Saturday, December 5, 2009

LASER SEMINARS

Meka Taulbee sent us two DVDs. One is from the 2007 and 2008 Seminars at Clearwater, Florida. 82 minutes of drills, tacks, gybes, mark rounding. All the stuff, many of it wrong, but with Kurt's Comments. The "Sail with out a rudder" is really worth seeing and many other little comments about how to do things better. It is an interesting look at that side of boat handling. Kurt has done a 5 day Seminar here in Eustis, Florida and is well thought of. Tillerman attended at least one in Clearwater and was impressed. Some of the stuff I stole from Kurt and is in the blog.
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The other is "Daring Downwinds-- Clearwater Pass". When the tide is ripping out the pass and a big sea breeze is coming in this is a crazy place to be sailing and you get to see them doing it, and not doing it. Big wipe outs. If anyone finds out what happened when it look to me like a Laser hit the bridge and Kurt says "Oh, my God", and then switches to sailor, let me know.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

INTERNATIONAL LASER DAY

Sunday November 29, 2009
International Laser Day at Lake Eustis Sailing Club.
Chris Laffin from Canada is down for the Winter at Mt. Dora and is catching up with his Laser sailing. We got him out in about a no wind afternoon...
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AND then the bunch from Argentina arrived.
Marcelo Morgenstern from Club De Veleros Barlovento, Buenos Aires, Argentina with his Son-in -law Pablo Muzietti and Pablo’s wife Mariela Morgenstern and two little Muzietti boys who are learning to swim so they can get in our Opti program. AND how can I forget Mrs. Marcelo Morgenstern.. She came too.
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Now in the midst of getting Marcelo out sailing a Laser and his picture taken to prove it to those back in Argentina, the Frenchman, Marc Solal, arrives. As Marcelo arrives back at the beach ( he sailed just long enough to show he knows how to do it) the Frenchman takes the dolly down to help him. The Canadian is still sailing.
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Mr and Mrs Morgenstern were here for Thanksgiving (not too big in Argentina ) and a grandson’s birthday. Mr. And Mrs Pablo Muzietti and two sons live in Oviedo. Next year at least one of the children will be sailing Opti with us and we will try to get Pablo to sail Lasers with us now.
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When it gets cold in Argentina, maybe Marcelo and wife will come back to sail with us this Summer.
Nice to have world wide group.
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Of course we had people from Wisconsin, South Dakota and Eustis at the club today. That is not as exciting as One from the birthplace of the Laser (Canada), a few from the Southern Hemisphere and one from east of the Prime Meridian.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

ANOTHER LASER


Here is a fuzzy crooked picture of the Laser Bulletin board at Lake Eustis. This is a world map sent by Doctors without Borders and posted instead of our usual junk.
The push pins are in all the countries that have Laser Fleets. I skipped a lot of European countries as there was not enough room for the pins. We have almost all of South America and a surprising bunch in Africa. The little countries south of Iraq are in. It is a test for an old guy to find all the countries listed. An then Pakistan and India, do they have a regatta? The notes in the corners are the lists of countries in alphabetical order.
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The sun never sets on Lasers sailing. 24/7 someone is sailing.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

LASER SAILOR GOES SAILING




I am going to wrap up the daily entry section of this blog so I can do a little more sailing. This entry was the first one. It is what I hand out to people joining us that have not sailed a Laser for a long time. It was also posted in the middle of the entries, in some sort of plan to make it more "findable".

I will go back to my original plan of adding to this blog when my emails to local fleet members had some more general interest. I will continue to put the local emails in the eustislaser.blogspot.com spot and the general Lake Eustis Sailing Club news in the centralfloridasailing.blogspot.com blog.

If you are around central Florida, come and sail with us. We can find you a boat. We have had visitors from Netherlands, England, Canada, and regulars from France, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Spain, Hungary, Netherlands and Illinois.

PRIMARY LASER ADVICE....
LAUNCHING: Rudder down a little on leaving and ½ centerboard (can go upwind fairly well with ½). When clear, go to "safety position" and push rudder down and cleat rudder line. If you have a lot of weather helm, you forgot to get the rudder down or it has come up again.
RETURNING: Uncleat rudder hold down, so it will come up when you ground. Then monitor centerboard to pull it out and step off in shallow water.
LONG TILLER EXTENSION: Usually hold in front of your chest but can hold to the side with frying pan grip. When you tack you must push the tiller over with the extension and then follow through by pushing the tiller extension past the mainsheet to the other side of the boat. Then bring the tiller back into center line before crossing over. This makes me tack faster than I would other wise, but it works well.
WHEN GYBING the sheet tends to catch on the transom. To prevent this when you are gybing, reach forward and catch the sheet just below the boom block and, as the sheet goes slack, pull about 2 feet of the sheet in. That starts the sheet across the stern so that it doesn’t catch. Don’t jerk it hard or it will flip the sheet over the end of the boom. If you are sailing in pretty good wind and haven’t worked this out, just tack. Don’t gybe.
TACKING FROM reach to reach will also catch the transom if you don’t trim in some sheet while you are going around.
COMING INTO SHORE DOWNWIND, you can just let the sail out in front of the boat and let it luff. The long sheets will let you do that and get it back if you want. With the old shorter sheets you may have to undo the knot in the end of the sheet and let it go through the ratchet block. If you retie the knot before the boom block, that is often enough to let the sail all the way out and not have the sheet run out through all the blocks.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MORE ON SAILING THE LASER.
DOWNWIND, heel the boat to weather so the deck edge is at the water. Put your uphill knee down so you can roll into the boat more easily to balance if you have a big roll to weather (see Death Roll). With repeated rolling that is too much, trim the sail in and maybe more board down.
SAILING BY THE LEE may be a new trick for you . The boat will be more stable and faster.
In average wind, boom out 90 degrees, vang off a little so the leach gets a little floppy. Steer till the tell tails are flowing leach to luff and the leach is flopping a little. Centerboard down a little. Heel to windward (away from the sail).
In light wind let the boom out past 90 so the weight of the boom holds it out.
In Strong wind, boom is out less than 90 degrees (see death roll) and sail by the lee for a more stable ride. Less vang means the sail has to come in more. A little rolling back and forth can be fast, but if on the edge of a death roll, trim and /or head up to stabilize. A little more board down may do the stabilizing.
SAILING UP WIND. Hike to keep the boat FLAT. The flatter the better. In moderate wind you may be able to heel to weather and go even higher. (The radial rig is balanced to let you heel maybe 5 degrees.)
Light wind. Let the traveler off and the boom come inside the transom. If you are losing speed, let the boom back out to the corner of the transom. You can pull the boom in with your hand and friction will hold the block more in toward the center of the transom if you want to pinch off someone to weather. Don’t do that too long because you will slow and leeway will be increasing. The fast guys don’t do this anymore but keep the traveler tight and the boom out to the transom corner. If it is really light wind maybe out more and heel the boat to leeward so gravity shapes the sail and the heeling lowers the wetted surface area.
Medium wind. Tight traveler and trim the boom to the corner of the transom, but about 8 to 10 inches away from two blocked at the traveler.
Increasing wind so that you can’t hold it flat, then trim the sheet to two blocked or somewhere near. This bends the top mast section and fattens the sail. With puffs coming and going, trim to two blocked and then ease again when the puffs subside if you can still hold the boat flat. Try to let the rachet block hold the line. Just ease the pressure in your hand and arm until there is the slightest slip in the block and see how little pressure is really needed to hold the sheet. Often in the excitement of the dance with wind and waves, I hold everything in my hand until may arm gets tired and sore and reminds me, I don’t have to work this hard.
When two blocked you will need some Cunningham to pull the draft of the sail forward..
When two blocked and sailing in traffic, you may want to pull the vang on just tight so when bearing off under starboard tackers you gain the most speed. If you leave the vang on the boom will be lower when tacking. Remember to get your head down. Take the vang off going into the windward mark so as you turn down wind, you don’t stick the end of the boom in the water.
As I am sailing upwind I try to keep the sheet kicked to the back of the cockpit so that at the windward mark, it is less likely to be wrapped around my foot or knotted. Recently I have tried to keep it in the front of the cockpit and think that works better.
If you can’t keep the boat flat by two blocking up wind, then it is time for Super vang. To supper vang, pull the sheet into two blocked and then pull on the vang as strong as you can. The new boats have a sleeve in the boom to take this kind of treatment. If you have an old boat and are bending the mast much, you might consider adding the sleeve.
Now that you are supr vanged, let the boom out beyond the transom as far as necessary to keep the boat flat. When Ed Adams is super vanged, before he tacks, he takes the vang off and throws the handle over to the lee side so it will be handy to put on again after the tack. That gives him more room under the boom and a more powerful sail right after the tack. Just remember that the boom is low with the vang on.
CAPSIZE. The upper mast is sealed and will float the boat on it’s side. Strong wind can blow it in turtle position, but in lighter wind you can swim away and leave it and swim back later. I have seen experienced sailors capsize the boat, swim over to help another right their boat, and then swim back to his.
A strong steady pull on the centerboard should right the boat in usual circumstances.
If the sail is to windward when the boat is righted, it will likely capsize again in the other direction. Hot shots may hold onto the centerboard as the boat rights, slowing the flip and come up on the windward side to climb in without the problem of righting the boat a second time.
If you are capsizing in windy conditions, let go of the hiking stick as it might break and hold on to the sheet so you don’t have to chase the boat.
One condition that is difficult to recover from is turning over to windward with the sail out more than 90 degrees. The sail is not in the water but full of wind and the boat is on it’s side. Even if the sail was trimmed in more it may get out a little more as you turn over. To prevent this from happening, you can knot your sheet so it won’t go out more than 90 degrees on a day with strong wind.
Sometimes when the boat is capsizing you can jump over the windward side and step on the centerboard , right the boat with out getting wet. If the mast is already in the water and you try to climb up the deck side to do this you may drive the mast under and into the tough muck at the bottom of Lake Eustis. This muck will really hold the end of the mast tight and you might need help to get it out. If a helping motor boat takes a bow line and pulls it gently at right angle to the boat on the bottom side (away from the sail) it will unscrew the sail form the mud and bring you up. If you have no help, then just keep pressure on the centerboard with righting pressure and you may come loose. If someone else jumps in with you, two people on the centerboard can usually do it.
DEATH ROLL. Is a capsize to windward. On a broad reach or a run when the top of the sail twists enough to point to windward, a roll to windward increases the apparent wind at the top of the mast and with the lone lever arm of the mast, the boat is slammed down to windward. Because it is very hard to stop once the final roll starts and you are sitting on the wrong side to counter it, it is called the "death roll."
It was more of a problem a few years ago when lines stretched more and the sail was of lighter material. All this would stretch in a puff. What was a good balance before had the top of the sail pointing the wrong direction.
Last moment action.. Trim sail, head up and lay back in the water on the windward side. (Lightens the down side of the boat– trying to get to the high side increases the torque to turn over.) Steve Cockerel says to turn the other way and the rudder will dig in and help prevent the roll, but you may gybe. Check out the "Boat whisperer- downwind". We now believe Steve is right and the first part of thisparagraph is wrong. Turn toward the sail with the rudder and the rudder in the water will tend to right the boat and give you a chance to move to the other side to right the boat. If you do gybe, that is better than swimming.
THE BIG BLOW. How to handle it.
1) Turn the boat down and sit on the high side balancing the boat with several feet of mast in the water. That can be a comfortable sitting position. The edge of the boat is in the water resisting drift and the sail is in the water out of the way. You might see hot shots doing some of that between races, especially if the wind is blowing strongly and beating the sails up. This is a method used by Lasers and International 10 square meter canoes when the wind is too strong for them to handle. When the little storm has passed, right the boat and sail on.
2) Let the sail out in front of the boat so it luffs while you comfortably sail someplace down wind or a broad reach.
3) The sail can be reefed by unplugging boom and rotating the mast to roll the luff of the sail up. If the top batten is removed a lot of sail can be rolled up, and then plug the boom in again. This was much easier to do with the old sail controls.
4)If it is survival sailing for you, then the vang off, out haul tight, close reach as much as necessary to work up wind. Downwind, see 2 above.
WALKING AROUND THE MAST. Occasionally you may want to get on the bow of the boat and then get back to the cockpit and visa vera. Stand in the middle of the boat with one or two hands on the mast, tip the boat about 45 degrees to one side and step to the center of the boat on the other side of the mast. Don’t step on the side of the boat and don’t stay with one foot in front of the mast and one be hind. It is not hard to do and works better with the centerboard down.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

