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Technique Tips

A 60 Second Trick That Might Save Your Bacon!

By Steve Cockerill 2nd October 2020

After experiencing some crazy winds at the weekend, I realised that it was time to change my rudder pull down rope. Not because the rope is too stretchy, but because it has no stretch at all. The downhaul rope had not cleated properly as I left the shore. I was aware that the rudder had moved up during the first beat which was quite an encouragement to keep the boat especially flat, but did make it hard to handle in the extreme conditions. You should have seen me trying to pull the rudder down and re cleat it in 25-30 knots on the run! Not really ideal, especially in the crazy destruction derby course we had at the Datchet Flyer.

Most tillers use a valley cleat; Clamcleat is probably the best known. These cleats require the tensioned rope to release slightly to take the rope into the valley of the cleat. If you use a very low stretch rope, then you have no tension left in the line and the rudder lifts as it cleats.

It is then that you realise the importance of some stretchy 8 plait pre-stretch. It cleats and the tension in the rope remains. I have changed both the primary, the line that runs from the blade to the pully and the cleating secondary with some 4mm Spinfast. It cleats easily and holds tension in the line. I have also splashed out and added a Racing Junior Clamcleat with Becket (a nice little notch to anchor the 2:1 pull down line).

Note: How the rope runs over the top of the tiller from right to left of the tiller to give you more length/purchase power.

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