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Solo News 14 Nov 14

  • 14 Nov

    Great turnout last week – twelve boats on the line and we know several more who couldn’t make it.  If we can keep this going and stay in double figures we’re all going to gain – I’ve done open meetings with fewer boats…  Doesn’t Ian’s new boat look pretty!

    Several of us will be trying out D-Zeros on Sunday - if you want a go after sailing there may be some slots available.

    Several people have asked me about reaching and running – they’re staying in touch up the beat but get dropped when we go off-wind.  To start with let’s assume it is medium winds 6-10 kn wind – enough to be sat on the side upwind but not overpowered and not looking start planing or surfing downwind.


    On a reach we want a full sail for maximum power – that mean easing outhaul (and inhaul if you have one) to let the foot of the sail open out for plenty of depth in the sail.  

    We don’t want much mast bend (takes fullness out of the middle/upper sail) so we want Cunningham slack (it probably was slack upwind in 10 kn anyway) and we don’t want lots of kicker.

    How much kicker is right? Reaching, I’m looking at the leech streamers (ribbons on the leech) to make sure the top and bottom are both streaming. Too much kicker and the top will stall, too little and there will be excessive twist in the sail and the top will not be setting.  You can only use the tell-tales on a shy to beam reach. Once it gets broad the boom is right out and you lose flow anyway. Roughly the kicker is about half way between on upwind and loose on a run. The leech is at the same angle all the way up the sail – too tight and the top hooks and is over-sheeted, too loose and the top twists away with no power.

    We no longer need lots of centreboard – roughly half up. (Shade more if very shy, less if broad).

    Weight still forward if no chance to plane or surf.

    Upwind we altered course to adjust for wind shifts. Reaching we must alter the sail. Biggest slowdown is not trimming the sail. You need to constantly trim the sail on a reach just as you are always steering upwind. That does NOT mean pumping! It means small adjustments to keep optimum flow over the sail. As gusts strike generally the wind goes broader and you ease sheet, as the boat accelerates you trim back in as needed. As you hit a lull the boat will still be going fast and the wind will seem to go very shy – sheet in to match, but you must ease again as the boat slows down to the natural speed for the reduces wind. If I had to guess at the most common issue – not easing enough as a gust hits or just not adjusting enough altogether.  You need to be sensitive to leech tell-tales, regular luff tell-tales (at least on shy reaches), shroud tell-tales and perhaps even a mast wind indicator. Also watching the water for gusts.

    Now – how do we steer on the reach? We look for gusts to windward, luff before them to get in them sooner, bear away to ease down when in a gust to stay in it longer.

    Since it’s now 6pm on Friday I’ll deal with running another week and also how we change in very light or very strong winds.

    See you Sunday…