North Sails LOFT NEWS
YOUNG 88’S 2019
One of the largest fleets in recent years took part in the Young 88 national championships in March, and despite super-light conditions racing was close and competitive.
The title was taken out on line by defending champion Raging Hormones, this year skippered by North Sails sales and marketing manager Andrew Wills, with a crack crew including Will Tiller, Alastair Gair, Taylor Balogh, Steve Broadbent, Hugh Gallagher, and Josh Wijohn. Second on line was Mark Bond’s Slipstream, with Harry Thurston and his South Island team on Undercover taking third. Slipstream took out handicap honours, with Undercover second and Raging Hormones third. That made it a clean sweep of the podium for North, whose sails also featured prominently on boats throughout the one-design fleet.
Just five races were sailed over the two days, all of them in 9 knots or less, but that called for intense concentration, careful trimming and delicate weight distribution, with some crew spending the entire regatta down below to minimise windage.
In a five-race series, all results had to count, and the Raging Hormones crew made sure they were consistent. After a fourth in the first race, they won three of the remaining four races, and were second in the other. However, their victory was ensured when their closet rival, Undercover, was disqualified in the last race and had to carry 17 points.
Wills says the great work done by the Young 88 committee in encouraging entries and organising crew for those who needed it saw 16 boats on the start-line.
“There are some new owners and they are getting lots of people out there. The class is working hard to make the boats as equal as possible, and the racing is getting closer and closer”.
Several other North Sails staff also sailed on other boats in the fleet, and they have put together some top tips and tricks for success in light airs:
Sailing upwind in the light, it can be hard to have much feel on the helm. Soften the rig right up to induce forestay sag and create some rake to the mast to keep some helm on. Prepare for light airs before the regatta, and note in your tuning guide the best settings for sailing upwind in little to no wind. North Sails general manager Richard Bicknell sailed aboard War Machine, which made the most of its ability to sail well in high mode in the light airs. The team spent time adjusting the rig to increase rake and improve helm.
On the downwind legs, think about crew weight distribution. Because of its hull shape, the 88 is designed to be raced with the crew in the cockpit:
“In the first race, we were getting rolled quite badly, and that was our worst result of the regatta,” says Wills. “We got our crew to move their weight back a bit in the boat and that really helped. We had been sailing with the knuckle in and the stern out, so to lengthen our waterline we moved the crew back so we had a nice clean wake off the stern and the knuckle was just touching the water.”
Downwind in the light, don’t be afraid to steer more aggressively:
“These are displacement boats, so it felt like I had to steer through a lesser angle to start with, between high and low mode,” says Wills. “I changed to coming up more aggressively in the light to keep the kite full, and coming down more in any puffs, to build speedgain VMG as long as we didn’t kill our speed. The variance in angle between the two courses became a lot bigger and more aggressive.”
When trimming on the kite, trim in the main at the same time, to keep the slot nice and open:
“If you close that up too much by just trimming on the kite, it would back into the main and the kite would collapse,” says Wills. “Remember to open that gap up a bit”.
New sails can make the critical difference:
“Owner Nick Gillies really noticed the improvement in downwind speed. He had good sails before, but with this new one we were passing people downwind — and downwind is where you win a regatta like this every time”, says North Sails expert Matt Steven, sailing aboard Waka Huia with a brand-new kite.