PLEASE NOTE: Southeast Sailboats is closed from 13-23 April.Southeast Sailboats will be competing at the Spanish EuroMasters event. 

Orders placed will be shipped commencing
the 24th April.

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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

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

While it probably doesn’t cover everything, you may find the following ten point checklist useful to get your boat in top shape for the season…

1 – Check your gudgeons for signs of wear…. Replacement gudgeons are just £3.95 each
2 – Check your traveller for wear, especially at the edges where it rubs the alloy traveller eyes. Our spliced Dyneema traveller is just £17.50.
3 – Has your centreboard brake seen better days? Upgrade to the newer Mk2 friction pad for just £8.95
4 – Protect the front top of your centreboard slot from wear with our wear protect pad. It also provide increased friction at the front to help keep your centreboard down.
5 – Check your control lines for wear, especially where they pass through the cleats. Also check where they rub up against the kicker fitting as this can also wear away your lines. Most control line ropes have an outer cover and a core, and the cover can suddenly give way when it is excessively worn. The signs of impending failure are a ‘fluffing up’ of the cover where it has been subject to wear in the cleating area, or where it has snagged. We have a wide range of pre-cut control lines for your outhaul, downhaul and kicker, as well as rope by the metre.
6 – Have a look at your tiller extension universal joint for the first signs of any cracking…
7 – Mast wear – reduce wear of both your boat and mast with mast wear strips and mast step protection disk.
8 – Check your kicker key for signs of distortion/cracking where the flat top disk meets the shaft. The MkII rig is especially tough on kicker keys. We sell stronger kicker keys from both Harken and Allen from just £4.95
9 – Check your downhaul primary line for signs of excessive wear.
10 – Often neglected as it is a bit hidden away – have a look at the small black fairlead on your kicker assembly and look to see how grooved it has become. Turn it around to get more life out of it, or buy a new one for just £2.95

 

Our monthly newsletter contains updates on our world class rigging and other unique and innovative solutions for your Laser.  Don’t miss out – sign up now!

 

 

  • 2 min read

Southeast Sailboats is back in the workshop splicing up orders after meeting customers and competing at US Sailing Center Jensen Beach. What a great event it was, with perfect weather, wind and wonderful hospitality. It was great to meet so many of my US customers. Southeast Sailboats even managed a podium finish!

 

  • 1 min read

Updated August 2021 following Olympics! Polytech now standard Technora line.

The main factors involved in selecting control line are useability (rope diameter, feel, grip in the hands, and colour differentiation), durability (basically how long will it last), and suitability (strength/elongation/stretch). In this article I will explain how these factors apply to each system, and what I believe are the best lines that we offer to use.

We should point out that there are many rope manufacturers, each offering a wide range of control line, so it is impractical, and would be very confusing, to offer every rope available. What we do is to continually review what is available from the ten or so manufacturers that we track, if we think it is interesting test it, and decide what we think is most appropriate to offer to our customers. The range of control lines that we offer to our customers from leading rope manufacturers Robline, Marlow and Gottifredi Maffioli, reflects this. If you think that we are missing a key control line please let us know.

 

Kicker/Vang

I will start with the kicker/vang as this is probably the most critical and will also help explain most of the factors that apply to other systems.
The kicker/vang is the only highly loaded system on the Laser where there are many small sheave size blocks in the lower unit and in the floating double block creating multiple turning points. The resistance in a system like this is a factor of the number of turning points, the block sheave size, rope diameter and rope construction. When a rope passes around a block, no matter how perfect the block is, the rope is distorted and there is internal friction in the rope. To explain this another way if you were to rig a standard kicker using a very very thin control line you would find that it runs amazingly well and without it attached to the boom you would be able to pull the top block and all the control line through the system easily. That is because the ratio of the line diameter to the block sheave diameter is much smaller and the line isn’t being distorted as much. If you rig it with a typical 4mm line you won’t be able to pull the top block by hand as there is just too much friction caused by the distortion of the rope and extra surface area contact.

 

The high loads and frequent cleating/uncleating mean that the kicker/vang line has a hard time so, unless we are happy to replace our lines frequently, we want a line that is durable. The durability of control lines is a complex combination of the line diameter, construction and above all materials. The smaller the diameter the less material there is in the rope which results in it wearing quicker than larger diameter ropes. For ropes with a cover and a core (like the majority of secondary lines) the movement of the cover over the core causes friction which in turn causes internal wear. The materials that the rope is made of influence both the durability and suitability. From a durability perspective the use of Technora® in the cover makes the rope last far longer, which on the highly loaded kicker where the cleat is used a lot is a definite advantage over normal Polyester covered rope. Technora in the cover also results in a rope that has more grip in the hands.

We sell two secondary lines that have Technora in the cover: Marlow Excel Racing GP78  and Robline Dinghy Polytech. The Marlow GP78 rope is incredibly durable as a result of the materials used to make it and the tightness of the core to cover, but this tightness does result in a rope that is quite stiff. This stiffness of the rope seems to increase the friction in a kicker system in comparison to a normal 4mm polyester covered secondary line such as Dinghy Control. The 4mm Dinghy Polytech has Technora in the outer which gives greater longevity than a normal polyester covered line of the same diameter. This Polytech rope is also slightly more supple as the cover to core is not as tight as the Marlow GP78 rope. This means that the Polytech runs better but we feel it won’t last quite as long as the Marlow GP78.

