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Composite Concepts DN Tuning Guide


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I believe you need a looser rig when you are having a hard time getting the boat going. I mean so light and/or sticky that you might have to push more than once. After that, you need to tighten the rig as the breeze starts to build. Then when it is really windy, you need to loosen the rig again so that you have more control and do not spin out.

On Green Lake in Minnesota at the 2012 DN Western Regionals, we had excellent ice conditions with 4-9 kts of breeze. I think this is the condition when you want to have the rig set as stiff as you will ever need it. These conditions are when you want to get the boat to hike so that you can make sure you are pointing high enough upwind and low enough downwind.

Don't get me wrong, it is still possible to make the boat too stiff. When you get the boat set up the way you like it, try making small rig adjustments and see if you can feel the difference in how quickly the boat hikes.

Good luck and great sailing.

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1.Set your boat up in your yard. Check all your equipment: sails, runners, wires, helmet, goggles, track shoes, hull to plank fittings, etc. Make a list of everything needing attention. The idea is to know what needs to be adjusted or fixed before it gets cold and you want to be on the ice sailing.

2.Tip the hull upside down and mount the plank. Measure the squareness from the front chock bolt to the center, inner bolt of the side chock. If it is not square, turn it around and measure it again. Turn the tiller to line up the front chock with the side chock when measuring. Make it perfect!

3.If you are using Sarns studs, put a washer under the front and back of each plate so the plates are slightly concave. This will keep the plank from rocking fore and aft.

4.Make the hull to plank bolts tight, then loosen 1/2 turn. This allows for a little play in the fittings and keeps them from wearing out so fast.

5.Check runner alignment by simulating plank deflection with the skipper's weight plus 30 pounds. This will duplicate light air down wind when alignment is most critical.

6.Check alignment with the mast up, using wire tension rather than actual weights, to simulate the skipper's weight plus 30 pounds. Putting weights in the boat causes extra friction, which can flaw alignment results.

7.Shim all runners the same whether your chocks are glued on or not.

8.Make sure all runners are profiled and sharp, with no nicks. On the ice, it is much easier to make runners dull, when necessary, than to sharpen them. A good starting point is 18" of 8/1000 flat, 10" in front of the pivot bolt and 8" behind, with a dull lead-in and exhaust.

9.Make your side stays 136". Measure them from the pin that connects them to the plank to the pin that connects them to the Sarns triangle.

10.Set your mast step and plank one spot forward of max. aft.

11.Set shroud tension so that when you stand on the plank, the shrouds are a little loose. This is a great all-around setting. If it is blowing hard with glass ice, move the step back. Make the rig tighter but don't change the side stay length. If you have light air and snow, move the step forward. Loosen the rig but don't change the side stays.

12.Always set up the pulleys so you are pulling back on the boom except for in extremely light air.

13.Set the halyard so that there is 14" to 16" between the boom and the back deck.

14.Hike out at the start and after tacks. Move forward and fair in once you build up apparent wind.

15.Use the boats around you, rather than your finish, to judge speed, height and the effectiveness of your tuning adjustments.

16.If you are going fast but not pointing high, move the step and the plank back, tighten the rig, and pull back harder on the boom. The most important adjustment is to move forward in the boat and tuck in your elbows. Do not raise the sail higher. This will cause more mast bend and dump the leech off more.

17.If you are pointing high but not going fast, check your runners for alignment and nicks, loosen the rig, move the step and plank forward and lower the sail. Hike out hard to build apparent wind before you move forward in the boat.

18.The most important Tuning Tip is to share information..runner profiles, racing techniques, good bars etc.. The faster everyone around you is...the faster you will be.



1. Put the plank on the ice with the arrow pointing into the wind and remove the hull to plank nuts.

2. Put the bobstay strut in the hull and the bobstay on the strut.

3. Put the hull on the plank with the bow toward the wind, use the aft holes.

4. Tighten the hull to plank bolts until they are tight and then loosen them 1/2 turn.

5. Put the runners on so they are just snug, then apply the parking brake.

6. Connect the wires to the mast.

7. Put the mast on the step with the top to the side on the ground.

8. Connect the headstay and then the sidestay to the side of the plank where the mast is lying...be sure there are no twists in the stays.

9. Raise the mast and connect the other stay to the opposite side of the plank.

10. With the parking brake on and the bow into the wind, put up the sail.

11. Put the boom on.

12. Go get dressed and put your helmet on before you connect the mainsheet.