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Boat Preparation

Before seeking maximum performance a sailor must have the right equipment properly prepared. Boat preparation may be split into the following sections:

      • Hull - finish, weight, strength and stiffness.
      • Spars - selection, rigging and running rigging.
      • Sails - selection, shape and settings.
      • Foils - shape, stiffness and finish.
      • Fittings - selection and maintenance.
      • Layout - simple and efficient.
      • Measurement - complete boat.


Hulls must be fair with a good finish. The many hours spent painstakingly filling and fairing around bailers, centreboard case etc will be well worth it when looking for that little extra. Class boats that are produced as one designs should come out similar in stiffness in hull. However even within the tolerances there may be differences which should be checked before purchase. The stiffer the hull the better.

Hulls will normally be produced with the weight out of the ends which may offer a variance of stiffness in those areas.

Hull weight is vital and should be at the minimum allowable. If possible the weight should be centred around the keel/centreboard area and as low as possible.


Spars will offer a wide range of stiffness and bend characteristics. Class yachts will usually follow a manufacturers trend however there are still likely to be variations.

Discussions with the various sail maker before choosing a spar may assist as some sail makers may cut sails for certain spars. Standard rigging must always be in good condition. One small failure ends up being very expensive. Tell tale signs are stains around the swages or a broken strand. An external broken strand usually indicates an internal breakdown.

Running rigging, sheets, braces, halyards and other controls require the same attention. A broken rope may shock load the standing rigging enough for damage.

The use of wire has been reduced particularly in larger boats with the introduction of high load light weight rope such as spectra and other equivalents. These ropes are appearing in halyards and spinnaker gear where weight saved is an advantage.

Care must be taken with the casings of these ropes to avoid a break which renders the complete rope unusable. Wear will appear in stress areas such as jammers, cleats or sheaves. When identified it is advisable to cut 300mm off the end exposing a new part of the casing to the stress area.

Check with a reputable rigger for advice on all rigging.


With a wide selection of sail makers it becomes difficult to find a reason to go to one or the other. Once again class yachts may follow a trend as a particular sail maker may be working with sailors to develop good sails.

Today most sail makers are working off computer designs where basic principles of sail design are used.

Staying with one sail maker often pays dividends as a little more personal attention may come your way.

The sail maker will require some information before cutting sails which sailors should be aware of.

  • Conditions that sails will be used in.
  • The type of spar being used.
  • Crew weight.
  • Mast bend.

Most sail makers will have standard cuts to suit the above points.

Before taking delivery of sails have the class measurer approve them to avoid the embarrassment of having a new sail refused because the leech is 3mm too long or the numbers are not the correct size.


The cross sectional shape of foils is usually governed by the class rules. Those rules will most likely not allow a true aerofoil shape therefore the cross section shaping is taken as close as possible to the correct shape.oh ok u got an assignment   Care must be taken in the shaping of foils as unequal shaping will cause vibrations, creating drag. Templates should be used to even up each side.


There is a wide range of high class fittings available to suit all sizes of yachts.

When fitting out a yacht owners will often purchase fittings up to a price they can afford. The end result is that fittings may be purchased that do not carry the loads required and fail when put to the test in a breeze.

The fastening of fittings is often also seen as a way to save a little money. Rather than through bolt, self tapping screws will often be used only to eventually pull out. There is no more secure fastening system than to through bolt fittings. It also keeps water out eliminating the possibility of rot in wooden boats.


Layouts are a matter of personal preference. They should be simple, efficient and necessary.

When preparing a layout where the rules allow variety it is wise to look at other boats to get some idea of what is required.

Before drilling holes to try fittings, run dummy cordage to find the correct angles and positions.


To save the heartache of failing measurement at a regatta sailors should adopt a clear attitude about the legality of a boat.

The hull is the most difficult item of all to correct and therefore should be measured and put into legal measurement trim even before club racing.

Weight would be the most common problem that appears. New boats will often be sailed and raced in club racing in an underweight condition. Not only does a sailor "kid" them self by operating in this way but is also racing illegally.

The same goes for other parts of the yacht. Knowing that your boat measures can only enhance your mental preparation at a major event. There is nothing worse than arguing over minor points of measurement when preparing for competition.

Preparation Series
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