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Boats, poles and deals

22 March 2012 Phil Smidmore

Open sesame

"Open sesame"

Photo by:
Phil Smidmore

Three boats from our new mould competed in the recent Etchells World Championships in Sydney. The best result from these was Perth's Michael Manford, who scored four top ten places plus a fifteenth, to finish in sixteenth place overall. I delivered Hull #1402, The Croc, to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and had it measured, safety inspected and generally all set up for Michael's arrival. His first sail was on the Friday prior to the Sunday Invitation Race. Having built several Etchells for Michael, he was confidant the boat would be delivered complete, ready to race and the crew would not have to waste time boat building. He was very complimentary about the boat and would blame only himself for the races where he did not finish near the top. Overall, Noel Drennan was the only boat ahead of Michael who did not also sail the Australian Championships in the week preceding the Worlds.

I was pleased to see both the World Champion and the runner-up using my Smidmore-Pacesetter masts. I have now built over 500 masts since 1995 and despite the high Australian dollar, they are still selling well, both domestically and overseas. Recent testing has confirmed they are lighter and stiffer than the Sparcraft versions.

For some time, spinnaker pole beaks have been a problem area. Everyone liked the functioning of the big old aluminium beaks we used for many years. They were heavy, but there was never a complaint about how they worked and many are still going strong after more than 20 years of hard service. Since they became unavailable ten years ago, a popular replacement has not been found. Working with Forespar, I got them to combine the workings of two of their beaks and on the eve of the Worlds, I took delivery of the first of these new beaks. As the photos show, they have an external trip to open and a trigger mechanism to affect the closing of the beak, via either the brace or the mast pole ring. Our 2012 standard is now this new beak on a 60-50mm tapered pole, with the already popular retracting kicker feature. The retracting kicker serves the dual purpose of keeping some tension on the kicker at all times when the spinnaker is flying and keeping it away from the crews' heads when the pole is stowed on the boom. The other beaks are all still available, as are poles without the retracting kicker.

With this season's major championships now coming to a close, as well as the approach of winter, we will no doubt enter a quieter period. Hopefully, many will have their eyes looking north to Mooloolaba for a warm sail in June. Normally I set new price lists each calendar year, but this year, we'll be holding off until at least April. Thinking of a new boat? We have the association-funded hull in stock, ready for fit out and will hold it at the 2011 price. This includes the association's reduced mould fee of $1,000 and as an extra bonus, it will come with a spinnaker pole incorporating the new beaks and retractable kicker, as described above. Also, as an added bonus, I will include either Mooloolaba return transport or Adelaide and East coast delivery. But this offer is only for that one boat!

Good sailing, (and good buying!)
Phil Smidmore

Close sesame

"Close sesame"

Photo by:
Phil Smidmore


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