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ellistine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ellistine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Talk to me about Kicker
    Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 1:34pm

We just started racing our Vago in the last few weeks. At the moment we're still getting mullered by Laser 2000s (and Wayfairers at times) but we're progressing and picking up bits and pieces of technique along the way.

I've never been too sure about what I'm supposed to do with the kicker. I've been putting it on upwind, taking it off downwind and usually forgetting it's even there on beam reaches. I can see what it does i.e bringing the top of the sail in to be more parallel with the boom, but I'm never too sure how much to put on and if I should be doing anything different in light and strong winds.

Any tips?

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G.R.F. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 2:12pm
Is it actually a 'kicker' i.e. blocks and tackle under the boom to the lower
mast, or is it a GNAV a metal angled thing in a slider above the boom, I've
been studying these things quite a lot lately and they do seem to work
very differently.

The theory is the 'kicker pulls down on the boom which tightens the leech
to increase the power in the sail in the mid range which would indicate
that you leave it on downwind, mabe take it off before a gybe, but it also
can be used in extreme to flatten the sail by bending the mast, but it
must be very difficult to generalise I've owned four different boats and
they all react in subtle but different ways(I'm also quite new to fixed rigs
coming from an un stayed sail background in windsurfing).

My current ride relies heavily on the interaction between the GNAV and
the lower shroud adjustment as to what happens when you apply it, since
it's just as likely to bend the mast before having an effect on the boom.

My routine,

Light winds tension the lowers apply only moderate GNAV. Strong wind I
slacken the lowers apply loads of GNAV and everything else falls in
between those two extremes.

I'm sure there will be much more experienced folk along later with better
tips as to the whys and wherefores is there not a focus group on the web
somewhere for Vago owners?
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ellistine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ellistine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 2:17pm

Yes it is a GNAV.

Haven't even touched the lowers since we got the boat. The handbook simply says they should be hand tight.

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G.R.F. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 2:46pm
Well I can't say I did either for quite some time until I realised the knaff
GNAV thing i had wasn't working very well and the lowers my boat came
with were fixed length and not adjustable.

But now I have jury rigged an adjustable system for them which tightens
them up a bit when I need to, it all works fine.

Have you watched what happens when you pull the various bits of rope in
the boat park? Does the mast bend at the point the GNAV joins it or do
the lowers prevent that (Which is what should happen).

It's easier to see what your doing in the boat park rather than in all the
anxe that's going on when you're on the water.

Someone who knows the definitive answer will be along shortly, better
listen to them than me, I'm still finding out my self but I've made some
huge progress getting mine to do what I want of late so it's kind of on my
mind and anyone else having problems has my entire sympathy, bloody
things are a night mare.

Edited by G.R.F.
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Roy Race View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roy Race Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 3:28pm
Originally posted by ellistine

I can see what it does i.e bringing
the top of the sail in to be more parallel with the
boom, but I'm never too sure how much to put on and if I
should be doing anything different in light and strong
winds.
Any tips?


The aft part of the top batten should be roughly
parallel with the boom, in just about any wind
conditions. Obviously, this will take more of a pull on
the kicker to achieve in strong winds than in light
winds.

That's basically all you're trying to achieve.

It can be quite hard to get your "eye in" when sitting
up to windward on the side of the boat, so every now and
then, if you're not sure, lean into the boat and look up
at the sail from under the boom to see how they're lined
up.

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craiggo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote craiggo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 3:38pm
The kicker controls twist in the mainsail.
You need to change it to account for the fact that the windspeed is zero on the water surface but reaches full wind speed as some distance above the surface.
A good way to check this is to use the tell-tales on the trailing edge of the main. Aim to have the bottom ones streaming perfectly and the top one breaking some of the time.
On downwind legs it is used to prevent the leech inverting at the top of the mast. If you ease it too much when running it will generate lift too windward, while the lower sail will generate lift to leeward, this contributes to a rocking and rolling sensation and makes gybing difficult. If you pull the kicker on sufficiently to stop this. On your Vago downwind with the kite up, you want to aim to get your leeches parallel ie. get the same shape on the mainsail leech as the jib and the kite.
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ellistine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ellistine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 4:30pm

Originally posted by craiggo

The kicker controls twist in the mainsail.
You need to change it to account for the fact that the windspeed is zero on the water surface but reaches full wind speed as some distance above the surface.
A good way to check this is to use the tell-tales on the trailing edge of the main. Aim to have the bottom ones streaming perfectly and the top one breaking some of the time.

So does that mean that the top battens and the boom should be a little off parallel ie with a bit of twist?

Originally posted by craiggo

On downwind legs it is used to prevent the leech inverting at the top of the mast.

I think I saw this the other day. The top batten was inverting.

Our main does seem to want a bit of GNAV on all the time else the battens are a real bugger to pop.



Edited by ellistine
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Roy Race View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roy Race Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 6:44pm
Originally posted by ellistine


So does that mean that the top battens and the boom
should be a little off parallel ie with a bit of twist?


No. If the aft-most part (say 6" for argument's sake) of
the top batten is parallel with the boom, then the sail
already has twist in it.

Keeping the exit of the top batten being parallel with
the boom is a good rule of thumb. If you can do this,
you've got the deal 90% right.

There are times when you'd want more twist or less twist
but that's more advanced. The other 10%, if you like.


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ellistine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ellistine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 09 at 10:57pm
Originally posted by G.R.F.


Have you watched what happens when you pull the various
bits of rope in
the boat park? Does the mast bend at the point the GNAV
joins it or do
the lowers prevent that (Which is what should happen).

I had a look at this tonight. It looks like the mast, at
the point where the GNAV attaches, moves forward so in
effect it is bending the mast. I can see why this would
be a good thing to depower the sail in a decent breeze
but not so good in light winds. I'll have a look to see
if I can tighten the lowers a bit.

I reckon I also need to shorten the strop/horse a
little. Boom doesn't seem to be particularly close to
the center line with some decent GNAV on.

Thanks all.
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G.R.F. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 09 at 9:18am
I expect the lower thingies will be attached by some crude devices which
involve lots of small holes then an annoying pin and circlip which you will
immediately drop, lose for several days until having replaced it at no little
expense since you will have had to buy another complete set and that
new set will of course not now match the other set since it's built by
another manufacturer, they of course have deliberately made their little
holes and stupid pins different by sufficient micrometers to ensure you
then need to go and purchase another matching set, having done that the
sun will immediately glint on the original circlip. You now are the proud
owner of two matching yet not compatible bits of stainless steel with
holes punched in them that were originally conceived by Noah who, quite
probably climbed a mountain wrote on a tablet and decreed to the world
that all such plates should be built identical but didn't reckon on the
idiosyncrasies of Ron, Stan and Jack Holt.

However thankfully common sense has now prevailed and the keen mind
of the windsurfing genius has worked out a way to ignore all that simply
by attaching a strop with two rings across them both near to where they
join the mast then by pulling down on this with another rope into a cleat
via a pully if necessary they can be adjusted simultaneously without
fiddling with the stupid circlip things, I know, you need a picture I'll get
one posted some time soon.

Anyway ignoring all that nonsense that we are gifted with by the arcane
production of the modern (sic) sailing dinghy, they definitely need to
work in concert with the GNAV, that much I have proved to myself
beyond any doubt.

Edited by G.R.F.
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