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Brass monkey


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This is always a good w/end regardless of weather, I have a shoulder problem so will be course setting/rescue, I will have a couple of boats available to loan, cheap share accom and or camping is available at Mannering Park, (15/20 min from Toukley), B/fast, lunch and dinner meals will be available (basic). we expect the Mari, Windy and P/Tigers in numbers with a good mix of 16, 18, F18, A Class, Taipan and Nacra. Hope to see you all there.

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Hi Guys

Four divisions of 50+ boats vying for pole position in 10 kts of breeze on a chilly sunny Saturday of the June Long weekend 2011. How good is this ? With Darcy having set the course in the Rescue Boat a few early boats do a practice start and beat to the windward mark. At the 5min horn the red, white & blue flag goes up. Everyone is happy. Josh tries to dish out as much B.. S.. as possible to any boat close enough. Most gather at the starboard extension of the line. But as the blue peter comes down on the one minute horn a change takes place. Eyes nervously glance at their watches only looking up & around the fleet to Bill's boat asking themselves "are we too close , too far from the line ? How much time is left?" The wedge of boats approaches the pole position. Ratchets burr. Some are in irons frantically trying to get moving. At 15 seconds to go, the line is full at the starboard end and starts to bunch behind the Griffin start boat. Early craft are skiing down the line trying not to go over.

Bill sounds the horn for the first of two back to back races. We're off. Hulls fly with everyone pulling on their mainsheets for all their worth. Most on starboard tack heading down the left hand of the course-some choosing to point --others foot-- where will we tack? Most keep an eye on & try to copy Warren or Mick figuring they will be first to the windward buoy. Does it get any better?




Check the website www.toukleysailingclub.com for the NOR,ACCOMODATION,,ENTRY FORM ETC. - or -type Toukley Sailing Club in goggle

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Interesting point Darc, what I think it is (and I tried it at Speers on Anzac day) is that the boom setup allows for really really hard downhaul which makes the sail so flat it's quite useless. On Anzac day I tied the lines out of the way so I couldn't reach them and sailed with a full sail and baggy tack. While I stuffed up a heap of tacks I was going quite fast - up the first beat I was pointing well and going fast - up with the big guys, just the tacks let me down but I have a plan for that too and the loose downhaul didn't get in the way of mast rotation either.

Hope to come along for at least one day but there is just so much to do at the 'new' house.

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Selected photos & results of the 14' cats at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.117531954999984.30026.112511035502076

* What was that photographers name? I should credit the photos

Full results at: http://www.toukleysailingclub.com/

Saturday morning was cold, wet and a rainbow shone over the lake as the first boats arrived. Soon the beach filled up and we had a genuine regatta fleet, with 14' cats the most populated division. The wind varied, with calm 5-10 lulls, and dark clouds bringing 25+ knot squalls.

Thanks to Darcy I borrowed Maricat "Cheetah" for the weekend. Race 1, deliberately starting behind the others for safety / uninsurance reasons, I aimed low and went for speed, passing half the fleet before the first tack. And was last again by the time I'd completed that tack! In solid 20knots breeze and 0.8m chop, I wasn't strong enough to hold the mainsheet and remained last. Going downwind I found the switch and engaged the ratchet block, which helped. By holding the main as tight as I could and steering to keep the windward hull just skimming the water, I caught the Maricats of Aaron on "BumbleBee" and Rob on "Cracker". Closely matched for pace, it was the tacks which sorted our finishing order. On the second downwind gybe, there was a loud CLANG noise and it felt like the boat was capsizing - I thought something must have broken, except I looked and it sat flat, with mast upright, and pain revealed the low boom had clobbered me on top of the head. The wind increased and Rod on "Pointed Reply" strangely reached back & forth and so was passed as we continued to the windward finish.

Sunday morning was bleak; cold & raining with white-caps in gusts of wind. No-one rushed into rigging up or signing on, but by 10am the weather improved (kind of) and we dared each other into racing.

After consulting with Darcy & Mick, decided to change 3 things:

- stood the mast up a bit to give better clearance under the boom, which it turned out also helped tacking.

- moved the mainsheet blocks forwards, so that they were directly above the traveller; this increased mechanical advantage so I could pull the mainsheet tight enough to keep it powering upwind

- tied a string between rear beam and rudder cross-bar, to limit how far the rudders turn. This helps stop stalling the blades going into a tack, and prevents damage if reversing (the blades can be pushed square across the back and then snap off as the boat goes backwards)

HUGE improvement; instead of fighting and wresting the boat at the limit of my strength, I was able to enjoy the sailing.

Back-to-back races on a small course was fun. 1st leg strategy was to start at the favoured port end, then tack to more breeze on the starboard side. This paid off and had me near the front of the fleet. Other windward legs the breeze evened across the course, so a 1-tack strategy worked.

Rounding the bottom mark, I rounded up, sheeted in and moved forwards as usual. Then the boat kept rounding up; and the rudders couldn't stop it. What?! I then realised the importance of using bodyweight to steer on the Maricat: move forwards to round up, move back to bear away.

Some massive gusts came through, possibly peaking at 40knots. Definitely a few over 25 knots. These provided absolutely top-speed reaching, and saw almost everyone cartwheel; even the champion skippers.

Having learned that strength and bodyweight are important to sail Maris, I was very impressed to see tiny young Ryan on full-size Maricat "Sea Frog V" keeping his boat upright in all that. Considering the weight handicap, he was possibly the best sailor there, certainly the bravest. Other juniors were on Sabots.

Between races on Sunday it lashed down with freezing rain, in what has to be the WORST sailing weather I've ever experienced. However once the 2nd race was underway, we had good fun racing and it all seemed worthwhile.

Monday morning's short race also featured massive gusts. On the reach with traveller out, mainsheet tight, leg over the rear beam, and leaning back, "Cheetah" lived up to her name and pulled about 20knots boat speed - awesome! I made the mistake of moving forwards in the lull between gusts, and was too slow to move back again and stop it cartwheeling. Thanks Stan and others for the friendly wave as they sailed past, while I pulled the mast out of the mud and got it upright again. From distant last, my approach was to hold the mainsheet tight, steer for balance, dont tack, and I powered through the fleet and made good ground on the leaders.

Congrats to Mick on "Humungus II", who won all races except the one where he cartwheeled on the reach. 2nd place Kim Marocvitch on "Irakunji" sailed well, had great speed and only cartwheeled a couple times. 3rd Steve Halliday on "Dipsi Danis" took a conservative approach, not pushing it to hard and was one of the few boats to stay upright all weekend.

Sailing a Maricat was very educational for me, and to reinforce the lessons:

- pull the mainsheet tight and keep it tight to power upwind. In peak gusts a strong person may be able to ease it a tiny bit and quickly haul it back in. Otherwise just use steering and pinch up a bit in gusts, to keep the windward hull skimming the tops of waves. Traveller close to center in light winds and maximum 30cm out in strong winds; further doesn't seem to produce better velocity-made-good

- use bodyweight to steer: move forwards to round up, move back to bear away.

- Maris like a lot of mast rake, but too much makes gybes dangerous and tacking difficult. Raking to make the boom horizontal when it's all cranked on seems about right

- mainsheet blocks set back on the boom theoretically induce mast bend, but with 6:1 ratio on that huge sail you'd have to be VERY strong to achieve that. Conventional placement above the traveller is a lot easier to handle

- a limiting string between rear beam and rudder cross-bar helps. Tie it so that the rudders cannot turn beyond 45 degrees.

Thanks Darcy and all at the Toukley Sailing Club for hosting a great regatta!

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