Stronger Winds [11-33 knots / force 4/7]
TACK - To turn into the tack, push the tiller smoothly but firmly to 45 degrees and pull the sail in. As the boat goes beyond head-to-wind, ease the boom out 3-4 feet, or even more in strong winds. Straighten the tiller as the sail fills but, if the boat does not accelerate, ease the sail out and bear away a little more, otherwise you will go head-to-wind and stop. As the boat accelerates, gradually sheet in but do not pull the boom closer than about an arm’s length from the cockpit. Be very careful not to point too high and stall. Speed is more important than sailing close to the wind.
GYBE - Reaching: Ease the sail and bear away to a run then sheet the sail almost right in, turn a little more and, as the sail blows across, let the boom run out to 90 degrees or until the telltales are all flying horizontally.
Running: Pull the sail in as far as possible and turn. As the boom blows across, steer an S-shaped course to counteract the force of the gybe. Let the boom run out to 90 degrees being careful not to let the sail fill early, as the force will lever the stern out of the water, reducing steering control and slowing the boat.
Trim, Balance and Course Made Good
The Challenger is designed so that the crew do not need to move about the boat but, on a beat, it can pay to lean over the leeward side in light weather, to lift the windward sponson out of the water and reduce drag.
Downwind you should lean out over the windward side, so that the leeward sponson is lifted and the sail is heeled to windward, which both cuts down drag and moves the sail’s centre of effort over the boat’s centre line. If the power generated by the sail is all on one side of the boat’s centreline, it will try to push the boat around in a circle. When it is over the boat’s centre, the boat will track straight with no correction needed by the rudder.
If the bows dig in when it is gusty, sliding seats can be moved back a notch to trim the bows up. Otherwise the boat should always be trimmed level to make the longest waterline, which gives maximum speed (Formula: Speed = 1.45 x square root of waterline length).
On a beat in stronger wind, continuous spray coming off the outer end of the front crossbeam shows that full speed has been reached. Keep tacks to a minimum, as they take a long time and you may lose ground to boats that tack less often than you.