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Traveller Tips #13 Approaching the Windward Mark (on flat water)
No matter how close you are though you inevitably include an extra bit of ‘comfort zone’ in your decision (ie, sailing beyond the precise layline) in case the wind direction changes or you’ve misjudged the angles.
My opinion is that in club-level sailing we tend to make this ‘comfort zone’ far too big, and it’s quite common to see boats going two or three full boatlengths further than they need to before tacking for the mark.
It’s easy to understand why though – when you’re thinking “Crikey, those boats aren’t far behind – I must make sure we get around this mark safely!” an extra couple of boatlengths before tacking may seem a sensible precaution – but, looking at it another way, you’re offering those boats behind an easy way of getting 40 feet closer to you and possibly even overtaking.
Of course those boats behind might simply copy what you did anyway, because another tendency in club-level sailing is for all of us to base our decisions on what we saw the boat ahead do – but if you can force yourself to make your own decisions instead – and then force yourself to not include that comfort zone – you will find yourself frequently taking big chunks of distance out of other boats.
It can go wrong of course – without that comfort zone there will quite often be times when you find yourself approaching the mark from slightly below the layline and unable to get around without doing two more short and very messy tacks.
How you can avoid those extra messy tacks will be the next tip in the series!
Helm, Jeremy Arnold, FF3936
Travellers tip #3 Rudder play:
“The next time you are in the dinghy park go around the other Flying Fifteens and see if you can move the bottom tip of their rudders. If you can there will be movement between the rudder bushes and the rudder stock. This is bad when sailing, as the rudder will vibrate and upset the flow of the water across the rudder causing drag and slowing you down.
The solution is to replace the nylon bushes which are found top and bottom of the rudder tube. I would recommend that you replace one at a time starting with the top bush and see if that solves the problem. To get the bushes out first try and tap them out with a long shafted screwdriver and if that doesn’t work you may have to use a junior hacksaw blade and wrap tape around one end to form a makeshift handle and cut saw drafts in the bush all around but be careful not to damage the rudder tube you will then be able to pull the bush out with a pair of long nose pliers.
You can then clean off the inside of the tube with fine sandpaper, apply a spot of epoxy glue and replace the old bush with a new one that you will be able to purchase from Pinnell and Bax. While you are attending to the rudder bushes you may also check that your rudder fits snugly to the hull. If there is a gap of over 6mm then you are again upsetting the flow of water across the rudder which slows you down. You can either push the rudder further up through the rudder tube or you may have to reshape the flange of the rudder. Either way make sure that the rudder then rotates freely without scrapping the hull”.
Helm, Bobby Salmond, ƒƒ202.
I’ve just heard that the first day of racing at the nationals is deferred because of high winds! More on that tomorrow.
Live Tracker and Video Feed !!
Yes – there is going to be a live tracker and video feed so the folks at home can watch !!! Fabulous!!!
- a Classics Regatta weekend on 10-11th June – see http://www.aldeburghyc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Classic-Boat-Poster.pdf. ( Ignore the advertised cutoff of 1985 – the organisers have stretched the entry criteria for 15s to ‘any boat not in its first flush of youth’ to include the mid 90s boat at Aldeburgh). At last years event Bobby Salmond brought FF202 Silver Fox – a boat with a great Aldeburgh history – and won the keelboat class.
- Aldeburgh Regatta Week (20–25th August) where we should have a class start in the morning and handicap racing in the afternoon.