Winter Development and Testing

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We have spent the winter redesigning our sails and two boat tuning which has resulted in quantifiably performance improvements.

Jib Design - Using Nigel Grogan's boat and Malcolm Hutchin’s 819, we firstly tested all our designs to see what the differences were under the expert eye of our two sail designers, Mike Lennonand & Richard Lovering. They then used Sailpack (state of the art sail design software developed by the Italian America's Cup syndicate) to produce the perfect "flying shape" Some late nights in our Cowes loft then gave us a prototype to test. The results were very gratifying, whoever sailed which boat, and the team with the new jib were consistently higher and faster. The changes had concentrated on entry and exit angles as well as chord depth particularly high up. The new jib is also much more user friendly and easier to change gears with using halyard tension and barber hauler length.

Mainsail Design - The designers then worked on matching the mainsail perfectly to the jib. The mainsail has less fullness high up to encourage the right amount of twist and also a less aggressive leach return to aid straight line speed and acceleration. If you look at the pictures you can see the slot is matched to the back of the mainsail all the way up with no back winding and no over twisting of the jib leach - common problems we are all too familiar with.

Two Boat Tuning – It is easy to make all sorts of claims about sail design improvements, but the real test is two-boat tuning - hours of it! We spent several days going up and down the open water of the Solent with the boats close hauled a few feet apart replicating that "start line feeling" until there was no doubt that the changes we have made translate into speed gains across all wind ranges. We tried the new sails against the previous versions in conditions ranging from 6 knots short tacking back up the Hamble to full- on 25 knots in open water with waves and snow! As Mike Lennon observed "I know which sails I would use to try and win the nationals!"

At Hydesails we are looking forward to the start of the sailing season and using the new sails on the racecourse. We will be at most of the open events this year where we will be delighted to discuss the changes we have made in greater detail.

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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