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Big Boat Series 1

Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Event: Big Boat 1 Date: 31st March - 1st April 2007 Report by: Nick Cherry Training with Mike Richards. Set up rig using mast jack. First step to set forestay length to base 256mm (measured between bottles crews). Then set jack pressure to 3050 by adjusting the caps (1 turn is about 320 pounds ish). (To measure this you have to fist get the shims in and drop the rig onto them then jack up gradually till you can just wriggle the shim and record that value. The jack is a bit dodgy so if you want to get this right you have to do this right you have to try 3 times.) Now as long as the rig is straight you should have a decent dock tune. Go sailing. As first time out Mike had us load up the rig gradually in about 14 knots whilst he sighted up the mast on both tacks to check nothing was bedding in and moving. Once this was checked we sailed upwind normally and tried to reach targets. This was tricky and we couldn’t get the last 0.5 so Mike suggested re folding the prop. Finer elements of rig tune basically involve making sure the mast is dead straight using the diagonals. If the tip falls to leeward this will increase twist and de-power and the opposite if the middle section falls off to leeward. http://www.wb-sails.fi/news/98_2_SideBend/SideBend.htm this link explains all. Essentially I think, because changing both diagonals is a pain you just try and ensure that the rig is dead upright at all times. From hear we have a pretty decent rig setup. All that needs doing is pulling on more turns in anything over 12knots (up to about 12 on) and letting some off when its lighter. Head trimmer or someone should make this call on the dock based on the forecast then maybe try and have a think about it on the water. Sighting up the forestay maybe quite useful but is an acquired skill I think. On the sailing side mike was quite proactive about trying to train harder than we race. Something that is hard to do on Merricks when we often have a slightly fresh crew. I think this would be a great thing to try and take onboard any time we go out sailing. Things like sticking to positions (when appropriate), calling gusts at all times and keeping lunch breaks and snacks to a minimum. Overall I get the feeling he enjoyed the experience and taught all the crew something important. Saturday with Chris Mason Three things I took from Chris. He was very humble, never talked himself up or mentioned past campaigns in a way that would have been very justified. He also wasn’t afraid to get downstairs and pack a kite in the wet or get involved with the jobs list on the boat. He was always very calm even when we were on the edge and managed to control the boat without shouting or being bossy. He is a very good main trimmer and quite amusingly couldn’t stop himself trying to trim the main by telling H to bring the trav up in lulls event when he was sorting out a riding turn. He had H using a lot more backstay than I was used to seeing (starting to starve the lower luff out in around 16 knots and then using more still later on). This was combined with sheeting pretty damn hard and small trav adjustments from a bit below the centre line to just above the bottom foot chocks. Sunday, Collette driving, with myself as “Skipper” Collette did well in open water and in tight lanes. Small angle changes and a good feel kept us really fast on almost all boats in the fleet. Ben field was useful for giving advice on starting, particularly timing, and close situations. The front of the boat did a good job of keeping in control of what needed doing and the only errors were so glaringly stupid as not to be reflective. Lessons to be learned in that area are that the supposedly minor jobs such as sewer and float cannot be overlooked. Also our performance benefited from a conservative approach to roundings compared to other boats. DON’T SAIL DOWN THE FINISH LINE AND BLOCK THE RC’s VIEW!

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