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Everyone at UK Sailmakers Ireland is proud of how well our customers performed at last weekend's 1720 European Championships at Waterford Harbour Sailing Club.

We would also like to congratulate the McBearla's team on their overall victory.

UK Sailmakers Ireland has put every effort into making our sails the fastest on the race track, and it's showing with all our sails on the podium in Dunmore East: 

  1. McBearla IRL 2000 Rope Dock
  2. Elder Lemon IRL 2888 Robert Dix
  3. Live Wire IRL 1755 Baltimore sailing Club
  4. Probably Legal IRL 1804 Mia Murphy

We would also like to thank Waterford Harbour Sailing Club for running an excellent event. Julian Hughes and his team did a fantastic job.

De Ja Vu IRL 1777 Ross Johnson running deep down the inside, making gains on the fleet. De Ja Vu IRL 1777 Ross Johnson running deep down the inside, making gains on the fleet. 

Root 1 IRL 1848 Julian Hughes rounding the right-hand leeward markRoot 1 IRL 1848 Julian Hughes rounding the right-hand leeward mark

Full Irish IRL 1748 David Kenefick leading a split gybe in the fleet downwind Full Irish IRL 1748 David Kenefick leading a split gybe in the fleet downwind 

Elder Lemon IRL 2888 Robert Dix setting as he rounds the wing mark and goes on to win race 5 with his XD carbon sails Elder Lemon IRL 2888 Robert Dix setting as he rounds the wing mark and goes on to win race 5 with his XD carbon sails 

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland

Setting the inhaulers is often discussed before a race yet rarely changed on any boat once set. Maybe it's too hard to adjust them once the sail is trimmed, or maybe they aren't considered once the gun goes off? Neither case is an excuse not to adjust your inhaulers in the same way you adjust your headsail leads.

Inhaulers are an important tool that need to be adjusted as the wind speed changes between light and heavy.

Inhaulers: how do they work?

Classic boats have long tracks on their decks along which jib cars give the proper sail shape. You know, the telltales are twittering in unison. But newer boats, particularly with non-overlapping jibs, can get an extra bit of speed by installing inhaulers that move the lead position inboard or outboard rather than just fore and aft. Optimizing the width of the slot between the sails can do a lot for speed. Next time you sail behind some high-tech race boat, look at how close to the mast their jib is trimmed to. If they are using such tight sheeting angles, there must be some good reason to do it…and that's not because it makes you go slower.

Inhaulers were invented to pull the clew of the genoa or headsail inboard to control/close the slot between the main and headsail. Inhauling has two main effects. First, the tighter slot redirects the airflow around the back of the mainsail at a better angle, increasing the amount of airflow attached to the back of the main.

Second, the airflow is compressed into the slot between the main and headsail. This compression and slight slowing down of the airflow forces the airflow on the leeward side of the headsail to accelerate into that void, increasing the airflow speed over the two sails much like how the airflow accelerates over the wing of a plane.

You can see on the Uni – Titanium headsail and main. The slot is nice and open with lots of twist in the headsail. This is perfect for building your boat speed.You can see on the Uni – Titanium headsail and main. The slot is nice and open, with lots of twist in the headsail. This is perfect for building your boat speed.

Note that when inhauling a headsail to work effectively, both the main and headsail have to be adjusted in concert, so the slot is between them is balanced. The traditional set-it-and-forget-it approach isn't good enough any longer.

That said, compressing the airflow has both good and bad effects. Too much compression (inhauler too tight) overloads and chokes the slot. You can see this in real-time as the luff of the mainsail starts to backwind. You can use backstay to flatten the mainsail in 12+ kts to allow the slot to open, but this is not possible to do in light airs below 8 kts. You will generally notice this effect happening in the 8-12 kt range on most boats.

Top Tip: If you feel the boat is sailing sluggish, don't be afraid to ease the inhauler a bit and see if that increases speed.

Too little compression has the slot too open, so the airflow is not being directed around the back of the mainsail, and the symmetry of the two sails won't be working together, causing the boat to sail slower.

Knowing how much inhauler is the key; it takes time and practice to figure it out on any boat. Don't be afraid to play with your settings during a race or while doing a boat-on-boat pre-race tune-up. Most boats have the tracks set on the deck at about 10 degrees or more, but you will find this inefficient for racing. We inhaul to close the sheeting angle down to 7 or 8 degrees. You can easily do this on any boat by measuring the sheeting point from the centreline out to the working angle of the sail.

