Some notes and other useful stuff to have and use.

Sail Shape and Mast Bend

Sailing World published an article by Steve Hunt on sail shape from the mast that is superb.

He speaks of where the speed stripes should line up and when to have more curve in the bottom than in the top and vice versa. Fortunately, with the Etchells, there are plenty of ways to bend that mast to make it work!

Steve also points out the difference between overbend wrinkles and contraction wrinkles in the mainsail.

One trick from a sailmaker: if the luff curve got too deep (and when the sail getting long in the tooth because of overstress) mark where the luff rope exits the bottom of the sail. Then break the binding cord that holds the luff rope in place, pull out an inch of luff rope and restitch the luff rope in place. You can get more life out of the sail that way!

Spinlock Tension Gauge App

Spinlock has a tension gauge called the Rig-Sense Tension Gauge. Jury is still out as to whether it is better or easier to calibrate to the sailmaker tuning guides versus the old PT-2 Loos gauge, but Spinlock did create a nifty FREE app for your phone (Android and iPhone versions available) that doesn't have to be used with the new tension gauge. It has a well thought-out matrix that allows settings to be entered and stored. Think of it as a quick notes to retain and test fast settings. You can even email them to better track when back ashore and trying to remember what the base setting was that day and how many turns were made to the stays...!

Sailing World reviewed the gauge, and Spinlock published an instruction guide with the app. Check it out and add it to your phone...pretty nifty! One excellent suggestion from Spinlock was to mark shrouds and caps at eye level with a marker and always measure at the same spot every time. The usual practice is to set the forestay tension at a consistent number (say, 8-10 on the Loos gauge) by tensioning the backstay and ensure that there is no other tension on the mast, apart from the stays (i.e, remove mast chocks and let mast float, loosen halyards, etc). The springs on the tension gauges will soften over time, so treat them well!

  Spinlock Rig-Sense- screenshot thumbnail

Boat organization is key for any sailboat racing. Making sure the right gear is on the boat, in working order, and stowed in the right place ensures that everyone can move quickly and efficiently throughout the race. Senet Bischoff keeps this checklist laminated and on his boat, so everyone knows their responsibilities for ensuring that all of the necessary gear is appropriately packed and stowed.

Senet Bischoff's Checklist

Senet also kindly penned his list of things to remember when packing up his boat and thoughts on stepping the mast. For those who travel, having a sensible plan and check list lessens the headaches!

Packing Up the Boat and Before Stepping the Mast

So...the boat's unpacked and ready, now you're thinking...."what else can I do to improve speed on the race course"? Well, here are some ideas that were submitted by an Anonymous Etchells Addict, entitled Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Sailing Etchells. (Wasn't me who wrote it...)

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Sailing Etchells

Some new equipment is available too beyond Brolga turnbuckles.

Mast Ram Retrofit Guide by A Palfrey

Update on the Mast Ram and How to Use it by A Palfrey

Easier Life for the Foredeck Crew with a Forestay Swivel by A Palfrey

Getting More (or Less) Mast Side Bend with Side Chocks

Some deck pictures from different boats for ideas.

Different Layout 1Different Layout 2Different Layout 3Different Layout 4

Ideas for barber hauler for the jib (an article by Jud Smith here: Doyle Inhauler)

Inhauler 1Inhauler v2Inhauler v3Inhauler v4

Here are two ideas for the traveler.

Recessed TravelrTraveler Safety


Contribute your own thoughts and suggestions. Pictures of efficient deck layouts or nifty new ideas, for example, are always welcome!