LASER PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS


Above are some of the reasons to sail a Laser.
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Now Laser sailors, take a few minutes to look over this list and see where you are weak or strong.
..............................................................After Bill Galdstone- North U.

Tactics---
Upwind strategy, tactics and rules ------------strong -----weak
Downwind------------------------------------strong------weak
Starting---------------------------------------strong------weak
Buoy rounding--------------------------------strong-------weak
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Boat speed --
Upwind, light---------------------------------strong-------weak
Upwind, moderate----------------------------strong-------weak
Upwind, heavy--------------------------------strong-------weak
Helming---------------------------------------strong-------weak
Sail trim---------------------------------------strong-------weak
Running, light----------------------------------strong-------weak
Running, moderate----------------------------strong--------weak
Running, heavy--------------------------------strong--------weak
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Boat handling--
Tacks, light wind----------------------------strong--------weak
Tacks, moderate----------------------------strong--------weak
Tacks, heavy wind--------------------------strong--------weak
Gybe, light----------------------------------strong-------weak
Gybe, moderate-----------------------------strong--------weak
Gybe, heavy---------------------------------strong--------weak
360-----------------------------------------strong---------weak
720------------------------------------------strong--------weak
Windward mark-----------------------------strong---------weak
Leeward mark-------------------------------strong--------weak
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Preparation
Stiff boat--------------------------------------strong---------weak
Smooth bottom--------------------------------strong---------weak
No leaks---------------------------------------strong---------weak
Boat weight------------------------------------strong---------weak
Blades-----------------------------------------strong---------weak
Tiller------------------------------------------strong---------weak
Rudder----------------------------------------strong---------weak
Sheet------------------------------------------strong---------weak
Controls---------------------------------------strong----------weak
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Do you really want to sail better?
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TOO OLD TO LASER

Maybe this will be your boat when you are too old to sail a Laser?
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But there is a lot of other stuff to do:
Race Committee
Protest Committee
Safety boat.
Tactic and Strategy instruction
Sailing lessons
Boat repairs
Knot instruction
Score keeper
Fleet historian
Trophy maker
Telephone tree
Party organizer
Parking director
Publicist
Fleet Ambassador
Spectator boat operator
Community Organizer
Photographer
Assistant Fleet Captain
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LASER TO KNOT


Here you get a look at two half hitches. That is really a clove hitch on the standing part (the long part of the line). Then a rolling hitch thrown in.
Laser sailors sometimes show up and don't have the knots down. There is not much knotting, but you do need to know:
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Figure eight
Reef knot
Two half hitches
Clove hitch
Sheet bend
Bowline (this one takes practice till you know it.)
Cleat hitch
Rolling hitch
Truckers hitch
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Go to "Animated knots by Grog.com" Do the boating group and learn the above knots.
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If it is too windy or too calm, then practice your knots or help someone else.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

LASERS GET OLD.


There is a tendency for Lasers that get old, to be soft in the deck and on the bottom. They will be slow in chop and gusting conditions, but you don't need to break the bank for a new boat with all the fancy stuff. Grab an old soft boat some place with some kind of sail to go with it . Find a fleet someplace. Get busy and chase the guys and gals at the end of the group. Win the start and see how long you can hang in there with the top dogs. If you end up winning some races be sure to help the others figure out how to do it. You will find it is no fun winning races, if you don't have to sail hard to do it.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

LASER IN DANGER AND NOT.

