DF 95 Tuning numbers
If you search on the web for DF95 tuning you can get similar images to the one below. I use it as a guide (ignoring the mast gate positions) to establish some starting points and then adjust as I feel fit. As I get comfortable with my setting I will mark up the cords so I can achieve similar setting on each outing. But the best way to set up is to copy Craig or find the fastest boat on the day and set up similar to that.
How do I set the boat up
Having raced twice now at a TT and the first day of the Nationals at Poole with top 2 results, I can conclude my light weather set up is OK. The following pages show how Craig sets his boat up and there are many useful tips there. However whilst I have copied quite a bit from his work the are some things I do a little different.
I use the table above for foot depth and boom angle.
So I start with the mast 2 notches forward from the back. I do this because my luff curve on the main is not shaved like Craigs so I need a bit more mast bend. This sets the mast rake so there is no need to measure bow bumper to the crane. With the jib luff slackish, I adjust the backstay to put in about 5 mm of bend so the mainsail sits nicely agains the mast. Then I apply enough forestay tension to keep the top of the jib is stable in the strongest gust of the day. This will stop the top of the jib wobbling which we all know is dead slow. Then I check my boom angles and foot depth from the chart and make sure the rudder is straight. The last thing I do is holding the boat, sheet everything in to make sure the setup looks OK and then gradually head the boat up into wind to check the jib tell tale and the tell tail I have at the top of the main react in unison. Then I know the boat should be balanced. I put the boat on the water to see how it sails upwind. If I have lee helm, I apply a tiny bit of kicker until the balance is relatively neutral and the reverse if there is weather helm.
That is pretty much all there is to the set up. It is very easy to over complicate. Far better to go with your setup and focus on the sailing. These are one design boats and there is much to be gained by sailing smart.
How do I sail the DF
In summary, I think lower and faster upwind is my mantra usually with the sheets eased a notch or two to get better VMG. I do have a high mode for getting off the start line and sailing in the stronger gusts but rarely use it.
In a one design boat I have become more aggressive on the start line. In the past I have hung back but find you lose too much distance if the line is biased like it was at Poole. So on a very port biased line I want to be the pin end boat but this does require a level of skill and timing.
If the line is squarer and there is no advantage to go left I want to be one of the starboard end boats so I have positional control on the fleet and always look to find a gap on the start so I can tack when I like.
On the first beat I will try and stay to the right of the fleet so I do not get forced left by starboard boats and have to take pot luck coming into the mark on port. Of course if there is a favourable left side shift or more pressure I will head that way.
On the reach or run in lighter conditions I find the boat does like heading up in the lulls and bearing away in the puffs as this maintains a better overall speed. I have used the technique in dinghies, yachts and model yachts. It all comes down to manipulating apparent wind.
There is a lot more on tactical sailing round the course in the section "Racing and IOM". This winter I will rearrange the site so it covers IOM, DF and Marblehead and have racing as a separate section.
Overall message is keep everything simple and focus on sailing fast when your boat is on the water.