A quick update here as we have done a few more races since my last update. Spirit continues to show excellent upwind performance as I mentioned in my last update. This was particularly tested last weekend during the three-day NYYC Annual in winds ranging from about 12-25. The helm is far better balanced and with that Steve has been able to keep the boom up at centerline even in very sporty conditions. The boom up position in turn gives us great point. Very slight easing of the main (or a bit more backstay) at or slightly before a puff yields a speed increase and in enough breeze, a momentary chance to point even higher. I talked about this in the last post, but there’s a lot going on here and this is the fortunate confluence of a bunch of winter changes to include shorter forestay (moving the rig slightly forward), tighter forestay due to the ability to crank on more backstay (added purchase late last year) and tighter cap shrouds, flatter sails as a result of these changes and more outhaul.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, we’ve also had a great focus on weight position – thank you. Everyone up and six on the rail is FAST, no doubt. I will also add that having one or two bodies in front of the shrouds seems to be helpful. If you look at the pictures from NYYC where we are closehauled with two in front of the shrouds, the bow seems a little down. Too much of this is obviously bad, but a little bit is fast as the bow provides some directional stability and the stern exit from the water is smoother. I think the right number is one forward in most breeze conditions but with six up on the rail there is just not enough room without a couple of persons going forward of the shrouds. Downwind, of course the opposite is true. Again, if you look at the pics you will see that one aft of me in big breeze is probably STILL not enough. I think two aft is better for lifting the bow up AND giving me better control with the rudder. We’ll keep working on this. : )
Likely this weekend’s race will give us some opportunity to work the full range of weight positions! In contrast to most years, the 2019 Around Aquidneck could have a northerly instead of the typical southerly. There’s a nice breeze forecast out of the NW for the start of the race, lasting all day. It should have enough pressure for us to use the new white A2 as we head down to R2. The R2 to Sakonnet leg will be a lot like our Around Aquidneck Challenges – something of a port tack reach across the sound. If the direction is good we might even be able to get the A0 up, which would be very fast. The race will end up with a long beat up to Tiverton. Those breezes out of the north tend to be gusty so a good chance for us to recreate our successfully trimming from NYYC as we make our way up the river. : ) One interesting thing to watch will be the wind direction as the day progresses. By all standards Saturday would be an ideal seabreeze day – sunny, warm, etc. Will the seabreeze knock down the synoptic wind? Dunno. But if things start getting light around lunch we’ll have our answer! I’ll post the answer next week. ; ))))