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The super Blog "Proper Course" by Tillerman has listed 4 steps "not to die on your Laser" and he promised one more. Check out his blog for more on all this.
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1) Wear the life jacket.
2) Wet Suit or Dry suit.
3) Hold on to the sheet if you capsize.
4) Be sure you can get back in the boat.
5) Yet to come, but I think it will be Sail in Company or something like that.
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I am trying to figure out how to wrap up this blog so I can get back to sailing more regularly. That leads me to go ahead with these issues and a few more to write. (My problem is I keep thinking up other things to write.)
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1. Wear your life jacket. Have one that is comfortable, won’t catch on the boom (you may want shirt to put over it to hold it down), that you can get back in the boat wearing, and that you can swim in fairly well. Tillerman wants you to have a US Coast Guard Approved one. Maybe if you go to a lot of regattas that require Coast Guard Approved, you need one of those. The ones that are legal in Europe seem OK to me. When I write up our regatta Notice of Race, I say "suitable life jacket". Somebody makes one for women and that might be a good idea.
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2. Wet suit or dry suit. You need to be warm enough for your water and time in and out of it.
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3. Hold on to the sheet when you capsize and let go of the tiller extension. Then you won’t have to swim after the boat and you will not have broken your tiller extension. When thing go wrong you may have already dropped the sheet. Someone has suggested tying the sheet to your ankle, but that has been vetoed. Sometime you may go one way, the boat goes the other and you don’t want to be tied to it.
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4. Be able to get back into the boat. You should be able to swim back into the Laser. Grab the grab rail and then the hiking strap. Kick your feet and sort of swim in. Be sure your life jacket doesn’t hang up on the rail.
If you are righting the boat with the sail to windward, expect it to blow over the other way and consider hanging onto the centerboard, going under the boat, and getting in from the windward side (the San Francisco Roll).
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5. Sail in company. Tillerman will probably do a good job with this, but here is mine. Another Laser sailor can always pick you up and take you home if nothing else works.
Here at Lake Eustis we have a relatively shallow lake (10 to 12 feet) so if you are unlucky with a late leap to the high side to try and rescue a dry capsize, you may be half turtled and the mast stuck in the really really sticky algae mud. It may be stuck so good that one person on the centerboard can’t get it out. Usually two people can, so a second boat can capsize near by. The two sailors right the boat. They both get on it to sail the second sailor back to where his boat has drifted.
Failing that, a motor boat or a sailboat can pull the bow of the stuck boat perpendicular to the hull in the direction of the bottom of the boat. That unscrews the boat from the bottom. Or two folks on the one laser may go "home" to get a motorboat. The stuck boat will be waiting.
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6. In a big blow, storm or T-storm, etc:(This is number six, I know.)
A. Turn the boat on its side with half of the top mast in the water. Sailor sits on the high dry side, balance the boat and wait for the thing to blow over. Then right the boat and go about your business.
B. If "home" is broad reach or downwind, let the sail out in front of the boat and proceed at a leisurely pace and the sail at full luff. If you have the standard length sheet you will have to take the knot out of the end. Pass it through the rachet block and then put a figure eight in again so it won’t run through the boom blocks. Now the boom will go out in front of the boat. If you change your mind, head up and grab the sheet at the forward boom block and you will be in business again.
C. To go upwind in a storm, release all the vang or disconnect it so the boom can rise. Then close reach home with the top of the sail luffing and the bottom aft section pulling. I had a friend that called this the fisherman’s reef.
D. Another for the big blow upwind is to take the top batten out, tighten the Cunningham, and wrap the sail 2 or 3 times around the mast. The outhaul will need to be longer to reach the clew. Maybe use that 2 foot long piece of line that you have been saving for repairs. Remember you have it knotted around the hiking strap. I think you will have to go ashore someplace to do this. If you figure out how to do it on the water or in the water let me know.
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7. If you are sailing alone with the wind up or maybe going to be up, stay near a friendly shore. Generally we say "stick with the boat" but cold water and you might want to go ashore, get out of the water and get the boat later.
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8. If you are sailing no place in particular, stay up wind of home. If you break something it will be easier to go home.
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9. If the boom had been hitting you in the head, practice with the super vang on, getting used to ducking low and always getting the vang off before turning downwind. Get the habit.
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10. No wind.
A. Rock and roll home. Tie the sheet to close reach setting and stand on the bow. Push the mast right and left to go forward and lean hard right or left to turn left or right.
B. Not very far to go. Paddle with one hand.
C. To go faster. Lay on the bow, chest down. Legs can be on one side of mast and do the butterfly breast stroke.
D. Chronic problem like my narrow channel in Key West with mangroves on the east and easterly winds. Try a plywood hand paddle similar to the plastic job used by Opti sailors. Gives you more power and lies flat in bottom of cockpit when not in use.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

LASERS STOP AND WATCH

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Ed Adams suggests that when you have "training races or regattas" (those are ones that you have not indicated in you planning you are serious about) that you stop and watch the good guys doing something that you need to do better.
You don't need to take a lot of time to do it, but instead of concentrating on sailing fast you concentrate on watching.
Pick the races that don't count toward your goals.
If you can't watch, ask the good guys/gals afterward. They will probably be happy to share with you if you promise not to beat them right away.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

LASERS AND THE PERSISTANT SHIFT

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Persistent wind shifts are the ones that keep going one way and don't come back toward the original as in "oscillating shift". ..
These usually come from the moving weather system or a sea breeze. The weather system requires a good guess about when it will come in and will be more important in a longer race.

If you feel that a persistent shift has started, then sail the header to or near the lay line. If you are sailing the lift of a persistent shift, you will find that you keep being lifted and are a long time reaching a lay line. Some people call that the great circle route because the course keeps curving and is the long way to go.. (Note the other "great circle route" in global navigation is the shortest route.)

ANOTHER NOTE is that in the northern hemisphere the gradient wind is more from the right (as it rubs on the moving earth surface is turns left to form surface wind) so when gusts of gradient wind come down from aloft they are strongest from the right. If you don't know another good reason to go some place on the beat, go right in the northern hemisphere and left in the southern.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

LASERS CLIMB THE LADDER

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Before I stop the daily entries, I want to go over the windward leg wind shifts again.

Going up wind when the wind shifts, one tack moves closer to the windward mark (lifted) and the other moves further away (headed). The shortest and usually the fastest to the weather mark is to always sail the lifted tack.

So we try to sail the lifted tack until it becomes a headed tack. When one tack gets worse, the other gets better. So when your tack gets "headed" go to the other tack.

We try to stay out of the corners and delay going to the lay line, because then you can't take advantage of the changing tacks with wind shifts.

IF THE WIND DOESN'T SHIFT, all points on a line that is perpendicular to the wind direction are the same distance to weather mark. We call that line the Line of Equal Position (LEP).
You may want to draw that out on a piece of paper and measure the different ways to go.

When the wind does shift, the LEP shifts and the LEP of the boats toward the wind shift are now closer to the windward mark. Boats that were away from the change of direction now have further to go to the windward mark.

We want to "climb the Ladder" of LEPs toward the windward mark. The distance of boats apart on the LEP is called the "separation". The more the separation the more change with wind shift. The bigger the wind shift the more the change in position.

The further away from the wind direction change, the more you loose. A CHANGE OF 5 DEGREES IS 12 % OF THE SEPARATION. 10 DEGREES IS 25 % OF SEPARATION.

So sail low and fast toward the next expected wind shift. "Foot to the headers". You are increasing the separation and getting to the wind shift sooner.

If you are sailing a lift continue. "Stick with the lifts." You are "footing to the header".

"Cross them when you can." Often a lift lets you cross and it reduces the separation, when you are ahead.
"Don't let them cross you". If they are sailing a lift, then tack and lead them to the next shift.

If you are sailing a lift, sail low and fast to the next header. You will increase the separation on those following you. Helps you climb the Ladder.

If you decide for tactical reasons to continue a header, then pinch up (but stay fast) this reduces separation and helps you not loose as much on the ladder.

If you are ahead and "covering" by staying between your opponent and the next mark you are reducing the separation. If you are behind and trying to catch up you will be wanting to increase your separation to the next wind shift.

What about "the persistent" wind shift-- maybe tomorrow.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

LASERS WILL BE WRONG.

Lasers will be wrong some of the time.
. Everybody makes mistakes.
. There are screw ups.
. Judgment is wrong.
. Wind changes.
. Unusual circumstances.
. Other thinking.
. Not paying attention.
. It will be you.
. It will be the other person.
Get with it.
HAVE FUN.. IT IS A GAME.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

LASERS TO THE EDGE


On the beat in light air, the edges may get the wind first. Maybe either edge. So the usual suggestion of working the middle may not work. Get to an edge. Maybe avoid the middle.

Do you get the idea that I am not sure what to suggest-- other than you may find it puzzling.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

LASERS WITH BALL BEARING BLOCKS

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For another 100 dollars, you can all have a set of ball bearing sheet blocks from Harken. We like to support Harken they have made such great stuff before.

Because this old guy has trouble getting the boom out in light wind, I thought this was just the thing for me. They come with the rivets to put them on with. The line runs through them with great ease.

But let me warn you, in the higher winds they may take some getting used to. I have been sailing Laser for the last 8 years (more before that) and have gotten used to the amount to open my hand to ease the sail out in heavier winds. With the new blocks the sail just jerks the sheet from my hand now. I find that I am going from sheeted to tight to too loose. The boat wobbles from side to side. And don't let go of the sheet or it will really zip away.

I suggest that if you are planning some important races, you get the blocks early and put some time in with them in the heavier winds. The light winds will just be a delight.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

THE DALI LAMA SAILS A LASER

Spirituality is concerned with the quality of human experience.
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Such as Love.
Compassion
Patience
Tolerance
Forgiveness
Contentment
Sense of responsibility
Sense of harmony
------------ Happiness to self and others.
A call to reorientation away from self.

Sailboat racing is about controlling yourself, controlling your boat, managing the course---
----making friends -- getting along and helping them.
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. It is not competition-- really.
You keep sailing more and the Dali Lama will be in the boat with you.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

DO LASERS NEED TWO WATCHES?



