How To Use Sailing Dog Bones

allen dog bones

We know what you’re thinking “how can a dog bone be used on a sailboat? We’re not playing fetch!”.

Well, the type of dog bone we’re talking about here is not something you would want to feed to your favourite four legged friend.

No, the type of dog bone we are talking about is a small, lightweight, ‘dog bone’ shaped piece of aluminium. And they are becoming increasingly more popular on modern sailboats.

So, in this article we will explain a few useful ways to use a dog bone that will soon have you fetching one from your tool bag! 

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New Optimist Sprit System Pack

Over the last few years we have been supporting a different sailor every season with our Allen Academy Optimist. Throughout this time we have had the pleasure to support some very enthusiastic young sailors who have relayed their important feedback to us.

From this feedback we have developed a cutting edge Optimist sprit system, which is now available to purchase.

Our new pack is pre-spliced and race ready, so all you need to do is attach it to the boat for the smoothest and best looking setup available.

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Allen Sponsored 29er GP4

29er GP4/Inlands Championship – Rutland Sailing Club – 4th & 5th December 2021

The final Allen GP of the year had arrived; it promised to have all the hallmarks of a high drama situation – strong winds, freezing weather and the annual Christmas jumper competition! Ian Bullock’s loyal fan club was excited to see how much racing he could get in before the winds built to an un-sailable level.

43 boats lined up for the start and racing was away! There were gusts of over 25 knots which were shooting down the course bringing random shifts that caught out even the most experienced sailors. Boat handling and quick reactions were key to taking advantage of these gusts and the fleet quickly spread out. Finian Morris and Oscar Morgan-Harris (GBR 2849) took the first race by nailing the shifts into the windward mark, followed by Freddie Lonsdale and Freddie Westwell (GBR 2903) who were benefiting from an overwhelming surplus of leverage and Olly Peters and Ben Bradley (GBR 3081) in third.  

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Ratchet Blocks – Switchable Vs AutoRatchet

Switchable Ratchet Vs AutoRatchet

The ratchet block is arguably one of the most important pieces of hardware used on a sailboat, so choosing the correct size and type can make a big difference to how you sail your boat and what feedback the sails give you. In this article you will find out all about how the ratchet block works, the difference between a switchable and AutoRatchet as well as the different sheave options.   

Jump to

What is a ratchet block?

How does a ratchet block work?

Why use a ratchet block?

Switchable vs AutoRatchet

Wave Sheave or Normal Sheave

Working Loads

Suggested Rope

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High Load Thimbles – Why, When, Where?

High Load Thimbles Spliced.

Also known as low friction rings these handy bits of hardware are used across many different areas of a sailboat. But they’re nothing new. In fact the high load thimble has been around for some time, just in slightly different forms. Originally made from wood and used on old style tall ships for adjusting running rigging and then more recently moulded in plastic to create light-weight, cheap alternatives. And now, CNC machined from high grade aluminium. But why, when and where should you use a high load thimble?

Jump to

What is a high load thimble?

Why use a high load thimble?

When should a high load thimble be used?

Where can a high load thimble be used?

High load thimble sizing guide

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Allen, reduce, reuse, recycle

COP26 is taking over news headlines around the World as countries are pledging to reduce carbon emissions and do more to reduce, reuse and recycle. So, what are we doing here at Allen to reduce our impact on the planet? 

In mid 2019 we introduced our first eco-friendly block range – The plain bearing block range.

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Wrecker Race Report

The series is sponsored by Allen Sailing with support from Admiral Trailers, and TracAce Limited

The Sailing Southwest annual winter pursuit race series kicked off this weekend with the opening event at North Devon Yacht Club at Instow.

Events planned to follow include:

Penzance Pirate at Penzance SC on 14th November

Christmas Cracker at Paignton SC on 5th December

Sutton Bingham Icicle at Sutton Bingham SC on 30th January

Roadford Rocket at Roadford SC on 20th January

Channel chop at Portishead SC on 12th March          

Starcross Steamer at Starcross YC on 27th March

Exmore Beastie at Wimbleball SC on 3rd April

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RS200 Fitting Guide

Ben Saxton & Toby Lewis

The RS200 is a two person dinghy, designed in 1995 by Phil Morrison and built by RS Sailing. The boat has stood the test of time and proved it’s self year after year as one of the best two person sailing boats in the UK. The class regularly sells out its National Championships with 100 plus entry’s coming from a wide audience of young and old sailors.

The boat is now on its second version, with the hull remaining the same as it was in 1995 and the deck and cockpit now having a fresher more modern layout. 

