Some one asked my for advice on sailing penultimates. Well I'm no good at it. I have got some advice for other inept types trying to sail a penny.
Some things I have learned:
Don't pinch and sail flat when going up wind. Man you can make 'em crawl if you pinch. Sailing properly up wind is hard work. I'm running 3-1 mainsheet. same as a laser. Makes trimming up wind VERY hard. The idea is the crew does it - my crews naaaaaa. I keep it cos when I let go of it I want the boom to go out quick! Or its another trip in the drink.
Best way of capsizing one is the twin wire tea bag manoeuvre. If you and you crew end up in the water, the boat will sail along quite happily at 45 degrees, forever. You will remain 6 feet from the boat and will never get back to it. Its very frustrating. Be very careful about twinning in gusty or marginal conditions. According to the 14 website this is the helm's fault. Ok so I'm not good at it. There actually harder to pitch pole than I expected. The kite lifts the nose something rotten.
Hang on to the tiller at all times, dumping main or kite will probably not save you, hiking / wiring won't either an any sort of wind. The only thing that keeps you upright is heading up or bearing off in emergencies. Steering is the key to staying upright. Good people can probably manage. But if you get a big gust with the kite up you have no choice - you can sheet out or main or flag the kite. You'll still need to bear off like crazy or you'll swim. When this happens it feels like you've been attached to an inter continental ballistic missile its awesome.
They're horribly unstable when not moving. Don't stop, ever, coming out of tacks when your crew's inept is a particularly bad. Especially when they sheet the huge jib in bar tight mid tack. You kind of have to dump the main sheet and go out on the handle as the boat accelerates sideways. Any sort of forward motion and it stays up right. When stopped that huge ali mast festooned with rigging, ways a ton, and has huge leverage if you let the bugger get leaned over too much. Hove-to doesn't work. Also if you stop you kind of sink.
Watch the kite in very light winds, its so big and so far forward it bears the boat away like crazy. has far more effect than the rudder if your not careful.
Rig settings - buggered if I know. The 2 spreader rig is new to me. Pulling the jumper shrouds (top ones) bends the mast like a bastard. Great in strong winds pig in light. lowers straighten it out. I ease one and pull the other as a double act. In the light stuff I take the slack out of jumpers, and pull the lowers till the bottom half of the mast is almost straight. I use as little jumper as I dare, that mast head kite must be a hell of a load.
In strong winds, rake mast back, ease lowers - don't let em flap around they do support the mast laterally. Be aggressive with Cunningham and jumpers. you can flatten the main off a lot. A 14 - even a penultimate is not short of power. I'm cautions of the kicker. loose it for manoeuvres . Its fine upwind but doesn't half cause trouble when your in the stopped coming out of a slow tack moment.
Get fit, get a comfortable harness with out straps. I used to wear a cheap magic marine one with straps and buckles all over. Now got a "Skiff Light" no buckles or straps and its well comfortable. Most Ausies, and skiff sailors get sail makers to make 'em to measure. Most commercial ones are aimed at cat sailors I guess. The 14 made me give up smoking, now however I'm used to it its easier to handle with out a hernia.
Penny's are awesome fun, a 14 foot carbon chip with 40 odd square meters, down wind its as near to flying as you can get without a plane. Once your settled with the kite up the boat really flies. The hull suddenly becomes very stable and the rudder responsive. Its not like high speed on f18's that I'm used to. On the f18 its like clinging on for dear life on the side of a train. With the 14 its like its attached to you, its no good fighting it, it always wins. Just steer it flat and don't over sheet the kite. You can brace yourself with your legs apart, the "Girraf having a drink" position. Won't help. If you trapeze with your feet together and lean back when you bear away it will float along. Then your crew falls over, which is annoying, don't try and help em - you'll just capsize.
Theory is that the helm just keeps the boat upright, everything else is the crews problem (from the i14 website). I agree I just wish I had a regular crew.
Get hold of a copy of Higher Faster DVD. Apparently the 49er's say don't even try and sail one without watching it. Its good, very good.
http://gbr.i14.org/ penultimate/rules.html I stopped after the first paragraph that describes the differences.
http://www.i14.org/boat/ training2.html - Penultimate mast rake
http://www.rclass.org/humour/ - not really helpful, but after 2 seasons is a twin wire boat I recognise all of these things in myself. Made me laugh