Distance sailboat racing is a growing segment of our beloved sport. Offering new and different challenges, distance races around the world have attracted sailors with various degrees of offshore experience.
Part one digs into four simple onboard optimizations you can make to help ready your boat for distance racing. Here are the key takeaways to remember.
1) Weight Distribution
- Store weight in a low, centralized location and remind your crew of this.
- Remove all non-essential gear and items.
- Check cupboards and drawers for hidden items.
- Don’t skimp on safety equipment to save on weight!
2) Repeatable Settings
- Useful locations to mark repeatable settings:
- halyards and blocks
- jib leads
- Use tape and deck stickers to mark and record successful settings.
- Write down settings and conditions and experiment until you find the best mix for your boat.
3) Bow Lacing
- Lacing material can be as simple as closeline from the hardware store.
- If you don’t have eyes or a rail already along the base, tie bungie cording between the bottom of your stantions for the base of the lacing. This avoids the need to drill holes for anchor points.
- “V” and Diamond lacing patterns are most common – if you run straight lines, space them 12-18 inches apart.
4) Setting an offboard lead
- Use an extra winch to control the new sheet after it’s attached before you release the old sheet.
- Make a tweaker line with a snap shackle and a snatch block to control the leech of the sail.
Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 to get a step-by-step look at reefing your mainsail and performing headsail changes.