Author Topic: Tacking with Aft Mainsheet  (Read 212 times)


  • Cabin Boy
  • Posts: 8
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Tacking with Aft Mainsheet
« on: July 31, 2020, 09:43:47 AM »
Looking for some tips on how to tack with the aft mainsheet. I've sailed for several years in boats with a centre mainsheet where you tack facing forwards, pushing the tiller extension across in front of you as you go. I'm struggling a bit with tacking facing out the back. Whatever I do I seem to end up in a heap on the cockpit floor, with the mainsheet wrapped round the tiller extension!! I think the extension may be a bit too long which isn't helping matters. Is there a clever way of doing it better?


  • Able Seaman
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Re: Tacking with Aft Mainsheet
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 08:43:16 PM »
Hard to describe exactly how I do it but the main difference is changing hands before you start the tack and facing the back of the boat as you change sides leading with your front foot

John M

  • First Mate
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Re: Tacking with Aft Mainsheet
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2020, 11:38:07 AM »
Sailing along close hauled.

Tiller in hand nearest back of the boat, mainsheet in hand closest to the front.

Swap hands.

Feet are really important.  Start steering into the turn, mainsheet still fully in.  Foot closest to the bow must more first and needs to cross the centreline.  Then as you pass head to wind twist around facing the stern which will mean your other foot crosses the centreline.  Ease some mainsheet.

Keep the tiller extension outboard on the new tack.

Sit on the new high side.  Hands are already sorted (you did this before you moved the tiller!). Pull the mainsheet back in.

Through the tack allow your hand to slide up and down the tiller extension as necessary.  It makes your life easier!

Have a look at the 2002 video from 1 min 10 seconds in for some nice tacks

And in the 2020 video at 1 minute 20.

Final top tip - keep it slow, don’t oversteer, move gently.  Your weight hitting the new high side should cause a “ripple” effect on the shroud which will cause the top batten to flick over on to the new tack.


  • Ocean Master
  • Commodore
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Re: Tacking with Aft Mainsheet
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2020, 09:57:28 PM »
Have you checked out the boat handling tips on the N12 website at these might give you some ideas
Happy sailing


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