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Melges 14 2019 Leaderboard

How to Properly Tack a Melges 14

by Melges Performance Sailboats 28 Mar 09:00 PDT
Melges 14 U.S. National Championship © Hannah Lee Noll

Melges Team Member Eddie Cox narrates a step-by-step tutorial on how to properly tack a Melges 14 in light to heavy air. The key to tacking a Melges 14 is to have smooth movements.

Steps for a Light Air Tack

  1. To initiate the tack, move your weight into the center of the boat and start with a small amount of tiller movement towards the leeward side.
  2. When the front of the sail begins to luff, drive a little bit harder into the tack.
  3. Turn your knees towards the front of the boat and grab your weather hiking strap with your sheet-hand.
  4. Once the sail backwinds, pull on the weather hiking strap and move your shoulders out to give your boat a roll.
  5. Let the boom cross over you then step your back foot (this becomes your front foot on the opposite tack) up onto the board box and grab the weather rail with your tiller hand.
  6. Do a behind-the-back exchange of your tiller and sheet grips.
  7. Flatten the boat by throwing your shoulders out.
  8. As the boat flattens, ease 2-3 feet of mainsheet.
  9. Once you're flat, move your weight back to the center of the boat and trim in.

Medium to Heavy Air Tacking

Here are the key differences between light air tacking and medium-heavy air tacking:

  • A quicker move across the boat with your goal being to get into a full hiking position as soon as possible.
  • Remain hiked out until the sail begins to luff then start moving your weight through the center of the boat as the boom crosses you.
  • Ease the mainsheet only slightly so that you can work into your proper heel angle.

Key points for tacking in bigger breeze

  • Grabbing the weather rail with your tiller hand is especially helpful to pull yourself up to the weather side when the boat is rolling through a tack.
  • It is also important to step onto the board box so that your foot is positioned directly under the hiking strap and you can transition straight into a full hiking position.

If you have any questions about tacking a Melges 14, reach out to the Melges Team directly at !

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