Intro: Spinnaker Clew Rings for Racing
I started sailing from repairing hurricane damaged boats in Florida while at Florida Institute of Technology, that led to crewing on race boats at Melbourne Yacht Club. I raced in the Indian River on Sunfish, Lasers, FJ’s, 420’s, Lindenberg 28′, Hobie 16, Hobie Wave, San Juan 21′, FloydBryan-Custom, Baltic 40, and Beneteau 40.7 First.I raced in the ocean from Ft. Lauderdale to Charleston, SC (408nm); Ft. Lauderdale to Keywest; and Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach. I raced in Florida for 4 years. The majority of the time I was Foredeck. I learned to do all the jobs on the boat, and learned to love cleaning the bottom to win races. When I moved to California I started racing in an Express 37′ one design fleet thanks to a great mentor Bud Fraze. I have raced on the same boat in San Francisco Bay for 5 years. We have a crew of 10. I have raced the boat in the Three Bridge Fiasco with the captain (only 2) we had 4 spinnaker sets and 2 gybes.
I trim the main on the boat. My goal is to make the boat go fast Upwind and Downwind. Maximize lift, minimize drag, compensate for conditions and work with Bartz driving.
I dabbled in madness with a friend on a Hobie 18′, we went outside the gate!
The Bay sometimes shows you its power.. and you are humbled. When a 65ft mast disappears in the swell.. its on!
Ok enough of that. onto the adventure of making components to minimize errors and exploration of the OMAX Water Jet.
Step 1: HEADS DOWN - Watch Out for the BOOM!
One of the most dangerous moments sailing is Gybing. This is when the wind crosses behind you.
The mainsail needs to come across, but its pivot is at the mast. Lots of energy flies over the crew head during this maneuver.
In the front of the boat a delicate dance is happening which is the foredecks job, and my first role sailing, and my position when I did Ocean Races.
If you do your job well, no one knows your there, everything just happens like magic.
The problem is that things can go wrong. In races where 30sec can cost the race.
The goal is to minimize error.
Step 2: Gybing in the Dark in the Ocean
Its a really fun game, hopefully you have a good imagination, and can render in 3d in your head. ;)
I was bothered at a problem that sometimes would happen during a midnight gybe offshore.
The sheet would sometimes get wrapped in the jaws of the pole, making a mess, and a cascade of a problem that had to be addressed.
I designed some rings I thought would help manage the lines, and allow for crazy things like peels from symmetric kites to asym using a tack line. So it would be an All-In-One ring sorta like a Inst-O-Matic thing from the 50s.
I used the waterjet to cut them and hand polished the crap out of them. I need to round the inside edges before the go in a sail.
Step 3: Take Them Racing!
I took the rings on The Great Vallejo Race.
I spoke to sailmakers and other foredeck about the rings.
The feedback was really positive, there were improvements to make and suggestions for other snap shackles.
It was great to hear that I wasnt alone, when posting about the rings on social media a lot of my sailing friends chimed in about how they hate when the sheet wraps around the end of the pole. This wont solve it all, but the Idea is to reduce the tendency and minimize mistakes.
Step 4: Back to the Drawing Board, OMAX, Tumbler, and Corner of a Spinnaker
Ok improvements in process.