Thursday, February 19, 2015

J/88s- Sailing Fast @ Key West- Winner's Tips & Tricks

J/88 sailboats tuning off Key West (Key West, Florida)- Long-time J sailor Kerry Klingler, the Quantum J/Boat Division Leader and a J/80 World Champion, had an opportunity to sail in the new J/88 class at Key West on-board Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION.  For most of the week, they were class leaders until the last heavy air day on Friday when their colleagues aboard TOUCH2PLAY RACING (Rob & Sandy Butler) seemed to dial-in a 5th gear in the big breeze and wrestle their lead on a tie-breaker!  Very, very exciting racing for those two boats. Here is Kerry’s commentary on how it all went down off the Florida Keys:

“My perspective and role on-board was not only that of tactician and trimmer on the J/88 DEVIATION, but also to help our customers get up to speed in any way possible and facilitate the flow of information between good boats.

FJ/88 sailboat sailing off Key West, Floridaor the J/88 class, Key West is the second largest regional regatta for a new boat. This makes for some unknowns in regards to how fast your sails and boat are compared to the competition. For our crew on Deviation the goals were simple. First, get to the regatta early, set up the boat, work on slight boat improvements, and go sailing. Second, practice, try to line up with the competition, and see how fast we were.

One of our advantages on Deviation was the season of sailing we had under our belt. The disadvantage was the fact our sails were one season old. Last year, I raced with owner Iris Vogel at Block Island Race Week and as a result, instituted some sail development improvements now part of our current products.  Rob Butler on Touch2Play benefited from these improvements in his newly purchased sails.  To overcome this, Deviation’s sails were brought into the loft for service and were adjusted to current designs wherever possible. The biggest change was made to the A2 Asymmetrical, where the head of the sail was replaced. This adjustment was made to increase twist in the sail and make the head slightly deeper.

J/88 sailboat- sailing upwind at Key WestDuring the week, Touch2Play and Deviation proved to be the fastest J/88s out there. We worked with daily debriefs on what we thought were fast combinations. Details were exchanged on rig settings, in-haul amount, and sheet tension. Overall, the boats proved to be very close in speed. An important thing we learned was that the main could be sheeted with the boom above centerline in the lighter winds. Our tuning guide was pretty accurate, and the headstay length seemed to work well.

In light winds, we were between 1.5 and 2 steps below base setting. In the windy conditions, we were two steps up. In the last few races we did not realize that our shims fell out of the rudder pintles and two bolts backed out, causing trouble after the last race. I am sure we were slowed down the last day because of this. Other owners should check their pintles and bolts to insure they are properly installed and working well.

In the end, Touch2Play and Deviation tied with 19 points, with Touch2Play winning on the tie-breaker. The next closest boat had 34 points. Between the two boats, they won 9 of the 10 races. From where I sit, that’s nearly a perfect ending!