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Righting and Mast Sealing on the Taipan 4.9

This information was first posted on the Formula 16 High Performance forum after some discussions by US and European Taipan sailors that were encountering some difficulties in righting the Taipan 4.9.

I thought I'd share a couple of ideas from downunder in relation to righting and mast sealing.


To my knowledge no-one in Australia uses anything other than a righting rope for any of the cat classes - certainly not on T 4.9's

I sail cat rig and use a 10mm rope tied to the dolphin striker and over-the hull - I found this provides just that little bit of additional leverage when the boat is half up to make the difference. This rope retracts with shock cord when not in use.

Make sure that you turn the boat as much as possible into the wind and release the main sheet and traveller rope. To get the boat to point into the wind you should move towards the bows once you are hiking on the righting rope. This causes the bow to drag in the water and the sterns being free of the water and the wind on the trampwill blow the sterns away from the wind. Once you have the boat pointing in the direction you want move backwards on the hulls and start pulling. Up she comes!!

The real trick is to release the downhaul !! - if you dont't release the downhaul the sail retains optimum shape and starts generating lift as soon as it gets out of the water. The wind moves over it and sucks the rig back down into the water - this is particularly vital in light conditions. Letting off the downhaul provides significant assistance in getting the mast and sail up beyond the point where they are just out of the water (ie parallel with the water)where it becomes most difficult to lift the rig up any further. It won't stop the boat going over again when it gets up, when you have to make a jump for the dolphin striker. On the other hand it will stop the boat from taking off again before you get on board.

It may be worth considering filing the striker strap as they sometimes have a sharp edge which can cut your hand if it slides along the strap when you grab it after a capsize.

2. Mast Sealing

To my knowledge the T 4.9 masts are sealed only at the top by most sailors. Sometimes sailors put some silicone in the rivet holes and T-swages around the hound / diamond wires. If you are going turtle and the water reaches the diamond arms my opinion is that no amount of sealing is going to save you - the trick is to get off the boat as soon as possible after capsize - the T 4.9 will go turtle if you let it but it usually takes time or lots of wind to push it over. In most instances you should be able to get the boat up and sailing again within 30 seconds or so with a bit of practice.

For my 2 cents worth I never completely seal my masts and only seal from the top (block of foam with silicone) to the hound. Firstly I like to ensure my mast remains dry inside with no trapped water inside and I have also found that on a hot day the mast heats up so much that when it hits the cold water on a capsize the sudden temperature change causes a vacuum in the mast which will suck water into the mast even through seals unless there are enough openings to equalise pressure rapidly (it is not unusual on hot measuring days for crews to cool down their masts before measuring to ensure the masts 'contract' within the maximum length limits due to the affect of sun heat)

Of course there may be no science to the above but it seems to work.