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About Crewing

The Luders L-16 is ideally crewed with three people. One is the helmsman, another manages foredeck, and the third is the trimmer. Sometimes four people race, but that can become cramped. Unlike some other one design boats in the Chicago Yacht Club program, the L-16 has a small cabin. However, this comes at the expense of cockpit size, limiting crew capacity. Like most smaller one design boats, there is no "rail meat" -- crew whose main role is to move from side to side for weight. Everybody works on a small boat.

The helmsman drives the boat, and typically manages strategy. The foredeck crew goes forward and manages sail changes -- taking the jib down, rigging and releasing the spinnaker, gybing the spinnaker, and pulling it down and packing it. The trimmer is also called the "pit" position on larger boats. The trimmer manages the control lines for the spinnaker pole, sheets and halyards when the foredeck crew is at work.

The L-16 has some quirks compared to most other boats. One is how we manage foredeck. We do not have roller furling jibs, and we have a rather small foredeck. Most Chicago Luders manually roll the jib, and use bungee cord to tie it in place. This eliminates dropping and raising the jib. In heavy weather though, we will drop the jib. The spinnaker is launched from a turtle. This used to be a hard shelled container mounted on the bow, but now we use soft bags. These are mounted at the forward tip of the bow, and have the spinnaker stuffed into them. It is raised by pulling it from the spinnaker. When dousing a spinnaker, the crew has to pull it down and stuff it rapidly into the bag.

The sail plan for an L-16 includes a large genoa jib. It wraps past the shrouds and blocks vision. One function of crew is to keep an eye out for other boats, and in particular to duck below and look around the genoa routinely, reporting to the helmsman on other boat positions. One important goal for crew is to help the helmsman concentrate primarily on driving and maintaining a mental image of the race course, which includes other boat positions, wind and water conditions, and the location of the course marks.

One of the most important qualities in crew is dependability. Unlike larger boats, losing a crew member unexpectedly has a significant impact when sailing an L-16. It is important that if one commits to racing, one shows up reliably, or provides as much advance notice as possible. The racing calendar is important to review, and ensure that you inform your skipper of any conflicts.

If you are interested in crewing, please sign up with our fleet interest form, and somebody will be in touch with you.

One Design Racing

The L-16 is a "one design" boat, which means that all the boats are constructed to a uniform plan. We race in one design racing, which means that L-16s race against other L-16s. In one design racing, the first boat to finish, wins. This is unlike other boats that race with a handicap rating (e.g. PHRF), where race times are weighted and the first to finish may not be the winner.

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© Chicago Luders 16 Fleet. Last updated: July 2014