition to increasing the sail efficiency, it will help to keep the jib from pulling the bow to
leeward. Of course, it is important to bring the jib traveler back to center before going back
Remember that the asymmetric spinnaker is designed for reaching, not running. You will jibe more
than with a regular 'chute to get to the same spot, but you will be traveling faster (and having more fun!).
Do not oversheet the spinnaker, If the spinnaker is oversheeted, it completely shuts down the
other two sails, and the boat stops. The spinnaker acts as a very efficient brake. If you feel like the boat is
sluggish and you can't get it to go forward, or if you feel like you are being dragged to leeward, sheet
out! You will be surprised at how quickly the boat starts to move again.
Because the asymmetric spinnaker is more etIicient and the boat planes more quickly, the apparent
wind moves forward. Therefore, you will want to sheet the main in closer than you would normally at the
771e Hoofer Scow Manual
same downwind angle. Many skippers will sit to leeward and actually rest an arm on the boom--this is a
good way to get a feel for the boat heel.
Remember to release the backstay and cunningham when sailing downwind. If on a very tight reach in
moderately heavy air, pulling on some backstay can help keep the boat under control. At the same time, the
skipper will need to actively play the main, often sheeting out and dumping air as the boat heels too much.
Under these circumstances, the skipper is hiking to windward with the crew, to offset all that sail area.
Remember to head down in the puffs.
Jibing the Asymmetrical Spinnal{er
The key thing to think about when jibing the asymmetric spinnaker is that the leech has to travel all
the way forward, through the slot between the end of the SpIlt and the forestay, and all the way around to
the other side of the boat, effectively turning inside-out. The skipper has to drive the boat downwind so
that the wind blows the spinnaker forward, or it will get caught on the forestay. The crew has to pull in a
lot of the new sheet to pull the clew all the way around. The spinnal<:er will sort of snap full when it gets to
the right place. It is easy to get caught up in thinking about all the sheeting needed, and end up
oversheeting and stopping the boat. It tal<:es practice to get the right rhythm down. Luckily, with the ease
of this system, once you've done it a few times, it's a piece of cake to lay down a lot of good jibes.
The sequence of events for jibing the asymmetric spinnaker is as follows:
1. The skipper calls "Prepare to jibe" and heads downwind.
2. The crew puts the windward board down halfway and calls, "Ready".
3. As the boat tums downwind, the jib starts to come across, and the crew eases out the spinnaker
slightly to allow the clew to travel forward, and grabs the new sheet.
4. The skipper grabs the mainsheets between the boom and traveler, calling "Jibe Ho", and pulls the
boom across as the main jibes over.
5. The crew ducks the boom and moves to the other side of the boat, pulling in the new sheet hard.
6. The skipper starts to head up, sheeting in the main, as the spinnaker pops full on its new heading.
7. The crew trims the 'chute and pulls up the new windward board. Altematively, the skipper can pull
up the new windward board to keep the crew sheeting the spinnaker.
Occasionally, the spinnaker will get caught on the forestay and will not come around to the new side.
The easiest thing to do in this case is to head the boat back deep downwind again and ease the sheet a lot,
allowing the spinnal<:er to blow forward off the forestay. In general, this works pretty well but sometimes
you will need to jibe all the way back over again to free the spinnaker. Do not try to pull the spinnaker if it
is stuck. That is a good way to tear a beautiful sail, when a little patience and good skippet'ing will solve
the problem.
Dousing the Asymmetrical Spinnaker
Leeward Recovery: There are a few ways to douse (called recovering) the asymmetric
spinnaker. The first is the leeward douse. In this maneuver, the skipper heads the boat downwind to slow
the boat and take pressure off the spinnaker. The crew must duck under the boom, reach out and grab the
sheet, and begin pulling in the spinnaker. The crew will have to uncleat the tack line in order to pull in the
foot of the sail. The skipper should not release the halyard until the crew calls "halyard," indicating he/she
has already gathered in the entire fool. The skipper then uncleats the spinnaker halyard and lets the
spinnaker come down in a controlled manner while the crew is stuffing the spinnaker into the well. The
bowsprit will self-retract as the halyard is released. The skipper must take care to keep the halyard from
knotting. The crew should use their entire arms to stuff the spinnaker all the way down into the well, but
take care to not stuff the jib sheets as well.
Before heading back up wind, the crew must drop the leeward board all the way and bring the jib
traveler back up to its position near the board well. The sldpper should help clean up the spinnaker sheets
so they don't run free and foul around the boards or rudders. The skipper should also at this time pull on
any controls necessary for depowering upwind, such as cunningham and backstay. Then both the skipper
and crew trim the working sails to the new upwind heading.
