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Thread: First things first: What to add to help with shorthanded sailing.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default First things first: What to add to help with shorthanded sailing.

    Hello all

    I want to introduce myself to the forum and ask for some assistance from the collective wisdom of this forum. Also Bob i'm looking at you I've been entering some SSS races for the past couple years, both with my Santana 525, Loki and also as crew on Carol's cal 34 Palapa.

    I recently purchased a j/92 that i plan to race as shorthanded in addition to some crewed racing. Some of you may recognize the boat, Zaff as it had success in the PacCup in 2018. My plan is for bay and offshore racing, with Hawaii 2022 as a goal, not sure if this will be PacCup or SHTP but the SHTP is on the list at some point.

    Zaff is equipped with a pelagic tiller pilot, and I intend to add the remote feature as one of my first upgrades, I also need to get the vang figured out, it seems like thats probably the most important control line this is relatively inaccessible from the helm position. Not sure what the best way to go about that though.

    Halyards are led to the cockpit, should I be looking at cleating on the mast?

    What about a code 0? The boat has a pretty new #1 which is in great shape, but i'm wondering if it would be a better plan to sail with a 3 and add a code 0 for a more favorable rating.

    Furling? should i be looking into furling systems for the downwind inventory? I've heard mixed things. I have bad experiences with socks, and would prefer to not go that route.

    reefing? What sort of reefing systems have the singlehanders here had success with? What doesn't work?

    What else should I be looking at? Any and all advice is welcome.

    I look forward to seeing you all out out there next year.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Where's the boat? I'm happy to meet when you're ready.

    I tried remotes on both the Pelagic and Raymarine pilots. I found them awkward to use. Good positioning of the control heads was more useful because they don't move around or require fishing for a remote. I still have the remote for the Pelagic so you can try it (it might have old programming though).

    Easy (and yes, very necessary) to split the vang tails and lead them aft. I'll show you what I did on Rags.

    No need to cleat halyards at the mast. I mounted open jam cleats on each side of the mast to catch the halyards while hoisting, then went aft and tailed them through.

    A #1 genoa on a rail lead will get you almost all the benefits of a Code 0. The 92's rig is fractional - Code 0's are best on a masthead halyard or when you only have non-overlapping jibs. Also, the 92 doesn't point that well with the #3. I used the #1 on Ragtime! a lot more than I expected (even though I was singlehanded).

    I still have the top-down furler I tried on Rags' A2. PITA it was. With the bigger boat, I'm back to using ATN snuffers but with the control lines led to the cockpit. There are tricks to making them work properly. Let's go sailing...

    Stock main reefs were fine. Leading the clew reef line(s) back to the cockpit is nice but puts downward pressure on the gooseneck, for which it wasn't designed. Marking the halyard and some minor hardware tweaks will get you there.

    Wow, this is like "deja vu all over again."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2019


    Thanks Bob!

    Assuming nothing else goes wrong, which with my luck recently, isn't a great bet, the boat should be in the water in a week or so. Plan is for the boat to get offloaded at grand marina tomorrow, new coat of bottom paint, some minor hull fairing, and mast stepped this week. She'll be living at Alameda marina for a bit while i sort things out then eventually to Berkeley or Emeryville.

    Open cam cleats sound like a good idea, thats probably what i'll go with.
    Good to know the #1 got used a lot, might end up getting it re-cut a bit to fit onto the furling unit.

    I'll shoot you an email when the boat is closer to getting launched. Any no brainers to do while the mast is down? Already on top of a standing rigging refresh.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    "Any no brainers to do while the mast is down?"

    It should already have a masthead VHF antenna and maybe even a masthead tri-color light. You'll need the masthead VHF antenna right away so make sure that's good.

    Reach in and run a pinkie over the halyard sheaves, especially if you see chafe on the halyards. Wire halyards and metal sheaves were stock (main and jib) but I'd be surprised if the sheaves on that boat are original - it was professionally-prepared for buoy racing in Southern California.

    Check the spreader tips, especially where the SS plates are screwed into the ends. SS into aluminum covered with spreader boots or layers of tape = a bad combination. Then re-do them (don't use boots) - you'll need smooth tips for tacking the #1 shorthanded. Also, thin cord across the V just above the lower spreaders will help with windward kite douses, which you'll want to do shorthanded - it's a big kite! Fun fact: You probably inherited some of Rags' old sails.

    Phil went through the rig before Pacific Cup and then painted it as I recall, but it's been sailed many hard miles since then. Best if you could get Ryan Nelson (Rogue Rigging) to come over and have a look while it's down. He knew Rags' rig inside and out.

    Here are the jam cleats (aka "V-cleats") I meant. The largest ones are big and strong enough. There are a couple tricks to positioning them.

