Home Forums Mods and Improvements High speed Weta sailing preparation

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    Paul White

    The Weta Double Dammed video has had over 25,000 views. Dave Berntsen, who made the video, gives details of his setup tips for high speed/high wind sailing. See details of his recommended sailing techniques here.

    “I put a lot of thought into this race on how to do it safely and to make sure we did not break anything. I wanted to share some details so others could benefit and apply to their sailing experience. There are two tracks, one is boat set up and rigging and the second is boat handling in high wind/waves. I’ll cover boat handling in another post.

    Boat set up and rigging:

    My Weta(s) are all stock boats with little modification from the factory standard. In about one hour I can set up a boat for high wind sailing and the tweaks really help performance/safety. Here is a summary of the tweaks (a video will follow when I get some time).

    1. For the Double Dammed I had a new set of wires (shrouds/head stay) made with proper marine eyes and T-lock fittings. The new wires will be stronger than the standard Weta wires because the swages are done correctly. Standard wires have never failed – but I did not want to take any chances.

    2. I used max rake on the mast and removed the shroud adjustment plate and shackled the shroud to the saddle on the amas. Very strong and minimal parts to fail.

    3. I removed the hook on the cunningham block and replaced with a shackle. The standard hook sometimes catches the jib sheet when tacking, so I eliminated this potential problem.

    4. On the mainsheet block, I removed the hook and installed a shackle (with captive pin and bar) and used an 8″ spectra strap to lower the top mainsheet block. The shackle is more secure attachment for the main and lowering the block keeps it out of the way of my face/teeth when jibing.

    5. I flipped the main hull upside down (on the dolly) and inserted the daggerboard to find where the gaps between the hull and daggerboard. I sealed the gaps with that felty stuff you get from Home Depot so your chairs don’t scuff up floors. Next I flipped the boat over and sealed the top of the daggerboard well. It’s really important to get this seal to stop water from flying up the daggerboard when going fast and on reaches to stop the daggerboard from sucking air down the well, which creates a stream of bubbles that will interfere with the water flow over the rudder and cause cavitation. One of my biggest concerns in the Double Dammed was to be ripping along in high winds/waves and have the rudder cavitate. After sealing the daggerboard I have no problems with the cavitation. [New Wetas now come with a brush seal around the top and bottom of the daggerboard slot]

    6. I took a file and 320grit wet and dry sandpaper and gently faired the leading edge of the rudder so it was a nice foil shape. Once again I wanted to maintain good water flow over the rudder so it was efficient and did not have any excuse to cavitate.

    7. My daggerboard hummed, so I took a file to the trailing edge so that it had a sharp square edge.

    8. On the rudder the standard pivot bolt/washers/wing-nut need to be replaced. I use a Stainless ¼” bolt with nylock nut. I also but some big washers and double up on both sides and then crank down hard on the nut so the cassette clamps down on the rudder pretty snug. The large washers help distribute clamping load over a larger surface area and make the rudder/cassette assembly stiffer. I do this on all my boats.

    9. I installed a 28″ hiking strap (Laser part) between the harness D Ding and the mainsheet tie down point on the deck. I extended the bungee for the mainsheet so that it ran under the webbing to keep it off the floor. This hiking strap was really important when sitting on the rear of the main hull. It stabilizes your body and keeps your feet in the boat so you don’t fall off the back. I’ll have this in all my boats from now on [Now a standard item on new Wetas].

    10. When running down wind I pull my daggerboard up about 8-10″. If you capsize the bungee (that holds the blade in the boat may not work and you risk having the daggerboard float away when inverted). To prevent this I replace the standard bungee with a longer piece and on one end I have a clip that I attach to the line on the daggerboard. I tie two knots in the bungee so that when the blade is fully down the bungee to keeps the blade down.
    [New boats don’t have the bungee that flips over the daggerboard to hold it down since the brush seal is supposed to provide a better hold but this can become compressed over time. Use “hairy” self-adhesive velcro if you can’t find replacement brush seal]

    11. I coil up 30′ of 6mm line and tape it under the rudder top bar. Nice to have it there in case of emergency.

    12. Make sure your deck access port is secure. I apply screws/bolts to makes sure it is secure.

    13. The check blocks that hold the trampolines I unscrew and reinstall the opposite way. This requires the line to run through the block which is most secure. The standard way these are installed make it easy for quick rigging but the tramp tension line can come off the block which can be a big problem.

    14. Put a 2:1 purchase on the jib halyard. The Starboard clam cleat has a sheave built in for this purpose.
    [Tie in a small Ronstan Shock in the halyard approx 15cm/6in above the cleat to avoid rope wear]

    15. I always race with Spectra tapered kite sheets (available from WetaWest). Much lighter and there is no knot to snag on the head stay when jibing.

    16. Make sure main sail batten tension is adequate.
    [New sails have key adjustment for the batten tension and the battens are tied in]

    17. Make sure trampoline lashings are as tight as possible.

    18. Make sure your boat does not leak –  if you have leaks fix them before doing a long race.

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