Allen was the original hardware supplier of choice for the RS200 and is still available on new builds, although the fittings list’s do vary slightly between the two versions. 

This RS200 fittings list is based on the original deck layout, but is an up to date modern racing fitout which has been approved by our Team Allen sailors. 

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Product Feature – Flanged Aluminium Deck Bush

Flanged Deck Bush Range Laid Out

A through deck bush, also known as a fairlead, is designed to protect a surface from a rubbing rope or wire, they can also be used to act as a deflecting point.

In most applications, a through deck bush is used to guide a rope through a surface, such as the thwart or strut of a boat. It also offers protection to the material the rope or wire is passing through. 

Through deck bushes are a suitable product for a wide range of applications, so due to the variety, we offer them in many different materials and shapes. (more…)

Endeavour Trophy Reports – Day 1 & 2

Endeavour Trophy Day 1 Start Line

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (9 October, 2021): Light winds and extremely strong Spring tides threatened to disrupt the opening day of the 60th anniversary Endeavour Trophy but instead four races took place in challenging, shifty conditions, writes Sue Pelling.

It was a day of mixed results with a different winner in virtually every race, but it was the Thames A Rater national champions – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright – who won the day with a consistent set of results, which included 2,2,2,11 scoreline. They managed to beat five-time Endeavour champ Nick Craig, and Katie Burridge by just one point in the overnight standings.

A delighted Palmer said the benefit of river sailing a Thames A-Rater on the narrows at Kingston-upon-Thames really paid dividends today: “We regularly race Raters on the river, which is quite similar to what we saw today and short tacking up a bank is what we do. Actually the river at Kingston is narrower than here, so I think that really helped us today. Weighing in a just 125kg between us was also a big advantage today. Overall we really enjoyed it and doing so well today is a real bonus.”

Craig who is a known heavy weather expert was genuinely amazed at his consistency today (three fourths and a sixth place). “I am quite shocked how fast we sailed today given the fact I am not really that keen on light airs. We did much better than expected so we are really happy with that. We managed to get the starts right and from there on everything just seemed to go the right way.”

And plans for tomorrow? “I am not denying the fact we’d love 20kts but that is not going to happen so we will be continuing where we left off today.”

Getting the start right today, in the strong tides was one of the biggest challenges, which caught out many including a gaggle of Olympic medallists. Tokyo gold medallist Stuart Bithell/Jessica Hammett suffered one OCS and was black-flagged. Olympian Luke Patience/Mary Henderson who led the opening race also suffered an OCS, leaving Tom and Isabelle Stewart (National 12) to secure a well-deserved first place. 

Arron Holman and Toby Lewis (RS200) maintained a string of top 10 results, which left them in overnight third place just ahead of Patience/Henderson in fourth. Commenting on the secret of success in the tricky, light conditions, Patience said:

“In conditions like we had today the key is to first get a good start and not be over the line! The aim then was to try to make a clear path strategically not necessarily tactically. For us today it was a case of just trying to make sure we were in the right part of the ‘ocean’ all the time, while keeping in clear air.”

Although results will change significantly tomorrow when discards come into play, it is good to see so many junior teams in the running. Among those who really sailed impressively today were Patrick Bromilow and Tabitha Davies (Optimist) who weigh just 90kg. This lightweight team made some first class starts and opened the day’s racing with two third places.

Bromilow (13) commenting on his results said: “Today was all about tidal advantages and keeping up the momentum. We also had some good starts, which of course helps in these tricky conditions. It was fun and we are looking forward to tomorrow where we plan to do more of the same in the light winds expected.”

One of the highlights of the day that will doubtless be remembered for many years to come is the final race win by Millie Irish (17) and Joe Warwicker (16). This pair (RS Feva) stormed off from the startline, made the most of the strong ebbing tide, sailed their own race and won by one minute 15 seconds.

An elated Irish said: “I am so happy. My dad [Steve Irish – Endeavour coach] will definitely not believe it.” Commenting on how they won, Millie added: “We went right up the first beat in the tide and just focused on ourselves and had the advantage of clear air. Also it was imperative to hug the north shore out of the tide on the long run. Can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Back on shore this evening competitors and guests enjoyed the grand 60th anniversary Endeavour dinner with special guest speakers Keith Musto, Olympic silver medallist (1964 Tokyo Olympics) and first ever Endeavour winner in 1961, joining forces on ‘stage’ with Stuart Bithell, gold medallist (2021 Tokyo Olympics).

Overnight leader – Thames A Rater – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (17pts)

Day 2

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (10 October, 2021): After a couple of mixed results on the opening day yesterday, including an OCS, silver medallist Luke Patience and Mary Henderson won the Endeavour Champion of Champions title with two final race wins, writes Sue Pelling.