The Hoofer Scow Manual
Windward Recovery: A windward douse is very much like the leeward douse, except that the
crew does not have to crawl under the boom to recover the spinnaker. Clearly, this makes for a better
procedure. However, this does mean that the crew has to pull the spinnaker all the way around to the
windward side. In order to do this, the skipper again has to head the boat velY deep downwind, but not
so far that you are sailing by-the-Iee. Sailing by-the-Iee is very dangerous on an 1-20, because
things like an uncontrolled jibe can happen very quickly on this boat. As the boat is heading downwind,
the crew begins to pull on the lazy (unused) sheet to pull the spinnaker around. Heading the boat down
takes much of the pressure off the spinnaker and makes it easier to pull the sheets across the forestay.
Then the crew again gathers in the foot and begins to stuff the spinnaker into the well and calls for the
halyard release as above.
Even easier is the jibe-douse recovery. In this maneuver, the skipper and crew go through all
the usual jibe motions, except the crew does not sheet the spinnaker around when the main and boom jibe
over. Now the spinnalcer is opposite the jib and main. Instead, as soon as the main jibes, the crew grabs
the working sheet, releases the tack line and gathers the foot of the sail, calling for the halyard release as
before. This is a very easy and quick procedure and saves wear of the sheets on the forestay, but the
skipper must be sure to not head up, or the spinnaker will fill inside the jib and certainly cause a capsize
(and probably an immediate turtle). This maneuver is best not tried until the leeward and windward
recoveries have been mastered, and the skipper is velY accustomed to the lively nature of the 1-20 helm.
Setting, jibing, and recovering the spinnaker should all be quick, easy operations, but occasionally
some things happen no matter how careful you are.
AN \\~o 1Jj\- 9Uf'S,s ~l
lte?t~ 5f'AlNA~R
Figure 17: Spinnaker shape
An hour glass in the spinnaker is a twist in the sail between the head and the foot such that the port
and starboard luffs cross each other. Since the head of the sail is free to swivel, hour-glasses are untwisted
by rotating the top of the sail so that its luffs assume the same orientation as below. Untwisting can be
done by pumping the sheet (i.e. trim and ease, trim and ease) until the sail unfurls itself. Sometimes the
crew will need to grab the luff or leech of the spinnaker and tug up and down to encourage the upper part
of the hour-glass to swivel free.
The Hoofer Scow Manllal
In case of capsize priorities are first your crew, and second the boat and equipment. As
immediately as possible, someone must get onto the lower bilge board. Getting on the lower board rapidly
could prevent a turtle. Once the boat has been saved from turtling, uncleat and pull out the upper board.
The boat can then be brought up by putting weight on the upper board. Remember that the longer one
waits, the harder it will become to right the boat.
.111. I
Figure 18: Capsize recovery
If the spinnaker is up when the capsize occurs, it is usually better to release the halyard when righting
the boat. Uncleating the spinnaker can eliminate more problems than it creates. The only times that there
will be problems getting the boat up are when the spinnaker is hoisted and has tangled itself on the mast or
stays. When this happens and the boat cannot be righted, it will be necessary for someone to go and
untangle the sail, while the other crew remains on the bilgeboard to keep the boat on its side. A word of
caution: always hold onto part of the boat or a line; a tipped-over scow can drift faster
than you can swim.
If a motorboat is available to assist, there are certain things they can do to help and others that they
shouldn't do. First, extreme caution must be exercised in operating a motor boat near people or sails in the
The Hoofer Scow Manual
water: rotating propellers are deadly. The skipper and crew of the scow should do most of the rescue
themselves as well as direct the assistance they wish from the motorboat. The motorboat can help by
holding the head of the mast while the skipper or crew takes off the sails. (Don't forget to loosen the
backstay, cunningham, boom vang, etc., just as when taking them off at the pier on a scow.) It should not
be necessaty to use the mast as a lever to right the boat, and doing so can cause serious structural damage
to the deck, mast well, and mast.
If the boat is swamped or turtled, the procedure for righting the boat is the same. Someone will
have to swim underneath the boat to pull out one of the bilgeboards, while the other person is on the
bottom of the boat to catch and hold the board out. Then the other person climbs up onto the bottom of the
boat and both together can help to bring the boat onto its side. Leaning on a bilgeboard will readily bling a
turtled scow onto its side. It is better if outside assistance is not used until the boat is on its side. When a
swamped scow is righted, it will usually be unsailable and will need to be bailed out or towed. When
being towed (slowly and while right-side-up) the bilgeboards should be up, and all the crew sitting aft in
the boat so that most of the water can drain out the portholes and over the transom while the boom and
sails are gathered into the boat. The tow boat should start moving gradually and should pull the scow
slowly. If someone is hurt or there is no time to do a careful job, the boat should be anchored and the
people rescued. The boat can then be recovered at a more convenient time, lessening the chance of damage
or injury.
