I'm very into my club racing and have been trying to strip my 27ft Fantasia back to bare minimum to save on weight. After stripping the obvious bit and taking the old antifoul of the hull and faring it i've managed to gain a good knot sailing in a good breeze and an extra knot and a half under power. some of these gains may have also been due to my wallet being lighter after purchasing two second hand spinnakers and a pole.
So now i'm looking for other low cost ideas to save weight on board and wondered if you guys have changed any easy to swap out equipment for relatively cheap lighter alternatives?
Ive started my skim down including chucking the old stainless kettle into the shed buying a small ultra light weight camping ones. The fridge compressor which never worked anyway after she was flooded was also removed as it had turned into dead weight.
so any ideas would be great on weight saving without having to rip things out which will decrease any re sale value such as the solid wood table etc.
also more for aesthetics i'm planning on making carbon fibre covers for my instruments, the gain will be minimal but will look cool when alongside after the race .
Oh and sorry for the rambling on but has anyone removed their guard wires and replaced with spectra? seems like a good weight saving idea.
oh and again has anyone fitted a system for lift keels to minimise the drag created by the empty slot when the keel is down?
I took over 700kg out of my boat for racing, but that was mostly cruising stuff I had loaded it up with over the years.
I must admit that some of the changes to save weight you mention seems to me to be overkill for a cruiser. A lot of money for minimal weight savings. You'll save greater weight taking all of the comfort items out like cushions, floor boards, internal doors, locker covers, the table etc. You can always put them back when you plan to sell or if you have a cruising holiday planned.
Does your boat have an outboard? If so, try downgrading to the minimum horsepower you need to get you out to the course, or leave it behind and sail out or beg for a tow. Figure out what sails you're going to use that day, leave the rest along with the boat canvas at the dock. Make sure your crew doesn't bring big, heavy gear bags aboard.
Having said all of that in my experience the last bit you might get from being a weight fanatic is probably not worth the effort. It might get you a percent or two but you'd be much better off putting time into training and practice with your crew. Work on two boat testing with a similar boat. Go out in heavy weather and work with the mainsail trimmer on point. Draw up a good set of polars. Get your crew out a few times per season and run through a few dozen set/gybe/douse cycles. See how close to the leeward mark you can successfully douse. Practice takedowns on either side of the boat, flying the chute without a pole (very useful technique for many reasons), gybe sets etc. Throw some emergency drills at them like calling a gybe three boatlengths from the leeward mark etc. Put some effort into learning the rules down pat.
A good crew will lose to a great one regardless of what you do to the boat. If you can get around the course without a single serious boat handling screwup then it's time to put energy and money into making the boat faster.
P.S. You must be English, I don't think there's a single club racer in the U.S. who would even think to bring a kettle on board !
I agree with David. Crew skill trumps weight. Also the position of crew weight on board in different conditions and points of sail can be a significant speed factor. Keep gear weight out of the boat ends - reduced hobby-horsing increases speed Finally, the fairness and cleanness of your hull will have a much bigger impact on speed than a few extra pounds on board. And a note on extra pounds - look at your individual crew weights - you don't want overly heavy souls on light air days.
i'm Thinking a Fantasia is an inboard. So you can gain some speed with a folding feathering prop. Here in the US, where I race, you do get a credit for a fixed prop, but in reality, the credit does not make up for the speed loss!
A clean bottom is a fast bottom! As is a tuned up rig! for the wind you are having. For my Arcadia of the same basic vintage, that is 15% on all stays and shrouds to begin with. 20% with the a steady and gusty wind over 20 knots! steady just below 20, gusting over 15 is fine.........
I gained about 1/4-1/2 knot fairing the keel better, removing 30+ years of bottom paint down to gelcoat. Removing the brass mushroom style thru hulls. Removing the 1.5"/37MM or so thru hull all together. Going with a bottom paint that is smoother and harder than the ablative I had.......
Crew weight as mentioned, is a BIGGIE for smaller boats like ours. I've had 4-5 crew on a windy day, move them back 3-6", reduces weather helm many times to nothing. Or at least alleviates the issue some. Tuning the rig can reduce weather helm too. A rudder sliding sideways is a slow boat! Like having a fixed prop, a folding can gain you .5-.75 knots depending.........
If you have old sails, that too can slow you down. A cheaper set of laminate sails will net you more speed than a slightly cheaper, but the most expensive dacron sails. Some cases like my boat, a lower quality main may not make a big difference, but a best quality jib may. Max out the sail area you can carry too! If you can remove your fuler, assuming you have a jib furler. Get a full hoist jib! again, you may like I do, get a credit for a furler, but the overall sail area you gain with a full deck host jib, agains tthe credit. the higher sail area sail will sail faster!