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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This year I have really gotten into racing in a friend's Sweden 36. We are in the racing class (usually leading the pack) so I have been surrounded by good sailors and have learned a lot.

I am wondering who here has/does race their Spirit 23? (Silverado you mentioned in a post you do. Often? What class?).

What is the Spirit 23 rated? I am guessing around 270?

What sorts of upgrades/tweaks have you done to help your rig go?

How are your winches and lines?

What else???

Photos would be awesome!
 

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The Spirit 21' will never be quick- only about 5 knots due to hull speed limitations. Nothing major, mainly tuning items are being done like adding a boom vang, adjustable back stay, whisker pole and maybe new performance sails next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Spirit 23 is not much faster. I believe the hull speed is 5.9. In non-matched racing though the top speed is not necessarily the the issue, it is getting your boat efficiently to hull speed and maintaining it. The races I do use the PHRF system so even a small boat that takes an hour longer to cross the finish line may have a chance (I have seen that happen actually, came in second by a couple seconds on correction).

Thus far I have not had Zippey out racing though :(. Her bottom is a mass of growth currently and the boatyards machines are not working. Soon though! After she splashes again I am going to enter some of the "beer can" races and see how I can do. I know I need new sails, that is the next "major item" on the list. Getting rid of that triangle at the end of the boom should probably be on my short list too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After a season of racing (lightly) racing Zippey and doing some other performance tuning I wanted to toss an update in here for anyone else who runs across this topic.

The sail configuration I was working with was a standard (and very old) mainsail and a 100% jib in good condition.
I did pick up a lightweight 160% drifter but I never did use it in a race.

Here are some of the things I tweaked to improve performance:
- Free footed the main. My mainsail had the foot running in a track on the boom. Free footing the main allowed me to control the shape better and achieve higher upwind angles.
- Put a block on the main outhaul. Allowed me to control the outhaul tension a lot easier, especially when the main was up.
- Added a vang. If I had to point to any one thing that improved performance the vang would be it! Without the vang the boom would lift and spill wind as the wind increased or angle changed. The vang helps keep that power in the sail.
- Cunningham/downhaul on the main. This again helped with the mainsail shape. Quite dramatically in fact.
- Added telltales to both sails. Telltales help visualize the wind across the sails and optimize trim.
- Use an app on my phone to gauge speed. Zippey has no electronics. Knowing how trim changes affected the boat speed is critical.
- Got the rig properly tuned with the help of a tuning tool and a friend who has tuned many other boats.

Something interesting I found was that the headsail likes to be played loose. Other boats I race on like it sucked in tight but inevitably when this happened Zippey would slow down and helm would lose control.

Hope that helps for anyone else looking to create more performance or race their Spirit 23!
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@SHNOOL some good notes there. The backstay is split at the end which would also lend itself well to a backstay tensioner. I was going to install one as well but @Jwasserman has the boat now. With the rig properly tensioned the forestay stayed in place pretty well with the 100% sail up. Could always eek a little more performance though!
 

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Saw after my post that the boat was gone... But backstay tension is also "lack" of tension. Meaning allow the mast to come forward some, creating headstay sag. If the luff has a decidedly curved shape to it upwind in light air, it can be a much more powerful shape, drawing raw HP upwind, as penalty, it of course will take away some point, but you must move to point, so you may ultimately get it back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am not sure what you mean by "backstay tension is also a 'lack' of tension". If you have a backstay tension adjuster you can tighten it up during the upwind legs. This makes the forestay tighter and gets rid of any potential sag. It will allow the boat to point higher as it is capturing the wind more efficiently. On the downwind leg you want to ease the backstay tensioner off to create a more powerful surface for the wind to push against. Simple (relatively) physics. Upwind your sails foil, downwind they dam.
 

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If your backstay is off (eased), you can create "lack of tension." Sometimes a huge help when you can't buy a knot of wind.
Don't take my word for it.
Optimize for light air
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ah yes, makes sense now. There was a word missing :).

In the pacific northwest there are a lot of light wind drifter races in the summer. Personally I prefer using the halyard in those cases to move the belly of the sail. That keeps the leading edge pretty straight for pointing still and provides more draft to power up. I will have to experiment some with forestay sag and see if I can get the same performance. I like VMG, and often even if my boat is moving slower I still get there first simply due to having much less ground to cover. Light winds are like a chess match though, every one of them is different. That is part of what makes racing so exciting!
 

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FWIW -especially in light air sailing - but applies to all wind velocities - setting up the correct slot-open distance (the distance between the leech of the jib to mainsail) is critical for optimum output performance. For small boats especially, using 'athwartship' jib fairlead travellers, are the best way to optimize the 'slot open distance', but in/out barberhaulers on the jib clew, etc. can be used in their place.
How to set-up: After adjusting and optimizing the flow across the sails by observing the telltales and the speedo (get the max speed and/or VMG), bring the jib clew in or out (vs. the slot open distance) while watching the speedo (or VMG) for maximum values .... and while ignoring any so-called developing 'backwinding' at the luff of the mainsail.

Also Explained on p.3 of http://www.ftp.tognews.com/Publications/Arvel Gentry Articles/10_Sailing_to_Windward.pdf
.... also look for 'bootstrapping' in this article and the adjacent 09- & 11- articles at Index of /Publications/Arvel Gentry Articles.
 
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