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Thought for the Day - There is always something new to learn and optimise

I overheard a conversation at Emsworth the other day about jib sheeting where someone said they ran the jib sheet through two fairleads instead of 1. I thought no more of it until I was puzzling why my boat sailed slightly lower on port tack than starboard and started looking at the sheeting positions.

Current set up

So I put a mark on the jib sheet about 6 cm from the central sheet eye (you can just see it on the right of the picture) and measured precisely from the centre of the eye to the mark on the sheet. There was 4mm difference between port tack and starboard. Working that out as an angle it turns out to be 1 degree sheet angle difference between tacks. Not much of a difference but over a long beat it could be telling.

Put it another way, if you are sailing closely to windward of someone, you will lose 4 feet to leeward every 240 feet, and that will make a difference in a crowd of boats if you have to tack away because you cannot hold your lane.

The way to cure the difference in sheeting angle is to thread the sheet through the middle eye first and then the proper sheeting eye. That way you get symmetry on both side.

Having said that I may still use the setting in the first picture in very light and fluky weather to reduce friction.

My other observation came from racing at Bourneville where the day started wet. Old sheets get floppy and lose their water resistance and stick to the deck. If there is any breeze it does not matter but if you are trying to ease the sheet in little breeze the sheet will stick to the deck.

These are microscopic changes but if you add all the small changes together they make a massive difference in big fleet racing but they amount to nothing if you cannot start, sail tactically and stay out of trouble.

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