Guest Blog: Bimbling the RS100, by Clive Eplett
About the time the RS100 was announced, I was chatting to supercrew and ex-colleague Roz McGrane. “I quite fancy one of these RS100s”, I said. To which, Roz responded “you should get one quick, before you are completely past it.” Five minutes later. I was on the phone to RS. I’ll be forever grateful for that, er, encouragement from Roz, I love the thing. Despite what the naysayers spout, I find it great fun for around-the-cans racing as well as on the circuit, where the craic is as much of a hoot as Larks used to be in my Uni days.
Out of the box, the RS100 is pretty well sorted. But I spent 25 years in Lasers where the only bimbling to be done was replacing the kicker-line every few weeks. Then along came the happy day when at changed and I could buy Steve’s variation of the XD kit. Inevitably, the extra freedom with the 100 unleashed the long constrained bimble-monster in me and IMHO there are things to be done to improve the beast even further. Here are the key ones.If you only do one thing… Ensure you have a kite halyard trip-line. You need a stainless ring at the back of the Spinlock cleat and a rope (2.5m, including splices, of pink 3mm Robline in the pics below) from it thru the mainsheet turret and front toestrap fitting, then up to each wing (mine end on the spinnaker sheet ratchet shackle). If you capsize with the kite up, just get on the plate pronto. Then tweak the trip line and the halyard will unjam. As you right the boat, the kite will fall down. Retrieve into chute, get going and rehoist. This gadget really should be standard in the fit out. Running rigging
- The standard kite halyard has two problems. Firstly, it’s the world’s most evil rope on your hands (or gloves). Secondly, unless you like a bum-cleavage in your kite when on starboard, it’s also too short. Do yourself a favour and replace it with 16.3 metres of Spinfast.
- The boat comes with a kite halyard elastic at the back of the boat. As supplied, the elastic ties to a block on the halyard. Any twist in the halyard jams the block. Events will then ensue. Ditch it for a large-size plastic polo. And never coil the halyard for travelling, it creates more twists.
- The standard kite sheets are also too short, never mind the fact they weigh a ton, dragging down the poor clew in the light stuff. Replace with 9.5m of 6mm Excel Fusion. I tapered the middle 3.8m, but if you are tapering the ends, just do the math.
- There are times you find yourself white-sail reaching, at which several things become apparent in any breeze;
- You need to sit as far back as you can, or you will prove empirically that the kite does indeed lift the bow, by nose-diving dramatically (never happens with the kite up)
- You need to pull the plate up, a basic thing asymmetric sailors forget, spending so much time trying as we do to manage potential lee-helm
- The standard mainsheet is 2m or so short if you have the fancy notion of actually wanting to hold the thing whilst sitting in the right place. It actually needs to be 9.2m metres long.
- Sometimes, the boom needs a bit of encouragement in a gybe. I’ve fitted a gybing strop made from 1.5m of this. I spliced a loop in one end, pass through the forward mainsheet block eye on the boom and the loop, to attach to the boom, then tie the tail to one of the toestrap elastics where it emerges from the foredeck. This discourages it from getting sucked through the mainsheet ratchet.
- The boat comes with a fancy elastic arrangement under the foredeck that, in theory, keeps the kite sheets tidy when the kite is not in use. Not only does it do an average job, at best, but it has a habit of going wrong and incapacitating the kite. Get rid of it. I run an elastic from the forward toe-strap fixing to the righting line point and loop them under that. Others have stuck L-shaped stiff plastic retainers to the side deck and/or shroud adjusters. Either will do.
- Run the cunningham all up one side of the boom, and fix the tail around the gorilla bolt rather than shackle it to the boom. You need the extra travel.
- Also bin the mainsail tack shackle and replace with a 22cm rope shackle (allow extra for the splice) that allows the tack to float from the eye on the boom. This prevents the crease that otherwise runs to mid-top-batten. The cunno then acts as an inhaul/flattener too, removing the need to do anything with the outhaul.
- The nut on the gorilla-bolt (that attaches boom to mast) is known to come undone. Not good on several fronts. I’ve drilled a couple of connecting holes and looped a 2mm line through it. Pass the main-halyard elastic through the loop. That way, when the nut comes undone, you won’t lose it.
- There I was, kite up, planing at full chat towards mark 4, which resides about 20m from the shoreline. Better take it down, methinks. Ah! The Selden halyard block under the bow had other ideas – the halyard was jammed between cheek and sheave. Time to capsize it, untie the halyard from kite head and sail in. Not a happy chappy. On the next two occasions that the miscreant’s siblings were failing, I spotted the problem in time. Now I’m told the quality is greatly improved, but once bitten…which is why Harkens have replaced all Selden blocks on my spi-halyard system. Even then, I tape up the one that pulls the pole out (look under the sock at the bow) to keep it on an even keel. At the top of the mast, it’s this swivel block.
- Ditto the kite sheet-ratchets when (admittedly my very tapered/thin) sheets started the same twixt cheek-n-sheave shenanigans. “You’re fired!” Again, Harkens it is. By the way, you really don’t need the kite ratchets on. It’s slow and the loads are light.
- Why, I wondered, does it sound like my mainsheet ratchet is on, when it’s not? Ah, it’s coming from the blocks on the boom. The bearings had given up the ghost. I’ve now changed the lot. Happy days. A full set is 2 off t2-carbos (just make sure you follow the tying instructions), a linked-pair and 57mm ratchet.
- Whichever flavour of trolley you have, pad out the nuts and bolts that attach the gunwale supports, or they will take chunks out of your gelcoat.
- Whose idea was it to have the aftermost end of the righting lines in elastic? On a capsize you climb over in front of the wing, then need to get back on to the plate. Hauling on bungee does not help this process although it can entertain passers-by. Re-rig it accordingly.
- If the boat inverts, the last thing you need is the plate falling into the case (and look out for your fingers if the boat is inverted and it is guillotine-minded). If the plate is coming up into the case, in the short-term, use the downhaul to tie it down. Later, ashore, get the boat on its side, remove centreboard (undo aft screw on steel plate, slide it aft and remove). Then extract plate and tighten screws on the rubber-tube/brake. Then trial and error adjust until it behaves.
- A plastic bobble-knot works nicely on the kite-tack. You want the tack tight to the pole, with the pole fully extended.
- If you have the twist-on/off universal joint on the tiller extension, either tape or bungee it in place. It will otherwise choose the worst possible time to detach itself…
- If there is a cringe-making graunching noise or bang when you tack or gybe, it’s more than likely time to Prolube the spreader bracket. By the way, don’t use Prolube on the mast joints, it actually sticks the two parts together, rather than making them easier to separate!
- At events, I keep a drybag under the deck, looped around the plate uphaul line’s tail
- Keep a big lump of blutack in your spares-bag. Attached to the end of the tiller extension, it will retrieve most things that fall into the mast pot when rigging.
- Buy and read a copy of my book Club Sailor; from back to front!
For more information on the RS100 visit RS100sailing.org, try the Facebook group or email me on clive at clubsailor dot co dot uk
© Clive Eplett Sept 2016