Jiving for the first time

Andy and crew get Jive the Sidetracked youth boat ready for racing

Story by Andy Hunting

Our first state championships; first day together; or second day on the water – call it what you want –  certainly made for a trying weekend for the newly developing team on Jive (Sidetracked). The team undoubtedly began to learn how to sail a J24 as the races when on with the final race on Saturday being the most successful and just sneaking inside the top ten.

Tactics and starts were arguably the strongest aspect of the team thanks to the wisdom of Ben Gunther and Chris Fawke, coupled with the experience of Oliver Mckeon calling the shifts. Sunday saw the bow work of Nathan Anderson being put to the test – especially on the leeward drops; however it was the rigging which could not handle the wrath of the new superstar team with the starboard inner turnbuckle proving to be the weakest link.

In hindsight, the softer brass nut atop the turnbuckle had its thread ripped clean by the stainless steel thread of the turnbuckle below – potentially due to being un-oiled or a gradual demise from salt and grit over the years.

At the time of failure, the inner tension read between 19 and 21 (on Adam’s gauge). The immediate reaction of the team was to tack onto port so that the tension could be taken by the opposite shrouds so that work could be carried out on the damaged inner.

Several thicknesses of rope were used to loop the flange at the top of the thread to the deck plate, and once tied, another rope; fastened between the slack (newly repaired) inner and the adjacent outer was tied, and as it was pushed skywards, the tension on the inner wire again increased to prevent the mast from buckling inwards.

Once the team had the mast secured, it was a single tack back to the yacht club and up to the bar.