fleet, News, training

8, 12, 16, 24 or 32?

Kicker purchase ratios seems to have been the hot topic of the 2021 non-season in the DZero fleet. But what is all the fuss about and what does it all mean?

Steve Bolland: 2018 DZero National Champion & RS300 supremo (32:1)

You started this whole kicking strap purchase debate – explain yourself!

Haha, you had to bring that up! OK, I’ll do my best to explain. So, my upwind sailing style is to adjust the kicker for each gust. In the Lark my crew used to look upwind and pull the kicker on when a gust hit and eased it as it passed, leaving me to concentrate on the telltales and the waves. When I sailed a borrowed boat in 2016 I had real trouble adjusting the kicker upwind, mostly because the control line is led down the centre of the boat which requires tricep muscle power when the bicep is the dominant arm muscle. After I bought my own boat I found that a 32:1 kicker was what I needed to play the kicker upwind easily. In most classes a 16:1 is sufficient but then the control lines are led to the sides of the boat and you can use your biceps. Also, at the 2016 champs I noticed that the shape of Ian Morgan’s sail was different to everyone else’s and it seemed he was using more kicker than most. Am I cleared? 

Regardless of the purchase they all do the same job. Does it all just boil down to strength and personal choice?

​So you’re saying I have weak arms! OK I admit it! I do prefer a lot of kicker upwind in a breeze but if you’re strong enough you can still get the desired tension with less purchase. I favour a powerful kicker set-up purely for ease of use rather than because I use more kicker tension. 

George Cousins: 2017 DZero National Champion, professional dinghy coach and sailmaker (8:1)

The debate about kicking straps and purchase which started when Steve Bolland unveiled his 32:1 kicker, coming into the class from the RS300: what are your thoughts on this?

I used 8:1. I like the idea of less string in the boat and the ergonomics of being able to crank on kicker in one big pull. That being said if with more purchase you feel more then that would work too.

Regardless of the purchase they all do the same job. Does it all just boil down to strength and personal choice?

Exactly!

Dan Holman: DZero designer, 2015 & 2019 DZero National Champion, 2nd at 2020 Int14 Worlds (8:1)

It is fair to say you know a bit about how the DZero works… In Weymouth you were using the class demo boat with the original 8:1 ratio. What are your thoughts on the kicker ratios out there with some people using up to 32:1?

My formative years were in the laser with only rope loops for purchase and 8:1 was ok then for me – its more a matter of technique to get enough on. I think 8:1 in the Zero with cushy ball bearing blocks is plenty and that these days everyone is soft and spoiled and have come to expect everything to be convenient and easy! But in all seriousness, as a designer I’m of the school of thought that for simplicity, elegance and cost, a design is not done when you’ve finished adding stuff to it, but when you’ve finished taking stuff away. By the same token I also have to recognise that the customer is always right and that the rest of the world has moved on since 1993 and that many punters may like to have more purhcase and more string washing around their cockpits. I think that there could be an issue with some boats with massive purchases (8:1 is self limiting!) but I haven’t heard of issues in the zero in this regard, and you always have to be able to duck the boom!

Well I think that sorts out that debate, maybe….

George Cousins Coaching – https://www.facebook.com/Georgecousinscoaching/

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