Ovington Inlands Report…..!!

The report from the Ovington Inlands is available on Y&Y.  You can read it by clicking here

There is a great drone-based movie down at the bottom of the article.  Take a look!!  It’s about 10 minutes long, but go straight to some knockout footage of our champions spinnaker reaching across Grafham which starts at around 1:30 on the time clock.

There is other footage of flying fifteens at   4:27  and 6:12

Graham and Chris’ Thoughtful Boat…..!!

Isn’t it great that after decades of sailing, teams are still finding ways to push the boundaries of the boat.  As this is being written, it’s the weekend of the Datchet Open and at the end of day one, Ian Cadwallader’s boat is in the lead.  This was the P&B finished boat from the 2013 Dinghy Show.

At the 2014 show, we had a Phil Evans boat built for Justin Waples.  This well engineered layout from Phil has been with us for many years – I love it and have had three !!  Interesting for me then to see the Ovington factory finished boat  that won the Hong Kong Worlds in knockout style in the hands of Graham Vials and Chris Turner.  The thing that probably impressed me most was the rethink of who does what in their boat, and the resulting control layout.  That then coupled to a very detailed attention to detail and the fact that the cockpit looked a very clean place to race.

We’ve previously written about the jib ratchets, the mast gate and the toestrap adjusters. Then there is the innovation with the alto section rig – much has been written on that, and I suspect there will be even more this year as other top teams give it a try.    Hopefully, we’re going to put a video on the BIFFA Members area to show you more detail.  In the mean time, let me show you a few more things that caught my eye….IMG_2703

Very noticeable on this boat (and its predecessor) is the adjustable mainsheet bridle. The bridle goes down through a hole in the stern tank, along a a tube and emerges at the side tank like this.

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If you have sailed other boats with a traveller, you’ll know the trick in light winds of pulling the traveller to windward to centre the boom without hardening the leach too much.  It used to make a heck of a difference on my Dragon, for example.  Well, with this setup, you can achieve the same thing.

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I’m sorry for the rubbish focus in the above photo – it’ll be better in the BIFFA video, I expect.  You will be able to make out the key point though – Ovington have figured out which length of the shroud adjuster will never be used – and ground it off to reduce weight.

IMG_2705Interestingly by contrast, it looks like half of the jib track is never used – but it survived intact!!  (Inside the minimum weight of course!)

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This idea of cutting a hole in the jib platform improves access to the bolts.  Note too that the hole at the bottom is used to tidy away one end of a control line, thus keeping the cockpit tidier.

IMG_2715Much talked about on their previous boat was the under deck furling system.  If I recall correctly the Mk 1 version had a wire strop above deck (though am not sure about that) and you can see here that this has become a solid bar.  More amazingly is the under deck part which I was entirely unable to photograph – it fits flush and smooth under the deck and makes no intrusion into the spinnaker chute at all !

IMG_2719IMG_2717Here’s a much better focussed photo of the shroud plate, but what I wanted to show you was the extremely neat end to the twinning line.  Very, very neat – I’m never a real fan of putting a bullet block there.    Also note that they have even tapered the twinning line itself (see photo to the left).

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They used the same approach to securing the rear block at the centre of the main boom too.

IMG_2736The boat has a spinnaker chute and not bags.  Up at the bow, their chute cover has two exposed blocks, and Chris has made this terribly simple approach using sticky backed sailcloth to cover up both pulleys – to keep everything smooth and snag free.  So good!!

IMG_2710The bailers are interesting for a number of reasons. One is that they are smaller sized (like everything on this boat, there must be a reason!!), but can you see they are glassed in??  Normally the sole-plate of the bailer sits above the hull, thus making it impossible for the last bit of water to leave.  Not the case here!!

The last thing to note, is that the bailer has controls (pink line) to enable the bailers to be opened or closed while hanging out the other side of the boat.  See the video of how this works by clicking here. 

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You can see the pink lines protruding from the console here that control the bailers.  The console itself looks pretty straight forward, but note the location of the 5kgs of lead on each side. I am very intrigued as I had previously accepted the logic of “lower the better” applying to corrector weight location.  Interesting!!!

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To keep the side tanks clear of control lines, Chris and Graham have gone for one of those fancy double cleated swivels. So a bit less string, I would guess….

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I’ve always been bit messy with my own markings for the mast ram, but it looks so clean and easy here. The mast collar maybe wraps around the mast less than on my epsilon.  Plus, I admit to being very intrigued at the neutral line (assuming the mast was in neutral at the show) being the bold line… and that the extra calibrations are pushing the mast towards inversion….. Hmmm …, Fine calibration intervals too.  What you can’t see so well, is that to looks like they have ground back the sides of the gate and there is about 2-3mm of sideways play.  Perhaps to improve the sideways bend characteristic above deck level – reading too much into it possibly?  By the way, tests at the Goacher Sails loft on the alto suggest that it might even be slightly stiffer fore and aft than the epsilon, and maybe 5% more flexible sideways – that showing mostly above the hounds at the tapered top.  Charles Apthorp told us that he is concluding of his new alto that it is not especially a mast for lightweights after all.

