The 2017 season seemed to come as a surprise to us, as the boat wasn't in the water in time for the first race. Fortuitously, the legendary Peanut luck held and racing was blown out that day. We used the new tow vehicle to bring the boat to the harbor last week, and stepped the rig in time for todays racing.
It was a pretty sunny day, if a little bit cold and light. We saw between 3-9kts or so all day from the NE, which made for great warmup conditions. There were only 3 boats out, us 67 and 45, but the speeds were close all day.
First race we won the boat with everyone mixed in together, and got lucky on a few shifts to finish well ahead. Second race the wind had dropped so we were actually late to the start by a few seconds, but less-late than the rest. 3rd race we thought we had 67 dead to rights and OCS'd, but let them get away at the last second to start on top of us, with 45 on our WW hip. We tacked and ducked 45, trying to get into phase but succeeded only in being as out of phase as was possible. We picked up a lucky puff near the top of the course, and snuck into second. After the rounding, 67 was ahead by about 4 boatlengths, so we played patient and tried to affect their air while waiting for the right time to gybe. We'd worked it out that we wanted to gybe first, so as soon as their bowman stood up, we were mid turn. We planted on them, and rolled with some extra pressure, extending for the lead.
We tried some new tuning and setup tricks today!
We went with a very long forestay. Our "3" setting on our marked turnbuckle is somewhere in the 50" range. Additionally, we tried a single 1/4" shim behind the mast to affect forestay sag and mast bend. We had tried this in the past with no noticable result, but it felt fast today.
The most exciting change was going from 4:1 to 2:1 on the mainsheet. We were unsure of this change when we made it, as the Shields has a very large boom and main, and 2:1 is Laser mainsheet purchase, but it worked out well. The benefits were the speed at which we could trim, and the lessened drag on the sheet. With only 3 on the boat today I was doing my own main at the leeward mark, and trimming half as much sheet made the turn really fast! Also, doing the main downwind was very easy as the drag as so low you could ease the sheet and actually have the boom go out. Jacob liked the feel upwind as well, so we will do this again on light air days. The downside of course is that if the breeze comes up the main trimmer is going to have a serious workout on their hands (ha) but we're going to try this again until we find the point where 2:1 is not enough. Plus we have the internal fine tune to take some load off if needed. I really think 3:1/6:1 would be ideal, but class rules say the mainsheet(s) have to be on the boom, which eliminates the cool deck level fine tune I would like.
A great day on the water and it was fun to be back. We've got some 1d racing coming up, plus some beercan handicap and cruising to do, so will update soon. We're going to have a furling assym on board for the beercans, which will certainly be weird.