Solo News 12 Dec 2010

Solo news 12 Dec 2010

Apologies that this is a little late, I’m away on business this week so I didn’t have much time to write. I said, only slightly in jest, to Paul that it was his turn to write this week’s report because he won the morning race. He thought I was joking, but in truth I’d love more contributions from others on what they do, where they agree with me or (especially) where they don’t agree with me. I know I’m still learning, and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another because we’re all different builds, weights, many have different rigs or slightly different hulls etc.  Even where all the boat is the same, the crew weight makes a big difference to how you sail so I really would like contributions or problems from others to discuss. Results are on the web site.

I find myself pointing out exactly how I didn’t follow my own advice on Sunday. After being caught several times downwind and finally on the last beat getting back past Peter, but with Paul still ahead (robbing Peter to pay Paul?) I relaxed at the windward mark and lost concentration on the final (run?) from F to X. Only a short leg and just that to the finish, but I stopped looking at the bigger picture and just looked at the finish line. Silly me – if I’d been watching I would have seen the group behind spreading out and coming up on a gust. I could and should have defended more to keep my wind clear but I was looking ahead and not behind where the next gust would come from. The result is that by the time I reacted Peter had sailed past, about 6 lasers were blanketing me and Tony had caught me. My boat was basically stopped and I had left myself helpless.

Watching the big picture also happened earlier although this time I did know what was happening. On the reach from 7 to 5 (or thereabouts) I rounded ahead of a Paul and a group of lasers with one laser still ahead. It looked as if there was slightly more wind to windward to everyone started sailing well above the lay line and defending. That was fine, but canny Peter C came round behind all the lasers and freed off to sail direct or even slightly low going for the shorter route. Of course we all continued to play luffing so that when we finally had to bear away to the mark we were on a slow dead run while Peter was now reaching up to the mark and gaining so much that he rounded ahead of all the group. I did see it was happening and felt that I had to defend against Paul. In hindsight maybe I should have just gone deep – and maybe that was at the back of my mind on that fateful last leg when I went deep and got swallowed by the whole fleet. It’s easy to think you have broken away when in fact you are still only one gust from being overtaken.

Overall a great days racing with 10 Solos in the morning race, and 6 in the first B2B. Let’s all keep putting this once a month series in our diaries so that if we can’t sail every week we make the effort for the second Sunday.

I’m still experimenting with stern (loop) sheeting for very light conditions. I think it allows me to point high once there is some wind, it definitely allows me to sit where I want to (right in the middle on the thwart) as I take the mainsheet from the boom, but it is tricky gybing. My feeling at the moment is that it is fast upwind in very light winds, very good for tacking in very light winds, but slower in middle winds. Haven’t dared in a blow. It is definitely harder to sail as you have to use the kicker a lot more to control the main where normally mainsheet tension pretty much does that for you. With centre stern sheet you must sheet the main in too hard or you stall it but you still need some downforce on the boom so you have to use the kicker and it’s hard to get it right. At the moment I still think it is faster in up to about force 2. I suspect it is slower in 2-4.  Maybe with a track on the transom it could be made better in a blow. I’m definitely going to try it and see how it works especially as re-reading Matt Howard’s notes from the nations. (See the article on the Boon web site)
http://www.boonboats.co.uk/new-boon-frp-tuning-guide.htm

I’m sometimes asked where to go for advice (other than asking me!) – The Boon site is quite good, also the North sails site  http://www.northsails.com/tuningguides/TuningGuides/TuningGuidesSolo/tabid/9285/Default.aspx and of course the Class Association web site http://www.solosailing.org/articles/article_list.asp

See you Sunday (weather permitting)

Gareth