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Thought for the day - More lessons on a windy day

Excellent B rig conditions at Gosport today but very shifty, which made for another morning of great racing.

My challenge started before the first race when it looked like the rudder was coming slightly loose and making it very difficult to steer. As the first race progressed it became harder and harder to steer and when I got the boat ashore the rudder was pretty loose. I pulled the boat from the second race so I could find out what was wrong. I checked the tiller connection to the rudder and tightened the screw but the rudder was still slipping. So pulling off the main patch to see the servo and that showed me the problem. Somehow I had managed to fit the servo arm upside down meaning there was no solid correction. This maybe the answer as to why the rudder had been going a tiny bit off line over the course of the last year. How careless. It seems however prepared you are, there is always some little critical gremlin trying to catch you out if you let it.

The other issue was on the set up. For the first few races I had set the rig up so it was too stiff and there was not enough mainsail leach twist. Maybe it was because I was more focused on trying to keep the boat in a straight than making it go fast.

The symptoms

The boat kept heading up slightly

It was difficult to get the boat away form head to wind to accelerate after the tack without easing the sheets a lot. There was a bit of chop

I was a tiny bit off the pace of the lead boat and I mean tiny.

The cure

Ease the shroud tension to allow the mast to work, bend the spreaders back a couple of degrees and ease the kicker and the mast ram slightly. This made the boat a lot easier to manage but there is still work to do.

On the plus side after a few days of heavy weather sailing, the boat and the radio pot are bone dry, the new winch works perfectly, The topping lift did not catch once despite the breeze, the 1000mAh battery had plenty of charge left in it, the connectors are shiny clean with regular application of corrosion X and I have learnt yet more about sailing these boats.

One new addition which I had on my Alternatives was to add some velcro onto the battery and receiver so they can be placed at the top of the radio pot, so if any water does get in it will sit safely in the bottom of the pot and not on the electrics. I also velcro'd the radio wires so they are at 90 degrees to each other.

Whilst there were few boats, we did have such close racing and were learning about the rules as we went along. I had been studying these last week and will do so again this week. Knowledge of the rules is so important. eg

Windward Mark

If you come into the zone on starboard tack and someone enters on port and tacks in front of you, if you have to alter course they need to do a turn.

If you are overstanding the mark and sailing high of it, the port tack boat can tack inside you and claim water.

If you are pointing at the mark on starboard and a port tack boat tacks in front of you and you can overlap, then you are able to claim water even though you are inside the zone as the port tack boat has no rights.

There are some great RYA training videos which are very helpful.

Next Thursday

New patches on, steering mechanism double checked and the good ship is ready to go again this time with a secure rudder. Forecast is for B rig conditions so I should get the set up right from the start and be able to focus on the racing.

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