Top Tip: Keep an eye on the lines that control the inhauler. They can be under significant load and may be prone to wear. So overbuild instead of underbuild this system.Top Tip: Keep an eye on the lines that control the inhauler. They can be under significant load and may be prone to wear. So overbuild instead of underbuild this system.

An important point for the uninitiated; sheeting the inhauler in shouldn't be made with just any headsail. The sail must be designed to have extra twist in the leech to be inhauled harder. If you don't have the twist designed into the leech, you will completely choke the slot, and you won't be fast. You will notice this when you inhaul, and the leech is straight from the clew to the head because the sail wasn't designed with extra twist in the leech. Most inhauled headsails have twist between 13 – 15 degrees.

 IRC-IH-Top IRC-IH-Top

Here you can see the FSI study of the slot on a J/109 with the leech twisted open at the top.

Precisely how much you inhaul and in what conditions are different for every boat. Well, that's the real question, isn't it? A boat with a long keel, for example, shouldn't go inside 9 degrees, or the boat would stop. The speed of the boat through the water also greatly affects the inhauler. The Cape 31, for example, can go into 5 degrees as the balance of the lead allows the boat to do it. It would help if you had a well-designed boat with the sails, keel, and rudder working perfectly together to do this angle. An older designed boat would not maintain this sheeting angle without the boat coming to a complete stop and sliding sideways. For example, a J/109 can have a sheeting angle of 7 degrees, whereas a First 44.7 would have a wider angle.

Now that we understand how inhauling works and what happens when you don't get it right, we need to look at the different types of inhaulers and how they work.

There are two main types: direct and X/Y inhaulers. The direct inhaulers move the lead in or out, whereas the X/Y inhaulers allow you to move the sheeting point in all directions. Being able to make a wider range of adjustments (with the X/Y inhaulers) is very useful for boats with a narrow sheeting angle.

Here are two photos of direct and X/Y inhaulers.

Here you can see the J3 Titanium headsail on the J/109 is sheeted in hard to get the max pointing and boat speedHere you can see the J3 Titanium headsail on the J/109 is sheeted in hard to get the max pointing and boat speed

So how do you know if your inhauler is too tight or too loose? It all has to do with the amount of airflow that sticks to the back of the sail. You don't want the flow to split away from the sail too soon. It's critical to keep the airflow attached to the back of the sails as much as you can. I personally put my hand on the back of the sail around the clew and up to head height to see how much airflow is sticking to the back of the headsail. I do the same with the mainsail. I also feel the front of the mainsail with the airflow is being compressed between the two sails, so I can see how much airflow is directed onto the mainsail at the front of the slot.

Top Tip: When you set one side's inhauler, consider if the other side should be adjusted to the same setting. Consider the sea state, and you may need more punch through the waves on one tack vs the other.

Over inhauling in light airs is a common mistake. If the inhauler is too tight, this airflow will separate too early in front of the clew patch on both sails. This is most noticeable in sub 8 kts. The airflow will split away from the sail, causing turbulence and drag. This is the reason in lighter air, you move the inhauler out again, so the airflow sticks to the sail. When the wind speed is fast enough, you can trim the inhauler inboard and close the sheeting angle, so the max angle with the main and headsail is achieved.

Here you can see a Titanium headsail on the J/109; the car is moved well forward, so there is lots of foot round, but the inhauler is not too tight.Here you can see a Titanium headsail on the J/109; the car is moved well forward, so there is lots of foot round, but the inhauler is not too tight.

One of the most noticeable things when you over inhaul is the backwinding of the mainsail. If your slot is efficient, you will notice the leeward side of the mainsail close to the mast will have a tiny flutter in the slot. That is a great indication that the slot is full, and the airflow is redirected onto the mainsail. Too much of this will have backwinding on the luff of the main. Again, too little flutter will have the airflow spilling off the back of the jib, similar to being on a reach and having the airflow want to take a 45 degree turn off the leech.

Here you can see on the pogo 30 the X/ Y inhauler so the clew can move in every direction. For the best sheeting angle.Here you can see on the pogo 30 the X/ Y inhauler so the clew can move in every direction. For the best sheeting angle.

