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Scorpion set-up help

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Beginner questions
Forum Discription: Advice for those who are new to sailing
Printed Date: 18 Feb 19 at 11:06pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Scorpion set-up help
Posted By: simon1013
Subject: Scorpion set-up help
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 9:26am
I am relatively new to dinghy sailing, having some time in Comet Trios, Wayfairers and more latterly the Mirror having been lent one for a while.

However, I also picked up a very cheap but functional (I think) GRP Scorpion which I have sitting on my drive with a plan to get it 'sorted' over winter/spring and sail in summer once I have some more experience in the Mirror.

The boat is fitted out with what looks like lots of race spec ropes and fittings, and since I would only be using the boat for fair-weather cruising with my son, am intending to remove a lot of the 'extras', and simplify things to make handling easier and free up some room.

The problem is, I have many questions about what things do, whether they are necessary etc and how to route and secure new rope and cable. Does anybody know of a book or something that would help out? I have seen the various rigging guides for the Scorp but they are very brief and only talk about the degree of rake etc, and not about the more general setup.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 10:18am
Where do you sail? If it's a club I'm sure somebody would be happy to help you sort the boat. If not, can you rig and sail the Mirror unaided? In which case.....

Things you must have :-

Shrouds and forestay (which may be the jib luff wire) to hold the mast up
Haliards to raise the sails
A means to attach the mainsail tack and clew to the boom
Some kind of kicking strap (vang)

None of which need to be adjustable while sailing but it's important to be able to lower the mainsail on the water, especially if you are sailing unaccompanied.

The only sail controls that need to be adjustable while sailing are the mainsheet and jib sheets, everything else is go-faster (or be more controllable/balanced) and can be set onshore.

Posted By: simon1013
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 10:35am
I sail at a club near Derby, and I can and do sail the Mirror with and without my 8 year old son. I don't get down to the club frequently enough to pester them (and when I do it's usually about the Mirror) and have the dinghy in the drive so plenty of time to tinker....however.

The mast has been raised, and once the levers (adjusters) on the shrouds have been moved and the jib is raised and tensioned all the wires are nice and tight. The forestay goes VERY loose though because the tension is through the jib...not sure how loose is OK. I presume it is there to hold the mast up if the jib snaps and to keep it upright with no jib in place. The clew is attached to an outhaul back to the thwart...sorted.

There was no main halyard, but I have used a piece of rope (3 or 4 mm) and one of those little plastic bobbles to connect to the head of the mailsail, and back to a clamcleat at the base of the mast. Seems OK.....bit stretchy but it's 'proper' sail rope (sorry - don't know the right term).

The kicking strap is in place but is very complex and comes off to 2 individual cam cleats, one on the port and one of the starboard of the thwart. I was going to simplify this so it comes to once cam cleat instead.

Where I am struggling at the moment, is attaching the tack to the boom. There are 2 holes in the mainsail, one at the bottom right in the corner of the tack right next to the gooseneck and another about a foot above it. There seems to be no way to attach either to the boom....I guess one (probably the top one?) is the is where I am stuck.

Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 10:36am
The Scorp is a very tweakable boat especially with the raking rig.

Whilst you might not choose to use the raking rig you do need to get the mast rake about right otherside the bot with just feel plain wrong.

I would suggest you dispense with the raking rig system and replace it with the chainplates (so you can still rake but it would be done on shore).

You will also need to do a bit of calibration on the forestay to make sure you get enough tension in the rig or your mast will suffer and may even come down.

Spinnaker kit, again get rid of it unless you are planning to use it.

I would also keep the sail control there and usable. a racing setup may look complex but with a little bit of thought and maintenance it will serve well for cruising.

Have you looked on the Scorpion website as well. I found them to be a really friendly bunch and I am sure if there was one close by they would come and take a look (or send you load of pictures).

D-Zero GBR188
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Posted By: simon1013
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 10:55am
Thanks chaps, it looks like I am generally on the right track.

I have instructions (off the Scorp website) to set the rake so should be able to set that correctly.

On the basis of keeping it simple, I think the outstanding questions then are simply about the forestay going very very loose when the jib is tightened up (onto it's loosest setting) that OK?

And also what's going on around the tack on the mainsail as posted above. This has totally confused me...

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 11:02am
Originally posted by simon1013

The forestay goes VERY loose

The kicking strap is in place but is very complex and comes off to 2 individual cam cleats, one on the port and one of the starboard of the thwart. I was going to simplify this

Where I am struggling at the moment, is attaching the tack to the boom... There seems to be no way to attach either to the boom

Photos would help.

There's a bit of a theme I've seen quite a few times, where people new to a class get a boat, decide to change all the systems, then a year later realise that they needed all that kit where it was and have to reassemble. So I would counsel being a bit wary about pulling loads of fittings off and drilling loads more holes to move them until you've sailed the boat a reasonable amount and have a good picture of what you need. You'll almost certainly find that you end up wanting things in different places to those you are used to with the Mirror.

It doesn't matter in the least how slack the forestay goes. As long as the mast can't actually fall out of the socket its good enough.

I'd be inclined not to change the kicking strap unless it gives you big ergonomic/clutter problems, because it really is good to be able to easily adjust that, even for recreational sailing.

Its quite probable that the tack isn't intended to attach to the boom, and the boat is set up simply to use the downhaul to tension the tack, quite possibly with a little rope loop or webbing strap round the mast to keep it close to the spar. Even if you don't propose to adjust it on the water there is an argument for retaining the purchase and cleats, just because its the easiest way to get some tension in it.

