Archive for December, 2010

Reflections on a quiet night

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Elaine and I are looking after the grandchildren tonight away from home but never far away from a computer.

Firstly we would like to thank all the crew for the friendship and support this year and wish them and their families all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.  We are a bit of a rowdy lot on board Passion and I hope no one takes offence at the encouragement and urging we all give and take. Hopefully the mock T shirt that Kevin designed during the year is not a true reflection of the captain.

Looking back over the year the highlight for Passion has to be the fitting of the new mast and boom. Thank to Chris Anderson and Zam the rigger from All Yacht Spars in Queensland and to Ben Gemmel our sailmaker and to the support of the crew the change over went like clockwork. The first racing result at the Winter Wednesday at RANSA was a good one but perhaps helped by picking a particularly good line following Loose Goose, Tony Denham’s SF37 down the Harbour.

The initial euphoria was tempered in later races as while we had improved we were still in the back half of the fleet.  I experimented with a weight loss obsession and took everything loose off the yacht and we sailed with just slop in the bottom of the water tanks but without much improvement. After a few races in the light trim mode I went back and compared our racing trim with our competitors in the fleet and concluded that we had much less ballast or a shorter keel than the best of them.  A good benchmark for the amount of righting moment should be the Jeanneau Sun Fast 37 with the identical hull and just  two m2 less sail area.  Looking at that showed we were some 340kg light of ballast and the weight loss program for Passion was probably not the right approach.

Obsession No 2 was to put all the chain I had taken off back in the bilge and then some. After all the spare chain was stored another 150kg of sparkling new 10mm short link chain went into the bilges on the basis that it might  be needed for anchoring some day. I still have a target of another 110 kg to go into the bilges but the results in the Greenwich Wednesday Twilight fleet have been very impressive.  Passion has moved from the back of the fleet to the middle on our best nights.  Our last race at Greenwich for 2010 was a dazzler. Aided by a clean bottom and a powered up mainsail we worked away from our same handicap start time competitors and managed to stay in front of the chasers. We drew level with Cipriani but in a spell of light air she pulled away and held on to win the night. Well done Dennis.  The chasing fleet must have been caught in a worse light air patch then we were when you look at the finishing times so I think our time will be hard to live up to in the New Year.

The current status is that Passion is now competitive with the similar cruiser racers in over 5kts. Under 5kts we are less competitive. In all breezes we have to keep as much sail area up as we can manage and then we seem to go pretty well.  Greenwich can be pretty punishing as the approach to the finish line is well sheltered and any lulls through there can really hurt an under canvassed yacht. It is my current thinking to add the extra 110 kg ballast before the next Winter Wednesday series as that will help marginally in the stronger wind conditions.

Weather permitting Elaine and I will enjoy a week or so cruising to Port Stephens. After all, Passion is a cruiser racer. Then we will be back for more excitement at Greenwich and RANSA in the New Year.

Mainsheet traveler systems

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

On the Jeanneau Owners Forum there are several posts on mainsheet systems and in particular traveler systems. In April this year we put a larger rig on our SO37 Passion. The mast went up 1.7m and the boom length went from 4.25 m to 4.8 m. With the extra sail area and longer boom the load on the traveler increased.

It was already very difficult to play the traveler up and down the track and the factor of safety with the longer boom was down to 0.9. I wanted a new traveler system and searched high and low for something that met my requirements.

Our current solution is to bring the mainsheet through a single pulley on the cabin top traveler and to a 3:1 purchase near the end of the boom. The last fall is taken to a 4:1 fine tune which leads to a snatch block on the floor. In our case the mainsheet comes just in front of our bimini.

I like the combination of the cabin top traveler and the mainsheet lead to the cockpit floor so it is adjustable from both the cockpit floor and the cabin top because;

1. It spreads the load on boom and increases the safety factor.

2. It keeps the traveler out of the cockpit.

3. It gives the option of aggressive mainsheet trimming from the cabin top.

4. It has the safety factor of being able to be released from the helm position.

5. There is less mainsheet swinging around in the cockpit than in full boom end system.

6. The load on the cabin top traveler is reduced so it is easier to adjust by hand.
We only use our cabin top traveler to pull the boom to windward in light airs. With the amount of mainsail we carry the traveler dump is not enough so in heavy airs we centre the traveler and just play the mainsheet. Light air adjustment we can do with a 4:1 fine tune we have on the cockpit end of the mainsheet and heavy air adjustment is mostly from the cabin top winch where we can dump more mainsheet quickly.

Two photos show the system.

Passion mainsheet system

Passion mainsheet system

Showing the 3:1 end boom sheeting with the 4:1 fine tune let out all the way to the boom.

Showing the 3:1 end boom sheeting with the 4:1 fine tune let out all the way to the boom.