During pack up for Whitstable Open
meeting a couple of months or so ago I was fortunate to discover a small crack round my spreader bracket. Fortunate is not usually a word I'd use to describe gear failure but in this case had I not spotted the crack the subsequent 8 races in Force 4-5 over the weekend would have undoubtedly resulted in the splintering of broken carbon and a slightly awkward call to Noble Marine the following week. Thankfully, after a few frantic texts and phone calls Sergei Samus kindly donated a spare mast and I was able to join in...
All of which frantic rigging meant that I was unable to exactly replicate my usual settings and, given the breezy conditions of 15-20 knots ish went for a bit more deflection than usual. Perhaps surprisingly my two best races of the weekend were in the windiest races given that I generally weigh in at a comparatively lightweight 72-73kgs (Andrea Brewster I feel your pain!!) especially so given that I faired less well in the 'lighter' ones. Having had a few words with Steve and assorted others the main reason for this appears to be that when its really windy everyone is overpowered...but I'm suffering between 12-18 knots as my Cunningham is maxed out whilst those of greater stature are only just beginning to nestle into the shoulder straps on their trapeze harnesses.
Since Whitstable, and some more words with Steve, things have moved on again, this time with shortening spreader length to allow the top of the rig to breathe easier whilst keeping them relatively far forward to keep some power in the rig. As you might imagine I generally get quite a bit of dinghy park stick for messing about with settings with little or no reward but then came Blackwater Musto Skiff Open
...needless to stay I was over the moon with my first open win admittedly after a few years of trying and in my favoured conditions, but it was a great feeling that all those upwind battles with the solent chop, trips down the mine and round the bow interspersed with countless hours splicing, tying knots squinting at tape measures and deciphering Loos Tension gauges had actually been worth it :-)
Next on the horizon is the Mounts Bay Nationals, for many a favourite venue and the ideal opportunity to confirm how these settings work in large rolling waves as opposed to short sharp steep ones!!
All the best and good luck for the rest of the summer