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A simple way of calibrating a rig to make changes quickly and without thinking as wind conditions change during a race.

Most boats, particularly smaller ones like a 5O5 that don’t change to smaller rigs or sails as wind increases,  have a way of increasing rake as the wind increases.

In the case of a 5O5 there are tuning grids available which give you a rake setting for different wind strengths. These calibrations have been determined by the top sailors over years of experience.

Raking a mast re-balances the boat by moving the effort of the sails aft. Raking typically also has a number of other consequences (eg changes in jib sheeting angle, how the spreaders and ram affect the mast bend, rig tension, etc) which generally need to be compensated for to keep the mast bend optimum for the shape of the sails used.  Remembering what to put where in a hurry when racing can be a challenge.

In this video Australian Yachtsman, Robin Duessen explains how he has used color coding to keep it simple. Having worked out where the key controls that affect sail shape need to be (the tuning grids are a good starting point) colours are used as markers so when rake is changed all the other relevant controls are simply set to the same colour. Done correctly this maintains the mast configuration to ensure it continues to suit the luff round cut in the mainsail and even how far out board the jib should be set.

Robin Duessen.

Started sailing at 12 years old as a complete dumb fuck. His family has no background in sailing but his German father drank at the local pub where someone had a boat and thought it would be a good idea to stop the kids running a muck. Now 60, Robin affectionately known as Fritz has

  • Won 3 National Sharpie Championships in 1984,1985 and 2001
  • Was Trimmer on the 1985-86 South Australia 12m (then the America Cup boats),
  • Was Tactician during the World 12m Championship in 1986
  •  Was Tactician on the 1986 Steak &Kidney America Cup Defender series.
  • Sailed a lot Keel Boat and Match racing series along the way as crew for John Savage, Phil Thompson and Fred Neill during the Cup stint.
  • 1988 FD National Champion
  • Crew member on the first Lexcen Cup win in 1989
  • Four times Australian National Teams Racing Champion (with Sandy Higgins and Brett Young).
  • 505 National Champion in 2012 and 2020
  • Melges 24 National Champion in 2019
  • Top ten in 505 World Championship, Brighton Seacliff.
  • 14th in 5O5 World  2018 in Poland