Setup & Tuning
Blaze Set-up Guide - M7 Rig.
Attach a tape measure to your halyard and pull to the top of the mast. Now measure the distance to the bottom of the hull at one side or other of the rudder-post. A good starting point is to adjust the forestay to 7050mm (7 metres and 5 cm). If you have an adjustable forestay this can be your 'central setting'. Make sure that at the extremes of adjustment you cannot rake your mast beyond 7020mm - it may simply fall down when you least expect it. Put knots etc in any rope system used to prevent you exceeding the limits of 7020mm.
The Blaze rig works best set up to be 'sloppy' it seems - therefore the spreaders work in a different manner to those found on 'tight' rig tension boats. The M7 'hangs' off the windward shroud and the spreader merely inhibits it inverting to windward towards the supporting shroud. From memory my own are shorter than most at about 26 or 26cm and are relatively 'forward'. This allows the boom out further off-wind and when coupled with the sloppy rig - you can run deeper…
The thing to realise is that the rig is powerful and the mast a trifle too stiff, so the kicker DEPOWERS upwind in the Blaze close-hauled, this is because kicker (upwind) shunts the boom forward into the mast increasing bend which depowers the rig, so we do need to be able to use the kicker to DEPOWER - it pushes the lower mast forward when applied and this opens the leach near the top and flattens the sail lower down as well.
So it all works upwind so how do you drive it off-wind?
You also need to increase it off-wind to MAINTAIN the power and reduce sail twist.
Pull the kicker ON when off-wind (not what you might have been taught is it), this stops the boom going too far towards the sky but don't overdo it as you want the leach to fall forward on occasion so you can sail by the lee.
Mainsheet tension -
IF everything set up right will close the leach and increase power without shunting the boom forward - it just pulls down. Off-wind you have much less ability to use mainsheet tension to power up of course and the leach will drop away very easily - especially if you have little kicker on. So you then have to put it on MORE, particularly if the sail is not getting linear flow over it as in dead running (i.e. drive through drag like a parachute)
with mast set up but without sail and boom in position these should also permit a fair amount of movement - measure at mid-point and set so that 5-6cm of sideways movement is possible. With some lowers supplied they are either too short or the adjusters are too short. Either way you must change this fitting if needed to get this amount of slack..
Here is some info recently added by Myles Mence
The settings I detail below have given me good pace against heavyweights at the
last two meetings - Warsash and the Nationals - when winds have at times been
well above 20 knots.
On the scales in my shreddies I weigh 68kg.
Mast rake: 7m 70cm
Heel of mast to forestay fitting: 1045mm
Spreader length (inside of shroud to nearest point on mast): 305mm
Spreader deflection: 110mm
Rig tension: 69cm*
Lowers pretty slack (I haven't worked out a way of measuring their tension
*To measure rig tension: with a tape measure - measure from chainplate at deck
level 35cm up a shroud, mark with a piece of tape. Then with your tape measure,
measure from nearest point on mast just above gooseneck to the mark on the
shroud pulling the shroud away as hard as you can, rather like drawing a bow and
arrow. Record the measurement which will be in the region of 65 - 70cm. This is
your rig tension and you will find this method surprisingly accurate.
Some sailing technique notes for lightweights:
1. In lower winds you will need to increase rig tension to about 67cm or you
will not point. Ditto your lowers.Rig tension and lowers may not be adjusted whilst sailing
2. In strong winds you will not point as high as heavyweights and so don't try
to. Sail low and fast.
3. The prevailing authodoxy amongst the fleet is to sail with a very full foot.
On the wind in strong winds this creates too much power for the lightweight and
you will need to stretch the foot out - but not tight - a certain amount of flow
will help over waves.
Off the wind if you can reach the control blow the clew off, if not leave it
4. As the wind increases and on the wind lift the centreplate up about 15%, this
reduces excess lift and improves the balance of the boat (as increasing wind
moves the centre of effort aft in the rig).If it is blowing I lock my plate in
this position throughout the race and leave it alone.
5. Pull the cunningham on until you burst an eye and then pull it harder, this
will get the roach to feather away. Let it off downwind.
6. Kicker: in heavy weather and on the wind - masses. Progressively let it off
downwind as the course goes deeper. On the run let it off until the roach starts
to go forward, some twist is good.