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Beyond the Horizon - An interesting start to the year

I deliberately set my resolutions in December and immediately start actioning them. In the past I would set them for the 1st and drop them or broken them by the 5th. There is something psychological in starting on the first that does not work for me.

The sailing resolutions are simple:

Have fun racing. Yes I want to do well but it is all about the journey

Execute plans with precision

Get fitter

Goto the Worlds in Australia.

No need to bore you with the details, so on with the Alioth evaluation. Last weekend I sailed against Craig Richards new Alioth (V3) and Dorian Crease's new Britpop with my own Alioth. The wind was 18-25 mph with good waves making tacking tricky. My goal was to evaluate if there was any difference in speed between my and Craigs optimised Alioth and Dorians new Britpop. There were differences that had to be accounted for. Dorian and Craig had newish sails, Dorian's boat was brand new so things were still moving, Craig's hull had been smoothed and painted and has a different fin set further aft whereas mine still has the original finish with a coat of 2k varnish.

Given all these differences there was no perceptible variation in boat speed either upwind or down. Previously when I sailed against Craig with the B rig, I could not sail as high as him upwind. The spreaders I was using were too short for the Alioth and the mast ram was preventing me from achieving a smooth curve in the mast. WIth longer spreaders I could keep the mast in column and with the smaller mast ram achieve the bend I needed to get the mainsail the right shape for the breeze.

We sailed for the best part of 3 hours and raced hard on a windward leeward course. My emphasis was on sailing parallel to the other two boats and ignoring the shifts. The morning for me was all about speed and the only conclusion was the three boats were similar.

After 3 hours of sailing in rough water there was half a tee cup of water in the boat and all of that I believe came through the sheeting eyes.

In looking around the globe at results at the moment, it is hard to tell if one design is dominating or not. The Britpop is still the boat of choice in the UK and very competitive all round. The Venti has won its share of events as has the Kantun and V12. In the US the Kantun seems popular. Wherever there is a 3d printer there seems to be an Alioth. I guess we will have to wait until the Worlds this year to get another good test of all the designs. The challenge is to filter out the designs performance in the hands of the top skippers and see how they go with the next level and down to the club sailor. It is not so much about the design but more about instructions and help on how the whole package should be set up.

Next year according to the Sailboat RC web site, the VISS (seen at the Europeans) will be released later in the year which adds a whole new dimension to the design race, with its high deck designed to enhance performance in light weather, whilst not being a slouch in a breeze. Will this prompt other designers to experiment and how will the club sailor get on with the VISS.

It is going to be an interesting year.

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