Angles and vector forces are an intimate part of rigging and it’s easy to get lost in the numbers. Heck, it can even get frustrating! Use this simple exercise to cut out the math and get a feel for how vector forces and angles play into rigging. The math, numbers, and vector charts can come after.
Tug-O-Angle draws on experiential learning and is a fun way to kick-off an anchor workshop as it puts a variety of concepts into perspective and provides participants with an opportunity to feel and experience forces directly. This exercise requires a minimum of 3 people but the more the merrier.
There are multiple ways to set-up this exercise. My preference is to have two separate lengths of rope. Find the middle point of one of these lines and tie an eight on a bite — these are the legs for your anchor. Tie an eight on a bite at the end of your other single line — this is your load line. Attach your load line to your anchor line using a carabiner. See below.
Assign an equal amount of participants to each leg of rope. This may not look fair but that’s the fun part. Start with the legs of the anchor at a 45° angle with the load line positioned for a straight pull. Make sure that each leg of rope and it’s assigned participants run straight in the intended direction.
The job of those on the anchor side (left in the image above) is to be a solid and strong anchor. Direct them to hold fast and strong with legs shoulder width apart and one leg in front of the other — they must only hold and not pull! Check in with your anchor teams and make sure they’re ready and “bomb proof” before moving onto the load team.
The job of those on load side (right in the image above) is to apply their load to the anchor. Direct them to start with a static pull — if the anchor side holds strong direct them to apply some dynamic pulls or shock loads.
Observe what happens and debrief with participants on both the anchor and load side. How did it feel? What did they notice?
Repeat the exercise increasing the angle of the anchor side to 90° then 120° and finally 180°. What do you observe each time?
Pull from the group and debrief the overall exercise. What conclusions can be made?
Have fun with this exercise. Add a change of direction, throw in some pulleys, change up your anchor, etc. Find something cool? Let us know what you discover.
Contributed by Basil Tsimoyianis