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Shroud Tension — a game of millimeters

Race Details

  • Wind: 9-10 gusting 15 WSW
  • Course: 14S-1-7-1-14F
Course Map

A stunning warm summer evening with not a cloud in sight, and a big full moon rising just after sunset.  For the last race in June we couldn’t ask for more….except perhaps a do-over on the shroud adjustment.

There were conflicting forecasts, and when we arrived at the boat, the breeze was pretty soft.  So Bert and I dialed down the shrouds to something softer, suitable for 0-8 knots.  In the pre-start, there were some gusts well above ten knots but we set the #1.  It was the wrong combination.  With soft shrouds, the deep #1 genoa powered up and we couldn’t point.  Right off the start, I could feel something was wrong and we slipped to leeward of the line all the other boats were carrying — in stark contrast to other nights when we were able to hold our lane with the J35s in similar conditions.

Sure enough, by the windward mark, we were astern of the fleet.  A great hoist and jibe with Michael on the foredeck  got us approaching the leeward mark with the inside lane on Battlewagon and a flotilla of large white-sail boats.  I was hoping that would give us an advantage on the upwind, but our friends on Battlewagon were just able to pull clear ahead and round ahead of us.

We tacked away toward clear air, and by now we had changed the headsail to the #2, and we were able to sail upwind with much better balance, but we were under-powered in the lulls.  Looking back, the right move would have been to leave the #1 headsail in place, and harden the shrouds instead.

Lesson learned!  In case you are wondering how much we loosened the shrouds:  4 mm for the uppers, 3mm for the mids, and 2mm for the lowers.  Some races are just won and lost at the docks 🙁

Never mind!  Back in port, just as we finished putting the sails away, Squirrel arrived with a cart full of wood, tools and screws.  Just after dark, le voila!  PERSPECTIVE has a table:


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