Skipper Jay Grizzell outfitted his 1989 Olson 34 “Shoe String” with a Trogear AS-40 Bowsprit as part of his preparations for the 108th Chicago to Mackinac (The Mac) race. Here is Jay’s story from Bowsprit discovery to the finish of the race…
“Mid-December of 2015 is when the initial discovery of Trogear Marine Products occurred. It is remembered as a ‘Eureka!’ moment, because the pivoting carbon bowsprit appeared to meet large percentages of an array of criteria that a sprit for “Shoe String” must meet: functional, affordable, aesthetically pleasing, easily installed, durable.
Eventually a new AS-40 was in hand and with the help of Trogear’s install instructions and we got the got the sprit securely in place. We took our time to design, verify and procure the components necessary for the adjustable bobstay, as each boat has different needs and bow designs. Henry from Trogear was always available to answer questions during this process and I believe the design arrived at combines simplicity, ease, function and economics.
Shoe String and seven man crew raced in the cruising division of The Mac and I estimate the sprit was used for 36+ hours of our 63+ elapsed, evenly split between the downwind kite and the Code 0.
The light air .6 oz. UK Runner asymmetric has an upper Apparent Wind Speed limit of 16 knots, which was never challenged this race. We either had almost no wind and flat water or far too much wind for that kite. The 3ft- 5ft (or greater) waves were also a challenge.
The Code 0 was flown in the latter conditions, in apparent wind speed of 16-18+ knots, driving the boat up/over/down (repeat ad nausea) the 3ft- 5ft square wave sea state, until the 1st of back-to-back broaches occurred at 2 AM. A large, errant and unseen wave shoved the stern laterally, exposed the kite to the full force of the wind and laid the boat on her side, briefly. We doused the Code 0 quickly after the 2nd broach proved the 1st wasn’t a fluke.
We crossed the finish line flying the .6 oz. light air Runner in optimal conditions, executing 4 inside gybes without incident from the Mackinaw Bridge to the Finish Line.
Overall, we had no difficulties during the 40+ inside gybes executed, a direct result of the forward projection of the sprit. An inside/out hull inspection of the Trogear Bowsprit upon arrival to the Island proved all systems remained sound and intact – significant after the shock loads the bowsprit received during the race. “