Tip Bit 10 - Alternative Rigging Ideas

I have been meaning to post this for a while. Matt Biggs has been very busy laying out and rigging his new ride. It’s always interesting to see how Matt rigs his boats as he likes to try different layouts and has some interesting ideas. 

His latest creation has the toe straps reposition for people with a little less length in the leg, so you have a toe strap down each side of the boat coming together at the aft toestrap fitting. Matt likes everything to be adjustable and tied away so the toe strap are no different and get a cleat position near the deck fitting for the main sheet horse to allow the toe strap length to be easily adjusted.

The other interesting change is the control line rigging. Matt has moved the kicker attachment point from the mast metal kicker strop to the back of the mast step. He has also tried to tidy up the kicking strap control line so he removes the deck fitting and positions them on the back of the mast step using the cleats on the foredeck that are usually used for the forestay control line, this really tidies the front end up, but is personal preference as I like to have the kicker control line as far back in the boat and as out over the deck as possible, so it’s always to hand.


The other addition Mat has made is a control line take away system using bungie to pull the slack from the free end so that the loose end don’t just sit tangled on the floor, again this is personal preference but Matt is such a master rigger I wanted to share it with you so you can see there is plenty you can play with to make the control line arrange fit your personal preferences.  Anyway, happy fiddling and thank you to Matt for sharing your latest rigging ideas with us all.

Tip Bit 9 - Cunningham, Kicker & Spreaders

Well I was looking through some photos and found some that I took during one of the class training days held at Bowmoor, a few years ago. I thought they might be interesting so decided to share them here. One photo shows what happens if you leave you cunningham on or if it does not release nicely once you have rounded the top mark and start sailing downwind. Another photo shows what happens when you let your sailing out on a run and don't have "Swinging Spreaders" (I.e. if you don't remove the inner spreader bolt). By removng the inner spreader bolt is allows the spreader to be pushed forwards by the sail and gives a much better sail shape, it does come with a warning though...if you sail with a Swinging Spreader set up and a loose rig on a windy day a boom up capsize  to windward on the run could result in a bent mast.  The last photo shows a sail that has a little too much kicker on and a sail that could do with a little more. Enjoy......



Tip Bit 8 - Rudder Continuous Control Line

Well hopefully if you havent got your boat at home you may have your foils which would give you the opportunity to look at this tidy and easy to use set up for the rudder. For a few years now some of us have been using a “continous control line” system with a singe cleat for the rudder up and down haul.


  • Much reduce down haul rope length to cleat, ruducing the rudder blade movement once cleated in the down position
  • Less ropes in the boat with no loose bobble ends to catch,get in the way or to look untidy.
  • Nice quick up/down action when clearing weed etc, as you don’t keep getting the opposite line caught in the cleat when your pulling on the other.
  • Easier assembly and pack down, simply slide bungie retaining loop over the end of the tiller and your ready to go.

For my first attempt I used a system without any additional purchase on the up or down haul so they were both 1:1. This made the set up incredibly simple but it could be a hard to pull the rudder blade right down and the dowhaul rope could stretch a little in windy conditions allowing the blade to pivot back a little = more whether helm. Cliff modified the set up to give a 2:1 purchase on the down haul and a 1:1 on the uphaul which makes things slightly more complicated but is a better overal solution and is the one we are currently using. This is the setup explain here.

Below there are a series of pictures and notes which will hopefully give you a clear picture of the setup so that you can do it yourselve if you fancy it. The other additional thing not shown in the pictures is that I have added a small bobble to both the up and down haul lines so that I can get a good grip on the lines, these have to be positioned carefully so that as the rudder moves up and down the bobbles remain between the cleat and the block on the end of the bungie loop.

Before you get started have a look through the pictures and read the order notes below, hopfully all will be clear before you get started.  It really is simple but is hard to put into words, sorry for the long description but I think this does make it clear and explains what order to do things in to get the best result.

1)      First remove the existing control lines from the rudder and remove the existing cleats (which you will no longer need) from the tiller, remembering to seal or tape up the old cleat screw holes.


2)      Starting at the rudder blade dowhaul line hole: Tie a line with a small stopper knot through the rudder blade hole in the normal way, run the line back up through the stock so that it comes out to run along the tiller in the normal way. With the rudder blade now set in the stock in its max up position (out of the water), tie a single block to the end of this down haul line as close to the stock as you can. This allows you to have as short a line possible between the rudder and cleat; short line equals less rope to stretch, equals less rudder blade movement once cleated in down poition. This block gives you your 2:1 purchase for rudder the down haul.


3)      Next set the single open cleat on the underside of the tiller ( you will need to drill a couple of holes and use screws or rivets to secure it as you wish). To set the position put the rudder fully down in the stock (normal sailing position), pull the down haul line with the single block on it out along the tiller, set the cleat approx 2” in from of the block, this allows you to have as short a downhaul line as possible when cleated.


