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@kgough wrote:

I wonder if anyone can advise a racing beginner. My club doesn’t have a wayfarer fleet so I’m usually chasing Lasers, Albacores, Phantom’s and a buch of different RS’s. The Albacore and Phanton are very good and I’m gauging myself against them. We had a couple of really good starts last year but they came to nothing. We are reasonably fast downwind (even without a spinnaker) but upwind we are rubbish. We don’t point anything like as high as either the Albacore or Phantom ….

I plan to fit a cunningham – I’m hoping that it will make a big difference to the overpowered problem so that we can get the boat a bit flatter and sheet the main in a bit – we often have to spill like mad to keep it under control. Any other tips for getting us upwind? Do I really have to change the sheeting?

I’m currently only trying to get in the same ballpark so I’m trying to work out what changes are absolutely necessary and which I can afford to leave for later years. Keith

At our club we are often fairly equal with the Albacores. As others have said, you need good rig tension, genoa sheeted on tracks on the seats, and a 16:1 kicker led back to the helm (I would suggest as in drawing #1 in http://www.wayfarer-international.org/WIT/race.related/RiggingTips/UncleAl/VangOuthaul/VangAlternatives.htm but with only a 4:1 at the bottom). You will need a transom bridle + centre main system for racing as you need to cleat the mainsheet to do the spinnaker, plus it controls the sail shape better. Also you should have a racing shape centreboard. The cunningham and tension gauge will make little difference. Make packing pieces (chocks) from sheet plastic or plywood. Check that the mast has 1 to 1.5 inches of prebend.

If there is a fair breeze you will need the highfield lever very tight. However the tension in the genoa luff sailcloth (not the wire) should not be too tight – adjust the string at the tack so that the cloth is able to be pulled down about another 1cm when pulled down by hand. The genoa sheet position/tension needs to vary with the conditions. Mark the sheets and adjust using the telltales.

The mainsheet/kicker are some of the main things that affect pointing (which is why they should be top of your list with the genoa tracks for upgrading), as they control the mainsail leech. In medium winds the boom needs to be centered upwind and the kicker tightened to bring in the mainsail leech until the leech telltales start to collapse.

@kgough wrote:

…and we are often very overpowered. Keith

A centre main with a cleat and ratchet block will help with the load on the mainsheet. As the wind rises upwind it is important to keep the boat level, and not “on it’s ear” which is slow and makes lots of leeway. Flatten the main by using the 16:1 kicker to bend the mast. Then gradually ease the main and genoa, and keep the boat pointing up.