Anna on port tack in China. Is that the big yellow faced watch on her right wrist? I think that is a dark faced one on the mast.
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In the second picture at a start, I see masts of five boats and four of them have the watch on the mast. If you are on port tack you can't read that baby.
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Maybe when I go to the Olympics I will get a second watch.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

LASERS LOOSEN UP

If you are like me, you hate to get wet the first time.
Sooo, maybe jump in the water before the race to loosen up? Or turn the boat down, look around and smile, then climb back in as you right the boat.
Don't be afraid to sail on the edge and you will do better and have a better time.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

LASERS TALK TO EACH OTHER


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When I sailed on a J24. I had an assigned person to do the talking so that the helm and trim people were not distracted.

On a Laser you need to do some talking. This is a game played by devoted people like yourself. they are brothers and sisters in this world of sliding forward through the water, squeezed by the forces of the wind. If they are not friends, then you have a spiritual challenge to get with it. Make them friends.
When you are on starboard in the port-starboard situation, warn them.
If you are the leeward boat speak up to the windward boat.
If you are tacking close, call out. Let them know.
If you need to tack for an obstruction, the rules require you to hail.

We often have problems at the leeward mark "zone".
If you think you may have inside overlap, ask the outside boat "Do I have an overlap?" If they say "yes", expect that they will give you room. (On bigger boats the folks ahead have a better view of overlap.)
If they say "no overlap", then bear off behind them and prepare to pass them on the next leg.

When you are half way down the leeward leg, start heading for the left side of the zone (Boat A in illustration) at the leeward mark. That sets you up to be the inside boat of boats entering straight and from the right (Boats C and D). A boat that has a marginal overlap on your left side will have the overlap broken if you turn to the mark just as you enter the zone (A3).
Call out to them that they have no overlap when you do that. The ones that are coming in from the right-- call out to them "inside give me room". If you are on starboard you can do a tactical rounding. If you are starboard leeward boat you can do a tactical rounding. If you are port tack and the windward boat you have to do a "seaman like rounding" i. e. close to the mark.
.
Speak out loud and clear, so your friends know what you are doing.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LASERS SAIL AT NIGHT

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Yes, we have done that and it is a lot of fun, but pay attention to:

1) Boat traffic in the area.

2) Everyone with a flash light to shine on sail when necessary. All that is required of a boat this small.

3) Maybe "glow sticks" on top of sail. That might be fun.

4) Do the full moon thing. Plan ahead.

5) Plan to keep together. Maybe a course or one to follow, so individuals don't get lost.

6) Be sure that you can find the way back home in the dark. Some lights or a plan.

7) How about being sure you have enough light to put the boats away. Car headlights if necessary.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LASERS GO IN IRONS

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We recently had more wind and a couple of boats stalled in irons. When the wind is up or you have bigger waves, the tacks have to start with more speed and miss the waves.

In the waves, pick a flat spot to tack or going down the wave or just before the upside of the wave, so that it helps push the bow around after you are head to wind.

The problem, if you are stopped head to wind, is if you just fall off to close hauled and then try to sheet in, the aft part of the sail fills first and pushes you back up head to wind. You can stay there a long time fighting the wind and the boat.

You need to get the bow down to close reach, sheet in quickly, keep boat flat and it helps if the board is up some. So if you can back the sail away from the direction you want to go, push the tiller down toward the direction you want to go, pull up some board if you don't have anything else to do, wait till the bow has dropped way down and then trim in fast.

Now keep the boat moving. Speed is king.
...

Monday, November 9, 2009

LADY LASERS DIDN'T HELP

Now this gal is showing us how to do it. Put your shoes up on the foredeck to hold the bow down. Are the shoes tied on so we can roll tack with loosing them. Must be. Just run down those marks that are not marks of the course. Weight forward. Good curve in sail and fast by the lee on starboard tack.
.
Now where was may help for the Women's Laser sailing. OK, no help. So now I am looking for a fleet captain for the Lady's Laser Fleet.
.
We need them to do the planning, recruiting, fostering, cruising, social, (and in our group you won't need to own a boat as we have some loaners), and join in with the regular races as desired.
We will have women's trophies, women masters, and all that stuff.
.
Do you think it will work? Maybe I will let you know.
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

LASERS GO TO REGATTAS

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Go to regattas--- see what the others are doing. Get more practice in traffic.

When you get back write up your thoughts to share with your Laser friends--- It will also make you think a little more and to remember better what happened. That makes you a better sailor.

If you don't go -- debrief the folks that did go.

If your Laser friends get to sail better, it will lift you up also.
...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

LASER WOMEN

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Let's get the Laser ladies, women, girls, mothers, and grandmother sailing.

We are working at it. some of them want shelter with just women sailing.

Some of them want to beat up on the men.

Let us try and maybe do both things. One thing we could do is just wait a little while. We had a little youth regatta at Lake Eustis a week ago. In the 26 boat Opti fleet, two 15 year old girls took first and second. Next year they may be beating up on the Lasers.

Any ideas to help get it rolling?
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Friday, November 6, 2009

LASERS STEER STEADY



Laser guys, if you are going to roll tack, take the spinnaker down.


If the wind is light, you want the rudder as steady as possible. Rest the tiller extension on the deck or on your thigh. Whatever is handy and then don't move it much.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

LASERS MAKE A LIST

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The picture is just practice to steal pictures from around the world. I put it here to sort of brighten up the view. Actually this is one of Martin Zonnenberg's pictures from the Lake Eustis SC web site, and used with out permission.
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Today is the Goal Setting Guide.

1. Make the big list of all the stuff that you want to do. Take a couple of days if you need to, but then you can revise the whole thing tomorrow, so go it today.

2. Cut it down to 4 Goals. One each for these categories.

A. Wealth building or keeping.
B. Health
C. Relationships
D. Personal Growth

3. Convert each to annual or at least small chunks.

4. Make a weekly plan including each of the seven days.

5. Daily -- make you work list. Try to get it done while putting out the daily fires.

XXX
Under 2A you might sell the big boat.

2B Strength and weight control.

2C Helping with the fleet and youth sailing.

2D Maybe sail the Laser more??
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

LASERS ARE HARD WORK

..
Marlin Burnham listed seven virtues as general advice..
1) Commitment.--- get to the races.
2) Dedication --- work every day at it.
3) Hard Work--- get busy and get it done.
4) Team work --- spread the load.
5) Follow through--- check to see that it gets finished.
6) Playing by the Rules -- be fair, be good.
7) Planning ahead --- Work the stuff today, but look ahead too.

1, 2 and 3 sound like sort of the same thing-- why do you suppose?
7).-- I plan to tell you about that tomorrow.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

LASERS COME AND GO

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Of course the Laser is the best RACE BOAT.

but things in life change-- and sometimes sailors move on, get old, get married, have kids, or want to spend more money.

Hang that Laser in the garage. Lean it against the fence. It will wait.-----

Or sell it to some young folks and you can always get a new one later.

SAIL WITH US AGAIN when you get tired of yelling at the foredeck fellow.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

LASERS AND THE JUGGLER

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A note from Robert Fulghum's "from Beginning to End" in the Coda (a goodbye chapter)... He talks to a champion juggler friend.

"What is the thing about being a really good juggler?"

"The truth is the hardest part are holding the balls just right, throwing them at a time in rhythm, not altering your breathing or inner adrenaline level -- also the expert would notice he had developed and learned a catch and release pattern of movements that includes missing the ball sometimes.
When you miss you don't get upset and quit.-- it is then that the champion juggler does not get upset and blow his cool or change his inner state.

The secret of Juggling is inner harmony and knowing how to let go."

Maybe if we really get "one with the Laser", there will be that Inner Harmony.
..

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LASERS LOOK UP AGAIN


Yes, I did put trim stripes on the sail. I used the top mast as a straight end and drew them on with a magic marker.
Yes, it is easier to see the camber and where the draft is when you are playing with the controls.
Let me warn you that it is probably illegal-- particularly if you go faster after you put them on.
Anything in the rules that is allowed is allowed. If the rules don't say then it probably not allowed. If you do things that make you slow--nobody cares. If someone thinks this makes you faster then it will be illegal..
Probably no one will care, if I have them on-- we will see.
If you want to try it, put the strip on with plastic electrical tape and then when they protest you can peel it off.
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Saturday, October 31, 2009

LASERS SAVE SAILING

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LASERS SAVE SAILING
There has been some talk about Saving Sailing ---and I don’t know?

