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Well this could be a book in itself, but here's a few tips to get you started :-

Firstly DON'T PANIC! The Contender was designed as a trapezing boat and so may feel quite strange to sail when not on the wire due to the high floor (double bottom). You must hook on quickly and break the psychological barrier by trapezing as soon as possible.

To windward: Centreboard raked about 70 degrees back, sit on the side, hook on, start to sheet in whilst getting your feet to the gunwhale. Push out, sheeting in further as you go, and away you go...!

It is most important to maintain directional control during this manoeuvre!! Lower or raise yourself on the trapeze as required.

In lighter winds you should stand near to the shrouds  and move back towards the mainsheet tower as the wind gets stronger. The outhaul should be at or nearly at its maximum, cunningham on enough to remove most wrinkles and kicker enough to align the back end of the top batten so that it is parallel with the end of the boom.

As the breeze increases, you will need to apply a lot more kicker to keep the leech tight - and we mean a LOT when its blowing.

Tacking: Put 100 contender sailors in a room and ask this question and you'll get 100 different answers. However, in general what all contender sailors do is sheet out a bit, unhook, find their way under the boom and onto the otherside, hook on, take the mainsheet and push out again and sheet in, not necessarily in that order, but you get the jist, generally it's the under boom bit that's an issue, some go head first, some rear first, some face forwards, some backwards, some lying down, some on their knees, so, as Fleetwood Mac said, 'you can go your own way' just do what works for you, ask people and scour the web for videos of how other people do it.

Reaching: let some outhaul off, cunningham off, some vang off, lift the board a bit and keep the boat level by moving aft and trapezing higher, this means when the wind is up you'll be standing on the back tank with a huge grin on your face.

Gybing: Bear off, unhook and settle the boat, while keeping the speed up. Let off some more vang (so you can get under the boom on your knees) and sheet the main in a little if required to stop the boat rolling. Bear away some more untill the tell tales start to fly the opposite way, pull the boom over with the mainsheet, swap sides and straighten (or bear away a little) with the helm to keep the boat under the rig, hook on, step out, vang on and GO.

 

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