Looking for Speed in Light Air at Cedar Point J/70 Regatta

 

By Marty Kullman, Quantum Sails and Judah Rubin, Trimmer

 

The Cedar Point Yacht Club (CPYC) One-Design Regatta in Westport, CT was our team’s first regatta in the J/70 Touch2Play and we walked away pleased with our performance and second place finish. Sailing with me was Judah Rubin as trimmer. Our goal for the weekend was to learn what the boat likes in order to sail her fast.

 

 

On Saturday we had four very light air races. We set the forestay to max length, which just put us a few millimeters short of the tuning guide. I was surprised at how little helm the boat has at that forestay setting. The Quantum-recommended forestay setting is a few inches longer than other sail makers’ setting making me wonder why there is such a difference in set up. Our first few races we focused on jib trim and trying different lead settings with different inhaler amounts. In the really light air we did not have a good sense of what was better. We need more time in the light air to really get a feeling of what works. Here’s what Judah had to say about day one: 

 

“Our theory going into the regatta was that we could generally sail with more inhauler.  After race one and two in the light conditions, we just simply couldn't.  We were closing off the slot too much, especially given the depth of the main.  That said, I tried to go lead forward to compensate for the use of less inhauler which generally induces depth in the foot of the jib. Staying lead aft without inhauler will just leave the jib with too straight a foot setup and way too twisted and open on the leach up high.  

 

“I will say part of the problem during races one and two, was that it was so light that it's hard to set up anything in concrete terms. My take away is that we needed to be much more aggressive in terms of changes in setup in the light to search for what was going to work best. I certainly know more now than I did before the regatta on that subject.  

 

“In races three and four of Saturday, we had better, more consistent pressure. With the headstay shorter and the lead crept further back in the track, we could then go to more inhauler, resulting in a more decent profile of a fully powered up jib from top to bottom.

 

“Final numbers on Saturday were jib lead settings showing 6 or 7 holes aft and inhauler within 2 inches of the cabin (although I'd like to look at any pictures to confirm). Halyard settings fluctuated throughout the day although in general I starting using more and more halyard tension once I could get the jib set up properly top to bottom. When we were struggling with pace, I tended to be a little lighter on halyard to induce depth, power, etc. In hindsight, I was probably compensating for improper setup.”

 

On Sunday the winds were stronger starting the day in eights knots and ending in thirteen knots. We continued to work with the jib trim. The jib was very sensitive to jib halyard and windward sheeting. We did not have any marks on the boat to be able to replicate settings so on the next regatta we will have settings on the halyard and on the deck just before the jib sheet exit block. With these deck marks we can put a mark on the leeward sheet and windward sheet enabling us to replicate setting from side to side. Our settings on Sunday were really good we won all the races and felt we had found the sweet spot on jib trim. Here’s Judah’s take on the second day.

 

“Day two was more straight forward especially since we had another 2-3 knots of pressure to work with. Jib leads showing 6 holes aft. Firm halyard tension (few, no wrinkles). Started working on technique for trimming out of the tack. Since we could sail with a fair amount of inhauler on (I'd say close to the deck and fairly tight sheet), I really wanted to be able to start pulling inhauler on as we were completing the tack. If I didn't, the foot was too straight exiting the tack and we didn't accelerate as well. I settled on getting the jib sheet trimmed to within 2-3 inches of where I wanted it be and simultaneously pulling weather sheet on as I finished the job trim. 

 

“If I pushed the lead forward to avoid having too straight a foot at max sheet setting then it would have been too deep by the time I put inhauler on. Given the conditions (8-10 knots and flat water), we could stand to inhaul a fair amount and I erred to potentially having a straight foot until I could get the inhauler on instead of too deep and a closed off leach up high.  

 

“This whole setup was aided by our ability to keep the slot open with a flatter main setup for the conditions. Vang sheeting and backstay with traveler up seemed to be a good compliment to this. We both saw the effect of playing the vang in those conditions. I think there is much more to learn and gain here especially as more time is spent in uprange conditions. It will be interesting to see what is going to work best as we transition to more pressure upwind especially with more lumpy sea state.”  

 

Our goals for the next regatta is to build a database of setting based on conditions and make sure we document the things about the boat we learn.

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