Manufacturer's Statement February 2017
1) ANY EQUIPMENT SUPPLIED BY THE MANUFACTURER AS ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT OR BY THEM AS REPLACEMENT FOR ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT IS PERMITTED.
2) LINES, BLOCKS AND CLEATS CAN BE SUBSTITUTED FOR ORIGINAL ITEMS FROM OTHER SOURCES PROVIDED THEY ARE OF SIMILAR SIZE, DUTY AND LOCATION.
3) NO MODIFICATIONS TO ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT OR AUTHORISED REPLACEMENTS (SEE ABOVE) CAN BE MADE WITHOUT WRITTEN AUTHORISATION OF THE CA AND MANUFACTURER
4) THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTIONS ARE PERMITTED:-
i) Adjustable lowers are permitted
ii) Trampolines - any design or supplier or none allowed
iii) Rudder stocks - any metal stock is permitted provided the rudder blade is located in approximately the same position in the view of the manufacturer and CA.Tillers and extensions are unrestricted
iv) Any sheeting system for the mainsail is permitted
v) Additional purchase can be fitted to control lines and sheets.
vi) A maximum of four control line cleats on each side of the deck is permitted. These must be sited within 100mm of the cockpit leading edge.
5) SPECIFIC EXCLUSIONS - IE THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT ALLOWED:-
a) Additional holes made in the hull for any purposes except for the attachment of trampolines to the adjacent gunwhale OR where the boat is converted to 'off the boom' sheeting when a strop may be attached to the gunwhale on both sides of the hull
b) Adjustable (whilst on the water) forestays or shrouds. The forestay ban will be effective from 1st January 2016. The adjustable shroud ban is effective immediately.
c) Including but not limited to the following - sails, spars, foils, hulls not originally supplied by the manufacturer are banned.
d) No use may be made of the 'Blaze' Logo for any purposes without the written authorisation of Hartley Boats Ltd. - Free CA use of the logo is permitted for all purposes except where use of it could reasonably be assessed to be to the commercial disadvantage of Hartley Boats Ltd.
Statement from Cirrus Raceboats – 4th January 2015
The ‘ban’ on adjustable rigging including forestays effective 1st January 2016
Last year when we had a series of major storms in the UK several masts were damaged or destroyed in the high wind conditions. We expect a few breakages each year like any other class and while this is always regrettable it is perfectly normal. However at this time the damage was very specific and we asked our carbon mast supplier to review more than one returned mast where owners has asked about warranty.
The supplier view was that they had not been adequately supported by the standing rigging in high winds leading to failure. When pointed out to me it was obvious as to what had occurred from the pattern of damage.
Then we saw an alloy M7 fail in exactly the same, relatively unusual, manner with the damage and break location almost identical. This is not something previously seen with the M7 which is renowned for being particularly ‘robust’ – the common factors were the type of break and control of standing rigging fitted.
We again conferred with our mast suppliers and the previous points on rigging support were reiterated. They asked me about whether adjustable standing rigging was permitted on the Blaze. This then led to discussions and concerns about implied and actual warranty.
1) Our mast suppliers are concerned about the damage reported and have made their position very plain. They wish, very understandably, to ensure supplied masts by them do not become subject to an excess number of ‘warranty claims’. They suggest, given what they have seen, that they would not be able to warrant masts supplied for the Blaze in the future without some reasonable restrictions on use.
2) Cirrus cannot supply masts under the historic ‘open’ warranty if our suppliers in turn cannot pick up the cost. In other words we are ourselves unwilling to pick up a potentially ‘open-ended’ financial liability for mast manufacture and damage in use.
3) We have even considered asking new owners to sign a warranty ‘disclaimer’ if they fit any sort of standing rig adjuster (forestay/shrouds) when sailing as a way of keeping everybody happy. (I have absolutely no issue with adjustable forestays per se or all other things being equal). However the practicality within the class and legal efficiency of doing this is not clear under the Sale of Goods Act and other consumer legislation.
4) Cirrus could just have withdrawn warranty for masts when fitted with an adjustable forestay during the standard initial 1 year warranty. This might even seem a good way and practical forward BUT it then creates an additional problem with insurers. Their argument would be that while the mast maker and mast supplier (Cirrus) have removed any warranty risk from themselves they, the insurers, are then being left to deal with a higher rate of claims in following years than they would otherwise face
5) A desire to promote the ‘One Design status of the Blaze and collectively, to maintain the reputation of the Blaze as a simple, fast, fun and robust boat.
Like any racing dinghy, your boat will respond to loving care and attention.
