As many of you know we’re trying to get the club boats back into good enough shape to be able to race with all gear working without sinking etc.
The first step has been completed with Mike Jones’ boat (thank you very much Mike) brought back into service. I sailed it on Sunday and it goes very nicely. I need to add some sealant round the centreboard bolt but otherwise it seems good. The centreboard will tend to float up unless you engage the elastic. There are two elastics, one using the front toe strap blocks just to hold the plate up when on the trolley etc. The other has to be pulled forwards over the whole plate and the front of the plate case. That tensions the cord which then provided just enough to keep the plate down.
If you use the boat or see anyone using the boat please make sure that the plate down elastic and the boom out elastic are loosened when the boat is put away and the plate holding up elastic is engaged.
The next steps will be Paul Playle’s old hull which will get the rig from the old wooden boat which has gone too rotten to effectively repair, and then we are looking to replace the leaky old glass hulls with non-leaky probably marginally newer but similar technology to get back to four functional boats which are in seaworthy condition.
More on this as we complete the exercise. I plan to sail each boat once or twice as it is placed back into the fleet to prove that they work adequately for club races and make sure the rig setup is sensible.
Particularly for our newer members – if you would like me to check your rig setup I’m happy to swap boats for a race to help set yours up and also so you can see/feel how my rig is set up. Once we get coaching going on Tues evenings that will also be a good time to try things.
So –last Sunday – when the sun was out is was very pleasant with enough wind to sail well but not so much to make things too frantic. I sailed Mike J’s boat 3736 in a force 2-3 NE – E. Something of a great circle course – 3,1,F,8,7 – long beat, beamish reach, run, and another beam reach. You can see that I say NE – E – yes it was changing almost that much at times varying in both strength and direction. Not a lot to say about the race itself – at the first mark Gareth was just ahead of Roy with a gap to Peter, mervyn and Dave. after the first lap at the windward mark again Gareth had a good lead but Roy was only just ahead of the pack. Last lap however Roy pulled well clear of the pack and nearly caught Gareth on the last beat. Final order:
4. Peter C
5. Dave C
The biggest point from the race is just how much opportunity there was for gains and losses – although Roy didn’t get past his relative position changed hugely in the race. Also I see from the results that Mervyn got past Peter who at one stage seemed to have a decent gap.
I aimed to sail the boat fairly simply and just concentrate on getting the best out of it concentrating on keeping flat and looking for stronger winds. As a boat that I didn’t know, I set the rig up by putting the mast heel at the front most position (for older boats that’s pretty much the best you can do). Then I used the tried and tested method of forestay just tight with the mast at the back of the gate and shrouds just tight with the mast at the front of the gate (no chocks in as we do that). Then I put the chock in front of the mast. That’s a good basic setup for an older boat gives about as much rake as you can get (newer boats allow more because the mast heel can go further forwards).
Hoisting the sail it was hard to get it right up – had to use all my weight on the halyard – but it is very important to get the sail right up or the boom will droop (and it’s low enough without that). I suspect that the bolt rope (front of the sail) may have shrunk slightly. (We might have to check that to make it easier for beginners to hoist.) I set the traveller to be about 2 inches off the centre – again a good default starting point. Upwind I then experimented with sheet tension looking at the top of the sail to make sure I had flow over all the sail. (I added some extra wools to the sail) and set the kicker for upwind to just keep the boom from lifting when I eased sheet. All basic settings as a start point. Then I concentrated on sailing the boat rather than much gear setting – there were enough wind-shifts and gusts that making best use of them would probably make more difference than nuances of boat speed. Upwind I was looking for shifts, but also patches of stronger wind. One thing I did notice was tit is hard to see the tell tales on the leeward side of a white sail when the sun is on the windward side – much easier with mylar sails – another reason for them…
Downwind involved lots of sail trimming especially on the reaches – the wind was shifting a lot – then on the runs trying to get in a gust and ride the gust by sailing dead downwind, gybing if necessary. When Roy was on my tail I made sure I kept my wind clear (he was of course trying to gently position himself to block my wind) but at the same time looking ahead to the next mark to make sure that I would be on the inside even if Roy gained an overlap. Upwind when Roy was close trying to use the shifts but also keeping half an eye on where Roy was going to stay roughly between him and the next mark. On the last lap when the wind was going lighter I concentred on staying between Roy and the mark which meant I didn’t always take the best shifts – taking the shifts is a bit like the stock market. On average the investments will gain, but you may get a bad shift and a short term loss. On the last lap I tend to sail more defensively (like switching to low risk investments) not looking for big gains and even prepared to let Roy gain but knowing I would always be between him and the mark so if he got close he would have to sail through my backwind. That relies on being able to tack well so that you do not lose lots by making more tacks especially near the windward mark. So on the early laps I’m looking to exploit every advantage and back my judgement on wind shifts gusts etc. On the last lap I’ll be more defensive because there’s always a risk that I will get one big shift horribly wrong. The more you can keep a view on what other boats are doing the more you can balance your strategy – much like balancing a portfolio and reducing risks as you approach retirement when you won’t have time to make up for any short term loss..
I’m sure you are fed up with me saying how important it is to be able to tack really well but it is hard to overemphasis it!
Sunday looks like gentle winds and maybe just maybe not quite so cold… we can only hope.