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"THE DESIGN EIGHT -THE WHITE BOATS (with apologies to the Norfolk White Boats*)

The Design Fight was launched in 1987 when lndecision was sailed at the Pevensey Bay Championships. It was not too clear whether the boat would prove a good all rounder, but, over two seasons this has been proved beyond doubt. Storrar and Bax roped in Dave Ovington and produced the superb all glass boats. These hulls are super, they are the stiffest, strongest National Twelves ever built. The concept was to produce the Paper Dart of the '80's and '90's A ready tuned unit which people could buy to put on the water with little or no effort. There are a variety of options that cross the price range. The success of the concept may be in some doubt as owners have been involved in some effort to put the boat on the water. On the whole, the project has been a huge success for the owners.

Why a success? For the following reasons:
· most owners have put a boat on the water for much less effort than dealing with a wooden boat.
· the boats are as maintenance free as you can get.
· these are fast outfits, giving the best all round performance of any design, on the sea, on rivers and lakes
This is beginning to sound like a sales pitch, hut I feel very strongly that these boats are the best thing to happen to Twelves for years. These hulls will be competitive for years and years and give the best value for money available in the Class at the moment

Our Stud Terrapin appears faster than most and here are a few measurement and tuning tips.

Measurements: (ALL DIMENSIONS IN MM)

Mast to Transom: 2555
Centre board bolt to transom: 2120
Shrouds to transom:
-medium winds 6590
-heavy winds 6500
Spreaders: a = 345 b=157
Tiller length (front of stock):695

The key tuning tips that I would suggest are as follows:

1) Mast rake and windward sailing:

In windy weather we increase the rake by easing on the forestay and taking up on the shroud muscle boxes. This increases the prebend and opens up the leach of the jib.
In medium winds the tension is eased on both the forestay and shrouds. We have found that you can over do rig tension, but I do not know why, only that it is slow. These conditions, by the way are our weakest area. In light winds I ease tension still further but if I want prebend I haul on the jib halyard to increase prebend. This allows prebend, the lowers are eased and the rig is softer and more responsive. I never sail with the mast completely straight. I know that Chris Atkins does in anything other than flat calm and goes like a rocket.
Windward sailing is like all sailing-if you have speed your tactics are great, and all the shifts work. Mr. Atkins contradicted a statement that I made recently:
Leslie " It is amazing the confidence you get when you have speed ".
Chris " It is amazing the speed you get when you have confidence ".
When you know you are fast, you sit out harder, you do not tack for no reason, you do not pinch, you do not sail free and you do not panic. All of these things add up to yards and yards at the windward mark. If you do not believe me, get the best sailor you know onto some open water with you. Find some clear air and sail parallel, close hauled, how far apart are you after 1 mile? I doubt that there will be more than a few yards in it (A caveat - in very heavy or very light winds - technique make a huge difference).

2) Reaching

The leeward shroud is always eased. The spreaders swing. This is essential as the lost effective area through spreader poke if you do not is huge. We also ease the weather shroud 1 inch from its heavy weather beating conditions if it not survival sailing. We nearly always pull on the red string - you are not getting all my secrets! (No doubt all your control lines are red Leslie... Ed.)
We have replaced the mast ram with lowers, these are hauled on to straighten the mast as we arrive at the windward mark.

3) Running

I read Malcolm Mackley's article on running and I have gone faster ever since. The shrouds go off in light winds to rake the mast forward in light and medium winds. Only the leeward shroud in medium and heavy weather and neither shroud in survival conditions. One of the most important things is to put the fitting for the jib stick quite high up the mast. On Stud Terrapin it is about six inches above the black band. I do not know why this is fast - but it is!

4) Fore and aft trim

Sitting in the correct place fore and aft is very important. I have learnt much by watching Paul Pelling who appears to me to have got it right. In the Design Eight it can be slow to sit too far forward in anything but the lightest airs. When reaching I sit as far forward as possible and I do not get too far back except in very strong winds. In the Baggy Trousers we always went back to the transom on reaches. Applying this to the Eight did not work on the whole and I try to keep the boat level fore and aft until nosediving occurs. (see issue 53 Ed.)

And so on..... if you want a fast, light, strong low maintenance National Twelve, that will hold its value, give Storrars a ring.
By the way when assessing the cost think about all the effort of painting a wooden boat!
My final piece of persuasion - I have sailed National Twelves for thirteen years, and, although Elisabeth and I have enjoyed sailing at the top end of the fleet we could never win a meeting. I seem to remember that in one season we were second five times! Since we obtained the White boat in 1988 we have won twelve meetings.
Now is this the confidence speed gives or........?'

Leslie Ross  

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