Much experience on how best to do this has been built up over the years and shared on the Blaze Forum.
In order to help newcomers and oldies alike to find useful advice on particular elements of Blaze maintenance, extracts have been made from the Forum on different elements of the Blaze (see sub-pages to this page).
To get up-to-date advice, offer advice and ask further advice, do join the Blaze Forum.
The pintle problem is well known - later Mk II boats do have bolted fittings and a hatch to allow access to the inside of the rudder post. MkI boats have screws going into a nylon block within the post. The screws always undo in time - best method of improving is to remove the screws and fill the holes with epoxy resin before replacing the screws in the holes. Do not over tighten though as this does not help - let the resin do the job. You can also use gelcoat if you do not have epoxy.
Then get the alignment sorted by adjusting the bottom bolted pintle - the small hatch obviously allowed whoever to gain some access originally. You might have to remove the fitting completely first - fill in holes with resin and a little glass and then carefully re-drill and bolt - fiddly stuff but might be much easier than a larger hatch.
Checked over the standing rigging – it has been found that the 'rigging links' that connect the shrouds to the mast tangs were badly cracked on both sides - literally 2/3 through on one side and 3/4 on the other !!
The stainless was also rusted in the cracks from the recent salt exposure. Note that these were cracked on the top surface and would have been un-noticible from the ground - if you have not checked yours recently do it soon .....
It would be an extremely quick way to lose a complete mast for just a couple of pounds to replace suspect items. I'll photo and put on the Cirrus website soon. The morale of this tale is simple - check your boat regularly, rudder fittings, mast fittings, wings etc - you sail a racing boat and like everything else stuff wears or get damaged occasionally.
These parts on my boat at the time were only about 3.5 years old and while I use the boat often we can all miss stuff especially if we 'expect stuff to last forever' or if we don't do a bit of preventative checking - I reckon one more windy day and the mast would have gone and with it the race or event to say nothing about potential injury.
Slot gasket replacement
Slot sealers - awful job but well worth doing as the result is a worthwhile speed improvement for low cost. Patiance and planning - Cut the slot before fitting but tape it back together with masking tape to place/glue on the boat - much easier that way
Cirrus have some pre-cut and shaped strips that they sell intended for new boats.
The secret is to very carefully clean off the old stuff (use acetone if available) and put a THIN layer of evostick on both surfaces and wait until they really appear to be dry. Only then put in contact.
The parcel tape idea is a very good one. It's well worth doing indoors if you can.
If not pre-cut, cut it down the middle BEFORE you put on the boat and hold it all together with a bit of tape (you can use masking tape) until all glued in position. Remove when all is completed. This ensures both sides match very accurately.
Lastly - leave it as long as possible before the plate is put down. Impact stuff can work well in only a few minutes but a couple of days is better. And when not using make SURE the plate is held above the slot sealer on the cleated control lines. If it rests for any length of time on the sealer when not used you really are tempting fate!!!
Good luck and have fun!!
Mark 1 wings, If they work well leave alone –
if they are bent or 'difficult' you can upgrade to the later type - we do kits. However why spend when it’s not needed ? ..... A tramp upgrade might be money well spent though - the later, laced type ones are MUCH better and longer.
If /When the wings get slightly out of shape, which has happened to many of the earlier boats, we all tend to push and shove and occasionally thump the tubes to get wings either 'in' or 'out'. This is a bit frustrating but not a major problem in itself. (and does not ever happen with the 'X' ones) The problem however is not immediately obvious but it may cause you to damage the wing beyond repair. All the manipulation puts repeated pressure on the inboard end fixings, particularly the forward ones. The inboard 'anchor' there is a machine screw which attaches the wing to the hull and it has a stainless steel square shaped 'washer' to spread the load.
As you 'manipulate' the wing it slowly eats away at the edges of this 'washer' which being stainless is fairly 'soft' - its also countersunk to maintain a low profile - and the hole slowly becomes enlarged over time.
Eventually it WILL become large enough for the machine screw to pull through. You will probably be right out on the wing at the time of course and the wing, tramp etc will very rapidly join you in the water as you fall backwards. This also levers the gunwale attachment off the boat certainly destroying the wing, possibly also damaging the gunwale.
The square 'washers' used on the inboard end of the wing tubes can be the cause of premature failures. These items spread the load over a large area of the 'fixed' alloy tubes and feature a countersink recess for the fastening screw that goes into the hull (actually into a tapped small brass block moulded into the hull).
