Above 5 knots
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: East Stroudsburg, PA
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Re: Racing a Spirit 23
I'd wager since the Spirit 23 is masthead... being able to control headstay sag (with backstay tension) is a biggy. Lots of sag to power up, tighten to point and when you need to depower. Headsail likely matters more than main... sailing with a bubble in the main as the winds pipe up is likely a configuration that will look weird, but yield more speed. Also I strongly recommend even a cheapo knotmeter. SOG (GPS/Phone) isn't real accurate (it doesn't update quickly enough), but a good old fashioned analog paddlewheel even tied to a modern digital display (turn damping way down by the way), can show you instant speed changes as you mess with trim, giving you Speed Over Water (SOW).
Also, along with a vang, is either a topping lift, or better a boom kicker (kickers are cheap - like $150 cheap). What that does is allows you to vang on, to lock the boom down to a height you want, that even in light air the boom will rise to where you want it as well. Think of the kicker and the vang working to hold the boom at the height you want. Top lift will also work, but to me I was never happy using the top lift that way, it was always messing with the roach of the main. In light air a little twist off of the top sometimes works great with the traveler above centerline upwind. Keep in mind the bulk of the leach of the main must be below centerline (you are looking to parallel the top batten with the boom - in most cases).
We've had a few Spirit 23s come and go at our local club... I prefer it over the Cat 22, and Precision 23, it "looks" faster.
Displacement hulls you can usually add waterline with weight. There is of course a point of diminishing returns on that (heavy is slow)... If your crew is light on their feet, and understands how to hold still, and shift weight with tacks, you can choreograph excellent roll tacks in light air, with a finish of just the right amount of heel.
MINI MOO, a 1983 Wavelength 24 - she's a fast cow!