4)      With the cleat set in position drill a 5mm hole through the side of it low down in the fitting so that the hole does not affect the working area of the internal cleat, see picture 3. Make sure you smooth/deburr the edges of the hole.


5)      Next make a bungie loop and attach a single block to it. Set the loop length so that the block sits a good 6”-8” inches from the end of the tiller. Place the loop of bungie over the end of the tiller as shown in picture 5. At this point you may want to use electrical tape just to hold it there for convinience whilst you thread the control line through the system.


6)      Now we attach the “continous line” starting at the rudder uphaul line hole in the blade. Tie the end of the rope with a small stopper knot through the down haul line hole in the ruddr blade in the normal way, again feed this line up through the stock in ghe normal way to allow the blade to be pulled to its fully up position bringing the line out through the stock so that it can be pulled along the tiller.


7)      Take the uphaul line all the way along the tiller and pass it throught block on the bungie loop allowing it to sit to one side of the cleat. line.


8)      Take this line back down the tiller and run it through the block on the end of the rudder downhaul line.


9)      Then take the line and pass it through the hole in the side of the cleat and use a small stopper knot to secure it. Now……check that th line runs untwisted throughout, also chech that the up haul and downhaul are located on eth sides you want, re-thread the line as required.  Also the system is tensioned by pull the end of the rope through the hole in the side of the cleat, set the tension with the rudder blade fully down, pull the ro[e through the side of the cleat until the whole system has a little tension in it, then re-tie the stopper knot at the side of the cleat.


There your all done. Its just worth mentioning that when you put the rudder up the system tension will increase as the continous control line is a 2:1 in one direction and a 1:1 in the other so it needs a longer line when the rudder is full up than when it is fully down, don’t worry though as this is taken up by the bungie loop on the end.


To complete it remove the electrical tape you used to hold the bungie in palce at the end of the tiller and fit the normal length of bungie around the tiller to prevent excess movement of the rudder.


To operte just pull the up or down haul as you wish and then just cleat the line you are pulling on leaving the other line running down the side of the cleat, to go the otherway, uncleat the line and let it run down the side of the cleat pulling on the other line and then setting in the cleat.


Hope I have not over done the description, this one take taken me ages to write up and produce pictures. Hopefully you find it easy to follow.


Hope to see you all out on the water soon, I know we are all missing getting out there and meeting up during this COVID edition of Gav’s Tip Bits.




Tip Bit 7 - Control line jumps out of cleat fix

So here’s an issue that I know some of you have experienced.  Does it happen to you, you pull the control line on (Kicker, Outhaul or Cunningham) and it sometimes slips out of the cleat releasing the control line.

This is all due to the positioning of the fairlead at the front of the cleat. I had this issue a few years ago and found that the wrong fairleads (taller ones) had been fitted to the cleat, also the fairleads from Allen can vary slightly and if everything is working against you, and it is marginal the control line will want to slip out of the cleat.

If the fairlead is too tall then the rope gets pulled through the cleat towards the top of the cam cleat, this allows the rope to slip out of the cleat as it is not properly engaged.  To resolve the issue you need shorter fairleads so that when you pull the rope it passes through the cleat lower down. 

Hartley’s know that this has been an issue and seems to happen on some boats and not others, they have requested that Allen make the fairlead slightly shorter, these are now being installed on all new boats so hopefully this issue should not occur on new boats going forwards.

If you are suffering from this issue then here’s an idea from Matt Biggs that allows you to fix the issue yourself. Matt has simply bent the existing fairlead forwards, as it bends away from the cleat its effective height gets shorter allowing the control line to pass lower down through the cleat, problem resolved.  Hope this helps.

Cleat fairlead positions





Tip Bit 6 - Water Bottle Holder

The must have Nationals tip, the water bottle holder solution. I have stolen this idea from a Supernova multi-national champion, I am sure this is the tip that gives him the edge so please don't tell him that it was me that poted it.  This is a real simple solution to securing your water bottle in an out of way position that is easy to get reach when you need it.

All you need is a length of 4mm bungee, or any other thickness you have lying spare in your tool box, tie one end to one of the rear toe strap anchor D-rings, make a loop and pass the end through both anchor D-rings, form another loop and then tie the end to the D-ring, see the picture below which hopefully gives you a better idea of how it works.

In terms of the bottle you choose to use....word of advise.....don't use a sports drink bottle with the flip off lid, if you accidently kick it the lid will come off and you will loose all your water, other than that it really does work well and does not get in the way at all.

Happy sailing and good luck, look forward to seeing you all at the nationals.

Tip 5 - Adjustable Forestay Revisions

Here are a few ideas regarding the adjustable forestay. I have 3 things that I think are worth sharing here, none of them improve performance but I think they are helpful.

