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  #1  
Old 10-13-2009
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Question Load Balance ...

I crew on a Pearson Flyer (30 footer). We have done pretty well over the last few years in Jib `n Main so we moved up to the spinnaker division this year. Our overall performance was rather disappointing.

We have three Pearson Flyers that race regularly at out club. One in JAM, one in spinnaker and us. We were always on the stern of the JAM boat. This year we can barely keep the spinnaker boat in sight far ahead of us.

The skipper has replaced the baggy main with hi-tech. The sail maker has been out to tune the rig and we are using a barber haul to adjust the slot (the other boats have dual genny tracks).

I have noticed that the other boats seem to position crew differently than us on any given tack. Our people head for the high side (or low) to control/induce angle of heel but we don't do anything regarding positioning crew fore or aft. I think correcting this failure might be a key to better overall performance.

Are there any “general rules” on where to position crew (fore or aft) on any given tack?
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2009
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There are several racer guys around here that can answer your question - GeorgeB, Tommays, Nicholson, Blt2ski, etc. just to name a few.

I ain't one of them. But I am interested in the feedback.
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Old 10-13-2009
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I am not an expert on this boat but in downwind legs moving weight back will help to keep the bow out of the water and should increase speed.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teddier1 View Post
I am not an expert on this boat but in downwind legs moving weight back will help to keep the bow out of the water and should increase speed.
Unless you're planing that'll just slow you down.

As always, there's never a simple answer that's correct 100% of the time. However, the easy answer is keep the boat flat with the weight over the keel. Sometimes in light air you can consider heeling the boat to weather a bit (assuming you have enough crew to make it happen) but that really depends on your hull shape and it being 100% clean. Theory is that it'll help keep the spinnaker full and gets a bit more of the main's surface area higher off the water too, but the big gain is from extending your waterline (see hull shape comment).

Does your spin trimmer know what he/she is doing? Is the helm steering too low? I wouldn't sail DDW on a sym boat in less than 15kt and wouldn't sail any lower than a sniff below a beam reach in less than 5kt - you'll make more progress downwind thatn you think since the angle between your apparent wind and true wind will be very wide.

Anyway: keep the weight in the middle of the boat, keep the spin pole square to the windex, and don't go DDW unless you absolutely have to
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Old 10-13-2009
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Am I correct in assuming that you are a mid fleet boat in JAM and back of the pack in spin? Weight trimming alone won’t propel you to front, but you definitely can’t get there without it. First off, all weight is bad. Weight that can’t move to the rail is even worse. See what you guys can remove in the way of cruising brick-r-brack. I would routinely off load between 200 and 400 Lbs of cruising junk on my C34 before races (weighed everything on a bathroom scale and I was shocked at the numbers). Replace the anchor with an aluminum Fortress. Pump out all the water tanks. Never carry more than a half tank of fuel. On light air days, go with the minimal crew. Move all fixed weight like anchors to the middle of the boat. Bow (v-berth) and stern lazarettes should contain air only. Make the ends as light as possible.

Now start moving the crew around. Crew should be on the rail, after tacking, no more than one trimmer in the cockpit and he should be light. Helmsman should sit as far forward as possible. The transom should be out of the water (problem on sugar scoop boats). The bubble stream should come cleanly off the hull and not “sticking” to lower lip of the transom. You need to experiment and find your boat’s happiest (and fastest) angle of heel and move crew to the low side to maintain heel angle in light winds. Crew should be placed around the boat’s CG – typically between mid boom and mast. Even downwind! Try to maintain heel even with the spinnaker running deep angles. Never let your transom drag in the water. The race boats that have crew in the back while going down wind have an entirely different problem than you as their kites typically overpower their boats by pulling their sterns up and causing rudder stalls. If constant rudder stalls are your problem, then start moving guys back.
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In light air, sailing to windward, I like crew weight to be to leeward, inducing the boat to heel, because it reduces drag somewhat and gravity causes your sails to hang in the curved shape that drives the boat, instead of hanging limp, like a sheet on a clothesline. It also helps keep the boom from swinging from side to side in the light air and boat wakes. Also, I like crew weight to be slightly forward, on the leeward side, at about the shrouds, because it raises some of the boat's fat stern out of the water, reducing wetted surface (which reduces drag).
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Old 10-13-2009
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Looking for the small changes we can make ...