The way that the 'washers' countersink has been manufactured for much of the boats history is by drilling into them with a large drill partially through the stainless material. This is fine in principle but it leads a 'sharp' inboard edge that can be widened if there is any working (movement) of the wings whatsoever over time. Stainless steel is fairly 'soft' and perhaps this is inevitable.
The answer was to produce a countersink by different means - by only drilling a hole to the thread diameter of the fastening screw and then using a press to create the countersink. You end up with a countersink but with NO thinning of the material where the screw rests on it - ie full material thickness is retained with no vulnerable angles or 'edge'.
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.
This section is all about your Blaze!
In this section there is much information to help you understand and get tyhe most out of you Blaze, follow the relevant links to learn more...
Where the Blazes ?
Checkout the graphic below to find your local club.
Thanks go to Stewart Robinson for putting the graphic together.
The Blaze is suitable for a wide range of helm weights, typically 11 to 16 stone. However there are many outside this wight range, in both directions, who have done very well at National and other races.
The Blaze is suitable for all except the smallest inland waters in Britain as well as estuary and sheltered open water around the coast.
The Blaze excels in force 4-5 winds and is sailable at higher winds when helms from other classes are more often viewing from the shore! The boat sails well in medium to strong winds when it can easily plane, upwind as well as downwind, due to the flat wide hull with minimum rocker.
Around force 2 it is probably least competitive against other classes but on a 'drifter' day it can often do surprisingly well due to the relatively large sail area towards the top of the mast.
- Designers lan Howlett and John Caig in 1996
- Boat Builders - Cirrus Raceboats Limited
- Length 4.20
- Beam - Max 2.48m
- Hull 72kg
- Sail 10.0m2 Semi Rigid
- Mast - 6.5m Superspars M7 or custom carbon
- Outer Racks and Boom - Carbon composite
- Hull Construction - Epoxy Sandwich by White Formula
- Foils - Epoxy Sandwich by White Formula
- PN 1026 (2014)
There are now three 'versions' of the Blaze.
The first thing to be aware of is that the hull shape remains unchanged since the inception of the Blaze, as does the rigging, apart from the boom and sail. The version 1 (v1) sailplan is easily converted to the v2 sailplan (most have now done this) so all versions of the Blaze are similarly competitive.
The first version of the Blaze had a 10.2 sq metre fully battened sail. The main problem with this sail was that in medium and high winds, after a tack or gybe, the power would come on so quickly that it could easily result in a capsize.
In order to make the boat easier to handle, the Class Association brought in some changes in March 2001.
The changes made to the sail and boom were:
- lowered the boom on the mast, with increased rake upwards towards the stern
- use of carbon boom
- redesigned sail - 10 sq metres with full battens at the top of the sail only
The change to partially battened sail means that the power can be spilled from the sail when required, making the boat less challenging in medium to strong winds.
Some changes were also made to the top deck moulding and racks. The stern post was increased in size to allow improve access to the pintel bolts and the design of the racks was changed slightly - with the outer tubes made of carbon.
This second version of the Blaze was marketed as the 'Blaze X', but is now referred to as the v2
The v3 Blaze is made its first appearance at the London Dinghy Show on the 2nd March 2008. It is the result of a detailed re-engineering of the boats deck tooling and a switch from polyester to epoxy. The builders Cirrus/Rondar say the boat will now be much easier to build down to target weight on a volume basis. The deck tooling needed to be replaced anyway and with 10 years experience the Class Association suggested a number of detail changes to layout and fittings. The Blaze v3 will also have an all Harken fit out, carbon boom and carbon wing outers.
The use of a custom carbon mast has been approved for 2013 onwards
New Sail Material
Class sail maker North have switched sail material for 2008 with Class Association input and this has greatly improved all around visibility. Early users have commented how this has improved their tactical appreciation and find it difficult to switch back to 'regular' sails!
At the launch, the builders have nine pre-launch orders for the new boat from a mix of class regulars and newcomers and expects more when the boat is first shown. The class has for some time experienced a desperate shortage of used boats and it is hoped that new boat orders start releasing more good pre-used boats.
1) The mast is the official Blaze class carbon mast - custom designed 50mm round section and specifically produced for the task.
2) Foils - Same material as last 5 years but now produced in CNC cut aluminium tooling. The tools produce a 'perfect' shape every time and with fine edges (just like the old glass tools did way back) They return the foils to as they were when the first ones came out of the original tooling - and we do not need to waste any time in post production fairing. Should last for the next 1000 boats or so...!