Something I do, but which is surprisingly rarely done, is to set the boat up so there are no shackles to do up or undo to rig the boat for a normal days sailing. Work out the minimum that needs to be undone, and replace any remaining shackles with bobbles or hooks, and IME you'll be surprised how much less tiresome rigging the boat is.

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 11:15am
I'd guess the tack is tied down to the gooseneck and the adjustment is done at the upper cringle, the 'cunningham hole' which is the luff tension or downhaul control.

JimC makes a very good point that, as you seem to have got most the controls rigged and functioning, leave well alone (you don't have to adjust them while sailing) until you know what you'll end up doing with the boat. At the very least don't remove or reposition any fittings.

Posted By: simon1013
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 11:54am
Those are all great suggestions, I took loads of photos and was planning on leaving the 'hardware' attached anyway. Would love to learn how to use the Spinaker at some point but that's way in the future at the moment, looks really complicated so I removed most of the ropes etc.

Anyway, I recon throwing a rope round the gooseneck from the lower cringle (is that what it's called?) and rigging up a simple 2:1 downhaul/cunningham should work well with my setup. With that, and checking the rake I don't think the boat is far away and retains the controls I already know from the Mirror.

Regarding a 'quick-setup' to get off-blocks quickly, that's a great idea and I have wondered why we use those horrible little shackles when a quick release carabiner would seem to be so much easier with cold hands on the Jib/forestay/halyard and clew to outhaul etc. Any thoughts?

Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 18 Oct 16 at 1:02pm
Shackles have a far higher load capacity than similarly sized spring gate carabiner. Jib halliard tension (for example) is pretty high on a racing sailboat. That said my boat has a 40mm ss snaphook on the tail of it's 2-1 wire jib halliard so they must be strong enough (but a 20mm shackle would do the job at 25% of the weight I suppose). Jib luff tension around 300kg according to Loos gauge so less that 150kg at the tail end..... Dyneema halliards with a bobble (or those neat 'soft shackles) is the most elegant solution.

Posted By: simon1013
Date Posted: 28 Oct 16 at 10:33am
Just a quick update and thanks to those who responded. The boat is now nicely set up and ready to sail.

I did have to play around a lot with the jibs, I had 4 jibs with the boat which I thought was great but it turned out that they are all slightly different length which meant that only one would give the right rake - all the others were well out of range which I thought was strange.

Good news is that with the correct Jib and rake, the forestay tension does drop but nothing like as much as it did when I had it set up before when it was very very loose so that gives me some confidence that it's set up OK. All being well, I am looking forward to getting the hull wet in the next few weeks - can't wait. Just need the weather to warm up a bit :-(

What I didn't realise was how much of the rigging was down to personal choice, and there seems to be a myriad of different ways to set things up. For a fiddler like me, that's good because I originally got the impression that the set-up was more rigid.

The only remaining issue, which is more of a niggle is that the boom-up cover that I had with the boat is so old, it almost crumbles when you move it. Lots of splits and damage, but given I paid so little for the boat, I am reluctant to spend over twice the cost of the boat on a new cover and second hand covers seem to be like rocking horse poo poo.

Anybody got any good ideas of am I going to stuck with lowering the mast and throwing a tarp over between outings?

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 28 Oct 16 at 11:17am
I think you just have to consider the cover as a running cost. If you don't have a good cover then you have ropes full of slime, fittings full of grot, bird crap under the spreaders and the whole sailing experience deteriorates rapidly. And then start thinking about the extra time and hassle if you have to take the rig off and put it back every time...

You're not buying the cover as an investment in the boat, you're buying it to make your days out sailing better.

Posted By: Ardea
Date Posted: 28 Oct 16 at 12:15pm
plus, if it's a wooden boat the cover will save you time and/or money on varnishing, painting and general repairs.

Posted By: zippyRN
Date Posted: 28 Oct 16 at 12:25pm
the forestay of  a boat which has  a wire luff jib  is irrelevant  once the  boat is  rigged,  it's there to keep the mast up  when there is no  jib on the boat ...   once rigged the  loads are take by the jib  luff and halyard. 

unfortunately  the  desire of some  sailing schools to simply  rig controls  means that the  atttitude  towards rig tension and secondary sail controls being  unimportant   is given far too much weight ... 

 amazing how boats which struggle upwind  are transformed by correct  rig tension and secondary sail control use ... 

Posted By: patj
Date Posted: 31 Oct 16 at 6:41am
Originally posted by zippyRN

unfortunately  the  desire of some  sailing schools to simply  rig controls  means that the  atttitude  towards rig tension and secondary sail controls being  unimportant   is given far too much weight ...  amazing how boats which struggle upwind  are transformed by correct  rig tension and secondary sail control use ... 


Posted By: simon1013
Date Posted: 31 Oct 16 at 9:51am
OK, thanks chaps. Glad to hear that the effort I put into getting the rake sorted wasn't wasted as well!!

It's a GRP boat so shouldn't suffer in the short term, but I will save my pennies and try and get hold of (reluctantly) a proper cover I guess.

Posted By: sawman
Date Posted: 31 Oct 16 at 6:31pm
I think if you have a look at the classifieds on the scorp website, a few weeks ago there was someone selling a surplus, used cover for about 25 quid

edit: bah - just checked, the item is sold - might be worth posting a wanted ad though, someone might have one lying around somewhere!

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