Friday evening, two old guys and two grandmothers, sailed four Lasers down to the Eustis Park that is on the water. It was a Halloween celebration there. We talked to people on shore, blasted around on the big puffs coming down the hill and through the trees. Awed by the double rainbow over the City (the people on shore couldn’t see it.) and then the Sun went down on the west shore in a mass of clouds that turned all colors and reflected in the lake. Great evening and we are going for a moon light sail this coming Tuesday night. Bring your flash light.

If you want to save sailing, get busy and do it!

Bring people out. You can do it.

You can even sail Lasers double in International races. Rule 7 a.

When I was sailing Lasers in Key West, we had a "how many people can a Laser hold" contest. It was about ten. Not very big people. They got on together. One from each side, very carefully. We stopped when there was no place for the next one to sit.

When we got off, one jumped first and the whole thing turned over. Two is plenty in the crew.

If you are determined to save sailing , buy one of those 100 foot boats and put 50 of your friends and neighbors on the rail to hold the thing down. Don’t forget the matching uniforms with the company logo on the pocket.

OR, you can take that money and start a community sailing program. Optis, Lasers, 420s, or J24s your choice. If your budget is pinched, get those Vanguard Pram copies of the Opti. They have solid floatation and you can use them for your women’s program and even adult racing.

When you are sharing boats, the old retired guys can sail during the week. In Eustis, Friday is Grandmother’s day. And you can bring grandchildren if you want. Five year old Alex steers and barks orders. Grandmother trims the sheet.

Share boats if you need to. One can sail in the Saturday races and the other in Sunday racing. OK, if we have four owners then Saturday morning races, Saturday afternoon racing , Sunday morning races and Sunday after noon racing.

Before we needed to "Save Sailing" , we built our own wood boats. Snipes, Lightning, Stars. Yes, I had a friend that built his own Star. The Snipes were 15 ½ feet long, so they could be built with the 16 foot planks that were standard at that time. I sailed at a place where the Lightning Fleet worked together and built three boats every winter for a few years. When they cut out a piece, they stacked up the wood and cut out three.

Build your own boat now... The Cape Cod Frosty doesn’t come in plastic. I built one. It can’t be too hard.. You end up sailing on your knees most of the time and that needs some practice.

Try the PD Racer (Puddle Duck Racer). They are easier to build and if you leave a little more freeboard, they will carry a lot.

The Lasers are sailing in 122 countries. Nobody ever did that before. (Well, maybe Optimist prams which are showing up all over.) If you don’t mind fiberglass, stick with the Laser.

The Optis had some international regatta in Europe a couple of years ago and 400+ boats came.

DON’T get depressed because all those folks that take sailing lessons don’t turn into Olympic sailors. I have a 50 year old friend that took SAILING 101 in college. He has been doing other stuff till now. He dusted off the rust and is racing with us. He bought two Lasers (one for his 19 year old son).

Check down below in the blog for LASERS FUNDAMENTAL RULE 2 REGATTA (Sorry it is a couple of pges back.) and our " First Annual World Championship Fundamental Rule 2 Regatta" complete with contestants pictures and THE RULES....

The Second Annual World Championship Fundamental Rule 2 Regatta will be coming up soon at Lake Eustis Sailing Club.

Come and join in. We will loan you a boat and find a life jacket for you in the lost and found. BUT READ THE RULES first. — strictly enforced by our international jury.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

LASERS SPEED TEST

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See SAILING WITH A BUDDY, two days ago.

This is another one that maybe I don't know anything about. Only read or heard a little about. Maybe we will get a little help from outside.. That said:

First we need to get two boat even in speed. We need marks on the boats that are comparable --like inch or millimeter marks on outhaul, mast where bottom of the sail comes, aft end of the sheet. How to mark the vang?

Then try to sail the boats up wind two boat lengths apart and bow to bow. Helms to try to keep that distance. If you can get the boats to sail even for 3 or so minutes, then switch helms and do it again.

If you can get them even, then try to start changing settings or sails on just one. Change only one thing at a time. Any change in speed should to repeatable so do it 3 or 4 times to be sure.

I don't know that anyone has done this in Lasers, but they must have tried. It will just take two people with a lot of time.
..

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LASERS CHASE THE RABBIT

This is the start of the 505 race in San Francisco. Picture poorly stolen from the recent Sailing World. You can see the "pathfinder" (rabbit) on port tack closehauled and closely followed by the committee motor flying their flag (hard to see). The boats on Starboard cross behind the motor boat to start. A good way to start a large aggressive fleet with out a lot of recalls.

Informal rabbit races start with just the rabbit starting from the leeward mark (helps to have whistle or some sound signal saying this is the start.). The other boats line up along the port tack lay line and start by passing behind the rabbit. As soon as everyone has passed behind the rabbit can continue in the race to the windward mark. If you lack a committee boat, everyone takes their own finishes at the agreed on place.

This takes a little practice to find the spot along the lay line and you need to explain before going out on the water to those that don't understand the rabbit thing.

A more informal rabbit thing is just to tell the slowest boat "you are the rabbit" and get them started up wind and everyone else just join in behind.

Happy, chase the rabbit.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

LASERS WITH A SAILING BUDDY

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Sailing in company with a friend or a buddy.
1) He can encourage you to get out. Maybe you, him?
2) Speed testing-- worth a couple of blogs.
3) Tacking drills. Help each other.
4) Rabbit practice races. -- another blog and I thought I was running out of topics.
5) Share trips to regattas.
6) Match racing practice.
7) Can do all the solo practice things plus these.
8) Help each other increase in smarts. What you can do better show him/her how. If he/she is better, pay attention and get yourself better.
9) Carry out marks if some are not out already.
10) Help you if you get in trouble-- or you help him.
..

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LASERS TOWARD THE SHORE

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If the windward mark is anywhere near the shore, explore the wind along the layline nearest the shore.

As the wind comes over a shore, it is turned perpendicular to the shore line. You should be able to find a big header at the shore.

If the header is there, the first one to get to it should round the mark first.

File under "you need to get out and sail the course before the race."
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Monday, October 26, 2009

LASER SAILORS SAIL THE COURSE

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In fleet racing try to sail the course.

A clear lane.

Wind shifts, foot to the headers.

Favored side.

Sail to the pressure.

Stay out of the corners.

Delay to the layline.

AVOID COVERING AND MATCH RACING unless on the short beat to the finish or the last race in a big series. If you get sailing against one other boat, the others will eat you up.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

LASERS SAIL CLEAN

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Eating bad air is slow. Near the weather mark go for clean air the last 50 yards, even if you are not on the favored tack.

Fast is better.
..

MORE LASERS SLOW UP TO WIN

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Lasers can slow up to get ahead in several ways.

1. On port tack upwind in windy condition, to go behind a starboard tacker, luff and wait for them to almost cross. Then trim and go. Avoid the hard bare off and then trim in again to get around them.

2. If in a header and pinned by the boat to windward, slow up, drop back and tack on the favored wind shift. Now you will be leading them to the next header, you hope.

3. Rounding the downwind mark with someone just overlapping outside, slow up to prevent them from trying to cross over to the inside.

4. If on the outside slow up to get behind, or to cross over and try for inside.

5. Downwind and just about to blanket and pass the boat in front, slow up and wait for the finish line or the mark to be rounded, or you will be changing places and now they will be blanketing you.

When going up wind, slowing is easy, just ease the sheet. Going downwind zigzag course is best. You keep speed up and get behind. Sometimes you will get caught between boats. Now it is trim in the sail and slide to the back of the cockpit to drag the stern. You need to practice all of that stuff.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

A NEW LASER SEASON

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My friends up north are finishing up the Summer Sailing and the south fellows are just shaking off the hot Summer. So what about the NEW LASER SEASON.

In the March 2009 Sailing World, Wally Henry suggests EIGHT steps to a better season.

1) SAIL A LOT. Maybe some of us need to look for a frostbite group. Do as much as you can. Regular practice or just get out and sail around. The more the better.

2) SAIL WITH PEOPLE BETTER THAN YOU. Faster sailors--nobody better than you! See what the faster sailors do. Ask questions.

3) SAIL WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT AS GOOD AS YOU. Now help them. Nothing helps like trying to instruct. You will find you are looking up "how to do things" and practicing to get better.

4) USE YOUR MULTIMEDIA. Read the Internet stuff. Maybe all the old stuff here and Proper Course etc.

5) IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS. You can do that in the North as well as the South.

6) COMPETE IN OTHER TEAM SPORTS. Well, maybe Laser sailing is not much of a team sport. Just sail some more, if you can't think of something to do.

7) SAIL IN DIFFERENT POSITIONS. This one is for the big boat guys, but Lasers move around. Light wind, get up forward and down to lee. Then move back smoothly for the roll tack.
Planing in the high winds, get back on the "transom". Roll back and forth as you go through the waves upwind.

