Tuning - The Basics

This is a good starting point to get your B14 set up correctly. Please note that this is a guide, some boats have small variations from the norm due to build, re-fitting etc. A good rule of thumb is that if it looks wrong it probably is!

This is a simplified version of the previous tuning guide – look out for more advanced articles being added on specific subjects in future.

Mast Rake

Mast Rake is measured by pulling a tape measure up on the main halyard and measuring the distance from masthead to the top aft corner of the welded on plate for the top rudder fitting. Some prefer to measure to the top edge of the transom moulding, to do this measure the physical difference on your boat (usually about 245mm) and add it on to the dimensions given. Remember that a smaller measurement overall is MORE rake.

Rake has stabilised since the introduction of the carbon mast and therefore the following settings are used on most of the leading boats in the fleet. We have been looking to generate more power from our rigs while maintaining balance.

With the alloy mast rake peaked at approx. 7200mm but with the carbon mast most seem to be sailing no more upright than 7185 mm. With later boats being stiffer and using more rig tension along with a straighter mast, the power will come on more quickly and therefore tend to plant the bow, so CoE has had to move slightly aft – hence a slight increase in rake.

Crew weight is an important consideration with rake – if you are light you should be generally using more rake than the heavyweights, so stick to the more raked end of the measurement range.

Top Tip

  • When you rake the rig you also alter the jib sheeting angles, so be aware of this when making changes.

Mast Pre-Bend

Pre-bend is measured Carbon masts are generally rigged straighter and instead of 100–120mm we are now sailing with 70–100mm of pre-bend. Those with the carbon mast have moved their heel plugs to the front of the mast step on Rondar hulls and one hole from front on the Ovington hulls, this forces the mast to stand in column for the bottom 1/3 of the mast.

Straighter rigs give more power, due to greater depth in the mainsail, but you can overdo it! Do not invert the mast between the mast gate and lower spreaders as this will cause starvation in the mid-section of the mainsail.

Top Tip

  • As long as the luff curve still fits (no horrible diagonal creases on the main) and the mainsail draft still looks good then you will have gone some way to powering up the rig.

Daggerboard

As the breeze picks up and you become overpowered you should raise the daggerboard progressively, this helps to keep the boat upright and translating power into forward motion rather than tripping over in gusts.

Top Tip

  • Try raising the daggerboard earlier – if you are waiting until dogs are being blown off chains then you are about 10 kts too late

Jib

Adjusting the height of the jib tack allows you to adjust the twist in the jib – it is the same as moving the jib blocks up and down in a traditional setup. Find a fairly neutral position where the foot and leech both tighten together – if your leech is bar tight and the foot is slack or vice-versa then you need to adjust. This neutral position is your starting point, referred to in the tuning table as the "Prime Hole".

If sailing in chop you will need to ease the jib sheets, if the chop is excessive for the wind speed then often it pays to move the jib tack up a hole to ensure that the jib does not twist off too much.

Top Tips

  • Mark your jib sheets in a typical upwind position, this gives you a quick visual check that you aren't over-sheeted coming out of manoeuvres or off the start line when a few seconds of over-sheeting can kill your race.
  • Use ratchets and play the jib upwind, easing in gusts is the difference between leaping forwards and tripping up. This is easily 2-3 boat lengths advantage per gust.

Mainsail

The mainsail should be adjusted together with the jib. Though this is the bigger sail the initial setup of the sail is less crucial than the jib as you can adjust every aspect of it while you are sailing. You should adjust the length of the aft strops to enable the boom to sheet as near to the centreline as is possible in all conditions. This may mean adjusting between races if the conditions change significantly. Using rope like Marlow D12 or Hertzog this is very simple to do and easy to adjust on the water.

You should also check that the battens all have equal tension, tension in the battens should be enough to remove all the creases and get even camber. Do not over tension the battens or you will damage the sail and distort it from the design shape.

Top Tips

  • If your boat still has a short wire mainsheet strop consign it to the bin.
  • If your mainsail requires special tools to adjust/remove battens (allen key?) then make sure you have one in your kit

Cunningham

The Cunningham controls a lot on the B14 rig. Generally it should be off until the design wind of the rig is reached (you are fully powered up and hiked, but not depowering), then pulled on gradually through the wind range. The Cunningham has two main functions – it opens up the upper leech by bending the topmast which depowers the rig and it holds the draft from moving backwards in the sail. Balancing these two effects is one of the signs of a well designed mainsail.

Top Tips

  • ALWAYS release the Cunningham before rounding the windward mark. Not easing the Cunningham and Kicker can result in either a slightly bent boom or mast when sailing downwind. This is a common problem with asymmetric boats.
  • Make sure your Cunningham is free to release under load – if you are running multiple moving ropes through the sail cringle it will bind up at some point, change it.

Kicker/Vang

The kicking strap's primary job is to hold the leech straight and stop the rig twisting off excessively.

Generally the mainsheet is used to hold the boom on the centreline in up to 8 knots, in these conditions just take out the slack in the kicker while you have the mainsheet trimmed correctly. From this point as the wind increases the kicker is applied more and more to hold the leech firm. In strong winds the twist will increase anyway, so be careful not to apply too much tension or it may result in damaged kit or possibly gear failure.

