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One of the most frequent questions that Southeast Sailboats is asked is what is the best outhaul configuration and the pros and cons of each?  If you look at photos of the top sailors it’s clear that there is no consensus on the best configuration.  In this article Southeast Sailboats has asked multiple world champion and Olympic Coach Jon Emmett; Team GBR sailors Micky Beckett and Matilda Nicholls; and 2020 UK Masters ILCA Standard National Champion Orlando Gledhill for their thoughts on the subject.
  • 6 min read
Southeast Sailboats sponsored sailor Micky Beckett has written this great summary of his 2020 season.  “If I remember all the way back to March, and it feels like long enough ago, I was in Palma a few weeks ahead of the Princess Trofia Regatta. This remained the plan for about three days after arriving, and then our intentions evaporated on the 14th March. We had been following the terrifying progress of COVID-19 through the international population with as much disdain and disbelief as anyone else, but this was the day when our world turned upside down. 
  • 7 min read

Improve the ease of use of your kicker/vang with these new solutions from Harken and Allen.

Our Harken based solution uses a 29mm Fly block with Dyneema loop and shackle/key. The 29mm Fly block features a titanium sheave for strength/light weight, and our Dyneema loop has been strength tested at Marlow ropes to greater than 1000Kg. The kicker key is the newer/stronger type and the shackle screw is secured with Locktite – we leave nothing to chance.

The Allen solution is neater. Earlier this year Southeast Sailboats asked Allen if they would manufacture a custom version of their 2030 Extreme High Load block so that the kicker key could be attached to the block without using a loop/shackle. This new block is now in stock. Featuring Allen patented dynamic bearing technology with CNC machined aluminium side cheeks and a precision turned stainless steel sheave this 30mm block makes a significant difference to the free running of the kicker making it easier to pull on.  The Allen solution is heavier than the Harken as it has a stainless rather than titanium sheave, but is neater due to the integrated kicker key.

Have a look at our premium kicker/vang top block solutions from Allen and Harken, and what GBR Team member Michael Beckett has to say about his testing of the Harken solution here….

  • 1 min read
We have ILCA4 (4.7), ILCA 6 (Radial) and a very limited number of ILCA 7 (Standard) sails in stock with free delivery in the UK. Plus if you need it – our sail service – 
  • 1 min read
Southeast Sailboats sponsored sailor, multiple world champion and Olympic coach Jon Emmett talks about the amazing Allen XHL kicker block in this short video…  In stock as just the block or as part of a complete system, let us transform your Laser kicker/vang system!
  • 1 min read
Prevent your deck being worn away with these durable protection pads. Based on a Southeast Sailboats design concept implemented by Allen, the prototype designs have been extensively tested by GBR sailors Micky Beckett and Matilda Nicholls. Production injection moulded parts will be available late-September exclusively from Southeast Sailboats. Class Legal. At just £14.95 per pair this is a great way to protect your boat. Available to pre-order now!
  • 1 min read

– by Michael Beckett Team GBR Laser sailor

“I have spent years alternating between the Marlow Excel Fusion and the Rooster Polilite® mainsheets. Both are very high performing 6mm ropes to have as a mainsheet. Let me explain my thoughts on each, and hopefully this article will help you understand the relative merits of these two mainsheets.

Because of the different fibres/construction used in each rope, they feel and wear differently.

 

The Marlow is a relatively hard rope, and as a result can be a little stiff, however it is a quick running rope and is actually very light when dried out. The Marlow is definitely higher maintenance of the two, and it’s a really bad idea to let the rope dry out with saltwater, it becomes immensely stiff, so make sure you wash it after sailing. The rope lasts well, better than the Rooster in my experience, but is more expensive.

Onto the Rooster which is a very good value rope, so it won’t put a massive dent in your wallet. It has a softer feel, and very consistent in diameter across the fibres – unlike the Marlow which is ever so slightly lumpy. The Rooster rope is relatively low maintenance and doesn’t seem to be too bad if you don’t wash it.

