Tom Le Grice tips for happiness with kites:
Before you come around top mark - I tend to pull clew out chute down to circa shrouds. This help with energy required to pull a bulge of kite out chute
Ease boom vang and cunny right off 30 m before top mark.
Take time bearing away - many windward capsizes occurs here
Concentration. In strong winds / big seas - you have to move weight aft to avoid a major submarine nose dive.
Soak low on close to dead run - with Main out to stopper knot. Sailing close to down wind, to let go of the tiller (if using auto-help below) for the 6-12 seconds and focus on arm over arm kite hoists.
Kite is now up:
Stretch forward and catch hold of my kite sheet around the main sheet bracket. Pull on kite and at same time head up 45 degrees, also pulling about 2.5 m of mainsheet on ... and hiking.
Down wind - a few techniques:
a) Heavier crews seem to sail higher most the time, keeping power in and planning.
b) Lighter crews tend to get the boat planning and then glide / soak low
Key thing down wind - ultimately, to state the obvious - is look for pressure and sail towards it. [Editors addition] Also steer the boat to keep it under the kite / mast head - bear away as leaning angle increases and head up as boat starts leaning to windward. The boats cannot sail too high without being overpowered. The go over on their ear very quickly.
In light winds, sit well forward when flying kite. I think beginners actually sit far to far aft and dig stern in. Move aft as you plane. Same with any planning dingy.
So to summarise - down wind keep boat planning as much as possible. Soak low when ever you can. Low is fast. But come back up marginally to maintain plane.
Try and approach leeward mark for last 100 m on port tack (at the Nationals there will be a gate - and therefore a choice). Avoid last moment crash Gybe with other boats calling starboard on you.
Drop to close to dead run for very short period. Ease the Main right out as the apparent wind moves aft as speed comes off. Release halyard and hand over hand technique ( auto helm is steering the boat if fitted)... and the kite is largely in the chute - sort out any remaining retrieval after getting the boat heading round the mark if needed.
Other tips / bimbling:
- Have the two trip lines for the halyard attached to port and starboard gunwale - these are good to pull if close to a going over (or when over). It drops the kite head to the spreaders and sometimes avoids a capsize.
- The understanding, operation and maintenance of all under deck Spinny blocks is key to smooth and hassle free kite hoists and drops. Some blocks require replacement every 12-18 mths. It is absolute key that the under deck block (starboard side) that travels aft during the hoist does not end up touching the turning block under deck adjacent to mast socket.
- Spinnaker sheet retrieval elastics help cleanup the sheet as you pull the Spinnaker down. The elastic "V" is pulled into the 'chute from the Spinny sail patches with the other ends on the sheets.
- Nick Wallis introduced the "Auto Helm" to the Aust RS100 fleet. It is a simple elastic coming vertically up from the floor and over the tiller. It absolutely enables meI occasionally nudge to tiller to leeward with left knee (always hoisting on Starboard)... which keeps the boat from sailing too deep .