Hints and Tips

Want to know how those leaders always seem to get the edge on you?

Here are some hints and tips from the National Champions, past and present!

Sail Setting – Nigel Wakefield’s 2009 Inlands masterclass.
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Tuning the Rondar Firefly – 2009 Update – Stuart Hudson

I was recently asked to update my original article on setting up a Rondar Firefly, even though I’m probably going slower now than I was then!! However, there have been a few changes so I’ve re-written /added/taken away where necessary.

Mast Position

This has changed because over the years the mast foot seems to have changed – if you have a very early mast foot in a boat numbered 3600-3650 or so (you’ll know because you jib halyard will come out of the mast just below the gooseneck rather than through the bottom of the mast), then I would have the mast foot either all the way forward, or just 1 hole back.

The next mast foot with an extended foot with 3 pulleys where the jib halyard comes through in boats about 3670 onwards should definitely be 1 hole back and some should be even 2 holes back.

Somewhere this changed again – perhaps when Selden started making the mast – and the newer boats have a notch in the mast plug so you can have 3 pins to secure it. However, the relative position seems to be moved further back. As such, set these masts on the forward-most setting allowed.

Spreaders

I now have the spreaders about 325mm long (measured from side of mast to wire).

Your spreader rake should be approx 125-130mm measured from the back of the mast to a piece of elastic pulled taught between the 2 shrouds.

125mm if you’re on the heavier side and 130mm or even further back if you’re quite light (19st and under).

Shroud Settings

Your shroud settings may be different between Port and Starboard because of the way the boat comes out of the mould – mine is 2 full holes different and higher on Port. To check this, let the mast lie forward so it is resting on the front of the mast gate with the boat on level ground on a light wind day. Start with the shrouds slack and then increase the tension until they are both just taught with the mast still touching the front of the mast gate. This is a good all-round setting for your shrouds.

To further check you are equal on both sides, take the shrouds down a couple of holes and pull the forestay tight, then sight up the aft of the mast along the sail groove – it should be straight up!! If it bends off, then adjust one side to get it to look straight.

Once you’ve done this, ease equally until the mast just touches the front of the mast gate.

Mast rake/Jib Halyard

Mast rake is difficult to measure, but with the new long masts, if your boom is anywhere near the transom on the Rondar, your mast is probably raked too far back and the mast should actually look quite upright in the boat. Another guide is that with my rake adjuster set in the right place it’s quite hard to attach the jib halyard to the hook.

This is a very sensitive adjustment and probably the most important – if you pull too much jib halyard on the mast will be raked too far forward and will easily stall.

If you ease too far the boat will feel underpowered and you’ll struggle to point.

Common Mistakes
  • Shrouds too tight in light winds – slot becomes too closed – brakes applied.
  • Spreaders too long will have the same effect.
  • Jib sheet too tight will have the same effect.

 If your crew weight is heavier (we are 19 ½  stone), or you are lacking power try,  

  • Rig more upright – also may improve pointing, although books will tell you different.
  • Spreader rake further forward.
  • More shroud tension – only above Force 2-3 for reasons given above.
  • Spreaders longer – only above Force 2-3 for reason given earlier. 

Hope the above helps and makes some sense. Personally I’m struggling for consistency at the moment but gearing up for the Warming Pan so see you there!!!

One more piece of advice – if you suddenly find yourself going well and overtaking people effortlessly, make a careful note of where you have everything set and WRITE IT DOWN FOR NEXT TIME!!! (people are very good at pretending not to have a tuning log!)  

Good sailing and good luck (I find I’m needing more of it!) 

Stuart Hudson