Lessons from Euro GP

As the memory of Birkenhead settle down, and the official results become public I find myself lecturing myself to learn well the lessons from 2 days racing:

So I offer my self-analysis in case it rings a bell with anybody:

Don’t finish your boats at 3am on the morning of the race - always a bad plan and guarantees they will be untested

Dont think about racing an untested boat or rig

Don’t give a moments thought to the opposition - it turned out that even Bill H (apprears to) put on his pants one leg at a time

Don’t forget speed - my rudder balance on VoooorTrekkker was a fraction too great, and although the rudder linkage COULD NOT go over centre under servo power, it could and did making high-speed turns downwind! Several DNFs

Don’t be at home to Mr. DNF - keep racing if at all possible. There are only a few points seperating the midfield

Thats enough dont’s!

Do - enjoy proceedings
Do - learn from my mistakes
Do - study all the other boats and rigs
Do - simplicate and add bluetack
Do- practice with the race boat in race trim - my VT turned better to port that Stbd - there must have been slop or asymmetry in the linkage
Do -practice in all weathers - my foredeck cleat pulled out during a slam-gybe

I think that there was enough evidence that there was no blindingly-best-boat.
There were several hulls which were all capable of delivering.
For what its worth I believe that the fastest boat through the water was Charles Mann’s. It seemed to fly, especially on the Saturday. Sorry - I don’t know what the design is.

What’s the winning combination?
Effective boat,
Reliable systems
Interchangable rigs
HUGE MDF Pit box

So I’m going to reduce my rudder balance, and drive the rudder directly from the servo, and practice a lot with the boat whenever possible.

So - who has any pictures of the proceedings?


118 Rav-the-Razor
123 Litefoot
155 Voortrekker
156 ZBF


I have further pondered, this time about the success of the winner, Gary Sanderson.

I considered the facts that he has a well-sorted boat, with modular servo tray, is a very competitive skipper, and came to Birkenhead loaded for bear.
These may well be coincidences, and his success was 25 successive flukes!

(Eat your heart out William of Ockham)

However I have also replayed my memory of the proceedings and remembered that just before the scorer bellowed “13” generally some fellow-competitor was heard to say “blow me (or words to that effect) where did he come from!”. Clearly some stealth tactics and unobtrusiveness at work!

I feel that the key to his succes is found in semantic analysis!

I remember hearing also someone observing that Gary was sailing with aplomb.
This turned out to be True, and in fact he pointed it out to us - his Macrigs are not only aerodynamically balanced but also statically (or mass-) balanced with a winding of lead around the boom! This must be the plomb referred to!

There is also the fact that most of our yachting words are old Dutch, the same root as Afrikaaaaans, so Gary and Mike have a head start with (obscure) terms like yacht, boom, jib, vang, sheet, schooner, luff and outhaul defibrillator. No wonder they do so well!

I aim to
Mass-balance my rigs
Dispose of the fishing clip sheet attachment and re-adopt the Gary beadknot
Learn Dutch
Shadow Gary at starts and

partly serious, swiftly learning

OmissionWhat’s this about ‘driving the rudder directly from the servo’?
Photos please!!!
Is the “balance weighting” of the rig just for the McRig (I much prefer ‘Dunedin’ rig. ‘McRig’ is too close to ‘McJob’ is Canadian connotation). Does it also apply to swing rigs?
For those of us who cannot get to Birkenhead now, a little help please or we will get left hopelessly behind…alas!
p.s. What is this old Dutch word-“Cunningham”?


Sorry, I don’t yet speak Dutch, so can’t help with “Cunningham” I have only ever heard the word in the first line of a Limerick.

Photos will follow, only of the things that I can lay my hands on - such as rudder servos etc. For info I dropped my Sony before the meeting and smashed the LCD screen, so I am driving it by optical viewfinder and faith.

To wet the appetite pics attached of the current rudder set-up where the sail servo poketh through the deck, and the rudder servo is double-sided taped to it. I had made sure that the tiller arm is equal in length to the servo arm in use, but hydrodynamic forces happily flick it over-centre so the rudder jams at nearly 90 deg to the boat c/l!

The servo is going to sit above the rudder stock and drive the rudder directly - no linkage to over-centre. Angus keeps pushing a whipstaff but look what happened to Max Mosely!

We can only do so much for people who weren’t at Birkenhead, and leaving you well behind is certainly the racing intention:D

I don’t know about mass-balancing a swing rig - sounds like a good question for Roger Stollery.

Dunedin Rig, MacRig, Una Rig what do I know about semantics?

aka Prof Confuser

Awaiting for something better…

( there were around the lake persons not wasting their time changing batteries, or repairing something, or replacing something else
they were looking as real media operators… ( ? ) )

…these are few of my shots taken between the races


folgore ITA 5

please note the nice pictures of the typical british summer shower,
more than one race has been carried out UNDER one of these


Grazie mille


Not Dutch, American. A line (or more generally, device) to adjust the luff tension on a mainsail. Named after Briggs Cunningham, sailor and race driver, who invented it.



I wish you hadn’t said that part about pants, Andrew…I fear there will be innumerable rumors about just how you discovered that I put mine on one leg at a time!

As far as lessons learned, those listed here are certainly worthwhile.

I also think we learned that the age-old debate as to whether skinny or fat is better will continue…no definitive conclusions could be drawn from the results…except perhaps the best lesson of all:

Regattas are won by good skippers!!

Several of the boats seemed equally capable, but Gary’s sailing skills stood out. So the lesson I learned, though not for the first time, is that it’s fun to debate the pros and cons of design features, or agonize over the best ballast ratio, or test the drag of different hull types…but in the end, we might all profit most by more practice on the water.

Thanks so much to all who participated in a great regatta. People were so generous, helpful, and nice to me that I got genuinely choked up when saying goodbye. I hope to be back for the rematch…I need another chance at Gary!

All the best…Bill

Bill it was fabulous to play host to you and thank you for your kind words about my bottle boat
I too look forward to your return next year at Birkenhead
Very best wishes to you