Solo news 28 Sept

Sunday 28 September

Well that’s another month gone… From my side the good news is that 3357 is back from the grave. She floats!

I’m going to upgrade a few more strings and systems to get her more in line with how I have 5215 set up – next projects will be the main sheet (sorry to those who like them but I just can’t get on with upwards cleating) and the plate controls.  Previously I have increased the purchase on the kicker from 6:1 to 12:1 which is probably enough (I have 16:1 on 5215) and replaced the older fat ropes with modern thinner more flexible control lines (but not the cheese-wire that Paul uses). I may add another purchase to the Cunningham but for now that’s OK. I plan to make the kicker continuous once I’ve used it a few times to be sure the length is right.  For the plate I need to add some up/down control but also calibrate it so that I know where leading edge vertical is, where trailing edge vertical is and where the running position is. I also need to calibrate the kicker so I can know from one lap to the next. I’ll also need to replace the tiller extension – a bit too short and too heavy, and perhaps play with the toe straps a bit. It’s quite fun seeing how to make all the gear work how I expect it to. Before Sunday’s race I also added extra tell-tales to the sail so I could properly see how it was setting.

The good news is – no leaks! I didn’t need to use the sponge at all. Also even with the old rig the boat felt like it moved well through the water and wasn’t too slow upwind – that said of course the really light weather didn’t properly show boat-speed so much as getting in the best wind.  What I expect to find is that she will be competitive in light weather but not as good in medium winds because I doubt the old hull will rise onto the plane as quickly – but it will be fun finding out. I want to benchmark how much difference an older boat really makes. My feeling is that it is that last few percent that makes a difference in an open meeting but not a massive difference at club level.  Previously when I went from 3385 (old Omega early GRP sandwich) to 4859 (Boon FRP) the difference was quite noticeable – 4859 just had more speed even in light conditions.

So Sunday’s racing… good turnout for a day with almost no wind. On the start my plan was to be mid line going as fast as possible. The wind kept shifting from one side to the other and I wasn’t sure that either end was particularly advantaged but it looked as if the line was slightly biased to starboard end most of the time but there was more wind available towards the shore – left side of the beat.  Going for mid line meant that timing was easy to hit the line with speed. Trying for either end with the widely changing speed in or out of puffs would be very hard. On the start I think the wind had come round a bit more port end but I did hit the line going well with Dave C quite close.  I used the ‘cross if you can’ type mentality to try and capitalise on the gain from going fast and slight left shift but still aimed generally more left side as the next wind patch looked like it was coming to that side – had to look right up the beat and see where the ripples were starting and which way the patch was tracking.  After that I just tried to really concentrate on where the wind really was rather than where it ‘should be’ tacking on headers that stayed for more than a few seconds and taking lifts. On a lift I ease sheets first to let the boat accelerate and then gently work back onto the edge of the wind. Because I want to be able to control the sheet a lot I re-feed the sheet not through the jammer (even more so with an upward jammer) – in fact I’m going to remove the jammer altogether on 3357 and just sail with ratchet block (off in light weather, ratchet once hiking).

Overall the series results remain very close – I haven’t got the sheet to do the personal results yet but my guess is that Mervyn probably won the personal – he certainly finished impressively clear of the boats behind which there was a close fight between Chris, Pater and Dave L with Ian snapping at their heels.  I think Paul has dropped off the podium with his rivals all getting a result, but with 2nd to 5th separated by only 6 points one good race could completely reverse things between Mervyn, Chris, Ian and Paul – the o-league is doing what it should and keeping the series open but allowing those who sail most to have a slight edge.

Not sure if I will be able to make it Sunday (family issue but I might be able to get a pass to do the first race). I will be there on Saturday though teaching L3 in the morning and then probably do the races.

Gareth