    Name:  Ronstan V Cleat.jpg
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    Last edited by BobJ; 12-22-2019 at 06:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    I'm sure you've seen this inventory/status as of May, 2019:

    1993 J92 Hull 38

    Standing Rigging:
    2019 Wire Forestay
    2017 Wire Intermediates
    2017 Dyneema Back Stay
    2012 Wire Uppers and Lowers
    2015 Harken Mk4 Unit 0 Jib furler
    2018 Dyneema running back stays

    Running Rigging:
    2017 MLX Spin halyard x2
    2018 Validator 2 Main halyard
    2018 Warpspeed 2 Jib halyard
    2014 Warpspeed jib halyard
    2017 Warpspeed 2 backstay tensioner
    2018 Warpspeed 2 running back tensioners

    2017 B&G Zues 2 chartplotter (US and Canadian Chart Cards)
    2017 B&G titan mast displays
    2017 B&G wind, speed, depth transducers
    2017 Standard Horizon GX2150 VHF (w/AIS and GPS)
    2018 Pelagic tiller pilot

    2018 Group 24 AGM battery
    2017 11AH AGM starting battery
    2016 Eco Charger
    2017 20W solar panel and controller
    2017 LED mast head nav and anchor light
    2017 Automatic bilge pump

    2019 UK Carbon X drive 155 genoa
    2018 UK 5 batten Carbon Xdrive main on kevlar laminate w/ 2 reef
    2018 UK a2 0.6oz w/ 0.9oz luff and foot
    2018 UK a3 1.5oz
    2018 l&m a5 1.5oz
    2015 J1 Hyde tri-radial (fair)
    JT Recut North tri radial J2 (poor/fair)
    J3 North 3DL w/ double taffeta vertical battens for roller (fair)
    J3 North Kevlar tri-radial w/ horizontal battens (fair)
    North tri-radial laminate drifter (good)
    Dacron Delivery Main (fair)
    2014 North 3DL Main (fair)
    2006 North a2 0.6oz (fair/good)
    2005 North a2 ,code 9 recut to code 6 (good/excellent)
    A5 (poor/fair)

    2017 Petit epoxy barrier coat
    2018 3x coats white petit Vivid bottom paint
    2019 Vivid paint on keel, rudder and waterline

    2018 Delrin rudder bushings
    2018 SS wire lifelines
    Emergency rudder
    Offshore and inshore tillers
    Last edited by BobJ; 12-22-2019 at 06:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Here are some photos of your new boat - Rags and Zaff had a little romp across the Slot before the Pacific Cup:

    Name:  Zaff from Rags 1.jpg
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Size:  180.8 KBName:  Zaff from Rags 2.jpg
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    The outcome

    Name:  Rags from Zaff 3.JPG
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Size:  2.21 MB

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2019


    Nice! Too bad Ragtime isn't still around for a rematch. Thanks for the pictures, that looks like a pretty epic day on the bay.

    What made you go with the jam cleats rather than a cam cleat setup? I'm not sure i've ever seen that before. Did you drill and tap to install or use rivets? Rivets in the mast seems like asking for trouble, but i see it all the time, so maybe not?

    I'm having trouble picturing what you mean by "thin cord across the v just above the lower spreaders" Is the intent there to keep the kite from getting stuck in the sharp v that comes out from the lower spreader tip?
    What did you do to smooth out the spreader tips, they look OK but the screw heads might be a bit sharp. I'll look into getting new ones, the screws seem soft, so maybe they are aluminum?

    Pretty sure I have at least 1 kite and probably a furling 3 from your old inventory. I'm hoping to use those for a bit until I'm used to the boat and get past the screwing everything up all the time stage.

    New launch date looks like its going to be first/second week of Jan. Gori botched the prop they sent me pretty badly, the whole key fits in the keyway! Could just get a new non standard key, but a couple extra days isn't going to kill me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    That was a fun day. I rarely had a chance to square off against another J/92. There are several others on the Bay but they don't tend to race.

    In that application (temporarily holding halyards), a cam cleat would just blow up. The largest-sized Ronstan V-cleats have some carbon in them and can hold almost 1,000#. I drilled and tapped two holes in the mast (per cleat). "Just say no" to rivets. I have the correct drill bit, tap, Tef-Gel, etc. if you want help.

    Exactly - the cords are to keep the kite from catching in the V when you're dousing, especially on the windward side. Look at any competitive J/105 and you'll see them.

    Spreader tips: The screws are stainless steel (probably 18-8) but the spreaders are aluminum. The screw heads do stick out a bit so a couple layers of rigging tape and then millionaire's tape over the top will be the ticket.

    The kite in the bottom photo is the 2006 A2. It was the largest A2 I ever had - only one square foot shy of the computed PHRF maximum for the boat. If you go to the end of this video you can see it in full bloom:

    2011 LongPac finish.

    Sorry about the prop. Did you have a new strut molded, or were you able to repair the old one?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2019


    That thing is huge! Should be fun to play with.

    I ended up getting a new stainless strut made, fortunately on the insurance company. It looks really good, and while it might be a tad bit heavier, i'm thinking it should be a bit of an upgrade, from reading the forums it seems like I'm not the first person to have strut issues. Fortunately there wasn't any damage outside the prop and strut. Small victories...

    Would love a hand with getting the boat set up, let me know when you'll be around!

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