The West Lancashire Yacht Club 24 Hour Race, the UK’s No.1 dinghy endurance race, will provide live GPS tracking of each competing dinghy this year. WLYC has agreed to a joint exclusive sponsorship deal with GJW Direct, Allen Brothers and Precision Yacht Paint, to provide the SailRacer GPS Tracking System.
Throughout the 24 hours, competitors, team management, spectators and supporters will be able to follow the progress of all the dinghies online via the event website. It doesn’t matter where they are they can follow everyone or just a few select teams. They could be watching in the team tent, in the WLYC bar, back at their Sailing Club or even in a restaurant in Hong Kong!
Each Dinghy will have a GPS tracker attached, providing a wealth of detailed analytics such as lap times, speeds and VMG. The teams will have a valuable tool allowing a direct comparison across all competitors to help them understand their overall performance, not just their strengths but also where they can improve. A powerful management tool!
For the Race organisers, the GPS tracking system will enable a constant monitor of the positions of all boats, particularly important during the hours of darkness or poor weather.
The original 30mm XHL block was released by Allen at the end of 2015, the design was received exceedingly well by the sailors in the high-performance market. This year Allen has expanded the range to include a 20mm and 40mm sheave size to help fill gaps in the market.
The Allen XHL range has been designed to deal with eXtremely High Loads without compromising on low load dynamic performance. By combing the Allen patented Dynamic Bearing Technology with CNC machined aluminium side cheeks and a precision turned stainless steel sheave, the company has created a block range that can take a static load of up to 1500Kg. Perfect for use in vang cascades or halyard turning points where loads can be extremely high.
The XHL range is available in a variety of colours.
The 30mm XHL was originally designed on the feedback of Team Allen sailors who wanted a block strong enough to keep up with the demands of high-performance sailing. Watch the video below to find out how it’s made.
Allen Brothers, based in Essex, is known for consistently developing and upgrading sailing hardware. The company has a team of professional sailors that are always testing and relaying product feedback back to the Allen design team to ensure the hardware keeps up with the demands of modern sailing.
Allen Keyball Harness
The Dangers of trapezing have never been more apparent than in the last few years and as boats get more powerful and hardware becomes stronger shouldn’t there be a natural progression to try something new when it comes to trapezing?
For many years the Allen development team was keen to design a trapeze system that improves the safety of the sport and reduces the risk of entrapment by the traditional hook-on trapeze harness. Designer Julian Bethwaite had also been thinking along the same lines and had produced a prototype of the Keyball trapeze system. In conjunction with Bethwaite Design, Allen has developed the concept into a sleek and innovative product, eliminating the hook altogether and creating a safe intuitive solution that really works. The Keyball design was originally entered into the prestigious METS trade show DAME awards in 2014, receiving a special mention in the “Life Saving and Safety Equipment” category.
The Allen Keyball system removes the traditional hook from the trapeze harness and replaces it with a moulded plastic socket. The Keyball socket has no sharp edges or protruding parts making it much less likely to damage equipment or get snagged on something.
The handle part of the Keyball design is manufactured in 3 parts to enable the ball to be flexible, which helps with articulation. It features a solid aluminium guide with an integral rope-friendly thimble for attachment to the trapeze lines via a height adjustable rope system and a solid aluminium ball for smooth and secure location.
Recently Allen has started working alongside Banks Sails to produce a straight off the shelf trapeze harness that is available in two different styles.
The Skiff Pro harness is a totally new design. It has been developed alongside top sailors to offer the ultimate racing performance. There is no waist adjustment and therefore it is clean of rope and webbing straps. This harness is ideal for the modern high-performance dinghy crew and is exceptionally light and comfortable.
Using sail making techniques, Banks developed the Radial Harness, one of the most comfortable harnesses on the market. The load from the Keyball is spread by radial patches completely eliminating creasing around the back.
Team Allen sailor and Cadet World Champion Jamie Harris has recently transitioned into the 420. Jamie has been trying his hand at crewing in the 420 so it made sense for him to trial the Keyball system. When asked about his experience with the Allen Keyball System Jamie said “The hand shaped design was really comfortable and gave me a strong grip and acted almost like a second handle to hang and pump from which was really useful.”
He then went on to say “I was also really impressed with the ease of use; I soon forgot I had a different system on as it was so easy to adjust too.”
When asking Jamie about the Keyball socket design he said “I found myself not getting stuck in objects in the boat with my harness on. The harness was less damaging to lean over the boat with when adjusting controls”
Allen are now selling the complete Banks Harness with Allen Keyball system direct from their ecommerce website allensail.com if you require a different style of harness you can also go straight to Banks Sails and choose one of their existing designs to be used with the Keyball.
