Byte Modifications in Bermuda
by Lisa Spurling on 31 May 2012
As you may or may not know, the fleet is almost evenly split between adults and teens and we sail predominately in moderate to heavy air. Most of the changes make adjusting the sail controls easier. Almost everyone has switched to a single hiking strap.
Some of us have also added an elastic cord across the cockpit from one toe rail through the forward end of the hiking strap to the other toe rail. This is pulled as tight as possible to raise the hiking strap off the cockpit floor, making it easier to slip our hiking boots. I have also shortened my hiking strap by six inches. This makes adding the adjustable part of the hiking strap easier, (this is the Laser style).
I have also drilled a hole in the end of the tiller where it fits into the rudder. This hole lines up with the small hole on the top of the rudder. I have tied a split pin to the rudder and inserted it through both. This prevents the tiller separating from the rudder when sailing. This may not be necessary but we had a problem with the knot we use to hold the rudder down coming undone. I also have a habit of leaving the dock and sailing out without the rudder down or the tiller attached.
The mainsheet blocks are the same as the factory set up. The ladies of the fleet decided that they wanted to be able to compete with the teens while not fighting to adjust the control lines. So most of the modifications make it a lot easier to tighten and ease the lines.
Most of us have lengthened our traveler lines. We tried the cleat fairleads and some liked them but others found that they got in the way and removed them. I personally removed them. I found that when I was playing the traveler my hands were hitting them and they reduced the amount that I could adjust the traveler before I had to change my grip. In heavy conditions I will tie the ends together so it does becomes continuous and it never falls below the mainsheet block. I have also added several knots to the line to help my grip and to give some non-visual reference points.
We have also added a micro block on the outhaul. This is either dead ended to the mast and run along the boom to the end where it is added into the existing system, (just ask me and I can send diagrams or rigging instructions for any modifications) or the end is fastened to the jam cleat on the boom.
The Cunningham was also a problem. We added a double micro block to the system. This takes us to the class limit on the number of purchases while allowing us to adjust the Cunningham with little difficulty. The only draw backs are that they add a lot more line in the cockpit, and in heavy air days you must make sure that the halyard is up as high as it can go or that block will bottom out before you pull on enough Cunningham. I found a non-stretch line is the best to use for the Cunningham. We have found that by putting all your weight on the halyard it was possible to pull the sail all the way to the top of the mast while removing some of the stretch from the halyard.
We have left the vang system alone as we are not using it significantly up wind in heavy air. We generally only use it on reaches and downwind. When sailing upwind I personally leave it set for my next leg whether it is a reach or a run. I also tape it into place on the boom. In lighter air I do tend to use the vang more. I have found that if the vang is cranked on to much it can be very difficult tacking, and there is a tendency to get stuck head to wind.
The only other rigging adjustment I have made is lengthening my main sheet several feet to allow me to go by the lee while surfing the waves down wind.
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