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Thought for the day - When you think you have it all sorted

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

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Sunday saw me racing the Marblehead at Three Islands near Rickmansworth. After Chipstead and sailing at Frensham I thought I had M sailing all sorted. How wrong could I be.

On the plus side, this was a brilliant learning day for me and made me realise I need to go over everything on the boat with a microscope before the 1st ranking event.

The day was perfect for the swing rig. which in my defence I had not sailed competitively. I set the boat up and all looked good with the main leech looking solid and powerful. I put the boat on the water and almost immediately the leach softened making the boat difficult to sail at speed upwind. I was straight into B heat after the seeding race so had no time to figure out what was going wrong. As the B heat race progressed the leech got even softer and I could not sail high to windward so found myself at the back of the fleet.

On the plus side I had some time waiting for the next B heat race to look at the problem. There is a line on the main boom which controls the leech tension of the main. You prebend the mast to match the luff curve of the sail and then adjust the aforementioned line with a bowsie to set the correct leech tension. See picture below.

The upper bowsie tightens the foot of the main and the lower Bowsie controls the leech tension. When I had the boat set up I had the lower bowsie maxed out and the main leech was still slack. So I untied the knot at the end of the boom and took nearly an inch and a half out of the line. I struggled to understand why I was doing this. I spent most of the day with a slack leech until I noticed a mark round the boom an inch forward of the left hand eye on the boom in the picture. The penny dropped that the eye had slipped. Once replaced and crimped into position with a pair of pliers, I could set the rig up properly and got the boat going again. The difference was amazing and for the last three races I was back in the game albeit too late.

During the day in addition to the above I made loads of mistakes. Hooked 3 marks, got head to wind on one start, got blocked out at the windward end of the line on another and made bad decisions most of the day distracted by the slack leech. But when I had everything set up as it should be then the boat performed well.

I finished 8th out of 18 ish entries, so not a total disaster. Its amazing how an eye slipping on the boom can cause so much grief and how thick I was not spotting it. C'est la vie. Onwards and upwards.

One of the starts when I was on the ball

Here is the report in Yachts and Yachting

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