How Prepared is Your Boat

You need a fast and well-prepared boat in order to win! You should care for and maintain your boat: there is rarely an excuse for gear failure. Examine the class rules carefully and make sure you take advantage of any possible improvements you can make (reducing weight, making control systems easy to operate) but stay in class! You certainly do not want a disqualification for being out of class. In a nutshell you need to be racing with:

• the lightest, stiffest and smoothest hull;

• the best spars, sails and foils for the prevailing conditions (these may be relative to your bodyweight); and

• easy-to-operate control systems in an effective layout.

Wash the boat so it is clean and dry. Make any repairs and polish once every 100 days. Boats do have a limited life, but you can extend this by storing them carefully and trailing them conscientiously. Make preparations to replace a hull before it is worn out (in case there are any delays in getting the replacement boat!).

Foils should be sanded and may be polished. Use a coarse paper and work down (for example, 400, 800, 1200, 1600 grit). Finish with some fine rubbing compound. You can minimise the wear to foils, hulls AND spars by keeping them covered up as much as possible.

Spars do break, so it is vital to have a spare set for which you know the measurements. If you find spars you like (and can afford to do so), buy two with the same measurements.

What is good for one person is not necessarily good for another. You need to minimise the friction in a system, and get the compromise between the amount of rope you have to pull on and how hard it is to pull. Be especially careful to make sure you can get the maximum and minimum settings without a system bottoming out (when two blocks touch and prevent further movement).

You may well have to do lots of testing to decide which gear you want to use. If you do not have this time, you may be better using kit you are used to and can train with regularly. It is rarely a good idea to start using new kit just before a championship.

If you are chartering, get to the venue early and get familiar with the boat you will be racing. You could take your own customised bits and pieces.

Even in one-design boats there are small differences in equipment. If possible (time and budget?) obtain several masts and sails and test them to find a favourite. You may need to pool resources with people at your local club, allowing the heaviest sailor the stiffest mast and fullest sail, etc...

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