1)      For my adjustable forestay, instead of the double block arrangement I prefer to use a 2 block cascade system, it is really simple, it’s much smoother to operate and the last block moves further giving you a more accurate reading against your calibration/setting marks on the fore deck. Also 2 single block are fairly cheap. See the pictures and notes below.


2)      When looking at the forestay block that attaches to the hull fitting, I noticed that the block sheave was cutting through the sides of the dyneema loop that passes through the middle of the block to attach the control line. It is worth taking a look at yours, if you have a short loop it is likely that the inside of the rope loop is touching the block sheave and allowing the outside edges of the sheave to rub and start cutting the rope. I have done 2 things to prevent this from happening, firstly I have made the dyneema loop longer so the rope is not held tight against the edges of the block sheave. Secondly I have added an outer protective braid so that it protects the dyneema from getting cut/rubbed.


3)      The last item that I think is worth thinking about is the safety line. I have revised the length so that when the forestay control line is fully released (or breaks), the mast rake can only go to my most raked position. This means that I can just release the control line when I want maximum rake, it also means that if the adjustable forestay breaks the mast is held at my most raked position but no looser meaning I could comfortably carry on sailing. Most safety lines are far too long, if the adjustable forestay breaks the mast won’t fall down but the rig would be so raked back it would be difficult to sail it let alone finish the race.


Tip 4 - Revised Clew Arrangement

Here’s something that I changed on my current boat. There is a number of ways of doing this but basically I have removed the clew hook from the outhaul. On more than one occasion I have managed to get the hook caught on someone else’s forestay or shroud.  This is always an interesting event as you end up literally hooked up with them and unable to get free.  It happen to me on a start line when I let my sail out and someone luffed up into my boom and their forestay rubbed down the boom and got caught on the hook…………..what a nightmare, really hard to unhook without capsizing and possible damage when the boats get pulled together.

So the answer to this problem………….remove the hook, you could replace it with a simple shackle or as I have done with a soft dyneema bobble and loop arrangement, same as the clew strap round he boom but much shorter.  There you go problem solved, another few places around the course saved along with possible damage and much shouting whilst everyone is understanding why the hell you can’t sail away from each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although it will reduce the entertainment factor for all the on lookers.

Tip 3 - Foil and Hull Condition

So as it’s the winter and I am sure you are all looking at the boat to decide what maintenance and TLC she needs before the new season I thought that this is the right time to post this tip.  Just make sure that you bring the centreboard inside for any gel coat work as it won’t cure off in sub-zero temperatures.

Well as I am sure you are all aware the foils are very important, they are constantly in the water with water flowing over them, any damage or unsmooth surfaces here will affect the efficiency of the centre board or rudder, will create additional drag and will reduce your progress to windward…this all equals going slower. If you think about it, and it’s not rocket science, damage towards the front of the foil causes a bigger effect as the disturbed water from the damage/imperfection travels the full length of the foil, damage towards the trailing edge has less of effect.  This principle is the same for damage or imperfections in the hull. Having said all that if you have a damaged trailing edge it will still cause increased drag.

So here’s my tip, every time I bring the boat home ready for an open and I go to hang up the foil bag I do 2 things:

1)      I inspect them and fill any damage with gel coat and sand back till smooth, this really only takes a half hour, then,


2)      I polish the foils with a good quality polish, this puts them in the best tip-top condition and also helps the board slide up and down in the centreboard slot.  The thought of those nice smooth polished foils cutting through the water in themselves makes me feel faster and confident…it’s all about being at one with the boat.


Obviously having concentrated on the foils you should also the hull for any dings, scrapes or damaged gel coat.  The same principles applies in terms of more drag being generated the further forwards the damage is. So happy inspecting, filling, sanding and polishing.

Tip 2 - Rudder Retainer Line

So new rudders are not cheap and being out at sea without one can be a little challenging. The biggest risk is losing it during an unscheduled inspection of the underside of your boat. A few people have added a retaining device and in theory if you have the bungie cord in its cleat then even if the rudder comes of the pintles you should still have it attached to the boat when you finally get it upright again, but you then need to get the thing back on the pintles so that you can get sailing again, in high winds and choppy or wavy conditions this is almost impossible.

So the solution is not to let it slide of the pintles in the first place, this will save you some positions on the race course, an unexpected bill or an early return home as the boat can no longer be sailed.

I have added a lightweight cord to the rudder as you can see in the photos below, it is used in conjunction with the standard clevis pin on the top pintle.  Using a 2mm diameter cord I simply push a loop through the slot that is present on one side of the clevis pin after you have slid it across to retain the rudder. I then drop the stopper knot through the loop and pull the loop tight, making sure there is enough free play in the cord to allow the rudder to travel its full movement from left to right.  That’s it, simple. To un-do just pull the loop to get it loose, pull the stopper knot back through and the loop will pull back through the clevis pin slot. You need never worry again about losing your rudder or having a complicated unsightly arrangement to retain it on the boat.

