Three days of racing the SB20 have really tested us but we’ve also really enjoyed the challenge of the new boat. After winning the J24 nationals we had just two weeks to train. We benefited from having plenty of advice given to us and most of that advice told us that we should limit our expectations, that it would be extremely difficult to compete at the top of the fleet at our first event. It was sound advice. The SB20 is a completely different experience to the J24, there are a lot of fundamental differences between how you approach tuning, boat handling and tactics. Of course the core principles of making a boat go fast still stay the same so I’m sure we’ll be back to have another crack at the SB20.
The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. After a frustrating day on Saturday we were desperate to change something. Top of our list of grievances was how slow we were to accelerate around marks and after tacks. We went out on Sunday morning with our rig significantly looser (28/22 as opposed to 37/34). We also armed ourselves with plans B, C and D of rig tensions that we could change to if we still weren’t happy.
We didn’t give ourselves much chance in the first race. We were caught out being too cautious on a U flag start and found ourselves dead and buried for the first beat. The improvement in acceleration of the boat was noticeable though, speed builds out of tacks were a lot quicker and we picked up at least two places coming out of leeward marks. The rig tension was worth keeping for the last race of the event. A much improved start meant we were able to hold our lane off the line and round the windward mark in a decent position. An immediate gybe at the spreader mark cost us a few places but we were happy with how we sailed the rest of the race.
We finished the day with an 8th and a 9th, it was a nice step up from the previous day. It was good to feel the effect of the slacker rig tension but perhaps we just need more practice to be able to get the tighter setting working.
We’d like to thank RIYC for hosting a great event and also to our fellow competitors who were extremely helpful and welcoming. Congratulations newly crowned national champion Michael O’Connor and the crew of Sin Bin.