Although both mainsheets are virtually identical in diameter, the Rooster mainsheet will wear though faster than the Marlow and reach the point where the Rooster rope becomes ‘fluffy’, shortly after which the outer braid will snap, this can happen especially quickly if your ratchet block has sharp teeth!

Finally, onto the real enigmatic question, which mainsheet is going to get in a tangle at the windward mark? The biggest issue with the Rooster is what I would call its ‘invisible memory’. Should you get a knot in it, which loads up as you’re trying to yank it undone and the tangle then locks up, the rope will very easily kink and tangle in the same spot day after day, which can be a bit of a nightmare. With the Marlow rope if this ever happened I would run the entire length through my hands to squeeze out all the kinks, and it would forget that the tangle ever happened, however the Rooster doesn’t seem very good at forgetting despite the same treatment. I have changed a Rooster mainsheet halfway through a championship for this reason alone, however given the relatively low cost of the rope, this is affordable. So, I would rate Marlow Excel Fusion slightly better than Rooster Polilite® for its tangle-resistance.

My honest recommendation is to try both ropes, it is a subjective matter with no magic bullet. It may seem unnecessary to buy two mainsheets at once, but it will be twice as long until either need replacing so in reality it might a smart move!”

Our thanks to Southeast Sailboats sponsored sailor Michael Beckett for this great and insightful article.  Southeast Sailboats sells both of the above mainsheets – see our mainsheets page.

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  • 2 min read

We have just added a couple of new configurations of deck blocks… Our range now includes three solutions using Harken 29mm blocks (bolt-on (great if want to move from boat to boat), soft-attach (widest range of movement) and Fly™, as well as solutions using Allen and Ronstan 30mm blocks.

For the Harken Fly™ solution please see the separate ‘making rigging dreams come true’  Harken FLY page as this and other 29mm FLY™ solutions are very expensive in comparison to our other solutions!

 

  • 1 min read

Typical of an Olympic year, the World Championships were held early as part of a season culminating with the Olympics in summer. For the sailors it’s not just another year, it has a different feeling of momentum and pressure about it. For some it’s the last chance to become World Champion, for others it’s a fight for Olympic selection against their own team or for others their very first attempt at the most competitive sailing race it’s possible to do.

The 2020 World Championships were held at Sandringham Yacht Club on the Eastern edge of Port Phillip Bay. At an initial glance on Google Maps, one could be forgiven for thinking that it would be lake sailing, but in reality the enclosed bay is huge – 50 miles at its widest point. When sailing out the marina into huge steep breaking waves it felt like more like the North Atlantic.

Seeing as the Worlds were in February a lot of sailors, myself included, opted to do a month of training before the event began, rather than training in Europe as I usually do. Flying shortly after New Year, I jumped from a bleak British winter to a hot and ever-so-slightly smoky Australian summer.
Sail Melbourne regatta was held in January as a very high quality “warm-up” regatta. We had a reasonable amount of strong winds over 5 days, sailing ashore more than once in thunderstorms and torrential rain. In what I can only consider as a grade A unforgiveable error (self-proclaimed arbitrary scale for rating my mistakes), I got a BFD in race 1. Even for an event where the main goal is to try and get a handle on a particular venue and get a little bit faster, it is still very annoying. After this I settled into the racing and tried to take the opportunity to get better at starting. In the end I finished a rather unemphatic 22nd. Whilst the regatta felt tough, only 5 of the top 10 in Sail Melbourne were in the top 10 at the Worlds, and just one person won a medal at both events.

Following on from the regatta I had a whole host of things to work on. When I first envisioned the trip before travelling, all 6 weeks of it, it seemed like an abundance of time to train and improve, however I always felt this day-to-day feeling of urgency to get things done. Every day there were different conditions to sail in, different weak areas that I might be able to address and different guys to train with. Some days were good, a real confidence boost from speed runs or small races where I could beat really good guys, other days were more debilitating for my confidence.

A week before the regatta I handed back my charter boat that I had used for a month and picked up a brand new boat for the Worlds – one of 130, that I was to use for the Worlds. It’s definitely an anxious time when all the sailors arrive on that day to collect their boats. Concerned faces staring down gudgeons, trailing edges of foils, masts, gunnels or you name it, everyone wants to know that there is nothing visibly wrong, for their head as much as anything else.

