14 REFIT STAGE 7 – New Control Deck

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New control deck and lead blocks

When we took the boat apart we immediately started thinking about how to improve the deck layout and access to the controls. There is always a running debate in Development classes; should you go for a simple deck layout with minimal controls or should you use the ability to control the whole rig but have a more complicated system.

Everyone has an opinion, but the route we choose to follow was a fully adjustable rig. With a boat that has been changed so much, we don’t know where the base lines are, pinned rigs are difficult and slow to make changes to on the water. Its far easier to pull and/or release a piece of string to move the rig about. Even in large racing yachts the top boats make changes to their rig setups to improve their performance across the wind ranges.

The first step was for us to identify the principle controls and which ones we needed immediate access to and ones we needed easy access to.

Immediate access controls;

  • Kicker
  • Cunningham
  • Rudder Angle
  • Outhaul

Easy Access:

  • Forestay
  • Shrouds
  • Lowers
  • Jib Halyard
  • Jib Car
  • *Decided not to use a Jib Cunningham

The original boat design had a 5 control points in the middle of the boat, and we needed 8 control points. (Outhaul was always going on the boom) So in order to support the additional controls out to the side of the boat we needed to add a new control deck in the front of the cockpit.

As the rig controls are ones that we shouldn’t need to change all that often, we decided to put the 4 principle rig controls on this control deck; Forestay, Shrouds, Lowers and Jib Halyard. It made them easy to get to if required, but more out of the way and cleaner than having them lead to the middle of the boat.

The deck is made from 3mm carbon plate, cut and shaped from a cardboard blank. We then glued the plate to the deck with Methacrylate adhesive and then reinforced with two layers of carbon fibre on the top and the bottom of the plate.

In order to keep the plate from twisting under load, we built and bonded in a vertical leg which was shaped to allow control lines to pass behind if required.

All of the bonding work was done before the spraying was done, so we could fair the plate into the deck as cleanly as possible and when the deck was sprayed the plates just blended into the boat.

Initial fitting to shape it properly

Next step was the blocks for these controls up in the bow.

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