First-Time Fifteeners… Twinning Lines…..!!

Do you remember when twinning lines came in?? I just can’t figure out when it was….

In the sailing of my youth, the late sixties and seventies, I’m sure in GP14s, fireballs, ospreys, and flying dutchman, the most advanced thing we had was shroud or gunwhale hooks.  They were the bee’s knee’s, they were.  So I’m really not sure when twinning lines arrived as “de rigeur”. ( de rigeur : “necessary if you want to be fashionable, popular, socially acceptable etc”…)!!!

Some fabulous new fifteen members at Datchet came up to me a couple of weeks ago and asked what and when we used our twinners for.  Perhaps asking the bloke at the back is asking the wrong one!!  But here goes:-

  • Generally under sail, the lee twinner is loose and critically the windward twinner is down tight.  With the associated turret cleat on the windward side this makes it a hundred times easier for the crew to control the pole.
  • At the gybe, the lee twinner comes down just before going, to get it in position for the guy before we turn.  In our boat, at sometime that the helm isn’t looking, the old windward twinner is flicked off.  After the gybe, the pole is remounted and off you go.
  • We have a bags boat, so when the spinnaker is down in the bag, you can tuck the halyard under the twinner and into the cleat to keep it parallel to the shroud and out of harm’s way. On the hoist, just before heaving on the halyard, that storage twinner needs to be flicked off – but then the halyard should leap out of the cleat and launch superbly.

Now having said all that, is there anything else?? Well, yes….

  • In a blast of a breeze, when you are on a run the sail can make the boat unstable.  If you are brave enough to still have your eyes open, you’ll see the spinnaker oscillating around pulling the top of the mast one way then the other. What you do the stablise the spinnaker is yank the lee twinner right down. This stablisies the sail a treat, and whoosh – off you go!! You might try also just slightly over sheeting and pulling the guy in slightly tighter if it is totally wild – then just hang on!
  • There might just be one more thing too. On a dead run in light to medium airs, I sometimes can get the illusion that the boat goes quicker if the windward twinner is down to within maybe a couple of feet of the shroud.  I’m not sure at all, but give it a try and see what you think. Someone will probably leave a “cobblers” message on the blog if I’m wrong, but they may do that if I’m right as well !!

2 thoughts on “First-Time Fifteeners… Twinning Lines…..!!

  1. In most conditions running square, we actually spring the windward twinner approx. 2 feet from the cleat and set the leeward to match. The kite still flys balanced and square while remaining quite powerfull. The benefit is that jybing requires no movement of either twinner. While the crew smoothly gybes the pole, it is very easy for the helm to fly the kite (hopefully without collapsing, aided by the twinners controling both clews). This makes re-acting to windshifts and the presence of other boats alot smoother and easier.

  2. So far as dating twinners is concerned, I’m going to say late-80s! The first time I used them was in a 470 in ’89. Does that make me sound like a geek?!! J.

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