Keyball handles are also available direct from Allen at allensail.com
Allen Endurance Series 1 – Solent Forts
The 2018 Allen Endurance Series kicked off over the first weekend in June at Hayling Ferry Sailing Club for the Solent Forts Race.
The entry list reads like a who’s who from the cat world, including Will Sunnucks, chairman of the UK Cat Racing Association competing in his high-speed foiling Vampire, crewed by Mark Self. The strong F18 fleet included Grant Piggott and Simon Farren and National Champion Simon Northrop crewed by Caleb Cooper, who was looking to defend his Solent Forts title. For the first time, fast dinghies were eligible to race, with top International Canoe sailors Gareth Caldwell and Phil Robin looking to give the cats a run for their money.
Saturday brought the best weather with glorious sunshine and 10 kts + of breeze. Will Sunnucks and Mark Self in the Vampire took line honors and the highest recorded speed on the SailRacer GPS trackers, hitting over 18 kts on a sustained basis.
Sunday dawned sunny but windless, giving PRO Richard Golden no option but to postpone; after a great Saturday night Band on the Beach party, most competitors were glad of a couple of extra hours to prepare.
With the tide flooding in at the start and only a light breeze, it was quite a struggle to get out of Langstone Harbour. Gareth Caldwell (International Canoe) made good progress by creeping up the Hayling Shore and for some time was second on the water. Grant Piggott and Simon Farren (F18) led the fleet around Spit Sand Fort at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour and then back to the turning mark off the club at the entrance to Langstone Harbour.
First back were the International Canoes sailing the shorter blue course with Phil Robin taking line honours, after overhauling fellow classmate Gareth Cladwell.
With the wind building over the 7.1 mile downwind leg from Bembridge Ledge, the Vampires started to get into their stride and foiling, regularly seeing peak speeds in the upper teens on the SailRacer GPS trackers. Kyle Stoneham and Ross Harvey (Vampire 11) managed to overhaul Grant Piggott and Simon Farren (F18) to take the lead.
The fast cats were given another leg out to Winner South Cardinal, but with the breeze now falling, Grant Piggott and Simon Farren (F18) managed to snatch the lead back again coming up to the finish to take line honours and a win on corrected time. Will Sunnucks and Mark Self managed to overhaul the other Vampire to take second place over the line from Kyle Stoneham and Ross Harvey.
Combining the results across both fleets using the SailRacer scoring system, based on GPS data and dynamic handicaps on a time on distance basis, the top three were:
The 2018 Allen Endurance Series covers three of the UK’s long-distance races: Solent Forts, East Coast Piers and Round Sheppey. With racing covering over 120 miles, the Allen Endurance Series will challenge sailors over some varied courses to find the UK’s top long-distance racers this summer. All races will be tracked by SailRacer, allowing organisers and supporters to monitor boat positions, which will also provide a wealth of analytical data such as top speeds and distance sailed. Allen will be providing over £1,000 of prizes across the Series and individual events.
I turned up on the bank holiday Friday, after a long journey to Poole Yacht Club, for the UK 2.4 Nationals as part of the International Paints Poole Keelboat Regatta. After a bit of rigging and the odd beer, it was time for bed as we had an early 9 am start on Saturday.
The big breeze that we expected wasn’t quite as strong as forecast but we still left the shore in 15 knots. With the best the British and a few German’s could offer in terms of 2.4 sailors it was going to be a tough event and it certainly turned into really good racing. As Saturday continued the breeze was dropping steadily. I started the regatta with some really good races; 3 bullets but not by much. As we started the racing early it then meant it was a nice afternoon on the balcony of Poole Yacht Club.
Sunday morning saw a nice 8 knots and a slight delay while we waited for more wind. Once we got out on the water it soon became apparent that the windward mark was under Brownsea Island; it was a tricky day out. I started ok but struggled to find the best way around the course. Jonny Currell was having a much better day and after finishing the last race in just enough water we were equal points going into the last day.
Sunday night was at the newly built Parkstone yacht club, where I kept getting lost. Monday morning was very light and after lots of floating in no wind racing was postponed and so we went in for an hour. Coming back out the wind had built to 5 knots and looked to be building. I luckily got off the right end of the fleet and with Jonny struggling to get away cleanly I managed to secure a win, give me the title!
It’s nice to get the title back, due to other events taking my time over the years and not giving me the chance to compete for it. It’s never easy to win and it’s great to have really good competition. It makes you hungry for more. We’ve been coming to Poole Keelboat Regatta for many years and it is great that we keep getting invited back amongst some very big boats.
Next on the agenda is my home event, Frensham, in a couple of weeks time.