Have your sheets and lead rings the right size, so they don't affect your tacking. The lines should move freely so they won't develop wear points; this is also critical to the system working properly. Having an X/Y track on the cabin top is the best option of all, but this is not possible for most cruiser racing boats as they can't add a track on top of the cable.

In the end, when you have determined what works and what doesn't, put marks on the deck and record your settings for next time. There's no need to "recreate the wheel" if you already have proven the right settings for each wind speed and sea state.

If you have any questions or need any advice, please feel free to contact us a UK Sailmakers Ireland. [email protected] or WhatsApp us some photos of your set-up, and we would be happy to help.

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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As the summer season draws to a close and the last Thursday night race ends, it is time to consider what can be done to improve your sailing for the 2022 season. Take advantage of our autumn discount to assess your sail wardrobe needs.

Boost your sail wardrobe for maximum performance.

New sails make all the difference to your boat’s performance both on and off the race track – especially when coupled with the expertise of a professional who can show you how to use them for maximum effect.

The UK Sailmakers Ireland team have vast experience to share with our customer service and there is no better time to buy than during the autumn period.

Make the most of your autumn sailing and get one of our team out to assess your wardrobe and advise on areas for improvement.

Contact any of our expert team for advice, guidance, and a quote today. See contact details below.

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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It's often talked about and rarely changes on any boat once set. But it's an important tool that needs to be changed between light and heavy airs.  Rake defines the balance (Lead) of the boat and how it sails upwind and downwind.

Any helmsperson will tell you that it is easier to keep a boat sailing upwind in a groove if there is a touch of weather helm. That "feel" lets the boat find its natural track through the water and will require less rudder to steer the boat. Too much helm, either windward or leeward, requires more rudder movement to steer, which hurts boat speed. How do you set up your boat, so you achieve the proper amount of helm? You do it by raking the mast aft or forward.

If you have zero degrees mast rake, your mast is standing straight up. 3 degrees of rake would indicate your mast is leaning aft at a 3-degree angle. A negative rake would have it leaning forward (an unusual circumstance for most boats unless you're a catamaran).

To establish your boat's optimal mast rake settings, and this is the same for all boats, start with where you set the mast heel. Position it wherever the designer or latest tuning guides for your boat sets the mast step. (Note: if you intend to use SparTite to seal it at the deck, set your mast step and base rake before sealing the SparTite.) Follow this by adjusting the headstay length to what you believe would be a base setting with firm tension on the rig. Then go out in 10 knots of breeze and try sailing upwind for a while. If you have too much weather helm (the sail plan's centre of effort is aft of the hull's centre of resistance (Lead), making the boat want to turn into the wind), shorten the headstay and try again. These headstay adjustments may be as slight as a few turns on a turnbuckle to achieve a different feel. Mark where you have set the headstay length for your base, whether it is counting exposed threads, measuring with a calliper, or whatever method works for you.

Meridian Salona 45Meridian Salona 45 tracking perfectly in medium conditions with here XD Carbon sails

It is easy to see and feel if you have too much weather helm. If you watch the boat's track on the horizon, you can see if you're gaining ground to windward or losing it. How much pull or weather helm is critical at this point. If you let go of the helm, does the boat come to windward? If the boat goes straight or bears away clearly, you need to lengthen the forestay a few turns to get a little weather helm. If the boat shoots to windward and almost tacks. Then take turns on the forestay to balance this. You should have enough, so the boat tracks upwind but not close to tacking. Note your rig tension and mast can be set once the rake is set so you can fine-tune that later. But the caps should have tension on them when testing the rake.

Once you have that 10-knot base setting, go out in heavier winds and conduct the same assessment. You will probably start off with too much helm using the base setting as you will have the mast relatively too far aft. Progressively take up a few turns on the headstay until you experience just enough windward helm to keep you in a groove while sailing. Then, do the same thing in winds less than ten knots where you will lengthen the headstay past the base setting. Capture the positions of all three settings and keep a record of them on the boat for easy access. You may want to have additional intermediate settings.

J 109 Outrajeous in light air showing her heels unwind with her Titanium sailsJ 109 Outrajeous in light air showing her heels unwind with her Titanium sails

But for most boats having a light, base, and heavy headstay setting should suffice. Note it is mostly turning on or off the forestay to get you these settings. As in light airs when you add rake you want the rig soft. And in heavy airs, you want the rig tight, so you will be taking turns on the forestay.

