Sailing at Eastbourne over the weekend reminded me of the impact of a faulty rig set up.
I had new cord on everything but the jib was 3 ply and when under pressure untwisted and legthened slightly. In addition something had eased as the sheeting position of the main and jib eased slightly so the sails were too far out. I am only talking about fractions here but they make a huge difference when sailing upwind. For my boat it was the difference between going fast and pointing high or going fast and not pointing. To solve this issue I recorded with Whiplash 8 braided dynema fishing line. See Craig Richards DF95 Blog page 2 for details. There is no flex in the system any more.
The other issue was my rmg winch which had been repaired beautifully by Bill Green after I crossed positive and negative wires. If you are feeling cold this winter just cross the wires on your winch and you will be hot in milleseconds with a nice warm fire. Perhaps not. The symptom which Bill will check out at is that the winch behaves normally until it gets to an inch of the end points and then it operates slowly. It is as if somone had switched the exponential on. To be fair I had not tested the winch since the repair and kept it as a spare. It is perfectly functional but not adequate for fine tuning. So a new winch is on its way and this one will go back for testing and continue to be the spare.
Waggle the rudder and see if there is any sideways movement. If there is you need to fix it so it is solid.
In summary you need the confidence that the only things that will move in your boat , move because you want them too. E.g. forward and sideways bend of the mast, the leeches of the sail to twist off in gusts so the boat sails in a straight line.
So when you do your boat maintenance this winter (of course you do that), set the rig up and see if there is any movement that will cause easing when you get hit by a gust. e.g.
Is your mast firmly secured at the step and the deck so there is no lateral movement
Is the mast secure so that it will not rotate under load
Are you sheet lines stretch free and in good condition
Are your spreaders securely fitted throught the mast with no movement. If you sail on salt water the holes will corrode and the spreader through the mast can come loose
Are your shouds straight when unter tension. If they are bent at all, that will try and straighten when under load.
Do you have instant response from your winch so when you move the joy stick, the sails ease instantly
One last point is to check your rig is set up to the designs specification?
I have just entered the first event of 2024 which is an IOM Charity event at Hampton Court. This is a great venue and definitely worth the journey but be aware, it is in an ultra low emmission zone.