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Solo News 3 July


    Doesn’t time fly! We’re past the longest day, we’ve reached the end of the Spring series and it’s our Open Meeting on Saturday. Final results for the spring series (Eddie and I have cross checked the numbers so fingers crossed they are right).


    Final results

    1. Gareth 46 points

    2. Paul 45

    3. Frank 36   -- Impressive result Frank well done!

    4. Malcolm 35

    5. Mervyn 34

    6. Dave C 31

    7. Dave L 29


    Other with fewer races followed - full set is on the web site and the club niotice board.


    I think this is about as close as you can get. There’s lots of debates about what scoring system gives the fairest reflection in the results, but if we used the ‘standard’ low scoring 50% to count the top six places would be unchanged so the arguments are probably somewhat academic.


    Open meeting

    It’s our Open Meeting on Saturday which is our chance to show other clubs how nice it is to sail at Island Barn. Please all come – hopefully to sail. Don’t feel that Open Meetings only cater for the top guns – at every Open there are all standards, and often just as much friendly competition at the back of the fleet as the front (I’ve been in both places!). The program will be three races, one before lunch and two after which means that you get a decent break to recover after the first race and if you are tired after the second you can stop then and make race three your discard.


    Briefing 10:30, first race 11:00


    Windy weather

    Last Sunday was the first really windy day we’ve had for a while – strong gusts with a few very strong ones. Time to review  how I set up the boat for stronger winds. First I increase the mast rake a bit by moving the foot as far forward as possible and slackening the forestay so that remains just tight with the mast at the back of the gate. Shrouds may come down a hole – not making them tight, as usual just tight with the mast at the front of the gate – that’s about ½ - ¾ inch movement in the mast gate. Then I chock the mast all chocks in front of the mast. If you can’t move the mast foot, just let an extra hole off the forestay.


    Now, on the water what do I do going upwind? If you don’t have a pin at the front, make sure that the front is pulled quite tight to the mast. Pull more outhaul on to flatten the foot of the sail more than usual. That reduces the power a bit and improves the angle of the power. Ease some traveller – that will increase the tension in the mainsheet because the sheet will have to pull down more rather than sideways, harder work but has the effect of pulling down on the sail and making the mast bend more at the top. (Tightening the kicking strap without letting traveller off puts more load at the gooseneck and tends to bend the mast low down). If still overpowered start to add Cunningham hole which also helps bend the top of the mast and frees the leech of the sail (flattens the top of the sail and lets it twist to spill a bit of wind at the top).  Tighten the kicker to just hold the boom at the same level as fully sheeted in. You do need to pull the sheet in very hard.


    Raise the centreboard initially to trailing edge vertical but once overpowered progressively raise it more to about 2/3 down. What you are really doing is moving the plate back more than reducing the area to balance the extra rake and to counter the way the pressure in the main moves back as you start to spill wind. This makes the boat a lot easier to steer because it is balanced – if you don’t raise the plate a bit you will find the boat keeps wanting to turn towards the wind (weather helm) and you have to fight to hold it straight.


    Above all else KEEP THE BOAT FLAT!!!! As a gust hits you have to spill some wind (ease mainsheet) then try to point a bit higher and bring the sheet back in. You must watch the water ahead and to windward so that gusts do not take you by surprise. You will see the darker patch on the water so you are ready. FLAT IS FAST!!!


    There is another school of thinking that does not pull the kicker down and does not ease the traveller as much so allows the top of the sail to twist more without forcing the mast bend. In my opinion this method might be slightly easier to sail but I’m pretty sure it is slower.


    Offwind it is a case of undoing much of the upwind settings. Ease the kicker and Cunningham and outhaul to let the last straighten and get some fullness back into the sail. Downwind, watch out for excessive twist in the top of the main causing instability (add some kicker back on if necessary).


    Sunday was great fun with some very fast reaches – hopefully my advice isn’t too far wrong because I was still reasonably well clear at the end of the Pursuit – another good example of handicapping – first three boats in different classes. Dave Thorpe showed his heavy weather skills to be comfortably second Solo followed by Paul and Chris Smith with Dave Clarke wisely opting for the B plan sail and showing he can be comfortable even in a blow with the reduced rig.


    See you Saturday




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