Calibrated Your Kicker …???

I think I started sailing, in a GP14 then an Enterprise, in 1964, perhaps 1965.  As the sixties rolled by, I got into the racing idea and loved it.  Mainly we just pointed in roughly the right direction and went out and enjoyed it.

Then in the second half of the sixties, as a teenager, I needed heroes – John Oakley and David Hunt came along with their Flying Dutchman, Shadow, and swept all before them. That was really the first time that it occurred to me that calibration in the boat was important.  They calibrated everything.

In contemporary times, of course we all calibrate everything – repeatability of settings is vital.  Our boats are covered with felt pen marks and bits of sticky backed measuring tape.  I’ve never seen a good way to calibrate the kicker though – until now.  On David Williamson’s FF they have a very neat solution.  I’m hoping that David can send more photos but how simple, lightweight and neat is this??

Fwd Cockpit O'Head

Look very carefully at this photo (double click to enlarge will help!).

David writes:-

In the forward Cockpit pic you may notice a ball under the boom- one shock cord end tied off to the mainsheet block bridle, the other (spectra side) runs to and through the vang point and down to the vang cascade double block.
As the vang is adjusted- the ball moves along under the blue graduation marks. A very quick visual reference (rather than looking for a mark on a sheet) of just how much vang is on.
Between the rear and central marks-when reaching, Between the central and front-both skipper & crew hiking upwind in fresh conditions.
Forward of the front mark-upwind and extremely windy.

I notice too that it’s not a new idea!!  See this photo…

kicker calibration

Like a Clean Cockpit Layout…??!!

Like many of us, I’m always very interested to see what can be done to improve the working layout of the Flying Fifteen.  To be honest, I just adored Graham Vials and Chris Turner’s  Champion boat at the Dinghy Show.

Keen followers of the blog will know that it was built as one of a pair and the other twin landed up in Australia with David Williamson.  David worked with Peter Milne to fit the boat up.  Some very interesting ideas are aboard too !!

David has written in with this:-

Fwd Cockpit O'HeadWe are fans of the keep it simple philosophy with our fit outs, where importantly friction is the enemy & loose ropes which tend to be crew/bear traps are to be avoided at all cost’s, and functionality without complication is our aim.
With the benefit of things often seen for the first time on Datchet Man we have forged ahead with these things in mind and a few of our own.

Keeping the boat clean & uncluttered is paramount, as it would seem with the Evan’s fit outs.
The cockpit pic’s show a few things but more so also a lack of things.
Jib Sheeting DetailNo Jib sheet tracks and adjustment paraphernalia, no shock cord holding up toe straps or adjustment cleats.
Atop the console running left to right,
Centre: Blue –Jib Furling, Yellow-Topping Lift, White-Jib Barber Hauler, Blue-Rig Tension(Jib Halyard)
Top: Orange-Outhaul, Green- Mast Ram Aft, Bottom: Yellow-Cunningham Eye, Red-Mast Puller-Forward.
Aft console-Spinnaker Halyard, this has a take up of the tail which is not reliant on any shock cord or drum mechanism.
Vang is an endless system aft of the jib plinth’s.
All control line tales lead to a perimeter shock cord around the top of the console.
The crew toe strap is adjustable via a spectra finger trap line at the front of the toe strap and while the aft end is tied off to the rear of the console, any slack is taken up at the front of the console with a small amount of shock cord through the front eye.
The same for the skipper toe strap, spectra adjustment to the bottom front edge of the console (slack taken up by front of console shock cord) and aft end direct onto rear bulkhead.
While these rear bulkhead fasteners may seam a bit of an overkill, they are also the attachment points for the crane sling and therefore are suitably strong and well fastened.
My boat carries 18.4 kg’s of correctors so their weight is not an issue to me over and above their strength.
I also do not need any attachment points aft through the rear gunwales or bridle attachment points which are both hard to reach and cumbersome looking to connect the lifting slings which we 95% of the time use when launching our boats.
(see Clear Aft Deck pic.)
I have added also a close up pic of the leg rope plug manner in which we attach our rear bridle. This size plug (32mm od)is used only on large Malibu type surfboard’s which has a 3/16thstainless pin.
Beyond this you can also see how we attach a shock cord style line to prevent the mainsheet getting under the rear of the tiller.
Speaking of under the rear or the tiller, Brass is way too heavy, how about an alloy block!(1/3 the weight)
Peter and I have both found that rarely during a race, rather than in-between races or immediately prior to (based on wind strength), have we ever felt the need to adjust toe straps.
A simple re-alignment of how we are currently hiking is simple to do and still effective and comfortable without the need to distract your self and pull ropes which can still at some point slip or fail.

CockpitThe console ferrules are of course after seeing Chris Bowens console experiment’s.
I believe also that I first saw the jib turning blocks fitted above and aft of the plinth was on one of Charles Apthorp’s fit out’s.
In this instance I fitted a Ronstan auto ratchet with on/off facility.
Which brings me to jib tracks. Why?
They’re expensive, heavy, mounted high on the boat, require adjustment systems and above all are bloody uncomfortable for the crew and add alot of visual clutter to the boat.
We and others have used these simple barber hauler’s in lieu of tracks for years, and I’m not aware of any of us ever claiming/suffering height issues sailing up wind.