Archive Page 2

first beat cheat sheet

the renowned Sunfish sailor Derrick Fries has been collecting data about his sailboat racing for almost 50 years, logging information for his upwind legs and his starts at all of his sailboat races.

photo via http://www.sunfishworlds.org/

photo of Derrick via http://www.sunfishworlds.org/

the amount of data compiled is a bit mind-numbing, to be honest, even for a numbers guy like myself.  sure, maybe the number itself isn’t that staggering, but holy smokes that’s a lot of races sailed in a lifetime.

The result is a huge statistical set: 10,000 windward legs and more than 3,700 starts.

Derrick has written an article discussing his data-logging and research with it for Sailing World – check out the full article here: First-Beat Cheat Sheet.

So conventional wisdom suggests that, all else being equal, you should start at the pin end. My data quantifies that assumption. Of the 3,727 starts in my data bank, 2,646 of them were pin-end-favored — a whopping 71 percent of the time.

I’ve written previously about Derrick Fries here. Derrick is a Sunfish champion and author of  “Successful Sunfish Racing” and “Start Sailing Right“.

today’s tunes: the Grateful Dead’s “Morning Dew” by The National

one of the early releases from ‘Day of the Dead’, a tribute album to the Grateful Dead.

Day of the Dead was created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.  The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead which took four years to record, features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long.  Day of the Dead will be released digitally, on 5 X CD, and as a limited edition vinyl boxed set.  All profits will help fight for AIDS/ HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organization, a 501(c)3.  This is the 20th album of original music produced by Red Hot to further its mission.  Day of the Dead is the follow up to 2009’s Dark Was The Night (4AD), a 32-track, multi-artist compilation also produced by Aaron and Bryce for Red Hot.  Dark Was The Night has raised over $1.5 million for the organizations fighting AIDS to date.

additional information can be found at 4AD’s release.

greater detroit 2016 Sunfish race schedule

the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (GDSC) has released their 2016 Sunfish race schedule (you can find it with additional information posted at their Yahoo Group).  you can also check them out on their Facebook page.

  • May 1st – Maceday Lake (a little over a month away!)
  • May 15th – Watkins Lake
  • June 4th & 5th – Gull Lake Sunfish Open Regatta (details & NOR here)
  • June 12th – Watkins Lake – including a Pre-Race Clinic on Sunfish rigging and tuning by Derrick Fries
  • June 25th & 26th – Tawas Bay State Park & Tawas Bay Yacht Club – a camping & sailing weekend at Tawas Bay on Lake Huron
  • July 31st – U.P. Island Race (details t.b.d.)
  • August 5th – 7th – the US Sunfish Masters will be held this weekend at Gull Lake Yacht Club (details & NOR here)
  • September 3rd & 4th – Tawas Bay – another camping & sailing weekend at Tawas Bay on Lake Huron
  • September 11th – Watkins Lake
  • September 25th – Maceday Lake

all Sunday races start at 12:30pm [uno]

I said this last year (and the year before… and the year before), and didn’t get a chance, but I’m again going to do my best to meet up with this group for some races this year.  it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy summer already, though!

out of the mouths of sailors

  

one regret

  
found on Instagram here: @sailingheals 

upgrades for a Minifish

the recent addition of a Minifish to our fleet required some minor upgrades to make it a little bit easier for my boys to sail. typically with an older Sunfish style boat, it is almost always a good idea to get rid of the old style of mainsheet control, a snub-nosed hook on the wall of the cockpit.

a few recommended upgrades to consider (in no specific order):

  1. a mainsheet ratchet block
  2. a cleat for the mainsheet
  3. a mast cleat
  4. a hiking strap
  5. a tiller extension

our Minifish already had a decent hiking strap, but the other upgrades should be simple enough.

the mast cleat is a horn cleat, screwed onto the mast a couple feet above the deck.  I typically use stainless steel screws, with small pilot holes drilled into the mast.  a small dab of 3m 4200 or caulk helps seal everything up.  the mast cleat allows the majority of the tension on the halyard (the line holding up the sail) to be resisted by the strong aluminum mast, and more importantly – it doesn’t put that very large tension force on the fiberglass deck of the boat.  important note: you should still run the tail of the halyard down through the fairlead on the deck and cleat off the line.  this will prevent the entire sail/mast/booms from falling away from the boat if you do end up tipping over and turtling the boat.

minifish mast cleat_2

the mainsheet controls (a ratchet block and a cam cleat) are a little bit trickier to install on a Minifish, as the cockpit is a bit different style of construction than a Sunfish – there is not a cockpit lip that gives easy access to the underside of the fiberglass at that location.  so you will have to install an inspection port somewhere in close proximity to where you’ll be placing your mainsheet controls. I chose to cut mine in on the deck, off to the side of the daggerboard slot. depending on where you cut the deck, you may run into some of the flotation foam blocks that stiffen the deck – removing a small portion to give you access should not be a concern.

minifish port_2

for the mainsheet ratchet block, I bought a Holt Nautos 57mm block from Intensity Sails.  add a stand-up spring and an eyestrap, and screw it down through the deck – some larger fender washers below the deck are a good idea to help spread out the load.

minifish mainsheet block_2

on the front edge of the cockpit, I install a cam cleat, a Harken H150, in the same location where the old snub-nosed hook used to be.  I like this location for a cam cleat, as it is not really practical to cleat off the mainsheet while hiking out and sailing with decent winds.  but in a lighter breeze, it does give you the option to cleat the mainsheet and grab a drink or just float along one those calmer days.

minifish cleat

lastly, I replaced the old wooden tiller extension with a Ronstan Battlestick.  theses newer tiller extensions have a rubber universal joint – which allows for more degrees of freedom while holding the tiller extension.  the old wooden ones just fastened to the tiller with a single bolt, only really allowing left/right movement.

minifish tiller ext

all told, there are mostly easy and simple upgrades that will make a Minifish (or similarly for a Sunfish) a much nicer sailing experience!

and the end result? happy boys sailing the Minifish!

Noah minifish

 

 

 


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