Waples Wines Northern Travellers – Tip of the Month Number 5 !!

Travellers tip #5 Communication:

“Lots of Communication is good so you both know what each of you are thinking and doing.  After the start it is important to communicate compass numbers to work out lifts and headers.  Boat speed and height.  Also if you are looking to tack making sure you have a lane to fit into is important and that you are not tacking into someone’s dirty air”.

Helm, Richard Lovering, ƒƒ4002


Waples Wines Northern Travellers -Tip Number 3 !!

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.

Waples Wines Northern Travellers – Tip of the Month 2 !!

Travellers tip #2 Kicker setting:On my boat the kicker is one of the most constantly adjusted settings.  In simple terms, other than the main and jib sheets it is the control which mostly affects the speed and balance of a fifteen. Therefore, it should be in a very accessible place.  I have mine on the mainsheet jammer which I like because you never run out of adjustment which can happen with the twin control system if they are not continuous. There are well documented numbers about kicker tension in different wind strengths but my view is you should learn to develop “feel” from the rudder without looking at the sails all the time.

Light winds upwind and downwind i.e. when the crew is in the bottom of the boat; it should always be very slack.  You don’t get much rudder feedback from a fifteen in these conditions. Medium winds upwind.  This is when you can “feel” the difference.  Start to apply kicker just as the boat starts to become overpowered (ie: the rudder loads up and you find yourself having to ease the main to stop the boat heeling and luffing into the wind).  You will find as you pull on the kicker the boat will heel less, the rudder will “feel” more balanced  and you can keep the boom centralised which will help with pointing. However, you must be quick to ease the kicker again if the wind lightens as the leech of the main will quickly become too tight and will stall. You should “feel” the boat rapidly slowing down and the rudder going very light.  I can’t stress enough how important it is not to be ‘over-kickered’ when this happens.

Medium winds downwind; it should always be slackish.

Heavy winds upwind; keep pulling on the kicker until the mainsail shape distorts (excessive creases from spreaders to outhaul) and then let it back a bit.  If boat is set right the rudder should “feel” almost neutral (ie: a little weather helm but you are not fighting it all the time).

Heavy winds downwind; firstly, make sure you ease the kicker lots before bearing away around the windward mark.  This will make the manoeuvre much easier as you will not have to fight a rudder which is trying to make the boat head into the wind.  It will also be kinder on your gooseneck fitting! When reaching with the kite it should be well eased.  This will let the spinnaker do the work and keep the boat flat, the rudder neutral and the boat will “feel” under easy control. When running it should also be well eased but if the boat starts to lose control and keeps trying to bear away into a gybe pull the kicker back on a bit until the rudder loads reduce and the boat is back under control”. Helm, Greg Wells, ƒƒ4030.

Waples Wines Northern Travellers Tip of the Month – Number One!


Travellers tip #1 Boat/equipment stress: “Many people seem to be constantly worried their boat or equipment is not right or their boat is not properly setup. This takes up a good deal of nervous energy and affects enjoyment of sailing.  Don’t worry too much about your equipment and boat set up. I recommend you check your boat over at the beginning of the season, replace worn or damaged fittings or rope and then check the boat set up. This is a fairly easy process, there are tuning guides available from the class sail makers and there are always people willing to help if you are not sure you can manage it yourself.

My message is that on smaller water, similar to many of the Waples Wine Series events the legs are fairly short, so differences in equipment and set up have a relatively small impact. The biggest gains can be made by concentrating on sail setting, trim and getting the strategy right rather than radical changes to the equipment.    Set the boat up, make sure everything does what it needs to do and then put this out of your mind and concentrate on the things that make the biggest difference”. Helm, David Mckee, ƒƒ4005

Expert Tips – Launching/Recovering, Coming on to the Jetty in a Blow….!!

At our Club, we just had a good discussion about the challenges of recovering Flying Fifteens from the Jetty in a bit of a blow – and how daunting that can be for FF beginners.

This tip from John Hanson  will not help the launch / getting off the pontoon, but is great for coming back ashore.  There is also a cracking good idea from John about hoisting the main away from the jetty in a breeze.   This is what John suggested:-

” We use  a Sea Anchor.  We have this rolled up and in the tank all year round.   When coming in to the pontoon we clip it on to the main sheet eye and throw it over the side.  It allows us to approach the pontoon slowly  minimising damage and there is no need for the crew to jump, she just steps off when alongside.  See the photos as a demo.

You can in case of an issue or when pulling up the main  clip this on the bow and it will keep the bow head to wind and reduce the speed the boat goes astern when you have new crew unsure what to do”

Ed : Very good idea






Wetsuit versus Drysuit……??!!

For those of us who turned out for the great racing at the Midwinters at Datchet last weekend, we might all be wondering about warm tech clothing.  I guess mostly we were in dry suits, but I noticed fashion guru (!) Charles Apthorp was in some new high tech wetsuit gear.

This all coincides with a very good newsletter received this week from P&B.  I realise that if you read the FF blog, you probably subscribe to the same weekly email from P&B !!  In case you don’t, there was some very good advice in it on wetsuits vs drysuits, which I include below.

