United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Contact us

Class Association



Posted: 18/07/2007

Posted: 08/06/2001

Here's a Sempers ramble on tacking a 600 - it works for me!

Posted: 24/05/2001
Really critical thing about tacking is flatness, and what you do with the mainsheet. Kicker, cunningham and outhaul settings will make it easier or harder, but the fundamental is to be flat.
If the boat is heeled even slightly, the rudder drives the leeward aft corner into the water, the back of the boat gets a bite on the water, and instead of pivoting the boat, the rudder just makes a (very big) brake. All the way comes off the boat, and the reversing lights come on!
If the boat's leant to windward, the rudder helps pull the back out of the water, letting it all pivot around the keel nicely, with a lot less (apparent) angle on the rudder.

Depending on how confident you are, you can either unhook on the fly, going into the tack, or sit on the wingbar and unhook - it makes a difference only in terms of speed, neither approach is fundamental to the tack (if you sit on the bar, you'll have to ease some, and sail a bit lower to keep the boat moving prior to the tack.)

From the ready to tack position, ease some (more) sheet so that the boat is starting to heel over on top of you.
Push the tiller down relatively gently at first, but keep increasing the rate of turn.

Step into the middle of the boat, duck the boom (my knees just touch as I do this, staying on the balls of my feet). At the same time, I swivel the mainsheet jammer to the new side so the main is free to be eased more if necessary.
Tack facing forwards, and watch the forestay (or other suitable point of reference) through the tack. Do all this staying as close to the front as you can manage, as digging the stern in stops the boat.

As soon as the boom is over my head, I start out for the 'new' side. I walk up the boat to the side-deck forewards (i.e., facing out over the side of the boat), spin round, front forwards, and sit onto the wing bar, as if in hiking boat. A useful detail at this point are to come from crouching behind the mainsheet jammer, and walk forwards as well as outwards, to get your weight well forwards on the wing bar (stops the stern digging in longer than necessary, helping keep way on the boat) As I reach the wing, I'm starting to straighten the tiller, and ease some more mainsheet as necessary to keep the boat flat, or rolling into a windward heel on the new tack. Ideal is to hit the wing bar just as the sail starts to power up, with some windward heel on - this will keep the boat bearing away. As this happens, I put my feet on the edge of the boat. (Caution, don't be tempted to hook your toes under the gunwhale and sit it out. If it goes wrong and the boat flicks over, you will be trapped, hung in an incredibly painfull, potentially leg breaking position. Trust me!) Leeward heel at this point will tend to drive the boat back up to wind. If you don't bear away far enough, the drag on the rig will tend to pull the boat back up to wind - certainly if you're struggling with the tacks, aim to come out low.

The final bit, and a word on mainsheet: I enter the tack with the mainsheet in my forward hand, tiller aft hand. It all stays that way as I cross, steer through etc. On hitting the new wing bar, the tiller is behind my back (it stays outside of me as I come up to the new side) mainsheet has stayed in the same hand, which is now the aft hand as I have turned. The aft (and mainsheet) hand grabs the tiller extension, leaving the front hand free. This hooks up the trapeze ring, Immediately start pushing off the boat so your bum hangs over the side of the wing, putting weight on the wire. As this happens, the front hand is reaching for, and grabbing the mainsheet from the tiller hand, with the tiller still behind your back. Then a foot goes out, the rest of me follows, pulling in the eased mainsheet as I go (largely by virtue of my moving away from the centreline). The tiller is then, finally, passed over my head into the more normal dagger style grip, and all is go.

Properly executed, the boat will round up easily, and almost carve out of the tack. It's all about practise and timing, the advantage is that this can be slowed down pretty much as much as you like. Once the boat is through the wind (and pointing low), with you on the wing bar, it's pretty safe. Some people enter the tack with the mainsheet in the aft hand with the tiller, using the front hand to pull up and unhook. To do this, you need to pass the mainsheet back to the front hand in the boat, or drop the tiller as it's difficult to manage both effectively. I simply pass the mainsheet under the elastic part of the trapeze wire, and unhook with my forward hand, still holding the (UNCLEATED!) mainsheet. In this way it's clear of the trap gear as it twangs inboard.

