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Story Contributors: Dan Neri


Dan Neri Gets Ready to Sail this Singlehanded Foiler

When I first set up my Moth, I broke a lot of stuff. Since then I’ve learned what to do (and what not to do) and in what order. First, bring everything to the beach. Set the foils off to the side, safely out of the way of the boat and any spectators. 

Rig sail and spreaders

1. Slide the mast into the sail, keeping the mast above all the camber inducers. It is easy to get the mast past the lower cams. You’ll have to shove it past the top two one at a time.
moth cunningham temporary
2. I keep a string with a couple of spliced loops in my pocket to use as a temporary cunningham. I pull it just enough so the spreader bracket is positioned in its sleeve cutout. After stepping the mast this string is replaced by the regular cunningham.
mast cams moth sail
3. Push the cams onto the mast and zip up the sleeve, starting at the top (when you derig, take them off starting at the bottom). To load the cams, put the mast on your knee, push down on the batten (against your knee) with one hand and push up on the cam with the other hand.
moth sail on beach
4. Before you lay down the sail and walk away, make sure the battens are pushed down so the sail doesn’t fly down the beach.
moth spreader rigging
5. With the sail laying across the wing bars, untangle the stays, install the spreaders, and then attach the forestay and side shrouds to the mast.

Step the mast

Note: My boat has an adjustable headstay, so I can step the mast with the headstay adjustment at its loosest setting. If you have a fixed headstay, you’ll need to use a longer temporary headstay.

6. Position the boat so that it is pointing about 10 degrees away from head-to-wind. Hook up the shroud on the windward side and the long headstay. Pick up the mast between the two attached shrouds with the masthead into the wind, put the mast butt into the step, and push the mast up into place.
7. The wind will do most of the heavy lifting and the mast will fall to leeward, toward the loose side shroud. Hook up the leeward shroud, but leave the headstay long until after you attach the clew to the outhaul.
attach moth boom to mast
8. Attach the boom to the gooseneck and then hook up the cunningham and pull it tight. The tight cunningham will help to bend the mast and make it easier to hook up the outhaul.
attach outhaul to moth sail
9. Attaching outhaul to clew requires three hands; two hands to pull the sail and boom together against the boom vang, and a third to install the clevis pin. I have learned a little trick; I set the boom in the crook of my elbow and simultaneously pull down on the leech with that same hand, until the clew grommet lines up with the outhaul car. Then I install the pin with my other hand. Don’t forget to tension the headstay.

Install blades

capsize moth on beach
10. If you’re rigging on a beach, remember to put a flat rock or a towel or anything other than sand under the tip of the bowsprit and the wand axle bolt. Then capsize the boat so you can install the blades.
sail battens moth
11. Make sure the sail battens are popped down so the sail does not lift the boat. Tighten the mainsheet so the wind is pushing the sail towards the ground.
12. Assemble tiller/rudder and install on transom. Remember to put the tiller under the shock cord.
13. Take away the dolly and insert the main foil into the slot. Insert the daggerboard retaining pin. (You may need a hammer to tap it in if you are having trouble lining it up perfectly.)

Final adjustments 

14. Hook up the ride height adjuster and gearing (on the floor just aft of the mast).
15. Pull the gearing to the middle of the range.
16. Attach the ride height uphaul/gearing cap.
17. Pull a little tension onto the wand shockcord.
18. Use a stiff ruler to check the foil flap gap with the ride height adjustment barrel control line in the middle of its range. For the Mach II, with the wand all the way forward, a 7mm gap is a good starting point.
19. Install a GoPro on the tiller so you can compare yourself (unfavorably) to the Nathan Outteridge tutorial videos.

20. Go find your hat if you are bald, and your cheapest sunglasses. Take off the foil covers. Ready to go sailing!

Read Moth Newbie: Dan Neri Learns to Foil


Story Contributors

How to Rig a Foiling Moth headshot
Dan Neri

CEO — Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Dan Neri is the CEO of North Sails Group and the author of The Complete Guide to Sail Care and Repair. He has been involved in sailmaking for almost his entire adult life, starting with a small start-up in the...