Travelling all around the World to sail, as I am so fortunate to do, one thing I regularly hear is the sentiment – “Oh this weather? This isn’t normal!”. Ironically the last 3 days of training before the regatta were those exact days, with a howling offshore Easterly that wasn’t going to reappear during the regatta I took a few rest days, which was lovely.

In contrast to Sail Melbourne, in the opening race of the Worlds I got a smooth start and slowly extended a first mark lead to win the race with uncharacteristically low levels of stress. The whole entry of 130 boats was split into 3 fleets, so this meant for the 6-race qualifying series the name of my game was to use no more than one discard. This was something I actually did so clinically I almost surprised myself. 3 days into the event my discard of 17th was from race 2 due to a bad start and more bad decisions, but overall I was sat in 7th and ready to take on the beast that was gold fleet.

Day 4 of the regatta, the first of final series was cancelled due to thunderstorms, which were – to the credit of the Race Committee, predicted with remarkable accuracy. This meant we were to have 3 hour-long races a day, for 2 days, an intensely painful flurry of hiking to finish the event off. It’s easy to underestimate how much energy it takes to do an hour of racing against the best in the world, it can be up to 20 minutes flat-out hiking at a time with slim odds of a successful outcome.

Day 5 brought horrendously steep waves that I found quite disorientating, I spent a lot more time than normal staring at my Velocitek compass as the steep waves and grey weather made it impossible to have any other references to gauge the wind shifts. The day passed in a tiring and frustrating blur of waves that I should have surfed, starts that I couldn’t hold my lane in and marks that were hiding between waves. I slipped to just outside the top ten.

The final day brought 8 – 18 knots, steep offset swell and wild shifts. A few minutes before each start the majority of sailors were stood up in their boats with de-powered sails looking like meerkats, trying to see where the next band of pressure would fall on the bright green sea. Whatever decision making process everyone else was following, mine appeared to be obsolete in comparison, I kept unknowingly finding myself at a corner sailing a header back on the layline. The first 2 races of the day were nothing short of disastrous and I knew it, on the last day of the regatta it was a real personal battle to ignore the consequences of these bad races, for my day, regatta, season and year.

For the final race I set myself the simple objective of a good start, which I managed. I told myself to not worry about the fleet, find the marks, find the pressure and use my compass with smart moderation… I found myself back at the front and all of a sudden it was like putting on a shoe. I couldn’t catch the leader of the race because he had a huge jump by the first mark, but I sailed steadily through the top 10 to finish 2nd in the final race. This race probably saved my regatta, bringing my result out of the realms of disappointing to something I can honestly respect, 13th overall. Given it’s still fresh in my mind; all the mistakes I made and chances I couldn’t make the most of, it’s hard not to be frustrated. It’s a fine line between pushing myself and my own aspirations, versus respecting that the fleet I’m trying to race is phenomenally good (it’s been nearly 8 years since any top level sailors retired – and stayed retired, the fleet really is stacked).

Phillip Buhl sailed what can realistically be described as the perfect race, for near enough 12 races to win the regatta ‘comfortably’, it was very impressive to watch. For someone who is renowned for sailing at a much higher standard in regattas than training, he outdid himself.

For me a final few thanks – to the British Sailing Team & RYA for the opportunity of a lifetime and everyone I met in Australia who were without exception helpful and kind. Thanks to everyone who puts up with me after good days & bad and finally to Southeast Sailboats for a setup that is second to none, it really makes sailing the boat a pleasure.

Many thanks to Team GBR sailor Michael Beckett for this great article.  Michael is one of our sponsored sailors and uses our signature 8:1 downhaul system, our double puller outhaul system; the Allen XHL kicker top block, and Velocitek PRISM compass.

  • 6 min read

These new soft shackles have been specially designed for your deck blocks. Soft attaching the deck blocks ensures that the block can find the optimum angle, especially when reaching or running.   Available for Harken 29mm and Allen 30mm block, you can buy just the soft shackles or a kit including the blocks… see more here

 

  • 1 min read

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