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Racing the 342

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Gunnar View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 September 2020 at 09:38
I participate in my local sail club's weekly races with my 342. I have decent sails, Elvstrom EPEX main and self-tacking jib, the latter with some roach due to long vertical battens.
However, I struggle to match other equal-sized boats like Elan 333 and Dufour 34. The main difference in sail configuration is my lack of an overlapping headsail, and also the lack of trimming options of the selftacker.
I would be very happy if some 342 owners would share their experience in racing their boats, what does it take to make the boat go fast and point high at the same time? I'm mainly concerned with going upwind, downwind my gennaker actually does a very good job.
- Gunnar
Hanse 342 #350 "Lathans" - Horten, Norway
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Johan Hackman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johan Hackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2020 at 17:08
Gunnar, I hope you will get many good replies. I am looking forward to read them myself.

I don't race much so I won't be the best person to give advice but regarding the Dufour 34 I know that it is a fast boat. It is lighter and carries a genoa.

I have sailed on my Norwegian friend's Dufour 34 between Egersund, or a few times from Skudeneshavn, to Scotland, once to the mainland and a few times to the Orkneys. I always thought it was a quick boat but the only way to find out how it compares to my Hanse 342 was to sail my boat from Stockholm to Egersund to race against him. (All the Dufour 34s in my area seem to be motoring so I could not compare with them.) The first Wednesday regatta I participated in I won over him and that was my first ever race so that was nice. Later on, I found out that his boat is actually faster. It is consequently rated higher.

Johan

Edited by Johan Hackman - 16 September 2020 at 17:29
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Gunnar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gunnar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 September 2020 at 18:52
Johan, unfortunately my clubmate with the Dufour knows the game way better than me, so I always have to watch his transom rather than his bow...
I have started racing the past few years just to be better in boat handling, in particular handling the boat in worse weather than my wife enjoys when we go cruising. However, the strange thing happens that when on the racecourse, a competition devil that I didn't know appears, and I just hate to see the other boats pass us one by one. So for my mental helth's sake, I need to go faster! ;-)
BTW, I really admire your enthusiasm and dedication for the 342 and sailing in general, I read all your postings with great pleasure!

Best regards, Gunnar
Hanse 342 #350 "Lathans" - Horten, Norway
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Johan Hackman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johan Hackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2020 at 09:49
Originally posted by Gunnar Gunnar wrote:

BTW, I really admire your enthusiasm and dedication for the 342 and sailing in general, I read all your postings with great pleasure!


Thank you for your kind words!

I am thinking of anything to say about how to race a 342 but the only thing I am coming up with is paying attention to the main sail trim - outhaul, cunningham, mast bend and traveller position. When I was racing in Egersund I played a lot with mast bend (by adjusting the aft stay) as this was what I could reach from my position at the helm. The wind changed a lot during the race because of the high hills around the harbour.

Johan

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TiVi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote TiVi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2020 at 20:32
Hi,
Hanse is not slow, here is some interesting results from Helsinki-Tallinn race from this autumn 2020. The were 41 boats all together in finrating 1.
The winner was Hanse 400e, 25th was Hanse 400 and the last one was Hanse 400 (41st).  Here is the link to results: https://helsinkitallinnarace.fi/tulokset-3/ ;
And why Hanse won?
1. No extra weight on board - the boat has to be light as possible
2. Excellent sails 
3. Overlapping head sail
3. Smooth under water parts,  hull, keel and rudder (400 sand paper)
So far no sailing skills required :)
Is there anything you can do for above items?

Next sailing and trimming skills of your own boat. ....
I have the 341.

