Balancing the boat
Fast all round sailing is about compromise
and balance, theory would have it that a
little or a lot of aft mast rake will improve
your windward boat speed....aft mast rake
also increases your weather helm, theory
again suggests the stronger the breeze the
more mast rake you should have, most will
know that in a breeze a yacht generates
more weather helm, so the theory is fine
but if you just follow that lead you will end
up with a yacht which wants to round up all
the time while sailing on the wind!.....all
you can do in real terms is move your mast
further forward at the deck...if it is already
as far foreward as design will allow you can
maybe move the jib forward instead. if you
follow the latter set up, you should try and
have more than one setting to swing the jib
from, as in the light you may now have to
much lee boat falling of to
leeward. in the end what you are looking
for is a boat that in a steady breeze light or
fresh will virtually sail itself to windward
without constant rudder correction from
the skipper.
Nose diving
Everyone gets into this
situation at one time or
another, running down hill
and hit by a gust of wind
which burys the bow and stops
the boat almost dead! Not a
lot you can do about it mostly.
It is usually caused by a gust
of wind hitting you when the
boat is moving slowy either
after a mark rounding or just
a light patch of wind....but if
you are moving fast and you
can see that the wind is
increasing it is possible to
save a possible nose dive by
pulling in the sails closer to
midships, even though you
might be flat off the
wind......this reduces your
projected sail area and
depowers the boat somewhat.
Carful not to over do it
though or the boat might
gybe on you unexpectedly and
cause even more problems!
Nothing beats time on the water
Theory is great, read all you can about tuning
and racing these small yachts but nothing beats
time on the water...find yourself a club mate
with a boat of similar speed to your own and go
out after work or on none club race days and
sail against each other altering just one boat at
a time to see if you can make a speed
gain....then bring both boats up to that speed
and start the experiment again looking to gain
a boat length here and there its the best of
both worlds, you get quality sailing time and
you get speed gains......and its just plain fun