Lastly, a word on rig settings.... Things that make tacking easier: Soft diamonds, cunningham, slackish battens, outhaul, moderate kicker.
Things that make tacking hard: Tight diamonds, excessive batten tension, slack cunningham, slack outhaul, excessive kicker.

In an F4, I'd anticipate the outhaul almost fully tight, cunningham 2-3 inches off the boom (i.e. pretty tight), and the kicker almost full on - the sail should be pretty flat, with significant twist.

You may need to read the above a few times, it's a bit wordy, but I've tried to describe what I do! Come back to me with any questions...

- Mark.

Keep breaking your tiller extension?

Posted: 16/05/2001
Tie a piece of string through the inside of your tiller extension, so when you break it you don't loose the broken bit and can repair it when you get ashore.

How To Fit That Lead

Posted: 26/04/2001
Full Lead.
This should fit nicely just in front of the daggerboard housing. Screw into the hull using small drill holes and rubber solution glue to seal up the holes.

Half Lead. Fitted.
To fit the half lead option you will need to fit an aluminium plate into the hull, just in front of the daggerboard case. See Below.

Half Lead - Fitted
The position of the lead should be as shown in the photo. Just in front of the daggerboard case.

This photo shows the Aluminium strip that the lead slides onto.


Fitting the Lead.
Once the Aluminium strip has been fitted, slide the weight onto the strip and then fit the for and aft grey plastic stoppers. This will secure the lead.

Half Lead parts.
You should have the following parts to fit the half lead option.

Posted: 25/06/2004

Posted: 11/02/2003

Non-TackTick compass bracket

Posted: 23/07/2001
The photo of the non TackTick compass bracket:

THE Andy Irons Tuning Guide

Posted: 26/04/2001
RS600 Tuning Guide.

Andy Irons: Andy has sailed an RS600 since their inception in 1994. He is the current RS600 Class Secretary and has raced in all the National Championships. This year he was 3rd at the Nationals, 2nd in the RS Eurocup, 1st at the Inlands, 1st in the GUL RS Racing Circuit and 1st in the RS600 Cutty Sark Series, so he knows a thing or two about what makes these flying machines tick.

The RS600 is quite simply, one of the most exciting boats you will ever sail. Yet design development and rig technology mean that sailors from all sorts of backgrounds can learn the skills required to enjoy the high performance. A simple width and weight performance equalisation system means that the RS600 has the broadest competitive weight range of any single handed dinghy. If you weigh less than 70kgs (11st) you will have wide wings, between 70-76kgs either wide or narrow, but wide wings must be accompanied by 3kgs of lead or if you weigh more than 76kgs (12st) you will have narrow.

The setting up of the boat is very similar whether you have wide (7ft beam) or narrow (6ft 4in) wings fitted. Some adjustments should be made for helm size but generally start with the standard setting. Your goal in tuning is to find that right �feel� and being able to reproduce it in a variety of conditions.

The boat is amazingly simple with clearly laid out controls. With a hull that weighs only 52kgs constructed using vacuum bagged epoxy foam sandwich it is also extremely strong. The carbon fibre mast is engineered to create a uniquely dynamic rig and the flextop delivers awesome gust response, again light weight is matched by incredible strength. The boat also boasts a state-of-the-art reefing system which allows the sail to be reduced by almost 20% and shortens the mast accordingly.

Given its simplistic nature any tuning guide is going to be quite a short guide when perhaps compared against other classes. Like any other one-design going fast in a straight line is not normally the problem but winning races involves an aweful lot more than a well tuned boat. Time spent practising on the water is probably ten times more important than time spent �bimbling� ashore. However if you are new to the class there is a definite set of proceedures to follow to check your boat is in racing mode. So lets take a closer look at the two broad areas; hull and rig.

Hull :
These are bullet proof and almost impossible to differentiate between an old one and a new one. Obviously you want a dry hull with no leaks and as scatch free as possible. The main areas to check for leaks are: around daggerboard case, transom join between hull and deck, rudder pintle and around the U-bolts that hold down the wings. The daggerboards never fit tightly in the case, hence they wobble about all over the place and eventually wear out the back of the case. Fix either a small piece of wood or plastic to the inside of each side of the case with glue, don�t make the board too tight though.