8) LEARN THE RULES. Up north you can work on that this Winter. Try to involve your group. It helps if others know the rules also.
...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LASER CROSSINGS

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Fleet racing and boats are crossing a lot.

If you are going upwind and want to go the other way, don't wait for the crossing. Tack and lead the other boat to the next "header".

On port tack, if you want to keep going, unless you are clearly crossing ahead: several boat lenths away, some vang on, bear off, ease some sheet and accelerate past their stern--expect a lift from the backwind just after the stern. Carry the lift and the speed back to close hauled.

On starboard and you want to keep going. Anybody almost passing you, call to them to sail through. You don't want them to try to tack below you into a lee bow position.
Otherwise you want to bear off a little. Not "hunting" but still closehauled, bow down and sailing fast. Now if they tack under you, you will be able to sail a little higher and carry your speed to sail over them and through the backwind area.

If you are on port tack, near but not at the lay line, you may want to duck the starboard person and tack later. The next time you meet you will be on starboard.

Read the LOOK DOWN ON LASERS put in yesterday. The good guys sail faster when they are near other boats.

Don't forget to get that tacking down good.
..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LOOK DOWN ON LASERS

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In the May 2008 Sailing World, Gary Jobson reported on watching races from the up high in some sort of airplane.

Noted was the importance of getting up to speed at the start. The last 20 seconds he said in the big boats. In the Laser it would be the last 5 seconds.

He noted that wind shadows affected more boats than he had thought before. The worst blanketing effects extended from the stern to about 5 boat lengths to leeward.

On short windward-leeward courses boats were constantly approaching each other. As they approached each other, the most disciplined, upwind sailed lower and faster, and downwind higher and faster. The boats moving the fastest seemed to come out of most of these encounter the best.

Soooo, get out of the gate in the first 5 seconds, watch the folks to windward for wind shadows, and when anyone is around be sure you are sailing a little extra fast.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

HIGH WIND GYBE THE LASER

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Yesterday while I was writting up the BLOG, we had Lasers rigging to go out. They called me on the phone, "how come you are not here putting your boat in?" ( Pretty soon I am going to stop this daily blog and get back to sailing more.) But we have had more wind the past two days and a few people sailing, but avoiding the gybes.

Come on gang, when we are practicing get the gybes in.

When the wind is up the problem of the sheet catching on the transom disappears as the boom goes across so fast the sheet doesn't get pulled aft. Be going fast. You don't want the sail to be loaded up. You do need to get the S turn in. That is a turn back down wind after the boom goes over, so you are not caught beam reaching.

I have been doing it with the boom out about 60 to 70 degrees, so I don't have to turn so far to get the boom over. Then with a little heel away from the boom, turn with AUTHORITY, cross over quickly as the boom comes across and head back down wind. With AUTHORITY, I mean don't let the turn stop half way. Keep it going.

Steve Cockerill in the "boat whisperer" says to drop the sheet a little so that the boat heels away from the boom, then use the rudder to stabilize the boat and make the turn. He straightened the rudder to initiate the boom coming over. His illustrations are all about turning at a gybe mark on a triangular course. A little different for the windward leeward.

So, humor Steve, if you have trouble getting some heel away from the boom, drop a little sheet.

Tacking, gybing, starts, mark roundings, etc, etc all need to be practiced. Stop reading the dam blogs and get out in the boat.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

LASERS LOOK UP

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I want to thank Tillerman for the note on Proper Course .. I had a visit from Australia and for some reason that was fun. Then what do I care who is following all this stuff. Pretty soon I will have written all I know, except I keeping learning more junk. The hardest part now is try not to repeat myself too much. What happens to all this blog in 10 years? Will we be writting on top of ourselves? BUT TODAY was the LASERS LOOK UP!

OK, look up at the sail. Speed wrinkles begin to develop from clew to mast joint. This is supposed to be good and shows the sail has the right shape and develops more as you bend the mast more (pressure from the sheet or vang). As they get deeper pull on a little Cunny (for Briggs Cunningham who first set it up) and iron them out.

Where is the draft? Mid sail or the forward third is where it should be. Is it creeping aft? Pull on a little more Cunny.

Draft is more in the mid and upper sections with less at the peak and at the foot. Change your outhaul and see what happens. Adjust the vang (kicker in case this is read in other countries) and the Cunny.

Twist? How straight is the leach? Tight for pointing. Pull the sheet toward 2 block or set up some vang and watch it change. Tight leach for pointing and flat water. More twist for waves.

NOW CAN YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE WHEN YOU WERE GOING FAST?

Shucks, I am old and have trouble looking around anywhere. the good folks are doing the looking. So look. Maybe some of the smarter people will tell us what to look for.

Maybe I will get my marker out and draw in some trim strips so I can see better. Anyone have them on your Laser?

While you are looking up, how about the clouds. More about that when I figure it out.
..

Saturday, October 17, 2009

LASER AT THE FINISH

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NOW REFER TO THE POST BELOW MY PICTURE...and then

Yes, at the finish there is the zone at both ends of the line.
So a port tack boat coming in at the pin end can't peel a windward boat off at the pin, but needs to give him "mark room".
AND starboard tack boat coming in to the boat end of the line can't peel a windward boat off at the boat. Give them "mark room".
NOW you know as much about the rules as I do.
..

Friday, October 16, 2009

LASER FRIENDS

Everyone has been asking for a better picture of me...So here it is with me sailing my Laser alongside a friend.
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LASERS NEAR THE ZONE

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Two days ago here in Florida, we were discussing inside at the zone and stuff like that.. So here is what you need to do (according to Sam).

In a marginal overlap near the down wind mark, the person inside asks the outside boat, "do I have the overlap". (On a bigger boat the helm on the ahead boat has the best view.) If he replies "Yes and I am giving you mark room." That solves that problem.

If he says "No overlap", just turn down behind him/her, and get ready in case they mess up the mark rounding.

If you are the inside boat and have a pretty good overlap, be sure to tell the outside person. He may be thinking about something else or looking the other way.

If you are the boat ahead and you are near the zone, you can volunteer the information. "Overlap and giving room" or "No overlap, stay out." We need to do some talking back and forth before the zone, not as two or three boats or more are trying to get around it together.

At the windward mark, the zone in only good for two situations, both port tack. The starboard tack guys have automatic, windward boat keeps clear-- nothing new there.

If two or more overlaped port tack boats are coming into the zone, the windward ones can claim "mark room" and not get scrapped off on the buoy.

If the port tack boats meet any starboard tackers in the zone, they have to be careful tacking in front or below them, because if after they tack, the starboard folks have to do something to miss them, the tacking ones have committed a foul. This is a rule to try and clean up the windward mark roundings, especially for larger boats.

So talk to you friends on the other boats. AND if Sam is there, speak up. The old guy is a little deaf.

Is there a zone at the mark on the finish line? I will look it up, and tell you tomorrow.
..

Thursday, October 15, 2009

LASER TWO WORD STUFF

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Tillerman (of PROPER COURSE) reads this blog at least some of the time so this is "less" stuff for him.

For the rest of you, pick your favorite two word mantra.

HAVE FUN

BE FAIR

KEEP FLAT

SHEET OUT

SHEET IN

ONE ROLL

ONE PUMP

NAIL START

CROSS THEM

LOVE IT

FEEL MAGIC
..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

HAPPY LASER BRAIN

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Neuroscientist Jules Jung Beema showed that people in good moods had 20 % increase in word puzzle solving skill. Better than cranky and depressed people.

He speculates that the prefrontal cortex and the ACC are not preoccupied with managing the emotional life and better able to help with the quick action emotional decisions.

IS THE HAPPY SAILOR THE FASTER SAILOR?

Try it-- up early, breakfast, check list, smile, laugh, sing and dance a little as you get the boat in the water.

Let me know how it works!
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MORE LASER BRAIN

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What happens when the brain has a lot of training?

1973 Buddy Melges, "Confessions of a Winner". " I love to completely involve my MIND, my body, and all my senses with the boat and her path through the water. I very seldom watch the sails; rather a blank stare at the horizon forward gives me the angle of attack. The jib stay enters and allows me to watch every wave and every bit of wind without interruption."

OK Buddy, we will try that next time out, but if we are not way out in front, we had better look at the sail every now and then and around at the other boats that maybe coming at us.

On an A scow Buddy has a lot of other people to keep track of that stuff.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

THE LASER BRAIN

...
Your emotional centers in the brain (like the nucleus accumbens) react more quickly than the logical mechanism.

That is the way we hit a baseball or react to sudden changes. You don't debate the good and bad with your cortex and then sleep on it.

The nucleus accmbens send out dopamine to make you feel good--the signal to strike at the ball or to miss the starboard tacker.

The anterior cingulate cortex detects errors and guides changes in the emotional areas like the nucleus accumbens.

