Feb 23, 2022

Redwing Main and 150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Mainsail and AP #1 Headsail – The backbone of weeknight sailing.

Most sailboat racing occurs at local sailing clubs, and usually after work hours on weekday evenings. It doesn’t sound as exotic as Voiles St Barth’s, Sardinia or the famous Sydney to Hobart race, but thousands of boats and crews are competing on weeknights against their arch nemesis on the end of Dock C.

Some of these club events are One Design fleets like Lasers, Martins, Bluenose or Sharks. By the numbers however, far more club night competitors sailing C&C 27s and and assortment of Beneteau’s using a handicap system.

For these events, by far the largest participation is using some type of PHRF rating (Performance Handicap Rating). Most regions have an organization that administers these handicaps and analyze every competitor’s performance data to give fair and easily useable handicaps all for almost negligible cost. Everyone will occasionally complain about these handicaps after a heated down to the finish line race, with the podium going to one boat by seconds!

There are 4 types of PHRF Racers you will meet:

For “Bob the Boat”, leaving the dock is a win! This competitor is usually camping out on the boat on weekends, has an exceptionally large dodger and bimini (unrated downwind sail area?), and tends to sail past laylines to make it easier to bear off cleanly at the mark! The best inventory, is the furling genoa and long since expired mainsail, that was once upgraded with full battens back in the 90s.

That is the best part of club racing, there is space on the line for everyone.

Redwing Main and Jib

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Mainsail and #3 Jib – A great upwind combination, but may lack power on the downwind legs


Redwing Main Reef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Mainsail reefed and AP#1 – Tames the helm for control upwind and allows full area downwind.

“Revenge of Perseus” is having trouble deciding on which mainsail and light #1 to use tonight crew. Generally has a couple of years of sailing experience and believes that more sail choices and divining the correct combination for that day will lead to inevitable victory. The inventory consists of a dozen or so sails that came with the boat, and one of the best Light #1’s is in an amazing photo inside the club with a former commodore rail down coming off the start line back when fast sails were Tidy Bowl Blue!

“Into the Mystic”, helmed by Penelope and her crew have been club champions for as long as anyone remembers. It is a mystical C&C 33 that dominates the first leg and disappears into the sunset. Always has a reasonably fresh set of dacron sails and the foredeck crew always makes things happen when they need to. They win since the boat has such an amazing rating (Jack is the club handicapper) and the boat has a balsa wood interior with teak veneer glued on….apparently.

The last two boats look the same from the dock. One is named “Vercingetorix” and the other is “Anger Management” but the differences show up on the water. This boats are reasonably recent go fast specials with a carbon fibre heads, comprehensive navigation stations, and the galleys consists of Jetboils hanging on the main bulkheads. Black sails, crew uniforms, wet sanding parties, retuning the rig every night, arguing about what sails to put up and hoping to get lucky!

Do you see yourself or anyone in your club in those descriptions?

For more details and Sail Technology, find Keven’s column in Sailing in Canada

Keven Piper, two-time Shark 24 World Champion, founded Hamilton, ON-based Bay Sails in 1998. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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