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Sunday, March 3, 2013

2013 Dallas IOM Blow-Out; more thoughts...

Last time I checked in with the 2013 Blow Out I discussed a bit of my thoughts and preparation moving forward, but with the regatta a month out I thought it would good to revisit these preparations.

This year the IOM regatta is being preceded by a large RG-65 regatta. I suspect there is a desire on the local racing crowd to grow this into a “Race Week” type event, and this is a tentative step in this direction. The RG-65 is a fascinating new boat, and its rapid growth says a lot of things about the state of some other classes, but that’s a topic for another time. I don’t have an RG-65, but Andy and I have decided to get into them and look to build out a couple hulls from Eric Rosenbaum, a national force behind the new boat, and fortunately for us, a local fixture. I hope to sail one this week for the first time, and definitely plan to cover their regatta at the Blow Out.
As for the IOM’s I’ll be sailing my Tempest, designed by the late Martin Firebrace and built to a high quality by Carl Weatherhill. My boat was finished out locally by Mike Devrey, a local attorney and sailor who has constructed several boats of exacting quality. He built mine, and for reasons unknown, didn’t pursue the class and sold it last year.
I bought the boat, now named Juno as a tip of the hat to Shakepeare’s “Tempest”, a few days before last year’s blow out. Equipped with a conventional radio, the batteries and receiver crapped out after two races (keeping my tradition alive of Blow Out futility!)
Now re-equipped with a Dx5 radio & receiver, and reliable batteries, I’m ready to try again. I’ve been working the boat up by sailing in the TRYC’s points regatta’s the last few months, and making steady progress. I’ve identified a few points of concern; the running rigging has some rough spots which bind occasionally, the A-rig has an occasional fouling issue, and the boat is a little wet. Replacing the running rigging line is simple enough, and I have identified a fix for the fouling problem (slack jib line sometimes fouls on a deck fitting), I think I can just cover the offending fitting with some tape to smooth passage of the sheets. The question of being wet I’m not certain about, but I strongly suspect it will require a new after deck patch. The trim on the B-rig is excellent, the A-rig, so-so but I’ll work on it. C-rig. The boat came with no C-rig, but I’ve been able to modify the old Tenacious C-rig to fit. Another few hours of work should take care of it. My concern is whether there will be sufficient weather to test it beforehand…the wind is highly variable here (Dallas) this time of year…it can go from a drifter to a howl in the course of the afternoon. Usually, we get stiff breeze and waves this time of year, so having a C-rig ready will be essential. Once I’m satisfied with the gear & boat, I’ll photograph everything to share!
The design of the Tempest herself is very evolutionary…I’ll take up the details of IOM hull evolution another time, but currently the narrow, flat bottomed boats transitioning to a chine stern are all the rage; the broad skiffs seem to be disappearing…any how the Juno is narrow forward and of moderate beam, a curved rocker transitioning to fairly flat floor sections. She is markedly faster on all points than my old, broad beamed Tenacious (one of only fourForte’s ever built) designed by Jeff Byerly, especially downwind. Tenaciouscould carry more sail in a blow, and likes upper A conditions best, but Juno is more refined and balanced (her design is, after all, 10 years more recent!)
Back in the late 90’s when the TS-2’s really took off and started the broad-beamed skiff phase of IOM development, Graham Bantock supposed that the real advantage of the skiff wasn’t its beam, but the “scooped” cockpit which lowered the rig plan, allowing the skiff’s to carry A-rigs in higher winds. This was certainly the case in 1997 World’s where Australian skiff’s crushed conservative, narrow, English boats in a windy Australian venue. Bantock was particularly impressed with Martin Firebrace’s “Two Dogs” design that year:
For the 1997 championships Geoff Smale used the Firebrace-designed 2 Dogs with a maximum beam of 210mm, carefully optimised for the expected windy conditions; 2 Dogs featured a larger rudder, a fin shaped like an inverted spade with the top third about three times the chord of the bottom, and the bottom of the transom sitting some 6mm underwater at rest (this feature, common to powerboat hulls, has only relatively recently begun to appear in bigger keelboat classes such as the Volvo 70 and Imoca 60)
The Tempest is the end product of Firebrace’s design evolution from that boat (Two DogsThree DogsMistVapour, and finally, Tempest). So…Juno has a good pedigree; properly tuned and prepared, I hope to do well!


  1. We do NOT want race week... next year they will be on separate weekends ;0

  2. There you go, from the man himself ;-)

    Historically the now defunct Victoria-class White Rock Cup was sailed the weekend before the Blow-Out, exhausting if you sailed both, but easier for the hosts to get the break in between!