Theoretically, you can't increase rake without adjusting the length of the headstay. You can crank down on the backstay to move the tip of the mast aft, but that basically creates more prebend and not rake. That prebend, when attempting to depower the boat, can have the same effect on the centre of effort, but not as dramatically as if you were to shorten the headstay and reset the mast's angle of rake.

Just as having the right headsail can dramatically change the performance of your boat as the wind increases or decreases, so can adjusting your angle of rake. Most boats will set up to a base, heavy or light setting at the beginning of the day and not make adjustments as the day progresses. If the wind speed changes and you're sailing multiple races, don't be afraid to adjust your headstay on the water to reflect the present conditions. Some modern boats, it should be noted, have systems that allow you to adjust the length of the headstay and mast rake during a race. This is not that common but can be very effective in maintaining rig balance.

When you get to the right balance of setting, make notes of where they are so you can replicate them when sailing in similar conditions in the future. And remember, the less you use the rudder to keep the boat in its groove, the faster you will go...and the best way to balance the boat is through proper mast rake.

Slack Allice GK 34 moving along perfectly in 12 kts with her Tape drive silver sailsSlack Allice GK 34 moving along perfectly in 12 kts with her Tape drive silver sails

If you have questions on how to set up the headstay on your boat to achieve optimal rake settings, contact UK Sailmakers Ireland today.

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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Using a full inventory of UK Sails and a new XD carbon mainsail, big congratulations to the McBearla crew of Ross McDonald, Aoife McDonald, Killian Collins and crew on Atara on winning the 1720 Eastern Championships at Howth Yacht Club at the weekend.

Congratulations too to Dan O'Grady and crew also using UK Sails who took a fantastic second in the 15-boat fleet.

Atara from Howth Yacht Club using a full inventory of UK Sails and a new XD carbon mainsail were crowned the 1720 Eastern Championships winner(Above and below) Atara from Howth Yacht Club using a full inventory of UK Sails and a new XD carbon mainsail were crowned the 1720 Eastern Champions

UK Sailmakers Ireland is committed to giving the best designed and competitively priced one-design sails.

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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UK Sailmakers Ireland congratulates Ann Kirwan and the crew of Bandit for its weekend win of the Ruffian 23 Nationals 2021 on Dublin Bay.

Taking six first places and two seconds over the three-day championship, Bandit's performance speaks for itself.

All Bandit's racing sails are the latest UK sailmakers designs, a massive upgrade in construction and design arising from years of development in the Ruffian class.

All Bandit's racing sails are the latest UK sailmakers designsAll Bandit's racing sails are the latest UK sailmakers designs

Bandit's new designed S2 spinnaker allows her to reach and run faster. This, combined with her UK Sailmakers Genoa 1 max size and new main design and excellent crewing work, gave Bandit the championship win this weekend.

Commodore Martin McCarthy of the National Yacht Club presents Bandit skipper Ann Kirwan with the Ruffian 23 National Championship trophyCommodore Martin McCarthy of the National Yacht Club presents Bandit skipper Ann Kirwan with the Ruffian 23 National Championship trophy

Contact UK Sailmakers Ireland for more details.

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland

After a comparatively windy penultimate day at the O'Leary Insurance Sovereign's Cup today and the final races of the series due to start on Saturday morning, another race is on at UK Sailmakers Ireland tonight to repair sails in time for tomorrow's first gun.

The Barry Hayes lead team at the Crosshaven loft are repairing "lots of headsails and a good few badly ripped spinnakers" overnight.

The aim is to get all the Sovereign's Cup fleet back racing in the morning.

Results are in the balance in all classes going into the final day at the Cup at Kinsale. 

Even stronger winds are expected for Saturday's regatta finale that will round off a complete test across the full range of conditions.

Published in Sovereign's Cup

A small tear or a complete blowout to your sails? Cork-based UK Sailmakers will be on-site at this week's O'Leary Insurances Sovereign's Cup Regatta at Kinsale Yacht Club to carry out sail repairs for the 62-boats competing in the biennial regatta. 

Barry Hayes and his team will be aiming to keep customers in the game this week and racing wherever possible. 

The sail repairs cut off time is 5 pm each day at Kinsale Yacht Club. 

Call Barry Hayes 087 7112312 or email [email protected]

 

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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As the racing season is underway, this new and improved IRC calculator from UK Sailmakers Ireland is just the thing you need for your season ahead.

