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post #1 of 11 Old 08-12-2005 Thread Starter
 
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unrealistic phrf ratings

This is more than likely my last year racing phrf in our local fleet. I race D class with a cruising rating of 219 in my columbia Sabre and am getting smoked by two Catalina 27''s with ratings of 225.
One of the skippers is a complete idiot and loves to make negative coments about how we sail yet as far as I can tell he is a horrible sailor,constantly pinching to the mark and always stalling his sails. I was in a race against him last weekend in which I used my racing rating of 206 and flew a chute for roughly 5 miles, he used his cruising rating of 225 and had his #1 poled out and we barely passed him by the time we fetched the mark.
Has anyone else had this same sort of experience? Is there a way to protest the other boats rating? Its pointless for me to continue paying for races that I cant win unless he screws up on the course.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-12-2005
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unrealistic phrf ratings

A couple thoughts here,

Yes, you can protest your PHRF rating. You would need to demonstrate your case, which means collecting data to support your claim, such as several years of race results and show that the preparation of your boat was optimized (racing bottom, reasonably new sails, and up to date hardware and electronics).

The second part of the problem is the conditions that you are sailing in. The PHRF rating for any given boat is based on the performance of that boat in average wind conditions for the region. Boats like the Catalina do equally well in a very wide range of windspeeds. Regretably, a boat like a Columbia Sabre (with its extreme narrow beam, small sail area to weight, moderately high displacement, short waterline and large wetted surface) really has a very narrow optimum wind range. It is far less competitive at windspeeds that are higher and lower than that optimum windspeed. In most venues this optimum windspeed would be consistent with the average windspeed used for PHRF and so the boat would appear to be faster than it is. It is very hard to make the case that the boat should be re-rated because that average windspeed does not accurately reflect the higher and lower windspeeds that are typically sailed in. (That is one of the arguements for time on time rating and for multiple ratings such as popularized with the now nearly dead IMS rule.)

Another aspect of this is that you cannot judge the accuracy of a rating on any one point of sail. The Phrf rating is suppsoed to reflect the performance of the boat around a course with equal beating, reaching and running legs. Sabres were known to be partularly fast upwind (for their day) and were real duds on downwind legs relative thier upwind performance. The Catalina with its powerful stern sections and generous masthead rig should clean your clock downwind and you should be able to save your time on the upwind legs.

Lastly, 18 seconds a mile is a pretty big difference in speed between two other wise pretty closely rated boats especially if there was enough wind where the Cat 27''s penalty for not carrying the chute would be minimal.

Respectfully,
Jeff



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post #3 of 11 Old 08-13-2005 Thread Starter
 
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unrealistic phrf ratings

I have to say I''m impressed with the Catalinas performance on all points of sail. They seem like their a very forgiving boat to inexperienced sailors.
My Sabre used to point well untill I added a CDI furling system. Now I get alot of headstay sag which kills us upwind. I''m Going to switch back to a Tuff Luff and forgo the furling system altogether taking the 6 second penalty. DO you think this is worth it? My thinking is that it''ll allow me play with halyard tension on the course(the CDI dosent allow you to adjust it underway)and it will get the jib back down on the deck. I will also be able to get a 130 built for light air something I dont have now. How big would you go with genoa on the Sabre?It must be similar to 5.5 meter designs but I wouldent think we''d want to much overlap.
I have made the following improvements specific to racing.
Faired the entire hull
added a Carbon fiber boom.
built two new Doyle(Dacron)Sails.
Wind speed,knot log,depth
New Lewmar traveller.
New hexa ratchet sheeting system.
Dynawarp spin sheets.
Stay set x lite jib sheets.
Maybe the final ansewr is to by a faster boat This is our first year racing but I really thought she''d do alot better than she seems too.
John

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-14-2005
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unrealistic phrf ratings

Headstay sag is a function of the backstay tention, not the halyard tension. You need a backstay adjuster. if you don''t have one, RUN don''t walk to the nearest chandlery and get on installed.

