This month we talk about camping at Ivanpah with Team USA, and give you some tips on getting the most out of your training program, as well as a guide to rope splicing so you can make up your own downhaul systems and make your own spliced loop for main sheet blocks.

Next month we will talk about Wallying… an Americas Cup technique, that applies equally well to blokart sailing.

If you have any topic you would like us to explore, or have an article you would like to print in this newsletter, email or ask in the forum.

This month

1. The Ivanpah Campsite – Why camp on the lake bed with Team USA
2. Training tips – how to get the most out of your training
3. Rope Splicing – Brummel eye splices, soft shackle and Loops


Camping at Ivanpah

Tom Hill... Team USA Camp Master

Tom Hill… Team USA Camp Master

Those who attended the 2012 world championships will remember Team USA with their trailers, RV’s and big SUV’s, so why do they stay out on the playa…. in one word “Atmosphere”.

The atmosphere within the camp’s 20 odd campers is the main reason that many NABSA members make the pilgrimage to Ivanpah each year. Open air camp fires, BBQ dinners, games and plenty of stories to tell are just some of things that go on. Clear skies allowing the stars to light up so bright that you can sail late into the night… WOW what more do you want.

Led by Tom Hill, with his distinctive silver polished airstream the camp site its self as almost every imaginable amenity, power, running

Team USA, Ivanpah Campsite

Team USA, Ivanpah Campsite

water, even an open pit fire complete with NABSA’s signature kokopelli logo in a blokart. In 2012 they even had beer on tap !!!

Anyone thinking of making the trip to the 2016 worlds, and would like a unique experience should consider hiring an RV and camping out on the playa with Team USA. We are sure that you would be welcomed and made to feel part of the NABSA community. Often competitors have found that hiring an RV  with a few friends was actually cheaper a rental car… then you save even more without hotel costs.

RV rentals
Cruise America
Camper Travel USA


Getting the most out of your training

Training is the key in any sport, a study showed that to become a professional athlete takes 10,000hrs of training. While you might not be able to get to that figure and hold down a job, have a family, and do all the other things in your life… Any training is better than none.

So how can you get the best out of your training?

All you need is two karts of similar level to do some productive training

All you need is two karts of similar level to do some productive training

Establish a training group. Its more fun to sail with others right? its also better for your training to help each other get better. Pick your training partner carefully, its not going to help sailing against someone who is massively different in skill level to you, as you won’t find out if what you are changing or working on is making a difference.

Pair up with another sail who is a similar skill level, and speed to you. Then start trying things, make sure you set one person up as a baseline and only one of you change things. If your changes turn out to be quicker, apply this changes to the baseline sailor, and repeat the process over and over. Don’t just look for setup changes, in one design sailing, its often the techniques that make the difference. Focus on areas that technique can make a big impact, like mark roundings, starts, tacking, gybing. Remember to change just one thing at a time, or you won’t know which change made the gain

The gains you are looking for will be mostly incremental. That is one of the joy’s of a blokart one design, anyone can sail them, but the little tweaks, and technique changes are what will set the front from the back in any fleet. This is why it is not surprising to see the same guys up the front in all weather conditions, light or strong.

Key Points

  • Buddy up with someone of the same level
  • Set a base sailor each training day
  • Change just one variable or technique
  • Focus on technique as much as equipment setup


Rope Splicing

The Brummel Eye splice.
This is the staple splice of grand prix racing yachts, it is strong, and can’t pull out due to its locking feature before the bury.
Use this splice to attach your downhaul to the becket on a pulley, or on your pulley whip safety clips for a nice low profile, light weight solution to knots and shackles.

How to make a Brummel Splice (when both ends are free)
How to make a Brummel Splice (when only one and is free)

Brummel Splice

Brummel Splice

The soft shackle
A metal shackle is heavy, and takes up a lot of space. Soft shakles look like a seamless piece of rope, but are quick to undo and very strong, at a fraction of the weight of a metal shackle.

How to make a Soft Shackle

Loop, or Grog Sling
Sometimes all you need is a loop of rope, the Spanish team have used them for years to secure the main sheet to the mast…. this is how you can make your own rather than having to buy the expensive pre-made versions.

How to make a Loop or Grog Sling


Next Update September 2014

1. What is Wallying ?? – does anyone know? Find out next month
2. The PRO, what is their job? Why do we need one?
3. Using GPS in blokart Racing