RS200 Tuning Guide
One of the first things I do when sailing a new class of boat is to look for a tuning guide, however, most of the guides available on the web for the 200 seem to be fairly dated at this stage but nonetheless proved a decent base to begin with. While the setup on the RS200 is relatively simply, like any dinghy, it is critical to have your basic settings correct in order to have confidence in your boatspeed.
The numbers below are what we have ended up sailing with after a year or so of little tweaks here and there since getting our boat and should be a pretty good base for most crews to get up to speed quickly. For reference we usually sail with an all up crew weight of a little over 140kg.
The first thing to do before even stepping the mast is to ensure the forestay eye, the chainplate eyes and mast step are square in the boat. Measure from the forestay eye back to each chainplate eye and repeat from the front and back corners of the mast step to each chainplate eye also. If the numbers don’t match up it’s time to get the epoxy and drill out!
Seldon (Proctor in old money) spreader brackets have always had a problem with droopy spreaders, look up next time you walk around the dinghy park and you’ll see what I mean. This is an often overlooked element when setting up a rig but vitally important to ensure the rig is square in the boat.
I usually angle the spreaders slightly up but the most important thing is that you have them at the same angle on each side to ensure your rig is true. This is achieved by measuring from the top of the chainplates to the bottom of the spreader on each side with the rig tension on. Once you are satisfied they are equal place a good wrap of self-amalgamating tape around the shroud under the spreader or for a more permanent solution crimp a ferrule onto the shroud under the spreader.
Positioned one hole forward of the aft most position available on the mast step.
Wind - Light
Mast Rake - 21”9
Rig Tension - 27
Spreader Length - 395mm
Spreader Deflection - 135mm
Jib Cunningham - Loose – slight creases from luff
Measured by pulling a tape measure up against the sheave at the top of the rig on the main halyard and measuring down to the top of the stern above the rudder fittings.
Measured at shoulder height on the shrouds using a Loos tension gauge.
Measured from the outer mast wall to the shrouds. The longer your spreaders the stiffer your rig will be side to side and less responsive to gusts. Lighter crews may use shorter settings here.
Measured from the back of the mast to a piece of twine pulled tight across the shrouds. The more deflection the greater the amount of pre bend in your rig which may be desirable for lighter crews. The setup above gives a straight rig before the mainsail is hoisted which seems to work well for our weight.
A loose jib luff gives a fine entry to the sail and will allow you to point higher, although will be more difficult to steer to. As the wind increases the draft in the jib will begin to move back in the sail, in order to counteract this and help keep the slot working between main and jib we pull on the jib cunningham as the breeze increases.
Once you are happy that you have achieved your desired rig settings it important to once again check that the rig is sitting square in the boat with the rig tension on. This is simply measured by taking the main halyard and measuring to the top of each chainplate and also to each corner of the transom and making sure the measurement is the same for each side.
We usually sail with one hole showing aft of the jib car. If it’s very windy we will move it all the way back on the track to help flatten the jib and open the leech.
Often overlooked, the strops have a big effect on the amount of control you have over the leech tension on your mainsail. In light winds set them up so that you are just closing the leech, top tell tale stalling, about an inch before you are block to block. During gusts you can squeeze on that extra inch of mainsheet and keep the leech closed and powered up. As you rake back and pull on the kicker the strops will need to be shortened so you can still get the boom on the centreline throughout the wind range.
In light winds there is no need to pull on any kicker if you have your strops set up correctly and the leech is being controlled through mainsheet tension. As soon as you begin easing the main during gusts it’s time to pull on enough kicker to maintain leech tension, plus a few more inches.
As you go up through the wind range you will need to pull on the kicker progressively, always keeping an eye on the top tell tail and ensuring you don’t have it stalling any more than 50% of the time. Once you get to the top end of medium conditions you will be pulling the kicker on as hard as you can. Like strop length, it is a common mistake not using enough kicker as the wind increases and is vitally important in maintaining a flat boat and height upwind, it’s actually difficult to overdo it! Remember in flat water you will get away with using more kicker in lower end medium conditions, improving pointing without sacrificing boatspeed.
Eased an inch until you begin to become overpowered and then pulled on tight.
Like the kicker, this should not be touched in light winds. Unlike the kicker, however, you will be a little further up the wind range before you begin pulling on the Cunningham, most likely well into medium conditions.
Pulling on the cunningham stops the draft in the main moving too far aft and causing excess weatherhelm and will also open up the top of the leech, depowering the rig up high where it has a greater impact on righting moment. The cunningham should be pulled on firmly at the top end of medium conditions and as hard as you can in strong conditions.