So we can train your brain and it will learn to do better for the fast things-- and it works from errors. We learn by making mistakes. Big news? So to train your brain, you need to identify the errors.

Things like leeward mark roundings you can practice before or after racing or on practice sessions. Things like boat crossing, you need large fleet or at least another boat.

So get your brain making dopamine, the happy hormone.
...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

WHEN FOR LASER RULES....

....
Racing rules start with the PREPARATORY signal. At Lake Eustis Laser with a three minute sequence, it is the 2 minute signal with the "blue peter" flag (blue with white square in middle). In the Five minute sequence it is at the 4 minute signal..

After that, anytime you hit a mark or committee boat you need to do a penalty - get clear of other boats and do a 360 degree turn with one tack and one gybe.

If you foul another boat, then it is a 720 turn with two tacks and two gybes. If the foul happens before the start, you can do the turns before the start.

You finish by part of your boat going across the finish line. The boat doesn't need to cross the line, but you need to not hit the buoy or the committee boat. If you do then you have to do the 360 turn and recross the line from the course side.

Do your penalty turns-- it proves you are a good person and interested in the game.

After you have finished and not hit the mark, then you can bump into people and the marks again until the next PREPARATORY signal.
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Friday, October 9, 2009

LASER RULES "OF THE ROAD"











Welcome to Sam's rules of the road. (I do this Friday night because I have a little time and this is the blog for Saturday.) I hope you find them easier to use than the rule book, if you are getting started with your sail racing. The red boat is the burdened and the green the go ahead.
I tried to put this note up at the top, but was lucky to get "rules" on in order.
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FUN WITH THE LASER

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While we are talking about the FUN thing------

A few years ago, sailing coach Skip Whyte, worried that we were often forgetting about the FUN in racing sail boats. Do we still do that some??

We give trophies to the winners, but what about the other folks ( and there are so many of them).

Maybe the answer is Learn to love THE GAME! If you have an old tired boat-- perk it up the best you can and try to pick off as many of the fancy jobs as you can.

If you are being beaten try to understand how and admire that part of the game that is doing it. Become a student of the game, so that you can appreciate all the moves-- and admire the good ones even if you don't do them.

If you are around Eustis, come to our Fundamental Rule 2 Regattas, or the Wednesday night North U. when we talk about "THE GAME".
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

LASER FUNDAMENTAL RULE 2 REGATTA


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Yesterday we had the First Annual Fundamental Rule 2 Regatta and it was a great success. There were three sailors that for the first time sailed the race course. They were out in maybe force 3.5 wind with 4.7 sails. The most wind they had sailed in.

The Fundamental Rule 2 rules were in effect. Youth and women start first and the others later. No roll tack. No roll gybe. First one to the mark rounds first. No shouting. No yelling. The first near finish wait for the others so we all finish together. We help each other get the boats out. Then Pizza, Greek Salad, Spinach pie, Ice Cream and cake.

The down side is that we discovered that some of us wanted to WIN. Or if we didn't today, then next week or next year.

Now we have slipped down that slope to better and better, trying harder and harder.

We will be back to regular racing this weekend, but could have the Second Annual Fundamental Rule 2 thing again anytime.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

OCCASIONAL LASER PRACTICE

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For the Sailor that has occasional Laser practices, what should he work at most? The group is long with roll tack, roll gybe, windward mark rounding, by the lee sailing, leeward mark rounding and start practice.

I would pick STARTING to be sure it is included. You need to be able to stop the boat. Hold position and then get rolling. You need to be doing it next to the other sailors in your group. You need to be doing it as good or better than them. You have to have a handle on the timing.
It will be different in each wind and wave combination.

It is probably more complicated than the other projects above.

Maybe it is what Elstrom meant by you like to play with your boat.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

LIKE A LASER

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In 1970 Paul Elstrom said "to be really successful you have to like the boat you are going to race and you have to like playing with the boat. You have to be prepared to alter anything during the race at anytime without taking your eyes away from the race course and the wind and the sea."

So we are back to more serious Laser action. But don't forget yesterdays blog.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

FUN AND LASER SAILING

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Yesterday was all about the year long hard work to sail better. We just had this little episode that I thought might be fun to report here-- to contrast with yesterdays PROFESSIONAL thing. I will change the names and modify it some to protect the innocent.

Wednesday evening our first cold front came in with light wind from the north moving a little northeast after Sam put the marks in.


Our bathrooms, kitchen and tile floor in the club house got a coat of paint Wednesday afternoon. It looks wonderful for the Catamaran regatta this week end, but it (WET PAINT) cancelled the Pizza and North U for this past Wednesday.


We had a good bunch out. Sort of in order of appearance K. K., A. A., N. D., J.R., J. J. and an adult woman student R. C. , all in Lasers and then G. L. and C. R. in the Ray Green Rebel. We had the Tennis Player for the Rebel ride, but she had a look around – then drove off for home. We had some marks out that some used and some didn't. I think everyone had a good time, even during the glassy water before sunset. That glassy water with the magic sailing, when you are moving without any really noticeable wind. I like that getting something for nothing.


I think the gradient wind and then the cool temperatures blocked the sea breezes we usually have that time of day.

The boats got put away as the sun set, the sky and the lake turned red – maybe they just looked red. Great time, you should come for that, even if you don’t do the magic sailing.

This little group had so much fun just sailing the boats without all the advanced rocking and rolling that I am afraid to let them see the Advanced Laser DVD. Instead I think next Wednesday I will hold the First Annual LESC Fundamental Rule 2 Regatta. The Fundamental Rule 2 is "recognized principles of sportsmanship and fair play". Look it up..


Under this program no roll tacks or roll gybes. Women and children go first at the start and the others follow. No arguments at the marks. The first ones go first. No bumping. No shouting. The fast folks wait at the finish line and we all go over together.

We help each other put the boats away and then it is Pizza, Greek salad, Spinach Pie with cake and Ice Cream in honor of whoever has the nearest birthday. M. J. has her 39th coming up the following week. Do we have any others in early October?

If the Fundamental Rule 2 thing is the big hit I expect, we might have the World Championships here at LESC. If the folks that have the patent on the title "World" complain, then we will, like good sports, let them hold it.

You are all invite to join in, MCs, Cs, Scots, Wayfarers, Portsmouth, good sports that we are.
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

PROFESSIONAL LASER PLAN

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Ben Tan's book on Laser sailing is the most complete. He covers more topics and branches out around Laser sailing. He covers more things that I don't understand than any of the others.

The last chapter in the book is the "yearly planning instrument" to bring together all the parts of your "get to sail better" stuff.

And he discusses targeting regattas and races and then working up to them with periods of training followed by recovery before the important races.

His signs of "over training"
1) Loss of motivation, fatigue, loss of appetite.
2) Sleep disturbances, insomnia.
3) Elevated heart rate.
4) Weight loss.
5) Increased susceptibility to injures.

These are not really important concept for most club racers. Points out the different world that full time Laser sailors live in. I don't know that I would call them "professional". Hard to get paid to sail a Laser.
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Saturday, October 3, 2009

SAIL THE LASER FLAT

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The October Sailing World has an article by John Loe about hiking -- mostly keel boats-- but includes tests and measurements and lots of stuff I don't understand, but concludes that hiking is most effective when the boat is flat and as the boat heels then the perpendicular weight gets less, etc.

I am not sure if this is absolutely true in the Laser, because as we begin to heel the center of flotation moves downwind making leaver arm longer---but lots of other things start to get bad.

Sail area perpendicular to the wind starts to get smaller.

Sail area force begins to push down like making the boat heavier.

Blade area starts to get less.

Boat shape starts to turn the boat to windward.

Rudder used to turn the boat back straight starts to drag like a break.

Soooo, the conclusion is to have the "super vang" on before you begin to heel. Then you can hike hard, ease the sheet and stay flat.

Don't forget to pull Cunny on enough to move the draft forward and to get your best out haul setting.

You go fast and that can make up for a lot of stuff. Blades work better. Through the waves faster. Turning easier. Get to the wind shifts sooner. Arrive at the finish line first.
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Friday, October 2, 2009

MORE LASER POSITION ON THE LINE

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I have some previous material about were to start on the line. Probably worth another note.

At the boat end you can always tack out for free air or to go to the right.

At the pin end, if the line is square, you have free air. It is the only spot, if the line is full, with free air. Everyone else will be getting back wind or suffering from a lee bow person just below them. The bad thing is that you are stuck for a little while on starboard going left. The place to be if you want to go left.

In the middle there is usually a sag. Not as crowded. So you have a better chance of getting a good run at the line and speed at the start. You will have a little better chance of getting over to port tack than the people near the pin.

