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Thought for the day - Impact of the spreaders on mast set up

Ever since I started sailing IOM's, I always wondered why I was fast in light weather but not so competitive in a breeze. As the wind picked up I struggled for speed. I came across this picture on my phone taken at the last indicators at Two Islands. On the phone it is a nice picture but when I expanded the picture on my computer I could see a fault in my rig setup which when cured should help me sail faster in a breeze.

The jib is drawing nicely with the leech matching the main. The slot is nicely open. The bottom of the main looks good with the boom maybe a little too centred for the wind. It looks nice but look at the area between the top number and the band above the jib hook. The sail is too full, out of balance and causing drag.

To investigate further I rigged the boat in the office and laid it flat so the mast was horizontal. I set the rig up so the mast is initially dead straight which Is the way Rob Walsh always seems to set his rig. After applying the backstay the top of the sail remained stubornly full The one thing I never adjust is the angle of the spreaders. They have always been at 90 degrees to the centreline of the boat making for a rather stiff rig.

Reviewing and quoting from the guru site BG Sails and Design ".....allow the spreaders to be bent aft 1 – 2mm for perfect tune..... ."

Mine are aerofoiled from sailsetc because I was forever loosing the end bits of the brass tube spreaders but you can easily bend them fore and aft. To my delight when I pulled the spreaders aft by a couple of mm, it allowed the mast to bend more in the upper section, taking away some of the fullness and blading the upper part sail out when applying the backstay. The overall look was an evenly bent mast which had a slight amount of flex fore and aft in the middle which should be good for gusts. This minor adjustment makes such a difference to the setup and I hope to see an improvement in performance on the next outing in wind.

Sailing tomorrow at Emsworth and then onto Manor park for the open on Sunday.

Only 14 weeks to the Nationals with 5 opens between now and then.

Happy days

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