After a three-hour postponement waiting for the breeze to fill in, the 31-strong fleet enjoyed the two final races of the Investec-sponsored Endeavour Trophy. An 8-9kt northerly breeze was just enough to allow for a decent windward/leeward course but the strong Spring tide was, once again, the dominating factor, that kept competitors on their toes right to very end.

Winning the start was everything today, which was clearly demonstrated by Patience and Henderson, particularly in the first race. It was imperative to take an immediate hitch over to the right-hand side of the course out of the tide. For Patience/Henderson once they were in control after a couple of perfect tacks, they were able to take advantage of the clear air and score their first win of the day, with Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore (RS800) in second place. Their nearest rivals – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (Thames A Rater) – finished a close third.

With three points between the top two boats (Patience/Henderson and Palmer/Seabright) going into the second and final race of the day, the pressure was on. A bit of a battle took place off the start line but once again Patience/Henderson were able to repeat their performance and secure another win, which was enough for an overall win. Palmer/Seabright were always in contention but they had to settle for a close second, which after their impressive results from the opening day, were able to take second place overall.

For Patience and Henderson winning the 2021 Endeavour Trophy was a case of completing some unfinished business from the last Endeavour in 2019. Patience recalls it well: “Indeed, it almost feels like a bit of redemption from when we almost won two years ago but mucked up on a gybe on the last run. 

“In a way it makes it even more special to have finally won the Endeavour. It was really great racing.” 

Commenting on today’s game plan, Patience added: “In both races we managed to get free of the fray early and that was very important today. We spent a lot of time before the racing chatting about our options and did a ton of transits on the line before the start so we could be accurate enough to get on port early.”

A delighted Henderson added: “Winning the Endeavour is a real life achievement and to become the champion of champions, helm or crew, is very special. Also, my dad [Will Henderson] will be delighted because this is his 21-year-old boat!”

Second placed Palmer said: “It feels great to have finished second in the Endeavour Trophy. Amy and I haven’t sailed together for several years, so I was a bit nervous about how we would perform but it all came together and we surprised ourselves. It was also great to sail against such a competitive fleet and have a good race at the top with the likes of Luke Patience because he doesn’t make mistakes.”

Although Nick Craig – five time previous Endeavour winner – is not known for particularly enjoying light airs, he admits that this weekend, where the wind hardly reached 10kts, he surprised himself. He and Katie Burridge sailed well and with four fourth places to count, they found themselves in a respectable third place overall. Craig said: “Regardless of the conditions, the Endeavour never fails to produce top class racing. I was pleasantly surprised how well we did in the extremely light airs yesterday and I definitely feel it was as well as we could have hoped for.”

Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (RS200) weren’t as on form as they had hoped for this weekend but nevertheless notched up a string of consistent results, which left them in fourth place overall, just four points behind Craig/Burridge.

Holman said although he had crewed the Endeavour a few times before this was his first time helming at the Endeavour. “It was a great experience. Also, having Toby [Lewis] as crew – a legend of the event – I couldn’t have had a better guy at the front dragging me round the course at times, telling me where to go. Overall though, the Endeavour has a fantastic atmosphere and it is so great to have so many awesome sailors and legends of the sport all together pushing really hard.”

A final mention must be made of the highest place junior sailors (RS Feva) – Millie Irish (17) and Joe Warwicker (16). As well as winning yesterday’s final race, they sailed impressively once again and finished the day with a fifth place, which left them in a respectable seventh place overall.

Irish said they were delighted to get another chance to race today: “At the start of the day, with no wind, we didn’t think we’d get another chance, so we were so pleased the wind finally filled in. We have learned so much this weekend. The biggest lesson was realising just how much even the tiniest mistake can cost you because everyone is so good.”

Back on shore after racing this afternoon, competitors and guests attended the 60th Endeavour prizegiving where the winners were presented with the spectacular solid silver model, and the half model of the America’s Cup J-Class yacht Endeavour.

Plans are already underway for next year’s Investec-sponsored Endeavour Trophy, which is taking place on 8-9 October 2022.

Overall Results (6 races, 5 to count)

1st Olympian 470 – Luke Patience and Mary Henderson (7pts)

2nd Thames A Rater – Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright (11pts)

3rd RS400 – Nick Craig and Katie Burridge (22pts)

4th RS200 – Arran Holman and Toby Lewis (26pts)

5th Solo – Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby (38pts)

6th Merlin Rocket – Christian Birrell ad Matt Mee (44pts)

For full results go to: 2021 Results

Report by Sue Pelling

Photography by Roger Mant