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Steve Cockerill Reflects on the First Season in the RS400

by Steve Cockerill 30 Nov 2019 12:00 GMT
Steve and Sarah Cockerill racing at Bass Week © Peter Mackin /

So our first season of the RS400 is almost over. We had never looked at an RS400 as an option for us as we considered ourselves to be too small. At 143Kg (22.5 stone) we thought we fell between the RS200 and the RS400. Encouraged by the size of Stewart & Sarah Robertson at the Endeavor Trophy, we sold our Aeros and turned them into a nice shiny new RS400.

Reading the 'tuning guides' I was reassured that some teams were in our weight range. I did my best to set up the boat with the lighter crew weights and found it quite a handful upwind. It was not until we raced at the Draycote SailJuice event where we discovered that RS400 sailors measure their spreaders from the track - not the mast wall. So we had been sailing with seriously long spreaders in the region of 415mm (a heavyweight set up) when I thought I was on 395mm. I recall that we were a bit high but slow upwind which we compensated by easing the rig tension, but really quick downwind. I am still encouraged to try longer spreaders again.

We were also racing at Chichester Yacht Club's winter series against some very competitive Merlins with some success; perhaps we were suited to this boat - at least in the confines of Birdham Pool (the club's sailing area).

We also raced at the Bloody Mary and found the low fast route upwind of Mark Oakey was impressive. We eventually changed our set up for shorter 395mm spreaders.

Whenever we raced in light winds, we were fast. The Chew Valley Open meeting was a case in point. It was about this time that I experimented with packing the front of the rudder stock to give me more feel. This gave me the confidence to sail the boat upright as I had some decent feel on the rudder.

Read the rest of Steve's observations and rig setting experiments on the Rooster Blog

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