Tip 1 - Lace up boots

Zhik boot lace fail…..you know that last few minutes in the changing room, your running late and all that’s left is to pull on your sailing boots.  Well if you have a pair of the Zhik boots (or similar, other makes are available etc, etc…) you will already know this is not a quick job, undoing the laces enough to get your foot in can be a real challenge and then at the last moment you pull the end of the laces though the last eye. Of course this is not a problem if you have a nice new pair of boots but if like mine yours have been well used and the plastic end on the laces has long since gone, you will have a frayed end….which when your in a hurry is more than a nightmare to get back through the lacing eye.  Well your be pleased to know that there are 2 things that you can easily do to solve this issue and enable you to get to the start line on time as follows:

1) Buy a pair of the thin wetsuit hot socks, this allows your foot to slide into the boot with much more ease, also they really keep your feet cosy and warm even on the coldest of days, and

2) Tie a knot in it, yes it really works I did this the other day, a simple stopper knot at the end of the lace stops it pulling through, so when your really pulling hard and wriggling your toes in desperation to get your foot in the laces can’t get pulled through. I have attached a photo. Phew all good now and ready to sail.

Gav's First Technical Post

27th Dec 2018

Hi all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hope you have all been able to enjoy the festive season including getting in some time on the water. Since taking on the role of Supernova Technical Adviser I have been planning to provide some regular articles on the website. Having never posted as an administrator on a website before I enlisted the help of Cliff Milliner to educate and guide me in this challenging (for me anyway) task. Hopefully the following will prove that I have managed to do just that (Thank you Cliff for your help).

I aim to post an article roughly every month to give some tips and hints on anything from the boat itself, the rigging, how to sail her, tips on kit and maybe a little on what to focus on as the helm, as we all know that going fast is more about what you do in the boat than anything else.  Once you have the rig set roughly right the next step is to focus on what you’re doing and how you are doing it.

In this first post I will run through the main technical topics and themes as I currently see them and provide my first tip bit. I will aim to keep these light hearted so they can be enjoyed and easily understood.  If anyone has some tips they think would be useful please send them to me and I can post them here as an article for our fellow Supernova sailors.

Before Christmas I managed to catch up with Mark from Hartley boats for a chat. They are currently busy building Supernova's, he said they were quite busy with orders for this time of year, he was also really chuffed with the National’s entry to-date so another positive note for both the builder and the class. He was not aware of any current significant issues so if you have any please let me know.

The following are the main class technical topics as I currently see them:

1) Sail number colours. This has been discussed recently as the new darker sails are now being supplied. The class was made aware that concerns had been raised on how easily the black sail numbers could be read on the new darker sails.  This was raised after the open meeting at Haversham.  We have not heard any other concerns and no issues were raised at the 2018 nationals or the inlands. The class has therefore decided to leave the sail numbers as they currently are.  To remind you the class rules require all sail numbers to be BLACK unless you have an old Hyde sail which is allowed to be BLUE.  No other colours are class legal unless you have been successful at winning a National championship where the class has issued a yellow/gold first number. Currently this issue is closed but the association will monitor it as we move through 2019.

2) Goosenecks seem to be an ongoing topic of discussion in terms of wear and the black dust you have to keep cleaning off your foredeck, although I have to say that structurally they are a very reliable fitting and really don’t cause any issues.  I will run an article on how to maintain the standard gooseneck which is pretty simple and should be a standard thing when you look over your boat.  In terms of a different fitting there aren’t many options but again I will provide an article on this.  One of our members is currently developing a replacement gooseneck to reduce the wear and eliminate the black sludge, I will let you know how this progresses. I will also discuss this further with Hartley boats as ideally we just want an improved fitting that maintains the integrity of the current one supplied as standard with the boat not as an aftermarket improvement, that’s my aim anyway.

3) Battens, this has provided some very interesting and mature discussions for the class. I have given this a lot of thought and with comments from the AGM my go forwards plan is:

a) Keep it simple, they don't make a massive difference that was the conclusion of the AGM. Let Hartley supply the standard ones with an option to have sails without battens, this will help keep the price down for most of the fleet that don't care and don't want/feel the need to play with their battens.

b) The class will continue to let people get whatever battens they want as we do now, if we find that a certain type seem to have a massive advantage we can look into it with the weasel clause and decide if we need to do anything.

c) Right now it is generating good discussions and dialogue about the boat, keeps people interested for those who like playing with kit and keeps the open interest we have enjoyed.

d) I don't think we need to restrict them in the class rules as they change the feel and characteristics but they don't seem to change overall performance.

That completes my first update.  May I wish you all a very happy 2019 with lots of great sailing.

Happy sailing.

Gavin (1192)