The foils are resin transfer moulded and offer an incredible strength to weight ratio. All they require is repairs from any groundings and a light sanding from time-to-time. The downhaul on the rudder requires checking for wear as does the tiller extension flex joint. I would recommend a carbon tiller extension as they are much lighter and provide bags more �feel� than an aluminium one. I also choose to secure the rudder assembly down to the top rudder pintle to avoid it coming off. An unlikely occurrence but has happened in certain sea states.

Grip is important in this kind of boat. A loss of footing can end up with a costly swim. I prefer to wax the decks inside, with progrip on the wings. Simply wipe over all surfaces aft of the mast and reapply regularly. Some others guys prefer progripping their decks and central push-off bar as well. Both work equally well. I also prefer not to use toe-loops on the wings but others find them useful for sea sailing.

If you are choosing from the options list for your new boat, definitely go for the split control lines, ie a separate eye rivetted to the wings for kicker, outhaul and cunningham, it just makes life a little easier. As does a continous kicker, also available as an optional extra.

Rig :
The carbon rig is probably the area that most sailors find the most difficult aspect of tuning their boat. Firstly lets look at rake and rig tension and then other ways to alter your mast and sail shape.

Rake is measured from the top of the mast to the transom bar on the centreline. Do not use chainplate holes as your only measure of rake as shroud and forestay lengths may vary a little but they can be used once a benchmark has been set. In medium airs (10-18 knots) the current fashion is 6900mm (on most boats, 3rd hole down from the top of chainplates). In light airs move up the chainplate one hole. In winds over 18 knots move down the chainplate by anything up to three holes but usually only one hole again unless nose-diving is likely to be a real problem. If you are sailing with the reefed rig you will need to reset your benchmark, probably finding the shrouds are now much lower down the chainplates, maybe even on the very bottom hole. Helm size and wide or narrow winged boats should all fit into the above criterea. However if you are very light (< 10st) or very heavy (> 15st) you may need to find a slightly different benchmark.

Rig tension is also something that should be set prior to launching. It can be adjusted between races while afloat but this involves a capsize usually and a swim up to the bow. The benchmark for our medium air senario is between 150-200 pounds. In light conditions try around 100 pounds and in strong conditions something above 200 pounds. I find that the flatter the water, the less rig tension I need. This may feel a little strange but seems fast.

Diamond wire tension is a bigger concern to helms than it should be. The range is 30 pounds for a 10st sailor up to 100 pounds for a 15st sailor. Once set I tend to leave alone but check from time-to-time that the bottle screw hasn�t worked lose during travel. Spreaders are fixed and all the same length so there is no need to worry about these.

There are several other controls that should be used to control the rig. An increasingly common way to pre-bend the mast is to use the main halyard. Hoist the sail to the top of the mast then thread the cunningham through a slip knot in the halyard where it emerges from the bottom of the mast. Pull down the cunningham to extract approximately another two inches of halyard from the bottom and then cleat. This will require changing the halyard on average twice a year to avoid failure and also crushes the sail headboard after a while but the resulting pre-bend does see the sail set much better on the mast.

A common failing among new sailors is to under use the cunningham and kicker. I would suggest using as much cunningham as you can pull on and then some for up-wind sailing in a breeze. The cascade kicker should be slightly under load when onshore with the sail hoisted and halyard tensioned (see above) but should be pulled block-to-block when beating in anything over 10 knots. Use these two controls to the full and see your mast now resemble a windsurfer rig but giving bags of forward power. Sail battens should be tied in securely so that all sail creases are removed but not so tight that the sail wont lie flat on the ground.

Another worthy tip before going afloat is to tape up almost everything. Shroud pins through chainplates, shroud reefing points, shrouds to spreaders, all split rings on trapeze gear, tiller extension joint onto tiller, all control line to shockcord knots, sail batten ties on sail.

In conclusion the RS600 is a simple boat to rig and once set up correctly really doesn�t need a lot of maintence. Unfortunately this means the rest is down to the helm and to master this boat requires lots of on-the-water practise. The RS Association is directing more resources and attach increased importance on training for sailors who want to both tune and master the handling techniques of their RS boat with help from fleet experts and qualified racing coaches.
Privacy Policy | Developed and Supported by YorkSoft ltd