4) The latest Blaze deck is similar enough to the Mk3 produced by Rondar it does not warrant being called a Mk4 as the changes are not deemed significant enough. The back is now very strong indeed and the Cirrus default will be NOT to have a bar across the back unless the prospective owner either wants one or if it may be of benefit - i.e. larger helms. The resin now used is the well known 'SP' and the foam incorporated is uprated. Cirrus also vacuum the mouldings using higher pressure now getting better consolidation and post-cure in a much more controlled way. A few detail changes in the deck tooling produces larger kick bars and a more rounded rear rudder post. The backing behind fittings for fastenings are improved as well - lots of detail changes but nothing major and most may not even notice but all changes have been made for good reasons! As before all hulls are produced to a common weight and are weighted before release using the electronic strain gauge system at White Formula - in effect the 'official' weighing for the class now. Cirrus believe the latest boats are the best ever produced and at least the equal of virtually anything produced elsewhere in the UK and beyond.
1) Improved kick bars - larger and slightly curved at front to follow line of cockpit
2) Back of centreboard caring - now modified to form additional kick bar.
3) Rear rudder post - more rounded / blended into floor to improve rigidity
4) Non-Slip - new throughout, more even and regular.
5) Better detailing around hatch locations so any chance of distortion reduced when installed
6) Improved 'hard points' for fixing fastenings throughout
7) Rear now has internal hard points for rear 'carbon bracing bar' when specified or wanted whether supplied or not so the carbon brace can be neatly installed if later purchased. Default will be without to keep back open and clean
.... and Numbers start at sail number '800'
Blaze Class is Growing
The Blaze is a fantastic boat and a very high proportion of those who try it end up as converts! It is relatively easy to sail but with sparkling performance especially when it blows when the wings greatly increase the effectiveness of hiking.
Having averaged 70 boats racing over the past two Traveller Series the class is going in the right direction. The Class Association are delighted with the developments.
Is your Blaze "under used"?
The Association encourage anyone with an 'under used' Blaze to advertise it here on the website.
Blaze version 1 (1996+)
Blaze version 2 (2001+)
- Designers lan Howlett and John Caig in 1996
- Boat Builders - Cirrus Raceboats Limited
- Length 4.20
- Beam - Max 2.48m
- Hull 72kg
- Sail 10.4m2 Semi Rigid
- Mast - 6.5m Superspars M7 or custom carbon
- Outer Racks and Boom - Carbon composite or Alloy
- Hull Construction - Epoxy Sandwich by White Formula UK
- Foils - Epoxy Sandwich by White Formula UK
- PN 1026. Great Lakes - 1032
The BLAZE offers significantly high performance while at the same time remaining simple to sail.
The boat brings together high speed and crisp handling in a powerful, easily driven hull; a fine entry flares into wide planing sections aft for maximum stability and blistering off-wind performance. And all from the security of a really comfortable cockpit.
Superb Racing Machine
Adjustable sitting-out racks are the answer to making this a superb racing machine for the widest possible weight range. The racks provide almost armchair comfort and generate the leverage to handle the modern, powerful rig. Blaze has a stayed SuperSpars M7 or custom carbon mast and North sail. This sophisticated modern rig gives usable power across a wide range of conditions.
All key control systems for the rig and the centreboard have been led out to the racks so you can carry on with fingertip adjustment even when you're screaming down a reach or rounding the windward mark. Conscious that a self-draining cockpit often means a shallow cockpit, suitable only for the very agile, designer lan Howlett achieved a comfortably deep area within the Blaze while retaining instant self-draining capability. With its sheeting arrangements and open transom, the Blaze has a huge area available for racing comfort. Both foils are lifting for stress free sailing in shallow water as well as during launching and recovery.
No Daggerboard Hassle
The Blaze has re-invented the pivoting centreboard. Rediscover the luxury of launching without the hassle of looking after a daggerboard - and of throwing a quick gybe without having to check that the foil won't foul the boom! The Blaze is finished and supplied to a high specification by Cirrus Raceboats, people who sail and race the boat themselves with the highly respected White Formula building the main epoxy elements.
High Efficiency Power Sail
The Blaze employs a North CAD designed 10.4 metre square 'round-head' semi soft sail design with tapered battens. The result is superb handling coupled to high efficiency and power. The sail design was refined in line with the extensive research and development program conducted by the Class Association together with the builders and equipment suppliers.
Best of Both Worlds
The refined rig enhances the upwind pointing ability yet still allows the sail to be 'feathered' upwind in high winds negating the brute force required with many fully battened single sail boats. By permitting a one design class to periodically update we have the best of both worlds - a manufacturers class but with an active association that sees that there is a 'third way'. The whole idea of one design sailing is to keep costs moderate. As a result, all boats can remain competitive regardless of age.