It is a year now since last Airlie race week where we learned so much about the boat.. We felt the cabin was causing a rig dynamic problem not apparent on the flat decks as we could not match the J7 upwind over 10K. We moved the mast step aft which allowed us to get rid of some rake, back to where Dan advised, reduced working sail area to just under 25M as we have a light crew of 270Kg.
With help from Vaughan at Norths we tuned the mast which was a mess, difficult to stop the excessive pre bend we were using. Got rid of the adjustable caps, went for simple and put back to Dans original cap design.
This was all good but were still not right upwind it had to be a crew problem. It is funny how unexpected help can occur and came in the form of Raw Prawn at Mooloolaba. The penny dropped when we saw the photos of our 2 boats together and Damian with a crew weight of over 400kg against our 270kg.
It is hard to find photos of boats sailing upwind, There had to be some reason why the Audi Shaw is almost unbeatable, in 6M class, it is no different than the other Shaws, We found a few pics, it was obvious how superior they sailed their boat upwind in any pressure.
We went to Airlie with a new outlook on how to sail the boat, we are quick in our Blazer23 but that style was wrong for Slingshot.
We had no experience of skiff sailing, was all strange, we thought we would be low but didnt seem to be, we had no experience of this style of steering but adapted, we could now hike hard and make a difference, was brilliant, we now understood how Slingshot worked.
Dan designed Slingshot to be a complying CBH boat and did a fantastic job, It took me a year to understand just how good.
Airlie was one of the best regattas I have ever sailed, we sailed in Trailable fleet which had 10 8M class boats, We matched the boats up wind and had a whisker more height but all very even, the only place we could claw back some time for our higher handicap was with our very superior off wind pace.
The 6 days were SE20/33K mostly 25/33K, We did not have a reef which would have helped. The boat reveled in the strong winds, the main only inverted in the strongest gusts, generally we used our fractional assey, and every day we had incredible rides. On the thursday off pioneer rocks in recorded 30/33K against the tide our 6th jibe didnt work spun down and took 5min before we were off again. with only a 90kg bulb the boat was safe, and puck had us doing 4K against the tide, this boat is fast it does 6K laying down going sideways.
There was lots of pics posted from other boats of us sending it big time, was hard to get the grins off our faces.
We were pushed into SMS earlier which was unfortunate, there is no allowance in SMS for the wind drag of the higher hull, cabin and space of cabin where the jib should be. Was great to race CBH we belong there and will never race SMS again except maybe Bay 2 Bay.
If you are not keen on the ASBA W/Return form of racing, and want to race CBH with a spirited fun machine Dans the Man.
Hope to see the new boats at St Helena Cup be nice if it is SE 25/30K.