Lower shrouds (lowers)

Its lateral movement (left to right) at the mid point of the lowers without the sail up the mast. In other words fairly sloppy - all it really does is provide an 'end-stop' position when you put the kicker on - it's suggested as we do want the kicker to induce some mast curve when applied. If you are really heavy try a bit less!
- it also helps keep the mast in the boat of course especially when you are bouncing through waves!
Mike '720'

Adjustable lowers

Question: Lots of talk recently about a choice of material for the lowers, and adjustable forestays. Has any one put adjustable lowers on a Blaze and would they be allowed any way. Strikes me that this is a better way to control power and sail shape than an adjustable forestay :-s Answer: They have always been adjustable - you mean during racing of course. The jury is still out on adjustable forestays already so the combination of the two potentially would be quite tough to sort out. Have not seen a consistent improvement myself with forestay adjustment and have tended to go along the line of kicker and mainsheet tension as key controllers of power and then to keep the boat as absolutely simple as possible.
The thing to realise is that the kicker DEPOWERS upwind in the Blaze closehauled but you need to increase it offwind to MAINTAIN the power and reduce sail twist. This is because kicker (upwind) shunts the boom forward into the mast increasing bend which depowers the rig. Mainsheet tension IF everything set up right will close the leach and increase power without shunting the boom forward - it just pulls down. Hence my frequent moan about booms being produced with the webbing block 'hangers' often placed in the wrong positions. Offwind 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 (ie drive through drag like a parachute). If you come from a 2 sail boat background some of this might sound a bit alien !
As for lowers - all adjusting them would do is allow you to put more kicker on without shunting the mast forward - which could help theoretically offwind, however upwind you would get little benefit as you will be close hauled all the time and the kicker should do little. Also when you are overpowered you benefit from the leach opening when you release the mainsheet tension which gets the boat back on its feet sooner. I agree with you that lowers adjustment is probably more useful than an adjustable forestay but must state that currently we do not specifically allow you to adjust them during racing (as opposed to forestays). Perhaps we could do so from next AGM / rules review as an alternative to forestay adjustment - ie one or the other - your choice - as we do not want to over complicate the boat.

We do already allow you to make them out wire OR any other line so it would be very easy to make quickly adjustable ones in 'vectran' or similar to allow quick changes between races - which would allow you to make a decision on the conditions in advance. Doing this with the exisitng adjusters what with pins and rings etc flying around is not really on when out there. I'm tempted to give it a go myself in any case. But to put it all in context - getting the basic tactics right round the course will always make much more difference !
Lowers - 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. The rig is powerful and the mast a trifle too stiff 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.

Regards - Mike Lyons