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The standard hiking straps are OK if you only want to hike from the edge of the tramp. But it requires considerable effort to hike like this for long periods (and also padding underneath the tramp edges if you don’t want bruises on your thighs).
But if it’s blowing above 10 knots, it’s much more effective and comfortable to sit on the amas and, more importantly, it adds 20% leverage and increases your effective weight by 17%. You need the tramp tie downs to be tight, so the hiking straps don’t lift too much and, if you difficulty getting back on the tramp from sitting on the ama, consider adding a hiking handle to the stay to give you a hand-hold to pull yourself up.
It’s also lower so that it imparts more righting movement on the boat – so if you get hit with a big gust and think you’re about to go over, you can hike hard from the amas, the wind spills from the sails when they are horizontal and the boat will right itself from seemingly impossible angles.
Of course it does help to use the harness to support your body when hiking.
However, unless you are relatively tall (over 5ft 8in or 1.7m) you may find it impossible to sit on the tramp while keeping your feet under the straps.
The solution is either to add an additional hiking strap outside the existing straps or modify the supplied straps so they are longer (but use bungee to keep them taught).
Another solution which is adjustable, unlike the above, is to create a strap long enough to go around the tramp with a loop at either end of the strap and join underneath with a lashing (you don’t want it so tight that it affects the ability to insert the ama arms into the hull when rigging). You can then thread it through the hand-holds on the edge of the tramps to get the right position.
If you have difficulty getting your feet under the straps, there are various methods of keeping the straps off the tramp.
The hiking straps can be difficult to get your feet under, especially when wearing hiking boots. You can use sections of pool noodle and/or bungee cord to hold the straps clear of the trampoline.
– Cut four pieces of 4-5cm/3-4 inch of hollow pool noddle and cut a slice in each one.
– Thread the pool noodle pieces onto the front and rear hiking strap sections and position them either side of the anchor point in the middle
– Wrap cloth-backed tape or duct tape around them
– Get some thin bungee cord (~4mm) and loop a piece of this around each hiking strap section so that it pulls over the pieces of pool noodle and thus pulls the hiking strap sections off the tramp.
A more complex solution is to add an extra section of webbing to the central anchor point and then use bungee to hold the strap taught above the surface.
If you sail in strong winds, you may also require an additional rear hiking strap so that you can lean back over the stern.
It should be around 80cm (2ft 6 in) with a loop at either end. You can DIY with some webbing and make the end loops with a box-x stitch or buy them pre-made from companies such as Zhik (the OK strap is the right length and has end loops). Attach one end to the central safety strap anchor point in the middle of the cockpit.
To keep it taught off the floor, attach an extra length of bungee between the anchor points for the mainsheet block bungee on the cockpit sides.
Thread the strap over the new bungee and then attach to the mainsheet anchor point on the cockpit floor.
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