Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sonar Class Association Newsletter, June 15, 2011


New Englands:

The 2011 Sonar New Englands will be sponsored by the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, Vineyard Haven, MA, with racing on Friday-Sunday August 5-7. The NOR is now available on the SCA website. For more information, contact Alex Meleney at, 203-536-1190 or Tim Aureden,, 610-715-3699

North Americans:

The 2011 North American Championships, hosted by fleet 5 and the Wayzata Yacht Club, are being held on September 23-25. Racing will take place on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

The NOR is now available. It can be downloaded from the Wayzata Yacht Club website Here:

The NOR can also be found on the SCA website here:


The Long Island Sound Championships were held on June 4-5. Hosted by Manhasset Bay Yacht Club's fleet 11 and the US Merchant Marine Academy's fleet 22, six races were completed over the two days.

Day one started with a postponement due to lack of wind. When the breeze finally did fill in, we saw up to 15 kts and 40ยบ shifts making life miserable for the RC.

Day two was a little easier with a fairly consistent 6 kts.

For the Regatta, Rick Dominique from the USMMA finished first with a total of 12 points. Spencer Powers from Marblehead finished a close second with 13 points followed by Alex Meleney, from Noroton YC with 18 points.

Full results are here:

A couple of pictures from the regatta:


Our next rules question from US Sailing Senior Judge Peter Wilson:

Click to enlarge image

Go Fast:

As a follow up to the Lee Morrison's article on forestay length in the last edition, Rick Doerr, a member of US Sailing's Team AlphaGraphics and US representative in the last Paralympic Games in China, would like to offer his thoughts:

I have approached the forestay length from a slightly different perspective. I am no tech guy, so I may be out of touch, but I'll give it to you and hopefully it will makes sense.

My perspective comes from my experience with the 2.4mR, where the forestay length is very easily adjustable. In that fleet, no one uses a traveler any longer, and in order to get the boom on centerline they must have the appropriate rake for the amount of mainsheet tension in the given wind conditions. When the wind is light, if one uses a forward (shorter) forestay position, they would have to over trim the mainsheet in order to get the boom to centerline. If in windy conditions with a long forestay length, one would never get the main trimmed hard enough.

So my experience with adjusting the forestay length rose out of our preparation for the uber light conditions of the China Paralympic event. Realizing there was a limit to the effective traveler length in the sonar, I surmised that by lengthening the forestay, we could actually get the boom to centerline w/o over trimming the mainsail in 3-5 knots (yes, we raced in those conditions).

There was something else that I had heard from smarter people about the "end plate effect"..., but I was oblivious to that. What I could tell about the end plate, was that with the correct amount of rake (forestay length), the mainsheet trim should always end up block to block in all wind conditions (which is what I strive for in assessing our correct forestay length).

Lastly, I go back to the North Sails tuning guide (well sort of). Brian Hayes had always told us the correct amount of blocking will be when you are just seeing a hint of overbend wrinkles. When there is too much forestay length for given conditions, we will notice excessive mast bend (ie: overbend wrinkles) with the minimum of blocks. Therefore, we must shorten the forestay in order to correct the excessive mast bend. I can't say I know what the absolute numbers are because we start with a mid range length as suggested, and shorten or lengthen for given conditions based on what I mentioned above. I don't want to say I'm oblivious to the headstay sag mentioned in Lee's article, but I don't pay attention to it (a quick aside, our coach BA obsesses about it and she'll make us change our forestay length when she sees too much sag, but I tend to disagree with her on that. You decide who knows more, a 5 time Rolex Yacht Woman of the Year or a neophyte like me?). 

My perspective of the headstay sag is based nearly solely on backstay tension (the only control I'm permitted to use on the boat). When I need more sag, I ease it off, when I'm overpowered or need less, I put more on (I'm a simple man).