After the 2014 season I felt it was time to try some changes to the Solo. We had been closely watching the Finn fleet since the 2012 games and the Golden sails that were being used certainly caught our eye.
Last winter I spoke with Dave Winder and decided to buy two Mk2 bare hulls and fit them out myself. I wanted set one up with standard kit (Complete Winder boat with HD Radial Laminate mainsail) and the other with modifications. This way I could get a real understanding by two boat tuning of what was working and what wasn’t. Continue reading “Golden Solo Sail”
Will asked me to write a bit on the differences between the OK and the Solo. I first sailed OK’s back in 2003 and was still sailing the Solo as well. Trying to get to grips with the OK highlighted a few areas that I could improve in the Solo.
The OK’s hard chine means it reacts much more to changes in heel angle and the raked rudder feeds back much more to the helm. Getting an OK downwind quickly requires a more subtle approach to body movement and sail trim. Using the rudder to change direction has a much more detrimental effect on speed in the OK. When I got back into the Solo after a couple of years in an OK, I’d gained a few kilos, but found I was quicker downwind, than I had been. I was using mainsheet trim and heel much more and letting the rudder follow the boat rather than trying to muscle the boat downwind.
The OK rules don’t allow the mainsheet to be trimmed from the boom downwind. The mainsheet has to be taken from the last block in the system. Along with jury boats at most big events, it’s largely removed the issue with 1-1 pumping, that many single handers suffer from. It’s also a lot more civilised! To me, it feels a lot more like a true test of skill to get an OK downwind quickly. Perhaps it’s something the Solo’s could try?
The OK mast foot and mast gate positions are easily adjustable on the water, so it’s fairly straight forward to tweak and test different set ups. Many people have a range of foot and gate positions to suit each condition. The basics are move the mast foot away from the board to go lower and faster in breeze and towards the board for more height / power in lighter conditions. I’m convinced this is an area that is worth exploiting in the Solo and did start to move the mast around in the boat for different conditions. I didn’t do enough Solo sailing to properly prove or disprove whether it worked, but did get to the point where I had enough range in the Solo rig to be able to sail upwind with the board fully down in all conditions.
Most OKs have toe strap mountings that are adjustable athwartships. I couldn’t believe how bloody painful it was when they were in the wrong place! A bit of fiddling to get my knees lined up with the side deck pads and hiking was almost pleasurable. Getting back into a Solo and not being able to shift the anchor points didn’t do much to cheer me up when my knees were screaming at me.
The OK’s don’t allow slot gaskets, so there’s a significant amount of turbulence in the case. Downwind it’s fastest to raise enough board so that the trailing edge just meets the back of the case. The reduction in turbulence more than makes up for the extra peril of only having enough board sticking out to stand on. It’s a good motivator to sort out being really precise with steering and trim downwind. In the Solo the gain isn’t as significant, but I’m certain there’s some.
Upwind the OK is very sensitive to mainsheet tension – a couple of clicks of the ratchet block can all that’s needed to go from slow to fast. Being able to accurately control and repeat leech tension is essential to having consistent speed. When I got back in the Solo, I calibrated traveller, kicker and mainsheet and started to build up settings for each condition. It definitely helped being able to get off the start line knowing I was on tested settings and knowing where to make a change if I needed more height or speed. I still haven’t found a way to avoid having to work hard to go fast though!
This months Yachts and Yachting has Andy Davis sailing his Solo at the 2012 National Championships on the front cover. A great photo with the Mount in the background. Andy went on to win the week with a race to spare in his Winder MK2 hull, Selden D+ rig and HD Radial laminate Mainsail.
This Weekend saw the Solo fleet descend onto Farmoor Reservoir for the Spring Championships. It was still cold but at least the sun was out.
The forecast gave out 8-10 knots from the north east, the wind was up and down but probably from nearly every direction, it certainly made difficult sailing conditions and surely gave the race officer a headache with the amount of general recalls.
With the sailing similar to snakes and ladders it went down to the last race between a number of sailors, Charlie Cumbley went on to take the win with Andy Davis second, John Clarke third and John Blundell 4th.
Another good regatta for HD Sails with two sails in the top four and good to see John Blundell in his new Winder MK2 going quick straight out of the box.
Andy Davis wins the Solo Nationals with a race to spare at Mounts Bay Sailing Club.
The week started off with a light on shore breeze, Andy using the Radial Laminate mainsail with HD custom carbon battens won the start and lead to the windward mark, Andy then went on to win the first race by a comfortable margin, a great starter for the series.
Andy showed great consistency throughout the rest of the week with only having two races out of the top of 4, as the week progressed so did the wind, on the last day Andy only needed to finish within four places of Charlie Cumbley. In the penultimate race Andy rounded the windward mark in the early teens, using superb pace Andy sailed through to 2nd over the three lap race in a 20 knots. This gave Andy the 2012 title, this is the second time Andy has won the Solo Nationals.
A big thank you to Winder Boats for lending Andy a Solo, Andy used the Winder mark 2 Solo and Selden D+ mast.
Check out our You Tube Chanel for video taken by Will Loy at the event.
For more information on our HD Solo sails please contact Andy or Jim on 0121 356 2175