If you have more sag now than you used to, the installer of your furling system my have missed the boat as far as headstay length is concerned. The slightest increase in overall length would have this affect. You may be able to shorten it, this would require refitting the norseman fitting, not a big job but something you should let an experienced rigger do if you are not comfortable with it.

The backstay adjuster will help with a properly tuned rig, but if your headstay is too long, you will end up with excessive backward rake on your mast.

I use a Furlex, which allows me to remove the drum for racing, leaving me with two aft facing slots. I like the fact that it is aluminum, vs the tuff luff plastic. I have been on boats that have had the jib pull out of the groove, once it has been damaged on the T/L system.

If this is your first year racing, do you mean on this boat? Do you have racing experience before this first year? If this is truly your first year racing, don''t spend a ton of money on new toys and stuff, gain some knowledge and put some racing miles under your keel. It could be that the other racers in your fleet have more racing smarts, it takes time. It will also take time to learn what your boat can, and can''t do on a race course.

You could run out, drop $250k+++ on a new Seaquest 36, have the fastest boat (on paper) but not know what side of the course to put her on, how to tune the rig, how to fine tune the sails, and STILL lose the race. I can go out with my 30yo boat, with old sails, and wax the fannies of quite a few boats that are worth 10 times what I have into her, but my 40 years of racing and sailing make up for a whole lot!
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-14-2005
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unrealistic phrf ratings

There are a couple of points here as I see it.

Columbia Sabres were designed to be sailed with 170% genoas. I would suggest if you are serious about racing I would suggest that you get a 155% genoa. These boats were raced with a pretty big sail inventory, typically a a four sail inventory of a 170, 155, 135, and a 98-110. The 170% is no longer legal under PHRF without a huge penalty. I would think that an AP 155% would be a great sail for that boat depending on where you are sailing and the size of your crew.

Before I would go to a Tuff Luff I would use the jib halyard attached directly to the head of the sail rather than the swivel so that you can adjust halyard tension under way. That way you will not incur the 6 second penalty.

The point about the backstay adjuster is right on.

Regards,
Jeff
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-15-2005 Thread Starter
 
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unrealistic phrf ratings

The problem with tightening the headstay is that it induces mast bend(the sabre is a fractional rig)this is also the case with tightening the backstay. In the absence of a jumper stays, swept back spreaders or running backstays I can only get so much tension before bending the mast.
I think that the thick plastic CDI extrusion actually distupts airflow over the leading edge of the sail and just its shear weight causes some initial sag. You make a good point,however,concerning the headstay length. I never checked the new one,built for the furling extrusion, against the old one for length.
I had no idea that Sabers carried that much canvas up front! Doyle recommended a 100% and I belive they built a 110% which is the only jib I have wouldn''t a bigger Genoa mess up her pointing ability?
My comment about halyard tension was a seperate issue than the headstay. The CDI system uses its own internal halyard which is not adjustable underway thus making it impossible for me to change the shape of the sail for different wind speeds/points of sail.
Last year I crewed on a Tartan 41 and we used Halyard tension and outhaul tension all the time to get the last drop of perfomance out of that boat.
This is my first year of racing my own boat
but I''ve been sailing for 20 years and consider myself to be a good sailor. Racing of course is a whole new game and I understand the need for experience but boat for boat sailing even up the course in equal air the Catalina 27 out points me and is slightly faster. Maybe the answer was posted above concering the size of the genoa. Its sounds like I''m not carrying enough sail to meet my phrf rating.
Are their other foils besides the tuff luff that people recommend? I dont really want to purchase a whole new furling system just to obtain an Aluminum foil. I''m also curious what you guys think of ditching the furler? Will I increase my performance enough to warrant the 6 second penalty?Or will I be placing myself further behind?
Thank you for all of your help Im amazed that you folks have even heard of the Sabre their arent alot of them around and I''ve had a lot of trouble getting info on them. We have literally restored the entire boat including rebuilding the interior and re-coring the deck so I''m not ready to get rid of her just yet.
Thanks again,
John
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-15-2005
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unrealistic phrf ratings

A couple more quick thoughts here:
Given the rig geometry on the Sabre, the aft lowers help control forestay tension. By increasing the tenstion on the aft lowers, the amount of bend is somewhat limited in much the same manner as it would be with sweptback spreaders. By tensioning the aft lowers in heavier air a larger proportion of the backstay tension is transfered to the forestay. (You do need to be careful that you do not over tension the aft lowers relative to the forward lower which can ebe checked by sighting up the mast to be sure that you do not invert the mast).