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Typical of the detail thinking would be the forward toestraps.  Note the way that they have sewn in two eyes to take the retainer shock cord that lifts them up for easy access.

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Now lets talk about the distribution of work in the boat.  On the forward coaming they have a stopwatch in the top left of the photo, the compass, and three control lines – furler, pole (there is also a pole control aft on the console) and chute cover.

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The boat is rigged with a spinnaker chute, and the flow back into the boat is extremely clean.  This photo was taken by putting the camera down the hole at the bow and photographing backwards into the cockpit.  Note the vertical curtain running down the centre line.  Here’s another photo, this time from the cockpit end……

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Now very controversially, the boat has no spinnaker sock in the cockpit.  Very interesting, and I’m hoping we can hear from Chris via the blog as top how they deal with all that sailcloth when the sail is down.  I thought perhaps they might have a shock cord retriever that pulls the excess cloth back up the chute, but there was no sign of one.

You know when you have a spinnaker sock in the cockpit the way you lead the line along the cockpit wall back to the helms position?  Well, they didn’t have that either. This implies to me that the bowman in this boat also drops the spinnaker down the chute. Unless I missed something!!

The pole by the way, is normal double ended and didn’t, from memory anyway, look like a fly away pole.

So – get the feeling that things are happening differently in this boat??  Well take a look at this….

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IMG_2732The spinnaker halyard does not go down the tunnel, but across the top of the tunnel. It is automatically cleated at the forward end, so it is Chris at the bow who un-cleates the spinnaker for the drop….  Interesting!!

Now the addition of a turning block a couple of feet aft of the cleat suggests to me that on a reach for example, either the crew or the helm can hoist the sail – and if the pole is pre-mounted they can do that while hanging out!!…. Very interesting.  All this means too that the hatch over the tunnel in the floor has to be bolted down – not elasticated as normal.  You can clearly see the bolts in the photo.

So that’s a quick tour of the major things that struck me on our World Champions boat.

Anything Magic on the World Champion Boat….??!!

Aside from the two guys sailing it, that is??

We’re going to write a few bits about the boat in coming days, but there were a couple of “under the covers” ideas which has the FF Blog staff thinking…..

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Just study this photo of the stern deck here and look carefully at the reflection of the lights. Unlike the other Ovington on the stand, can you see that the reflection of the lights is imperfect?  It appears that’s because the gel coat there is thinner and you can just about make out the underlying weave showing through.  There was a similar effect on the bow too. So they were working hard to reduce weight at the ends.

Next thing – compare these two mast gates from the show boats….

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The top mast gate is that of Justin Waples’ boat, and the lower photo is of Graham and Chris World Champion boat.  You can probably just about make out that the vertical thickness at the gate is reduced in the lower photo.

I am told that the alto section fits the standard gate very well, but you will also see in the lower photo that it looks like the gate has had a bit of grinding done.  There was in fact around 2mm of sideways play in the gate – wonder if that is to improve the sideways profile of the mast, or if I’m reading too much into it…..

Fantastic attention to detail from Ovington, eh??!!

Adjustable Toestraps – now ‘de rigeur’ …!!

Both the new Fifteens at the Dinghy Show were fitted with adjustable toestraps fore and aft.   Alan Bax has been a big fan for years of this idea, but it was interesting that both show boats went the same way.

This is how Phil Evans arranged it

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And this was the arrangement in the Ovington fitted boat.

IMG_2729Note the different upward tensioner to lift the straps on each implementation, and also the use by Ovington’s of snatch blocks on the spinnaker sheets at the back of the cockpit on the World Champ boat.

Ovington Inlands at Grafham

A small fleet of Fifteens – but perfect in every detail! – gathered at Grafham over the weekend of November 16th – 17th for the annual Ovington Inland Championships. The weather forecast was for little breeze on Saturday and less on Sunday and this undoubtedly affected the size of the entry. Nevertheless, six home boats and two visitors hit the start line right on time for race one of the six races scheduled. PRO John Reynolds and his race team set an ‘old’ Olympic course round the club’s fixed marks. The fickle south-westerly breeze took the fleet up to a mark off the clubhouse shore, alarmingly close to the lay line to the 29ers’ windward mark on the next course. The fleet negotiated this challenge without event (other than a lot of place changing in the disturbed air) and the pecking order for the first race was established; at the front, a closely-fought tussle developed between Nick Taylor and Geoff Lloyd from the home fleet and Ben and Terry McGrane from Chew Valley – a contest won, after two triangles and a sausage, by the McGranes.