All the control lines that we sell have Dyneema cores and either Polyester or Technora/Polyester covers. The Dyneema cores give all the ropes the suitability that we need as they are very strong and have very low stretch/elongation.

So, in summary the best rope for the kicker is a compromise between durability and ease of use in terms of flexibility and grip. If you are sailing a lot and want a line that is durable we recommend Robline Polytech or Marlow GP78. If you are a more occasional sailor the more economical Polyester covered lines such as Robline Dinghy Control or Gottifredi Maffioli EVO Race 78 are suitable.

Downhaul/Cunningham

For the downhaul things are much simpler. There are fewer blocks and they are normally larger in sheave size (29mm or 30mm) so the effects of rope friction are far less than for the kicker/vang. Like the kicker, the downhaul has a lot of pressure on the system and is adjusted frequently. Therefore, wear through the cleating area is the main factor to be considered so we need a very durable rope. Robline Polytech or Marlow GP78 are the recommended ropes.

“On your bottom section, try and make sure your gooseneck bolt has the head of the bolt on the same side as the secondary line. This should help prevent the thread/nut end of the bolt constantly catching your blocks as you release them. Especially with the MkII sail (a much stiffer cloth than Radial and 4.7) I’ve found that deck cleats will promptly chew through any soft ropes on windy days, so the Marlow GP78 is a good rope here – fit it and forget about it for a while and go sailing!” – Team GBR sailor Michael Beckett

Outhaul

The outhaul system poses its own challenges. Unlike the kicker/vang and cunningham/downhaul, the outhaul is a lightly loaded system, and in very light winds the main load on the system is actually just the inhaul shockcord/bungee. The system typically has four small sheave size turning points, and another major source of rope friction in the system is the deck cleat fairlead area. When we uncleat the rope we want the pressure in the sail and bungee to pull the rope out as the sail is released. So, the key factor here is useability rather than durability. A year ago I rigged my Laser using the Marlow GP78 line but I found that it was just too stiff and I actually had to help the rope through the cleat/fairlead to help it release in light winds – even with our double puller inhaul bungee. As a result of this I moved to the slightly more supple Robline Polytech line which is perfect for the outhaul system. The slightly thinner diameter and suppleness means that it runs very smoothly. The Technora in the cover provides excellent grip in the hands. A lower cost solution for the outhaul is to use a Polyester covered line such as Robline Dinghy Control or Gottifredi Maffioli EVO Race 78. In summary we recommend Polytech for the outhaul– it will work and last exceptionally well.

Colourways

We want colourways that easily distinguishable between the three control line systems. Certain colour combinations should be avoided as there isn’t enough colour separation between them – an example is to avoid using pink/black with orange/black as in bright sunlight I found that I couldn’t see the difference between them. We asked Marlow to produce their GP78 in blue/black to give us another colourway.

“Please don’t underestimate this consideration! It doesn’t matter if you’re reaching in for your vang at the windward mark of a club race or at the Worlds, picking up the wrong line by accident because the colours are too analogous is like selecting the wrong gear in your driving test, just a nightmare. So give it 30 seconds of thought before you put your order in – what colours do you already have, and when your brain says ‘downhaul’ what colour does your hand reach for? Bear in mind that these colours also have to stand out on your deck, which is probably a light shade of grey, ice blue or purple white.” – Team GBR sailor Michael Beckett

Other Considerations

For all our systems we seal the ends of the control lines to ensure that they don’t fray, and to keep the core/cover together. If you are ordering our pre-cut secondary lines or rope by the metre we offer a cost effective rope sealing service. This is more important for the Technora covered ropes as heat sealing itself is not sufficient to stop the ends from fraying in use.

Summary

The table below shows a full summary of the control lines that we offer. The lines that I use myself are:
Kicker/Vang – Robline Dinghy Polytech
Downhaul – Robline Dinghy Polytech
Outhaul – Robline Dinghy Polytech

 

  • 6 min read

Southeast Sailboats is back in the office after competing at the Portugal Grand Prix in Vilamoura. With fantastic conditions and strong competition it was a great event. I had some great starts but was unable to hold off the youngsters for long!

  • 1 min read

Our kicker top block solutions using blocks from Harken and Allen are proving very popular.  We have just added a Ronstan version which is now available.https://southeastsailboats.co.uk/kicker-advanced-high-load-solutions/

  • 1 min read

Our new premium mainsheet – Marlow Excel Fusion in 6mm. 12 strand SK78 Dyneema core with a 16 plait blended Dyneema/polypropylene cover. Minimal elongation due to the Dyneema, and very light weight in comparison to other mainsheets. Zero water absorption means that it stays light. This is a grippy mainsheet but easy on the hands. More details and pricing

  • 1 min read

Congratulations to Southeast Sailboats sponsored sailor Matilda Nicholls on becoming Laser Radial Youth World Champion at Kingston Ontario yesterday. Matilda uses our world class control line systems, custom made to her exacting requirements.

  • 1 min read

Southeast Sailboats has just added sails, numbers, country codes and, if required, a full sail number application service.

  • 1 min read

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