+10 on the Autosiphon. It makes siphoning too easy.
However if you have to use a traditional siphon the best way is to fill it with water before placing the cane in the elevated primary. Lower the end of the tube below the primary and open the tube allowing the water to drain into some container. Once you start getting cider/beer/wine/mead in the tubing then move the end into your receiving container. Fairly easy and sanitary.
However an Autosiphon really is much easier. Place Autosiphon in liquid you wish to transfer. Place end of tubing in a lower vessel to receive the liquid. Pump the autosiphon once to start the flow. Watch it go.
I always start by filling the system with water like shown above. But I have had issues a few times getting it going an instead of filling it with water again and dripping all over the kitchen floor I just use my mouth. I have never had a contamination problem by doing this.
I use a 20cc syringe, it fits perfectly into the end of the tubing. I'm in medicine, so I guess I have easier access to large syringes.
Perhaps one of those turkey syringes might work, you know, the ones you can inject butter/garlic into meat.
After breaking my autosiphon I decided to spend a whopping $3 on the standard racking cane. IT'S EASY! Fill tube with water, attach one end to the cane so it's snug, pinching the other end. Let the 'loose' end run off into a nearbye bucket or bottle (or my sump pump) and then move over to vessel-to-be-filled.
And a standard cane has a lot less parts to hide contamination too.
I'll be honest, i use a racking cane and siphon via the mouth. I get the flow going and then crimp the tube to stop the flow. I then dip the end of the tube into sanitizing solution i have available anyway and then place it into the carboy. No problems so far.
God i miss Northwest brews.....