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Adelaide: Etchells Fleet Update

8 December 2011 Wayne Knill

Medium Rare preparing for battle

"Medium Rare preparing for battle"

The Adelaide Fleet's Summer is well and truly underway, with a great mix of sailing conditions had over October and November. However, before the season even began, our appetite was well and truly whetted by a fun and informative training day hosted by Jake Gunther. Jake dropped by to share a few tips on rig tuning and how best to prepare for a big regatta campaign. It was a great turnout with classroom theory, Q&A, followed by some on-water action to blow out the Winter cobwebs. All who attended went home with plenty of new ideas on their boat setup.

The Henshall Shield, World Qualifying series was run in October. The first two race days were held in very light, calm conditions and the final two race days in the more typical and fresh, Sou'westerly seabreeze. After a shaky first race, which was one of those fluky light days when you roll the dice and anyone can win, it was Shane Duessen in Coronation Rag (AUS936) who went on to dominate the series, taking the Shield for the first time and also showing that he has lost none of his speed from last year.

The past few weeks have seen much stronger breezes on race days, with backstays cranked on and the pumps seeing plenty of action. The hardstand area on Saturday evening looks more like the aftermath of a war zone; broken battens, torn sails, parted halyards, bent booms... every boat has suffered some sort of damage so far, but no one is complaining. The exhilaration of surfing a two metre swell in 20 knots of wind, is something that money just cannot buy!!!

My boat, Medium Rare (AUS608), has not been immune from breakages either, suffering from a blown-out jib window and broken battens. When packing up after another heavy race day, we discovered the forestay had broken a few strands and needed emergency surgery, so we're lucky we didn't lose the rig!

The following week, after having fitted a replacement, we went back to the tuning guide and re-measured the entire rig. Since then we have unleashed some hidden reserves of boat speed!!! We've moved from the back of the fleet, to battling with the leaders. So it just goes to show you that it pays to go back to the drawing board, every now and then. Although, at the moment, that elusive race win is still tantalisingly out of reach!


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