Waples Wines Northern Travellers – Tip Number 8 !!!

Traveller Tips #8 Following Others:

“It is good to watch what other boats do but not to slavishly follow them. They may have made route decisions relative to other boats or the wind conditions at the time which would be different by the time you reach the same position or on the next lap

At inland venues just because something worked on lap one it will not necessarily work on lap two. Whilst it is good to watch what others do, try to work out why it worked to help you make your decision.

Finally, remember: if you have not been able to understand what was going on, go and ask the experienced sailor after the race – they are usually more than willing to help!”

Helm, David McKee, FF4005

Waples Wines Northern Travellers Tip of the Month – 7….!!

Here’s the seventh installment in our Traveller Tips series, this time from class stalwart (and current leader of the Worlds Qualifier table) David McKee:-

You will seldom see the top boats in our fleet luffing each other on a reach. This is common at the smaller events. If someone luffs it will usually promote a luffing match in which you will lose out. Boats behind will catch up and you will lose ground to the boats ahead.

Try to avoid a luffing match as much as possible. If the boat ahead is significantly slower get into a much higher lane early, the boat ahead may not feel as threatened and if you are faster you may be able to sail over if the leg is long enough.

If, as is the position in most cases, the boat ahead is of similar speed, consider putting your bow below his transom to show you are not threatening and ride with him to the next mark. You can always pass him on the next beat.

Helm, David McKee, FF4005

Waples Wines Northern Travellers Tip 6….Travelling for the First Time !!

“When travelling for the first time or as part of a new team here are a few tips to make packing the boat up and rigging run smoothly:-
  • Owners are fussy and like things to be carried out in a certain way, take time to work out how they like things done, then commit them to memory and try to follow the routine every time.
  • Work on opposite sides of the boat – and work methodically through everything coming together for the two person jobs, such as taking the rudder and mast out.
  • Have proper straps and padding for everything not an assortment of bits of string of indeterminate length.
  • Leave as much as possible on the trailer (tied out the way) so you don’t have to find it later”.
Helm, Keith Jamieson ƒƒ3903   

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 !!