I would stick with the furler because I do not think that you will be getting a 6 seconds a mile benefit from eliminating it. I personally like the plastic tufluffs for a boat like yours but I would suggest that you use your CDI furler in the same manner as you would a tufluff essentially raising and lowering the jib with the jib halyard rather than the integral halyard on the CDI furler.

To answer your question about the genoa, while these larger genoas probably will not point as high as a non-overlapping jib, they should produce a lot more speed and so have much better VMG. In any breeze that sufficient to get the Sabre close to hull speed, Sabres needed to be sailed at comparatively large heel angles in order to increase their water line lengths. This is a bit of a balancing act making the mainsail trimmer the speed controller. A knowledgable trimmer on good backstay tensioner, mainsheet sheet and traveler setup goes a long way.

I sailed on boats like these when they were new, regrettably they were not very forgiving making them really difficult to sail well.

Good luck,
Jeff
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-16-2005 Thread Starter
 
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unrealistic phrf ratings

Its funny you mention how unforgiving these boats are. I had a guy out last week who is a very experienced ocean racer, in fact he placed second in his class in the Halifax race, but he all but stopped us on the course in 20 Knots of wind. We usually do well in that kind of breeze but because of that balancing act you mentioned he had us over trimmed most of the time.
She needs to be at 25 deg, anything more and she gets set, anything less and we slow right down.It''s taken me 4 seasons to learn to sail her well and its still a work in progress.
I had a friend who was interested in buying a Sabre but he had very little sailing experience so I talked him out of it. Its not a good boat to learn on for several reasons,many of them mentioned in this thread, but also she has a potentially dangerous(to the novice)handling characteristic. With her full keel and small rudder she will not turn at slow speeds under power, the boat has to be moving at 2 knots or more. Under sail she cant be sailed with the main only,except off the wind, because she just weather vanes up and wont come back off until the main is eased. When I first purchased her I remember sailing through our mooring field with both sail full and I was getting ready to duck a moored boat but the rudder did nothing to turn us,not an inch, luckily I was familiar with using sails to steer and I dumped the main just in time to avoid a major T-bone.
The trade off is that when she is sailed well and both sails are in tune with one another,I have never felt a more balanced helm. She would sail off into the sunset if you fell overboard when she''s going well.
I frequently get comments from our new racing friends about how we look like we''re standing on our ear when we''re racing but its exactly as you mentioned. She needs to be their to go fast.
Thanks for all of your help
We''ll see how we do this Thursday.
John
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unrealistic phrf ratings

Just a pet peeve of mine, but the traditional definition of a fin keel is any keel whose bottom is 50% or less of the overall length of the boat (sometimes quoted as 50% or less of the length of the sailplan.) If ever there was a boat that was not a full keel, and is precisely a fin keel with an attached rudder, the Saber is that case.

One more point, I don''t know if you know the history of the Saber but in the 1960''s the 5.5 class (then an Olympic class) was considering allowing 5.5''s to be built in fiberglass. Thinking that it seemed like a fait accompli, Columbia tooled up to build a fiberglass 5.5. When the 5.5 class met to finalize the decision to go to glass, fiberglass was voted down. Columbia was stuck with a set of molds for a glass 5.5 meter that could not race in the 5.5 meter class. To minimize the impact they produced a new deck mold for an ''overnighter'' which became the Saber.

Regards,
Jeff
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-16-2005 Thread Starter
 
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unrealistic phrf ratings

Of course by definition your correct about her beeing a fin keel, but I''ve heard people use the term full keel to differentiate the longer wider keel which the Sabre has from todays more modern and much smaller fin keels. Also I would have to say that the keel is longer than 50% of the true waterline but I''ve never actually measured it.
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