After yet another Friday racing on the Forth (aptly named) I return to the clubhouse, dejected again after the usual 3 GK24s finish ahead. What’s even more upsetting is the ‘Cowes Week Winner’ flag over the bar.
As Dalgety Bays 2nd Sonata why can’t I manage to finish a race with a GK even in sight ?
I have a new rig (thanks again Phil Evans), I follow every one of Steve Goachers hints to the letter (with the possible exception of hanging on to the No. 1 until the “bitter end”) and the boat has been rid of all non-essential items.
With even handicaps shouldn’t a Sonata be able to compete ? Where do we have an advantage over the GKs (if any) ? Upwind, downwind, light airs ? Can anyone help me out……..so that I can pick my next day to race them ?
Either that or “Neil, what are you doing next Friday night?”
Any help would be much appreciated as I feel such a let down to the Sonata Community.
This is not an answer, sorry, but some observations. If you are following Goacher’s tips, I have little doubt that you are setting up the boat, with its many variables, pretty well. What Steve can’t describe is how he steers the boat, and is the area which I spend many hours trying to come to grips with.
The Sonata will sail very close to the wind, but at the cost of boat speed. Being freed off enough to get good boat speed without losing ground to windward takes tremendous judgement, I certainly still havn’t got it nearly right, but it is obvious Goacher has. I suspect he gets his tacking points just right too, no wasted tacks, just making the mark every time.
I have also found that oversheeting the main acts like a brake, and to a lesser degree, so does really hardening up the Genoa. Now this may be a feature of the sails on my boat, but as a result I don’t use the winches for hardening up (although I’m quite strong). If I really haul in the genoa sheet, the sail will be tight against the shroud. I ease it from this position a fraction, whilst still trying to maintain good pointing. Checking the ETA function of my GPS, set to a long distance waypoint, gives me a very quick indicator as to whether I am going quicker or not. On my boat at least, the improvement in speed is very noticeable.
Please note, You would certainly beat me in a race, because I am primarily a cruiser, and sail large distances single-handed just for the pleasure of travelling under sail. People like me are less picky about performance, but I do fiddle and tweak, and these might be areas you could usefully look at.
The GPS trick is useful. Set a waypoint hundreds of miles away, and choose go to, and any tiny change in speed will have a noticeable effect on the ETA. Naturally you need steady wind conditions for this to be accurate, but it works for me!
If you have a GPS then use the Speed over Ground display”SOG”, and then sail the boat with differing sail trim and mark the sheets and angles when you have found what you are looking for!
Then sail against a sonata on the same tack and try your new settings, and worked for me.
Thanks for all the help.
Hopefully be a little more competitive for the next series…….
It seems that it’s not just Sonata sailors who read this forum. Here is the text of an email I received from one of those GK24 sailors:
As I’m not a member of the Sonata club I would appreciate it if you could add this comment onto Stewart shearer’s 23 June 2003.
As the owner of one of the GK24’s that Stewart can’t catch, I have a few pointers to assist him.
1:- Check the tide state, as the River Forth is very tidal, even down at Dalgety Bay sailing club.
2:- Get out in all weathers and practice with regular crew
3:- Get to the start line on time.
4:- Get stuck into the fleet on the start line to show them who’s boss.
5:- Fly the spinnaker at every opportunity and be efficient with its use.
6:- Know your local waters, backedies, rocks etc.
7:- Don’t race the boat in front of you because you should be in front of him on handicap
8:- Know the racing rules and don’t be bulled at the marks, If you have rights exercise them, be aggressive.
9:- Use local events to practice and we’ll see you up at Port Edgar for the Carl Dyson & winter series.
As a new member to the club and to racing you have done exceedingly well so far. Keep up the good work as we GK24’s like the competition. We have all been in your position at some point. Fellow competitors have assisted with tips that they may have regretted when you beat them one day. As a club we like to encourage more yachts into local “round the can” races, so see you out on the river for round 2 of the summer Friday night series.
PS even “SO” has been known to get beaten by a GK.
(GK24 Going Koncern)