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Solo News 25 Oct 09


    All set for the winter!
    Working party complete, prizes distributed all raring to go for the new season. Impressive turnout from the Solo fleet to help with all the jobs. Many thanks to everyone. As Rob said at lunchtime, let’s try to have at least the same number of people sailing as turned out for the working party.
    Just because there was no sailing on Sunday doesn't mean no blog.
    We cleared a huge amount of weed from near the Solo Pontoons and replaced the ropes on the pontoons so mooring should be easier. We also refreshed the seagull deterrent strings/ribbons.  If you use the Solo pontoons please make sure that at the end of the day the strings with ribbons are lifted up and dropped into the uprights. This allows the ribbons to flap and seems to greatly reduce the seagull mess. We've also tidied up the berthing to make some extra space for new and winter members.
    The forecast for Sunday looks like a reasonable although it is dfeinitely getting colder. I'm curious what everyone wears in winter, do most people use wetsuits, drysuits etc. For myself I use a long john wetsuit, with an extra pair of wet suit shorts to give greater thickness on the core, and then in cold/windy weather a splash top over a polo neck, and in really cold weather an extra layer under the wet-suit - using my skiing thermals rather than rash vest. I've found this warm enough even on really cold days (except perhaps last year’s Bloody Mary when water was freezing in the bottom of the boat) and flexible enough to not restrict movement. I know other people use dry-suits – interested to hear your opinions – all good information for our new sailors..
    At the moment the forecast for Sunday is about 20 mph so we could be starting to get to overpowered conditions upwind. For the newcomers here is what I do in a blow. Apologies to the regulars who have seen this before.
    Set the rig for more rake - start from the usual mast heel fully forward and forestay just coming tight with the mast pulled to the back of the gate, then let another one holes out on the forestay. This allows the mast to rake back a bit more bending round the gate. If you have trouble getting under the boom perhaps don't do that, but instead just remove chocks to allow more mast bend.
    Pull the outhaul really tight going upwind (make the bottom of the sail start to fold when you pull the outhaul on). Ease the traveler a few inches, and ease it more if you find you are very over powered.
    Pull lots of Cunningham on to make the mast bend and flatten the sail freeing the leach this is very important. Bending the mast lets the top of the sail fall away a bit to take power out of the top of the rig.  You really need at least a 4:1 purchase to pull hard enough.
    Use lots of mainsheet tension and adjust the kicking strap to hold the boom down more. I sheet in fully and then pull the kicker just tight so the boom can only rise a small amount if I have to spill wind. Some people don't pull the kicker on as much but I'm convinced it is faster in a blow with more kicker.
    When overpowered luff a bit closer to the wind. In gusts this means that the front of the sail will be lifting (front of the sail no longer full of wind).
    Finally but very important raise the centreboard until the trailing edge is angled back a bit, and if the boat is hard to steer try raising a bit more. In very windy condition I raise about 1/3 plate (2/3 down) but I do it by feel - if the boat is hard to steer I raise a bit more. If I stop being overpowered I lower a bit more.
    See you Sunday!

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