(I’m going to reproduce their text here as I couldn’t find the same material online – I would normally post a link that you could click on to read it)

Wetsuit vs Drysuits

pinbax logoWinter sailing can sometimes feel like an ominous task, especially when facing the British weather which can offer up everything from rain, sleet, snow and bitter winds. The customers that come into our shop looking for winter protection often ask, “What is the best kit for winter sailing?” They are then given the choice of one of our many Drysuits or one of the new hi-tech Winter Wetsuits which are now just as popular.

Drysuits do exactly what the name suggests and keep the wearer dry by preventing the water from contacting the body. Neoprene or latex wrist, feet and neck seals, and a hard wearing waterproof breathable outer layer traditionally make up some of our favourite drysiuts. The Gul Code Zero U-zip Drysuit, NEW Gul Code Zero Ladies U-zip Drysuit and the Neilpryde 3D Curve Drysuit are three excellent examples of great drysuits and are perfect for the winter season!

With the advancements in material technology the leading manufacturers have introduced winter wetsuits and steamers which offer increased flexibility and insulation but unlike the drysuit doesn’t keep the wearer completely dry. With the need for speed, manoeuvrability and flexibility around the boat, suits like the Zhik Superwarm Package, Zhik Superwarm Steamer and the Gill Hurakan Steamer are great solutions for winter racing and are often the favourites for trapeze crews and hiking single handers.

To answer the original question there is no real correct answer. It all come downs to personal preference and what the wearer is looking for. P&B sailor, Oli Wells often switches between crewing and helming and therefore switches between his drysuit (for helming) and winter wetsuit (for crewing) depending on the demands within the two roles on the boat. Either way P&B stock all the leading manufacturers for both drysuits and wetsuits so why not come visit one of our shops and get some sound product advice to help make your decision?

Are Your Trailer Lights Actually On…??!!

Are your trailer lights actually on?

I have one of those cars that allows me to set the lights as ‘automatically on’ whenever the engine is on – which gets me lots of flashes but that’s another story.  I was testing my trailerboard the other day and made the shocking discovery that the main taillights don’t work with the ‘auto-on’ setting– even though all the other lights work as normal and the taillights work ok when the car lights are on the normal setting.  Might be worth checking how yours works…

Mervyn Wright

Fleet Captain, Datchet

Deck Cleaner…..!!

You know that way that the textured panels on an Ovi deck gradually go a bit “off white”??  It’s a devil to clean.  I recall taking my FF up to Ben and Brett Dingwall for attention to a little ding, and the deck came back gleaming like a brand new boat.  I was so delighted, I forgot to ask what they used.

Y 10 fibreglas cleaner

After racing on Sunday, I discovered David Hume hard at work on the deck of 3559 using this particular cleaner that David had been recommended.  I have to tell you, the result was superb !!  The deck panels were absolutely gleaming.  There’s a lot of them on a Fifteen of course, but I think this cream is really worth a go – particularly if one were  about to go on sale, take the new girlfriend out for a sail etc !!

More on Rig Tension and the Magic Loos Gauge – by Martin Stainsby…….

Further to the Item in the FF Blog regarding Loos Gauges on October 28th, 2012, Martin Stainsby wrote in with this….

Another dimension to be aware of in this matter is the thickness of the wire. For example, my shrouds are both nominally 3mm Dyform construction, but actually the port one measures about 3.1 mm and the starboard one nearer 3.2 mm at the height I typically attach the tension gauge. Shroud thickness as measured does also appear to differ along the length of the wire. Starboard measures tighter by one Loos unit than the port one (I think that’s the right way round without checking my notes). Took a while to get my head round the idea that one shroud appeared tighter than the other while the mast was clearly straight, resting in the middle of the gate and the boat was upright and, and, and all the other checks.

So what I do now is to measure tension always on the same shroud, then extrapolate back to what it ought to be with 3 mm wire. I can publish my extrapolation table if its of interest.

Of course none of what I’ve written above alters the original postings about variability from one gauge to another

Happy bimbling!

Martin Stainsby (3912 – HISC)

Cutting Weight from 3539……

Following our recent item on John Hanson’s weight reduction, the original owner, Nick Jerwood, sent this in….

Great to see 3539 getting regular use and TLC. It was launched November 1995- fitted out on my driveway! In those days the correctors were placed at the shearline , between the hull deck joint, inside the tank- if the boat is a little heavy now, have you checked to see if they are still there? Nick

The Drop Nose Pin Saga….

We had a little reflection time after we had a drop nose pin failure at the head of our genoa. One scary moment that was.  I had a few words with Alan Bax about it, and dived back to split rings an instant later.

However, our normally conservative Vice Commodore and Fleet Measurer has declared he will continue to use them. He adds though that he tapes them up every time. I had wondered about that…..

The key attraction to me is in the winter sailing program …. The issue now becomes whether when you have cold fingers is is easier to do/undo  spoilt rings or sticky tape. Not much in it, maybe. And for the moment we have a mildish winter  (quickly touch wood…)