Just type in the boat name and TCC number of each boat in your class.

Then you will see how much time you give each boat and they give you in your class on the IRC Rating

So you can see in real-time on the racecourse your place in the race.

A graphic of the new and improved IRC Calculator for the 2021 season. Click the link below to go to the calculatorA graphic of the new and improved IRC Calculator for the 2021 season. Click the link below to go to the calculator

Click to go to the IRC Calculator on the UK Sails site

Have a fantastic racing season.

UK Sailmakers Ireland

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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Barry Hayes from UK Sailmakers Ireland explains which slab reefing system is best for various situations.

With an eye towards optimizing the boat for the way you sail it, you can opt for different reefing options. Finding the right combinations can be difficult if you have a standard headsail set up. With only a change out option on the headsail. But there are ways around this as well.

Over the past few months, I got many emails asking about different systems and how they work from the articles posted here in Afloat. But one area I got a lot of questions about was headsail slab reefing and how it works. Can it be done on a current headsail? Yes is the simple answer. But you need to find out what system is going to work best for you.

Here is a short view explaining the different setups and how they work.

following on from these articles which explain other systems:

Many sailors are aware how quickly and efficiently reefing your mainsail will help you get your boat back under control when the wind picks up. Tucking a reef and shaking it quickly can be easy once your boat is set up properly and you have practised. If taking a reef doesn't depower you quite enough, and you don't have a roller reefing genoa, you'll need to change to a smaller headsail, which can be a lengthy and cumbersome task – especially for doublehanded and singlehanded sailors. To help shorthanded sailors reduce headsail area quickly, UK Sailmakers Ireland offers jibs and genoas that can be slab reefed as a way to quickly get the boat back under control

Just like slab reefing a main, when reefing the headsail, you lower the halyard, attach the reef tack, re-tighten the halyard, and then trim the sheet. To simplify your life as the wind gets up, we design these headsails with the reef clew height so that the sails will sheet to the same track position as when un-reefed. Finally, either tie or zip up the unused lower part of the sail and continue to sail.

Roller reefing is a compromise that reduces sail area at the expense of sail shape. The distorted sail shapes created by roller furling are not very aerodynamic – there are wrinkles, the draft moves aft. The luff curve and most of the broad-seamed shape is in the front of the sail, which is removed during roller reefing. On the other hand, with slab reefing, you don't lose the sail's designed shape. During slab reefing, the whole sail is lowered a meter or more and if the sail has horizontal leech battens. They are not affected by the process.

In this photo, you can see a Uni Titanium J 109 Headsail with a reef. This is a Zip foot. Which for a narrow J109 bow is a lot easier to shake the reef in and out with a non-overlapping headsail. We normally make the reef clew and tack with a soft shackle to save time and weightIn the above photos, you can see loft dog Layla with a Uni Titanium J 109 Headsail with a reef. This is a Zip foot. Which for a narrow J109 bow is a lot easier to shake the reef in and out with a non-overlapping headsail. We normally make the reef clew and tack with a soft shackle to save time and weight 

In the catamaran sequence in the video, you can see how a zip reef is easily put the jib on a 24-foot Streaker cat. The sail is dropped, the sheets are moved from the clew to the reef clew, and then the foot is folded up, and the reefed part of the sail is rolled and then zipped away. UK Sailmakers Ireland can build in a zipper system for sails that will stay reefed for long periods of time. Finally, the sail is raised, and the zipped-up section can be seen at the bottom of the sail. To shake the reef, lower the sail, unzip the rolled-up section, re-attach the jib's tack, move the jib sheets and then re-set the sail.

The reefed part is rolled and then zipped away with an integral zipper systemThe reefed part is rolled and then zipped away with an integral zipper system

Hanks are not a requirement for reefable headsail, but it does make it simpler. The last sequence of the video shows a sail with luff tape being reefed on a Sweden Star 37. The sail has a tack take-down line that goes from the reef tack through the tack shackle and then back to a winch in the cockpit. As the halyard is eased, tack line pulls the reef tack to the tack fitting. Once the reef tack is set, the halyard is re-tensioned. Then the sail is sheeted in. you can see how the sail keeps a perfectly smooth, flat aerodynamic shape.

To learn more about reefable jibs and genoas, contact UK Sailmakers Ireland at our numbers below

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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