Why 2000's are so popular
After Sarah ruptured her Achilles we talked about how we were going to get her back on the water. We had the option to borrow a friends 2000 for the Chichester Yacht Club Snowflake Winter Series.
I had heard good things and bad things about the 2000 so it was our chance to give the boat a spin. Sarah finally got out of her incline boot so we carefully took to the water for the first of the series with some concern, despite knowing that the 2000 was probably one of the most stable family boats on the market.
Boatwork. It's never easy to borrow a boat and not bring it up to racing standard. So we changed the shrouds, jib halyard, gennaker halyard, main halyard, tiller extension, jib sheet, mainsheet, gennaker sheet and toestraps. For any hiking boat, the most important part of the boat is the toe straps positions and adjustment; I wanted to arrange it so we could quickly adjust their length as we had no opportunity to test and practice beforehand.
I recently found the 800mm toestraps fitted perfectly for the crew - now listed as 2000 crew toe strap set
New Rooster 2000 Toestraps Fitted.
The helm's toestraps could be fitted with the fitting hidden under the main strap. This helps keep the helm's footsteps up enough at the rear to be able to put your toe at the back of it without a problem.
The adjustment was simple - I dead-ended the adjustment line from the toestrap fitting on the hull, took it round the toestrap and then back through the toestrap fitting and tied it off through the kicker and cunningham turning block fixing eye on the centreboard case.
This deck eye fitting is small enough that a small knot in the adjustment line was enough to hold the strap making it very easy to adjust between races. The great thing about the Rooster Pro Plus rubber backed toestraps is that they are fairly firm, so they do not twist and hold their position with only a little elastic around the thwart.
The gennaker was challenging. The pole feels too short to get the kite to fly in the sub 5 knots we experienced in our first two weekends (Murphy's law - I think they were the only 3 hours of sub 20 knots we have had this winter). I am sure that the over tight luff and leach tapes on the gennaker were a major factor. Perhaps time to buy a new one? Sitting on the bow with the gennaker in her hand, Sarah was able to fly it in almost zero wind and the bonus of the extra weight up front was great for the trim.
Finally this weekend, the wind blew. I was looking forward to sitting on the same side of the boat as my crew. We arrived at the starting area to find that our jib sleeve box had exploded. We limped ashore, not really sure what had happened to cause the rigging to go slack. We capsized the boat near the shore, identified the problem then rigged a jury jib halyard by passing a piece of dynema through the trapeze wire attachment points and set off to the race track.... some 5 mins after they had started. (Note - the class do not use the trapeze wires for racing).
In 30 knots the boat was transformed into a super nippy and exciting machine. I was a little cautious on the first gybe as I was not sure how it was going to behave but with a little ease of the sheet and a positive step off the windward side, the boat took on a slight windward heel into the gybe which always makes it easier. Sarah had already discovered that the 2000 gennaker does not like to 'blow through gybe', unlike the 4000 gennaker. Perhaps the pole is too short? But with a little ease of the sheet, she could be certain that the gennaker would pop through. Trimming the jib sheet in the big gusts with its single sheet and no ratchet blocks was challenging. She sympathised with the smaller crews having trouble playing the sheet in strong winds. I understand that there is a proposal to change to a 2:1 on the sheet. Sarah was not sure that a ratchet block type system would work better. She had used this on the Scorpion and Merlin with good success. The 2:1 on the 4000 works well, but you do have to contend with a lot of sheet in the boat. We also had experimented with the longer gennaker halyard, leading it round the back, but quickly shortened the halyard and led it round the front so that Sarah had less rope in the cockpit so this windy day was the first test of this system. We preferred it.
Sadly the race was shortened after 40 mins and we had only made up 4 of the 5 minutes on the leaders. The next one was abandoned so we wait for the next chance to put her though her paces. We did get some great video trying to make it back to the pack. Note the great looking toestraps!
Sarah in disguise is wearing: Aquafleece Balaclava, Pro Aquafleece Beanie, Pro Aquafleece Top, Polypro Top, Supertherm Top, Supertherm Longjohn, SuperTherm wet socks, Womens 1.5mm shorts, with Pro hike pads, Aquapro Gloves and Rooster Low Cut Boots.
What would I change: Apart from the jib box and jib halyard that needs to be changed for the next race, I will tighten our toe straps slightly and if the conditions are like this video, I'll also move the jib cars aft. I would love to change the sails. As usual, it's the jib and the gennaker that take the most punishment. The main also looks like it will need some attention if it is not going to let us down in the future, perhaps some simple sail repairs will hold it together.
What do I think of the 2000? Actually it's a lovely club racer; it's not going to scare anyone with its speed or instability. It is quick once you get it pointing in the right direction ... with some comfort added for good measure, although you do have to work to keep it moving in the light. I had a soft spot for the class at the time when it was relocated from Laser Performance. Perhaps it was the type of sailors that enjoy racing the boat - or perhaps it's the inclusive nature of the boat that enables any of the family to race in safety. RS have certainly been dealt a good card with this boat. I am not envious - perhaps slightly green.