In summary, the things to remember to do in a capsize are:
1. Keep calm.
2. Observe elements of safety (m are described later in this section).
3. Know what must be done and begin immediately.
4. Do as much of the rescue as possible yourselves.
5. If outside assistance is available, use it only to the minimum and only under your direction.
Don't depend on someone else to know what to do; assume they have only minimal skills and
expetience unless you know differently (i.e. University Lifesaving "Harvey").
Overboard Procedure
One problem a scow sailor encounters is how to change bilgeboards to pick up an overboard crew
without leaving the helm. If it is a third person who falls from the boat, the skipper can have his remaining
crew drop the windward board all the way down; he can then bear off, jibe, and be able to head up to stop
where the overboard person can climb or be assisted back into the boat.
When one's only crew falls overboard, there is no one else to change the boards. One way around this
is for the skipper to sail on a little longer then tack. He can now bear off, jibe, and head up to stop next to
the person as before.
When recovering someone from the water, the boat should be stopped. The skipper must remember to
stay calm and to avoid running over the person in the water.
Summatizing and repeating some elements of safety:
Bilgeboards m'e to be raised mld lowered only by the lines. This avoids jmnmed and broken fingers.
The skipper must wait before jibing until the crew has ducked tile boom and boom vang.
In case of capsize, priorities me first, tile crew, tilen the boat mld equipment. If tile crew cannot swim, a life jacket
must be wom. In heavy air, life jackets must be worn.
In a capsize, the outside edges of tile bailers are shm-p and me located in the vicinity of the bilgebomds where you
will be. If the bailers m'e open, slap til em closed from tile bottom of the boat to avoid cuts while righting tile boat.
The crew must always exercise cm'e in handling the spinnaker pole in tile cockpit. If he tries to put the pole under tile
bow, he may raise the aft end of the pole in the air over tile traveler and hit tile skipper with it.
In heavy weatiler, account must be taken of tile relative wind to prevent accidentally sailing by-tile-lee mld jibing.
Inspect your hiking strap attachments regulm'ly. A loose nut and boll can cause an unexpected swim.
Inspect all hm'dwm'e and sails before sailing. Take special notice of mly fraying wire. A frayed stay could lead to a
broken mast. Any broken or inoperable items should be fixed or secmed.
TIle Hoofer Scow Manual
Advanced Theories of Sail Trim
The tdm of a sail is descdbed in tenns of the following:
a) 'camber
b) position of maximum camber
c) sheeting angle of the sail
Camber is the draft or bagginess sewn into the sail, and roughly indicates the sail's center of
.. .
Figure 19: View of Sail Camber
The Position of Maximum Camber is determined by the relative tensions along the edges of the
sail. The position of maximum camber will move towards an edge whose tension is increased relative to
the other edges. Thus it is controlled by:
a) downhaul or cunningham (move it toward the luff)
b) outhaul (moves it toward the foot)
c) backstay tension (mast bend takes camber out of the luff effectively moving the position of
maximum camber aft; on the upper 113 of the main, the backstay eases tension in the leech, and
moves the camber forward)
d) mainsheet tension (moves it aft toward the leech)
Sheeting in the main when going to windward in a moderate breeze causes the position of maximum
camber to move toward the leech. The cunningham is used to move the position of maximum camber back
to its designed place, roughly in the center or slightly forward of center in the sail. (This will vary from
sail to saiL)
The Sheeting Angle between the sail and the center of the boat is determined (when reaching) by
letting the sail out until it begins to luff, then sheeting it in until the luffing stops. The idea is to have the
sail out as far as possible without it luffing. This:
a) allows more of the aerodynamic force to be directed forward dtiving the boat
b) allows the air flow around the sail to remain "attached" to the sail (i.e., flow parallel to the sail thus
providing the maximum aerodynamic force).
Going upwind, the sheeting angle is determined by wind and wave conditions. In light air the sail is
trimmed at a greater angle than usual and the boat footed off to move faster; in medium air the sails are
The Hoofer Scow Manllal
sheeted in tightly and toward the center of the boat for high pointing; in heavy air the traveler is let out to
reduce heeling.
In summary, adjusting the camber, position of maximum camber, and the sheeting angle allows the
skipper to control the amount, location, and direction of the sail's dllving force.
The scow provides some of the best excitement and thlill, and provides development of advanced sills
as well. Get out there and add some of the best memories of your life of sailing.
Figure 20: Deck Diagram of an E-Scow