Br TiVi


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samuel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote samuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 September 2020 at 22:20
First you have to have the boat set up correctly. That is rig tension, weight & weight distribution. It is no good having loads of weight, especially in the stern of the boat. Leave it on the dock.
You need the right sails & they need to be good ones. You cannot sail in high winds with a furled genoa no more than you can sail in light winds with the ST.
Then you need to be able to trim the sails. You do not just pull the ST is as tight as it will go neither do you just pull the main in & hoist the halyards & leave them. You have to trim them all the time.
Then you need to sail the right tacticks. No good sailing where the wind & tide is not to your advantage or where some other boat is covering you. You need to be sharp on boat handling at the marks.
You do not drop the chute 300 yds before the mark. You drop it at the mark.

Then finally, and most importantly , you have to be able to sail the boat. With all the best trimming in the world , if you cannot point it in the right direction it will not go there on its own.
In my 311 I might get 6Kts upwind fairly regularly & 6.5 kts if it is blowing. My son will get 6.5 kts & nail it there- all the time. The difference is that 3 years ago in his Phantom dinghy he won every cup  up for grabs (10) in our club racing in one season. I won none-he leaves me standing in his wake. My friend who was world champion, in a dinghy class, got get 6.5kts upwind straight away in my boat, no problem. That is quick for a 311. I have no idea how, they just do.
So you can either sail or you cannot. That is the difference.
Daydream Believer- Hanse 311- No GBR9917T- Bradwell Essex
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Gunnar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gunnar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2020 at 08:39
Thanks for all good advice so far, seems like there are lots of improvements to be done!
I found a good article on mainsail trim: https://www.speedandsmarts.com/toolbox/articles2/the-fast-course/mainsail-trim
Even though I've read similar guides before, I think this one is very clear and to-the-point.
I've considered swapping the selftacker for an overlapping jib, but then I remind myself that when sailing with family I really enjoy the ease of "automatic" tacking. And since my Elvstrom "FatFurl" selftacker has two very long vertical battens it's unpractical to swap between 110% and selftacker every week. So I'll sacrify some performance that way, no doubt.
It's easy to focus on equipment when trying to improve performance, but improving my skills has for sure the best const/benefit ratio!




Edited by Gunnar - 22 September 2020 at 08:41
Hanse 342 #350 "Lathans" - Horten, Norway
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samuel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote samuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2020 at 09:10
That article will drive you mad with all the items to watch for Cry.Just do lots of races. Stick with the ST because you will be able to do easy tacks & concentrate on sailing the boat for speed. Do not sheet the boom in too hard.You do not need to with an ST.  I find that I (well my son doesLOL) can go upwind quite well with the boom just inside the side deck. If your main is in good condition forget the cunningham for a while. Concentrate on outhaul halyard tension backstay & importantly twist in the leech.
But that suits my sails. Yours may be different.
Then spend time watching your progress against others. Especially at the start where they will be closer.
It is important to sail to the start line so that you & the crew are all settled at the beginning. That way you can stay with the others longer to compare your efforts.
Make gradual single changes so that you can see what works for you. If you make several at once you do not know which worked & which did not. Do not spend time arguing with the crew Angry

Daydream Believer- Hanse 311- No GBR9917T- Bradwell Essex
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Johan Hackman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johan Hackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2020 at 09:43
Originally posted by samuel samuel wrote:

That article will drive you mad with all the items to watch for Cry

I just read the article and was driven mad.

Since I have had the sails on my boat for fifteen years now (the original sails) I have decided to order new ones and discussing with the sail maker gives me a somewhat similar feeling. I must have spent too much time on my own out sailing and too little time talking to others. We simply talk different.

I still have a lot to learn.

Johan
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Gunnar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gunnar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2020 at 10:13
Well I admit that the above article about mainsail trim is a little bit over the top. However, I liked the focus on how to adjust the various parameters:
-Set twist with mainsheet tension.
-Set depth with mast bend and outhaul tension.
-Set draft position with luff tension.
-Set helm balance with traveler position.

And also
-Trim the mainsheet until the top batten is parallel to the boom
-Use the cunningham to control draft position, not make the sail look beautiful.

Hanse 342 #350 "Lathans" - Horten, Norway
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