Kicker

Question: Is the standard kicker also 16:1? The measurement I was wondering about is from the mast to the bow. I think the original Topper supplied kicker was a single cascade and 4:1 giving 8:1 overall.
Answer: The mast to bow measurement - never measured it personally. The 'X' has it's smaller deck fitting in exactly the same 'forward' position as an adapted Mk1 with it's longer fitting. (All you do to adapt is take off the fitting and drill extra holes near the front of it to relocate the bolts that hold the mast - but not closer than 10mm from leading edge for the front one) So X and modified Mk1's one share the same position exactly.
It's important to know that if you were tempted to go further forward still by remounting the fitting forward of this position - there is NO suitable reinforcement under the deck forward of the standard position ! And a stong possibility that under high load the whole lot would simply punch through the foredeck and maybe carry on through the hull below ....
So be very careful with this one .... I'm also pretty sure that the builder would not honour any warranty, actual or implied and it could be quite hazardous.
While on the subject - and this mainly concerns 'X' owners with the shorter deck fitting - Urgently check the screws attaching it to the deck. There have been several recent instances of the front screw breaking. The head gets sheared off the threaded element by the high lateral loads of the mast twisting in the deck fitting. The rear screws seem to still retain the mast step but they will surely also break fairly quickly afterwards as they then have to deal with even higher forces. I'd suggest that if you have any doubts about the front screw remove it before it breaks (leaving the fixing hole full of broken screw) and replace with a slightly larger one - next size up.
Cheers - Mike Lyons
Question: I've been looking at the pictures of the continuous form of centreboard/kicker lines, and wondered if anyone could advise:

  • What length is best for these lines?
  • What's the best way to join the two ends (and what type of line)?

Thanks, Colin Helliwell (612)
Answer: For kicker and centreboard I use them about 11.5 metres long and run these around the boat as per diagrams. They are 5mm excel 'pro' which despite the name is about 85p per metre. The way I connect them together to make them continuous is 1) to heat seal the outer by waving a lighter at each end 2) Then with some long nosed pliers pull the 'inner' out about 7-10 cm and cut off. This leaves a hollow end. 3) Get a 15-20cm piece of 3mm line - anything that is reasonably stiff will do, heat harden the end and insert as far as possible into the now hollow outer. 4) Sew/whip through both at two locations - near the end of the inserted bit - say 5+ cm and near the end of the outer. Don't whip it for more than 6 or 7 mm at each location 5) The outer is probably a bit frayed with all this work despite the heat sealing you previously did, so trim back the frayed bits to the end whipping 6) heat seal/tidy again but be careful not to get over exited now and burn through the whipping.
Before you complete the second link just make absolutely sure the line is not twisted or routed wrongly ! It's a labour of love but very well worth it if you get the systems working properly. For the cunningham I do not make them continuous and my boat is as per the diagrams on the website. One variation I've now copied from others is to put a cleat on the underside of the boom and NOT lead the outhaul to each side of the boat - this makes things very simple and frees up two cleats for other purposes such as adjustable forestays if you want - or they can be removed completely if, like me, you like to keep the boat ultra simple. (it saves a load of line/elastic, control cleats, blocks etc etc and you rarely need to adjust the outhaul anyway). Make sure if you do do this that the boom cleat is forward as you will not be able to adjust it easily if far back.
Another refinement recently tried and now recommended ....... The centreboard is often a bit reluctant to come up when initially you pull on the control line. The reason for this is that the two blocks just behind the mast that route these lines to each side are on a common fitting. When you pull either port or starboard lines they pull against eachother - giving the impression of a very stiff centreboard. The answer is to take the deck fitting that anchors them off the boat (and fill in the holes) and to separate the two blocks - attaching them with small shackles to the fittings that already anchor the kicker control line blocks. These will happily accommodate these extra control line blocks and naturally keep them a couple of cm apart. Result - much improved lifting for virtually zero effort. I've noticed a lot of boats being supplied with what looks like 3 or 4mm control lines on the centreboard which really should be 5mm - this may have been done to overcome this problem but the mod covered here is much better - should be a production change really and it will save a few pence as well.

Good Luck - Mike Lyons '654'

Kicker

The Mk1 boat has a very similar one to the recommended system - the only difference is that the webbing is further along the boom (see website) and that there is an EXTRA cascade. Very easy to setup and one of the reasons we went that way.
The only issue with Mk1 kickers is that they needed an extra cascade to increase the power from 8:1 to 16:1 and this means that you must move the webbing along to give sufficient 'travel'.
The other point worth considering is the quality of the existing block at the foot end (the single one with the becket) These are often found twisted and therefore are not very efficient. Replace them with a larger one if yours is like this. The wire may also may not be the right length - vectran is a very easy substitute and if you use a 'fid' the result can look professional.
There are no photos of this on the website but there is one of my inexpert graphics at the end of the kicker guide !
Hope this helps. Regards - Mike Lyons