posted 30 November 1999 05:13 PM
After consulting the Sonata internet site I hope you can assist us on the following.
Since five years we are sailing a Hunter Sonata at the local lakes in Holland. So far no problems. So far reasonable results. In order to get better performance we did some modifications to the boat. (i.e. install spinnaker gear etc). Also we took note of the home page of the Sonata Club on the Internet and gained interesting tips.
Still we have problems with the lack of tension on the frontstay/frontside of the genoa. We use a winch to tension the genoa during hoisting using stretch free rope. The mast however is quite weak (it easily bends) so it is hard to get the stay or the genoa under tension . It was suggested to apply running stays during upwind course but this is a lot of hassle.(also not allowed acc. Sonata rules…) Are you aware of this “problem” ie normal typical Sonata or do you know a solution to resolve this?
Secondly since our boat is about 20 years old, the connection between mast and boom (don’t know the exact word, in Dutch: lummel beslag) is heavily worn. After consulting many shops we could not get a similar or identical part. Current part has been fabricated by Gib. Do you know a shop where this part is available????
Hopefully someone can assist us on the above.
Thank you for your help.
Dennis van Gelder
30 November 1999 05:19 PM
It’s really good to hear from one of the Sonatas in the Netherlands. If you know other Sonata people there, then please put us in touch.
I’m not the greatest expert but I’ll give my own opinion on your questions and hopefully others will also comment.
Firstly, lets be clear about the difference between tension in the forestay and the tension in the luff of the genoa. Tension in the forestay is produced by tension in the mainsheet or in the backstay. Tension in the luff of the genoa is produced by tension in the genoa halyard.
In medium and light winds it is a big mistake to have too much tension in the genoa halyard because it pulls the curve of the sail too far forwards. In my opinion, it’s better to be too slack than too tight – just showing horizontal wrinkles along the front of the sail or just tight enough so no wrinkles. You won’t need a winch for this. In stronger winds, when you are over-powered, you can tighten the halyard up a bit more.
The forestay tension is a bit more difficult. Yes – it’s a well known ‘feature’ of the Sonata that the forestay is often too slack in stronger winds. This is because the shrouds are in-line with the mast and they don’t help to tighten the forestay. It helps to have the genoa cut by a sailmaker who understands how much the forestay is going to sag.
It’s important to have a powerful set of blocks on the backstay (6:1) and for the helm or a crew member to be able to adjust it from their normal position. We leave the backstay fairly slack in light and medium winds and the normal use of the mainsheet pulls the mast back and applies forestay tension automatically. As the wind rises, we apply more and more backstay tension. The backstay tension tightens the forestay (good in stronger winds) and bends the mast (also good in stronger winds). Most Sonata masts are a little too bendy so you can’t get the forestay as tight as you would like but you just have to accept that.
I think I can guess the English equivalent of ‘lummel beslag’ but I’m not surprised you had difficulty with the translation – it’s ‘goose-neck’. Our aluminium gooseneck broke last year and we had a new one fabricated in stainless steel by a small local engineering company. We just took the old one along and explained the problem. The new one is better than the old.
I hope you understand my English sailing terms.
26 March 2000 10:56 AM
More sailing tips for the Sonata can be found on Steve Goacher’s website. The Sonata is one of the featured ‘one-designs’.
Steve is the current Sonata National Champion