Nickcraig_750

The secrets to going faster uncovered with Nick Craig

19/11/2014

Nick Craig is known as one of Great Britain’s best amateur sailors. Winner of the YJS Pantaenius Yachtsman of the year award back in 2012 this well-known British sailor has deservedly carved a name for himself as a key figure in British amateur sailing.

Competing in a variety of dinghies from Finn’s and B14’s to OK Merlin’s, the D-One, Enterprise and RS400; Nick’s results speak for themselves with his name regularly in the news for consistently ranking top of the fleet in regattas throughout the country.

Most recently Nick teamed up with crew member Toby Lewis (otherwise known as Tobytastic) to take part in the Volvo Noble Marine RS400 Nationals where the duo ranked first place in this exciting 40th anniversary regatta.

As a long standing Harken ambassador and sponsored sailor we decided to catch up with Nick after the 400 Nationals to see what secrets he would be willing to share.

Here’s what Nick had to say!

Nick Craig:

“I have been sailing RS400’s for some sixteen years now; wow that make me feel old!  It is a great boat so I've always kept coming back for more and hope to for many more years to come. 

We set our rig up as per the online tuning guide.  This was developed many years ago but still remains valid which is one of the huge benefits of the one design RS400.  We use these settings but are very proactive on our rig adjustment between conditions especially as we sail light so we need to depower early and ensure we are never fighting the boat. It's hard to adjust the RS400 rig in a race but we often move the rake and mast ram between races. It takes a bit of time to set the rig up with different rakes and rig tension settings but this is an investment of time worth making.

During the race, we may adjust the kicker and Cunningham several times on each leg and the rig tension occasionally in very light or strong winds. Downwind the RS400 has fast VMG (velocity made good) at multiple angles.  Those angles vary in each wind condition so experimenting with these in practice and training events is key to adding range and options to your RS400 downwind armoury.  That really adds to the tactical options and makes it a challenging but rewarding boat to sail downwind.

I love sailing the RS400 in big wind and waves, it handles so well in these conditions and loves big waves, and the windy Thursday at Mounts Bay this year was fantastic!  Downwind, the RS400 has a range of angles that work which make for excellent tactical racing both upwind and downwind.

Tactically we look to gather as much information as possible before the start to get an idea which way might pay up the beat.  We are then pragmatic about that as often it isn't clear which way will pay.  That is ok and a good time to stay conservative and sail tight in to the fleet.  We will typically aim to start aggressively but maintain conservative tactics.  At times we may be punchier with our tactics if we are behind our outcome objective.

The key to making a good start is slow speed boat handling.  Boats handle differently at slow speeds when the foils are on the edge of or actually stalling.  Being able to control your boat at slow speeds in tight spots is the key to starting consistently well.

It was great to sail with Tobytastic again!  He has a fantastic feel for the boat, a phenomenal work rate and a competitive attitude.  I have sailed with Toby at various events for around ten years.  Being lucky enough to sail with someone of Toby's calibre for that long makes a huge difference and is more important than anything else in our performance.

Whilst our RS400 is for sale, as I have other commitments next year, we will certainly be back for more!

In 2015, our main focus will be on the Merlin and trying to win back the Nationals which will be hard in this highly competitive fleet.  We'll be exploring some new equipment and trying to put more time on the water in the Merlin than we have in previous years.  I'll also be back out in the D-One travelling to Travemunde for the Worlds and Garda for the Europeans, two great venues. I am also looking forward to doing a few events back in my long-term joy, the OK.  We're having a year out of the RS400 but will certainly be back in the future.

Our RS400 is fully fitted with Harken kit, I don't have the lightest touch but I haven't had a single fitting let me down on the RS400!”

 

 

 

Standard Harken Hardware for an RS400

Mainsheet

Part code

Quantity

Description

205

1

Little ball bearing swivel cam base

2135

1

57 mm Carbo Ratchet Block

2650

2

40 mm Fixed Carbo Block

2149

2

40 mm Carbo T2 Air Block


Jib sheet

Part code

Quantity

Description

453.12

2

Dinghy Jib Lead Track  - 12 in Length

450

2

Dinghy Jib Lead with Eyestrap

2159

2

40 mm Carbo T2 Auto Ratchet

2650

2

40 mm Fixed Carbo Block

150

2

Cam-Matic Ball Bearing Cam Cleat

375

2

X-Treme Angle Fairlead for 150 Cam


Spinnaker ratchets

Part code

Quantity

Description

2160

2

NEW!57 mm Carbo T2 Auto Ratchet

2625

2

57mm Carbo Ratchamatic

 

Kicker – 16:1 puchase

Part code

Quantity

Description

300

1

1.00 Single Wire Block

2146

1

29 mm Carbo T2 Air Block

2158

1

T18 Carbo Dbl Block

2698

1

T18 Carbo Air Block


Rig tension / jib halyard

Part code

Quantity

Description

300

1

1.00 Single Wire Block

2146

1

29 mm Carbo T2 Air Block

 

Wingwing cleats and fairleads

Part code

Quantity

Description

468

2

Micro Cam-Matic II Cam Cleat

495

2

Fairlead Micro Fast Release Cam

 

Control line cleats

Part code

Quantity

Description

468

6

Micro Cam-Matic II Cam Cleat

424B

6

Micro Cam Flairlead - Black

468

2

Micro Cam-Matic II Cam Cleat

495

2

Fairlead Micro Fast Release Cam

 

FSE Robline rope recommended for the RS400 by Harken

Part code

Quantity

Description

FSE2346

1

Racing Sheet Pro 8mm red 200m

FSE3492

1

Dinghy Star 6mm blue 100m

FSE2345

1

Racing Sheet Pro 6mm red 200m

FSE2855

1

Ocean 7000 4mm anthracite 200m

FSE2132

1

Dinghy Control 5mm white/navy-blue 100m

FSE2855

1

Ocean 7000 4mm anthracite 200m

FSE2127

1

Dinghy Control 5mm white/red 100m

FSE3318

1

Ocean 3000 XG 4mm dark grey 200m (3318)

FSE2142

1

Dinghy Control 5mm white/yellow 100m

FSE3493

1

Dinghy Star 4mm yellow 100m

FSE2843

1

8 Plaited Dinghy Pro 5mm black-grey 100m

FSE3318

1

Ocean 3000 XG 4mm dark grey 200m (3318)

FSE2842

1

8 Plaited Dinghy Pro 5mm blue-grey 100m

 

Contact us for information on hardware and rope options!
sales@harken.co.uk

 

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