Top Tips

  • As soon as you can't hold the boom on the centreline and keep the leech tight with mainsheet tension it is time to use the kicker
  • Expect to see some bend in the boom, but don't overdo it

Bowsprit

Make sure the pole goes right out. If it doesn't then the luff of the kite will sag and the kite will not fly in the way it was designed - resulting in loss of power.

Top Tips

  • Check that operation of the pole is smooth, if the pole sticks during kite hoists or drops it will lose you places and on a windy day could send you for a quick swim.

Guideline settings table

Top Tips

  • Crew weight – if you are lighter than around 140kg (22 stone) expect to have to depower earlier than the given wind ranges, if you are heavier it is likely you can hang on to the settings a bit further up the range.

Note

* Rondar hull, tensions using a spring loaded Loos Rig Tension Gauge.

** Ovington hull, tensions using a spring loaded Loos Rig Tension Gauge

 

 

Upwind

Wind Speed (knots)

0 – 4

4 - 8

9 – 12

13 –16

17 - 25

Wave conditions

flat

flat

Slight chop

Slight chop

Short chop

Slight chop

Steep Short chop

Steep Short chop

Big Seas

Jib Tack Hole

Prime +1 (raise)

Prime

Prime

Prime

Prime -1

Prime -1

Prime -1

Prime -1

Prime -1 or 2

Jib sheet adjustment(Alloy)

Ease slightly

Prime setting

Ease slightly

Ease slightly

Ease slightly

Ratchet on ease 50 mm.

Ratchet on ease 50 mm.

Ratchet on ease 100 mm.

Ratchet on ease 150 mm.

Jib sheet adjustment (Carbon)

Ease slightly

Prime setting

Ease slightly

Ease slightly

Ease slightly

Ratchet on ease 70 mm.

Ratchet on ease 70 mm.

Ratchet on ease 120 mm.

Ratchet on ease 170 mm.

Cunningham adjustment **

No tension

No tension

No tension

Snug up

Snug up

Snug up

Snug up

Medium tension

Medium tension

Kicking strap Adjustment(Alloy)

Set for downwind No tension

Set for downwind No tension

Set for downwind No tension

Tension to hold leach

Tension to hold leach from panting

Tension to hold leach slight boom deflection

Tension to hold leach slight boom deflection

Tension to hold leach medium boom deflection

Tension to hold leach medium boom deflection

Kicking strap Adjustment (Carbon)

Set for downwind No tension

Set for downwind No tension

Tension to hold leach

Tension to hold leach firm

Tension to hold leach slight boom deflection

Tension to hold leach slight boom deflection

Tension to hold leach medium boom deflection

Tension to hold leach medium boom deflection

Tension to hold leach max boom deflection

Daggerboard

0

0

0

1

0

3

2

4

3

Strategy

Pointing

Pointing

Pointing

Pointing

Pointing

Crack off slightly

Pointing

Crack off and plane

Crack off and plane

Rake (mm.) (Alloy)

7185–7200

7185–7200

7185–7200

718 –7200

7185–7200

7185–7200

7170-7185

7170-7185

7170-7185

Rake (mm.) (Carbon)

7185–7170

7185–7170

7185–7170

7185–7170

7185–7170

7185–7170

7170-7150

71707150

7170-7150

Caps

Prime

Prime

Prime

Prime

Prime

Prime

Prime -1

Prime -1 or 2

Prime -1 or 2

Forestay tension* (Alloy)

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

23 - 25

Forestay tension **(Alloy)

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

Lowers tension *(Alloy)

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

33 - 35

Lowers tension **(Alloy)

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

35 - 37

Forestay tension *(Carbon)

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

25 - 27

Forestay tension **(Carbon)

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

26 - 28

Lowers tension *(Carbon)

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

33 - 36

Lowers tension **(Carbon)

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

35 - 38

Caps Tension */**

5 - 10

5 - 10

5 - 10

5 - 10

5 - 10

12 -14

12 -14

14 -15

14 – 15

Crew Position

Foredeck

Foredeck onto rack horn

Foredeck onto rack horn

Powered up hike on rack horn

Powered up hike on rack horn

Powered up hike on rack horn

Powered up hike on rack horn

Powered up hike on rack horn

Powered up hike behind rack horn

Helm position

Front of rack

Front of rack by crew

Front of rack by crew

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack back form front

Downwind

Wind Speed (knots)

0 – 4

4 - 8

9 – 12

13 –16

17 - 25

Crew Position

Foredeck

Foredeck onto rack horn

Foredeck onto rack horn

Sitting on rack horn

Sitting on rack horn

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike at back of rack

Powered up hike at back of rack

Helm position

Front of rack

Front of rack by crew

Front of rack by crew

Sitting on edge of rack

Sitting on edge of rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike on rack

Powered up hike at back of rack

Powered up hike at back of rack

Strategy

Sail mid course

Sail mid course

Sail mid course

Sail mid course

Sail waves

Hot up increase pressure

Hot up increase pressure

Sail flat out

Sail flat out

Cunningham

No tension

No tension

No tension

No tension

No tension

No tension

No tension

No tension

No tension

Kicker/Vang 

Set for downwind No tension

Set for downwind No tension

Set for downwind No tension

Ease slightly at windward mark

Ease slightly at windward mark

Ease slightly at windward mark

Ease slightly at windward mark

Ease slightly at windward mark

Ease slightly at windward mark

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