top of page

Set up the boat

What you need to know

The set up process can be done in around 5-10 minutes and once completed is left for the day unless wind conditions change significantly.  Of course I will have checked all the settings before I left to know that everything that can measured is set correctly.  I also re read the Britpop setup guide ocassionally to remind myself of what I need to do and refer to my check list of all the settings.  See sheet below

Here is what I do:

  1. Check rudder is central and fine adjust if necessary

  2. Put the boat on the stand

  3. Add the mast

  4. Add the jib and attach backstay making sure the crane and fitting lies fore and aft

  5. Check sail foots are the right depth

  6. Connect the shrouds and tighten bottle screws to their marks. (5-10 knot setting)

  7. Connect the sheets fixing the hooks to their marked holes

  8. Switch on the Radio control

  9. Put the boat on its side and check the mast is straight sideways and adjust shrouds if not. Add the burgee if light fluky weather.

  10. Put boat back upright and check fore and aft rake with rig stick.

  11. Take the boat to edge of pond and adjust the kicker for a run

  12. Sheet in for upwind sailing and adjust the backstay to get the right mainsail twist with top batten parallel to the centreline. Check the jib boom is pointing just inside, at, or just outside the shroud depending on the wind strength or at its measured distance from the centre of the mast.

  13. Adjust topping lift until the jib twist is at its right measurement from the topping lift wire at deepest point.  If the wind is building consider adding a few mm or jib luff tension to keep jib luff firm.

  14. Check all RC working normally

  15. Put the boat on the water and sail upwind to check the leech twists are good an the boat is perfectly balance and needs no rudder interaction. If there is any weather or lee helm, adjust setup starting with leach tension.

  16. As the wind increases I will tighten the shrouds on the A rig  and shorten the forestay by a couple of mm to allow the boat to drive rather than head up.  The shroud tension will encourage slightly more bend in the top of the mast to allow the upper part of the sail to depower.  

  17. Once I am happy with the boat balance on the water I will look for wind shifts, bends, local effects on the course and follow the process on the the next page.

Part of my Setup card

Screenshot 2022-12-02 at 16.52.57.png

The Detail

If you review several of the videos and articles on tuning an IOM (HERE), there is a consistent process people have adopted which seems to work.

Having set up your boat with the mast rake according to the boat plan, enough shroud tension to stop the leeward shroud from hanging loose when beating to windward, enough backstay to straighten the mast and 15 mm of chord depth in the foot of the main  You are then ready to start.  

Set the boat up on a run with the main boom just touching the shrouds and hold it in wind that you expect on the course.  Tighten the kicking strap until the leach twists by an inch or so.  Do this on both port and starboard to make sure the mast is centred and straight.  Look to see if you have more twist on one side or the other.  If the mast is straight and the twist is different on each tack then your gooseneck may not be parallel with the mast.

Set up the mainsail


Set up for close hauled and adjust mainsail twist with the backstay and mast ram.  The goal is to have the top batten parallel to the centreline of the boat and a fair luff shape consistent top to bottom when viewed from behind and leeward.  If you are having problems with the mainsail leach tension between the run and beat, check that you have some packing under the bottom of the gooseneck.  2 layer of deck patch should do it.  This alters the geometry so the kicker tightens as the boom goes out from a beat to a run.  If you have to add a little kicker tension to get the leech right it will not hurt you.

Check the mast bend looking down from the top of the mast.  On an A rig there should be a slight S curve with slight reverse bend at the mast ram.  The B rig should have a fair curve as will the C rig but to a lesser extent.  If you followed the instructions in Boat Tuning and Setup and noted the settings, there should be very little to do other than adjust for more wind or less wind.

If you are sailing on a pond surrounded by trees, conditions will likely be quite variable.   As a rule I set my boat up for the lightest conditions but enough kicker to control the mainsail leach and hold it firm in puffs to create power and acceleration.  I am also setting the mainsheet post lower than usual so that as the wind increases the boom is pulled down slightly better supporting the leech


Adjust the jib


Once you are happy with the main, look at the jib.  The sheet setting you will have pre defined but you need to check the leach.  Looking at the boat from behind and to leeward, see that the leech twist is parallel to the mainsail and has a max twist according to you setup numbers.  Adjust the topping lift to match the twist depth specified for your boat.  As the wind increases, tighten the jib luff bowsie slightly to keep the leech from going soft.

Run through checklist for all your settings to ensure nothing is out of place.

Check the radio settings are all correct as per checklist.  You may need to micro adjust the sheet setting for the conditions.  As a rule, look for close sheeting with the main boom 10mm out on flat water and ease the booms out slightly as the wind and waves increase.  


Check rudder movement is OK and finally scan the whole boat to make sure all is OK and add the burgee to the top of the mast.


Check bung is inserted and secure and you are ready to launch.

Once all is set, you need to consider conditions on the water.  The base settings will give you a good setup but there are fine tweaks to be made.  The fundamentals are, flatter sails with less twist in flat water with deeper sails and more twist in choppy water.  With experience you will develop your own tweaks but always start with the base settings.  Never change anything by more than a couple of mm.  There are extremely fine margins between and outstanding setup and an average one.


Don't take my word for setting up your boat, have a look at some of experts.  HERE.

bottom of page