Nick got his revenge in Race 2, sailed over the same course. Elsewhere in the fleet, there were major changes in fortune: Barry and Katy Wyatt, from Grafham, soared to the unaccustomed heights of 2nd and the McGranes had to content themselves with 3rd. In the failing breeze, the PRO rightly decided to switch to a windward – leeward course. The Wyatts, finding themselves blanketed off the start, tacked off early and followed a lonely – but ultimately profitable – route up the right of the course to round in first place – a position they held to the end of the race. They were followed home by Les Rant and Susie Sontag (Grafham) and the ever-consistent McGranes. With both breeze and daylight failing, Race 4 was an attenuated affair, won by – you’ve guessed it! – the McGranes, closely followed by Nick Taylor. So, at the end of Day 1, after one discard, Nick led Ben and Terry by a single point.

Sunday dawned grey and miserable but with the bonus of a light NNE breeze that made racing possible, if not exciting. The PRO promised – and delivered – two sharp windward-leeward races. His judgement proved immaculate when the fickle breeze finally died just as the last boat came ashore. Conditions were challenging, in a cerebral sort of way. Should one stay in the middle of the lake, where the breeze was at its strongest or go for the expected lift off the north shore? Opinions were divided and no convincing answer emerged. A 30 degree wind shift during the final race further clouded the issue but, at the end of the morning, Ben and Terry, with a first and a third, did enough to topple Nick and Geoff (second and fifth) by a single point. Grafham Fleet Captain Jonathan Knight, crewed by his wife Tricia, ended on a high with a win in the final race.

All competitors were grateful to Grafham’s race teams and to race organiser Duncan Hepplewhite from Ovington Boats for an extremely enjoyable event, with a social side that is rapidly becoming the envy of the rest of the open meeting circuits.

Barry Wyatt, GWSC

A new 2 man keelboat from Ovington….

A couple of days ago we published some comments from Ivan Coryn on a new product development at Ovington, called the VX One. This is what Paul  Taylor has to say

Looks like a modern asymmetric Flying 15 with all the trimmings, That would be attractive to a lot of people, self tacking jib, carbon spars, gnav, self draining, single string asymmetric kite.

Ovington would be competing against themselves, odd. Is there another agenda?

Paul Taylor

(Ed: it has always seemed to me that when people buy an FF they are partly doing it for the beautiful boat, but a large part is that you are buying into “FF fleet racing”.  So not being complacent, but buyers who want proper racing are taking big risks with their money when they fancy a new model…Don’t you agree?  Thinks,…. Laser 5000, Boss, Breeze, K6 etc – dare I say Elite?  I just noticed that the crew weight range is 170-205KG, 2-3 people.  So it’s a bit of a handful – and believe me, keeping a 3 person boat staffed  up is just a pain. I wonder if the weight range statement should read  “2 Americans, or 3 Europeans” – :-))))) They grow ’em large over there…)

Another Competing Product Comes to Market….!!

With constant praise of Ovington boats, are class members not aware this company is producing a Sportsboat  called the VX One which will be marketed against the 15 and stands a good chance of succeeding where the K6 failed.

No doubt Ovingtons will actually do some marketing of this class, all the signs are there !

Ivan Coryn

Is the New Ovi Deck Mould a Bit Lighter….??

Way down on the FF Measurement Form, on about Page 8, is a box for “Measurer’s Remarks”…..  None of my previous FF’s had anything written in there before, but I happily received a new boat in late September and this is what the Measurer had recorded on Page 8…

“New bonding process and new deck mould appear to provide a better finish and bring weight down slightly  i.e. slightly more correctors added versus similar boat fit out – still within tolerance rules requirements…”

Hmmm – 19kgs of lead aboard – twin waterlines, but no deck paint or floor paint…..

More on Centre Consoles…….!!

bowen console 1Here are photos of the center console fit out and the mock up that I made to check the dimensions etc. At the moment it is all dry fitted, and the deck bushes need bonding in.
There are 8 cleats hidden below the console, and a fairlead below each cleat to prevent the line becoming uncleated when my feet are moving around under the console. The 8 controls are kicker, cunningham, outhaul, rig tension, ram+, ram-, pole uphaul and a pole downhaul to prevent the pole bouncing.Bowen console 2
The main jammer is on the front of the console so that I can tack without going for a stroll to the back of the boat. I have had this arrangement on 3351 for the last three years and it works well, although on the rare occasions when I have borrowed a large crew they have mentioned that the front of the boat is a bit less spacious than they are used to!
Chris Bowen
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bowen console 4

The New Mast Gate……!!

As we all know, Ovington have remade the deck mould to the Mk X and that until you look carefully it looks very similar to the old one – a reduction in non-slip areas, a slightly altered rear bulkhead.

What else ?  Well I didn’t spot the fact that the mast gate looks a bit longer. The position of the back of the gate is defined by the rules, so they have made the gate a little longer by extending the front further forward a shade.  So we get more mast control in a stiff breeze – but quite possibly the mast lever needs a little alteration to accommodate the increased mast travel.