George,

We were consistantly in second or third within the 20+ boat JAM fleet but always behind the other Pearson Flyer. The move to PHRF (spinnaker fleet) has us assigned with an 18 boat section that includes Tarten 10's and the other Pearson Flyer. (this is our mid-week social racing) We are often in 10th-12th place with the other Pearson and the T10's at the front. We consistantly place in the top three during weekend regattas (T10's in their own division and the other Pearson doesn't do weekends).

The Flyer is a pretty bare bones racing boat. I don't think it has an anchor and the only weight we could leave on the dock is the beer cooler and that isn't likely to happen. Our Wednesday crew is big enough that we rotate people off and try to keep the crew at 6 or 7. On weekends we have 4 to 6.

The skipper had high hopes that a new main would solve all his early season problems ... but it hasn't. We do better but not as good as the other Pearson. The crew does a pretty good job of keeping a good heel angle for the given wind direction/speed but we sit fore/aft just about anywhere we find a comfortable spot. I've watch other boat seat their people on the rail differently based on the point of sail.

That is why I think we should look at this balance issue too. The information you and the others are offering is just what I am looking for. Thanks ...
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Old 10-13-2009
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One of the things I have noticed in my 28 years of racing is that spin trimmers are prone to over -trimming. Fast boats are constantly easing the sheet until there is a slight break in the shoulder of the chute and then trimming in slightly until it disappears. Slow boats have the foot of their chute down on the forestay. Another thing I have seen is that the fast boats have a crew boss who moves the crew[ballast] individually to maintain boat trim. The crew boss is usually not the helmsman, he should be focussed on driving the boat. The c.b. is usually not the main trimmer, as he is busy calling lifts and headers.[oh yeah, and trimming the main] The c.b. is a good job for the pit crew , whose job is halyards, runningbackstays, checkstays,etc... He needs to be contantly focussed on the deck instead of the fleet to facilitate the setting and dousing sails efficiently thereby making him the logical choice. Regardless of who you choose , it is important that one person control crew movement or on every puff there will be a race to the windward rail by everyone followed by everyone overcompensating by moving back to leeward. The boat will be continually rolling on it's beam ends and killing speed. While some sport boats do better moving crew aft to climb over their bow wake to initiate a surf, old IOR and your average PHRF boats only increase their wetted surface area doing so which adds drag. Putting the bottom of the transom will only create a speed robbing eddy behind the boat.I've found it best to have regular practice days with my crew. Experiment with boat trim to find the sweet spot on different points of sail at different wind velocities. Move crew to different jobs so they can appreciate what others are doing on racedays. In light air, I've even put the "dogs in the house".[crew down below on the leeward side as close to the hull as possible.]This helps to control the pendulum motion as the hull meets the waves. I would work on being the other P.Flyer's shadow for a while. One of the best ways to learn is to mimic others. as you learn what works well for them , you can begin to sail your own race, but that's hard to do from way back in the fleet.
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Old 10-18-2009
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Are you able to set it and strike it efficiently? Bow about gybing it?

Are the sheets too heavy on light air days?

Do you have a tell tale on the pole so you can easily square it to the wind?

Look for simple stuff like this first.
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Old 10-19-2009
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Spinakker runs OK ...

Hi Jim,

We are doing pretty good with a crisp set and strike. Have both standard and light weight sheets as well as tell tales on the pole. We are getting better at gybing the pole too.

We seem to fall behind most often on the non-spinakker runs and I am starting to look at the other boats to figure out what they might be doing different. I have noticed that other crews are positioned fore/aft with a sense of purpose based on the point of sail. On the other hand, our crew sits on the rail where ever they are comfortable to include being at or forward of the mast when close hauled.

In JAM, we could stay ahead of most boats in our division except the other Pearson Flyer. He was just gone by the time we would hit the windward mark. Same holds true in our spinakker division. The other P/Flyer just walks away from us.
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