Often the conservative start is toward the middle from the favored end.

A lot is going to depend on your boat handling. Can you stop? Can you hold your position? Can you get going at full speed quick? Can you time the whole thing so you are at the line at full speed at the start?

If you start late? Maybe best at the boat, but get going as soon as you can.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

LASERS STARTING AT THE PIN

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We may have covered this before, but this past week we had a couple of jams at the pin, when we had a big left wind shift before the start.

Is it safe to be on starboard at the pin in a big left shift? .. Probably not .

1) You will be going the wrong way.

2) If the shift is big you will have trouble getting by the mark.

3) If you get by the mark, you will probably be pinned by the other starboard tackers on your stern quarter. You will be waiting for them to tack.

4) Try coming across on port-- take some sterns. You will be going the "right" way and ready for the shift back.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GET STRONG FOR A LASER

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Sailing is an athletic sport --so if you are really going to be good

ENDURANCE, STRONG AND FLEXIBLE.

1) Walking, running, bicycling, etc. as much as you can work in.

2) Sailing.. as much as you can work in, especially if it is windy.

3) Hiking bench .. really harder than sailing a boat. Time straight leg hikes, 2 to 4 minutes apart.

4) Sit ups and other "core" exercises.

5) Upper body stuff -- arm curls, pull ups, push ups.

6) Stretching before and after exercise and at night.

7) Strength and bulk are separate things, but linked together. Serious people get help at the
gym or YMCA.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

LASER CONSISTENCY

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LASER consistency is being able to do the same thing better and better.

1) Check the boat during the week. Get everything right. Replace the worn lines. Get the boat dry. Get the 2 foot extra emergency line wrapped around the back of the hiking strap (now you will have something to work with if something does break).

2) Check the weather the night before. Get the wet suit out, the spray top, the hiking pants out.

3) Sleep--- get enough.

4) Do your regular breakfast.

5) Check list before you go to the boat. Hydration. Food. Lunch. Wet suits. Spray top. Hiking pants. Notes. Hat. Sunscreen. Sunglasses. Stop watch. Sails. Battens. Blades. THINGS YOU BROUGHT HOME TO REPAIR. Tools.

6) Warm up and stretch.

7) Out early to check the course and the wind.

8) Fuel and hydrate between races.-- and after races.

9) Debrief (with notes) and list repairs for tommorrow.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

LASER BOAT EXERCISES

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Now to get a little better feel for what is happening in your Laser.

1) Sail blind folded. Well, maybe just close your eyes and use you other senses to keep you close hauled. Open your eyes every now and then to keep from running into things. Can you keep on course longer?

2) Hold the tiller right in the middle. Heel to weather and watch the turn and then to leeward to see how changing position turns the boat.

3) In light wind throw the end of the sheet around the tiller and hiking strap so the tiller stays in the center. Stand on the bow and roll boat back and forth with about 2 feet of sheet out. Roll harder to the right or left to steer the boat.

4) Stand on the side deck and sail a little. Look around and try and keep your balance. If you fall in the water, hold onto the sheet and let go of the tiller extension. (You won't have to swim after the boat and you won't have a broken tiller extension.)

What is your favorite exercise? Backing up?
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

PRIMARY LASER ADVICE

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These are the pages that I started this blog with. They have gotten far far away in the "previous posts" section. I am putting them back in here, so they will be more up front. We have a lot more things to touch on, so if you are relatively new or returning you may want to read some of this stuff. Then I will get on to some more things that I have not touched on yet.

PRIMARY LASER ADVICE....
LAUNCHING: Rudder down a little on leaving and ½ centerboard (can go upwind fairly well with ½). When clear, go to "safety position" and push rudder down and cleat rudder line. If you have a lot of weather helm, you forgot to get the rudder down or it has come up again.
RETURNING: Uncleat rudder hold down, so it will come up when you ground. Then monitor centerboard to pull it out and step off in shallow water.
LONG TILLER EXTENSION: Usually hold in front of your chest but can hold to the side with frying pan grip. When you tack you must push the tiller over with the extension and then follow through by pushing the tiller extension past the mainsheet to the other side of the boat. Then bring the tiller back into center line before crossing over. This makes me tack faster than I would other wise, but it works well.
WHEN GYBING the sheet tends to catch on the transom. To prevent this when you are gybing, reach forward and catch the sheet just below the boom block and, as the sheet goes slack, pull about 2 feet of the sheet in. That starts the sheet across the stern so that it doesn’t catch. Don’t jerk it hard or it will flip the sheet over the end of the boom. If you are sailing in pretty good wind and haven’t worked this out, just tack. Don’t gybe.
TACKING FROM reach to reach will also catch the transom if you don’t trim in some sheet while you are going around.
COMING INTO SHORE DOWNWIND, you can just let the sail out in front of the boat and let it luff. The long sheets will let you do that and get it back if you want. With the old shorter sheets you may have to undo the knot in the end of the sheet and let it go through the ratchet block. If you retie the knot before the boom block, that is often enough to let the sail all the way out and not have the sheet run out through all the blocks.
  
MORE ON SAILING THE LASER.
DOWNWIND, heel the boat to weather so the deck edge is at the water. Put your uphill knee down so you can roll into the boat more easily to balance if you have a big roll to weather (see Death Roll). With repeated rolling that is too much, trim the sail in and maybe more board down.

SAILING BY THE LEE may be a new trick for you . The boat will be more stable and faster.
In average wind, boom out 90 degrees, vang off a little so the leach gets a little floppy. Steer till the tell tails are flowing leach to luff and the leach is flopping a little. Centerboard down a little. Heel to windward (away from the sail).
In light wind let the boom out past 90 so the weight of the boom holds it out.
In Strong wind, boom is out less than 90 degrees (see death roll) and sail by the lee for a more stable ride. Less vang means the sail has to come in more. A little rolling back and forth can be fast, but if on the edge of a death roll, trim and /or head up to stabilize. A little more board down may do the stabilizing.

SAILING UP WIND. Hike to keep the boat FLAT. The flatter the better. In moderate wind you
may be able to heel to weather and go even higher. (The radial rig is balanced to let you heel maybe 5 degrees.)
Light wind. Let the traveler off and the boom come inside the transom. If you are losing speed, let the boom back out to the corner of the transom. You can pull the boom in with your hand and friction will hold the block more in toward the center of the transom if you want to pinch off someone to weather. Don’t do that too long because you will slow and leeway will be increasing. The fast guys don’t do this anymore but keep the traveler tight and the boom out to the transom corner. If it is really light wind maybe out more and heel the boat to leeward so gravity shapes the sail and the heeling lowers the wetted surface area.
Medium wind. Tight traveler and trim the boom to the corner of the transom, but about 8 to 10 inches away from two blocked at the traveler.
Increasing wind so that you can’t hold it flat, then trim the sheet to two blocked or somewhere near. This bends the top mast section and fattens the sail. With puffs coming and going, trim to two blocked and then ease again when the puffs subside if you can still hold the boat flat. Try to let the rachet block hold the line. Just ease the pressure in your hand and arm until there is the slightest slip in the block and see how little pressure is really needed to hold the sheet. Often in the excitement of the dance with wind and waves, I hold everything in my hand until may arm gets tired and sore and reminds me, I don’t have to work this hard.
When two blocked you will need some Cunningham to pull the draft of the sail forward..
When two blocked and sailing in traffic, you may want to pull the vang on just tight so when bearing off under starboard tackers you gain the most speed. If you leave the vang on the boom will be lower when tacking. Remember to get your head down. Take the vang off going into the windward mark so as you turn down wind, you don’t stick the end of the boom in the water.
As I am sailing upwind I try to keep the sheet kicked to the back of the cockpit so that at the windward mark, it is less likely to be wrapped around my foot or knotted. Recently I have tried to keep it in the front of the cockpit and think that works better.
If you can’t keep the boat flat by two blocking up wind, then it is time for Super vang. To supper vang, pull the sheet into two blocked and then pull on the vang as strong as you can. The new boats have a sleeve in the boom to take this kind of treatment. If you have an old boat and are bending the mast much, you might consider adding the sleeve.
Now that you are supr vanged, let the boom out beyond the transom as far as necessary to keep the boat flat. When Ed Adams is super vanged, before he tacks, he takes the vang off and throws the handle over to the lee side so it will be handy to put on again after the tack. That gives him more room under the boom and a more powerful sail right after the tack. Just remember that the boom is low with the vang on.

CAPSIZE. The upper mast is sealed and will float the boat on it’s side. Strong wind can blow it in turtle position, but in lighter wind you can swim away and leave it and swim back later. I have seen experienced sailors capsize the boat, swim over to help another right their boat, and then swim back to his.
A strong steady pull on the centerboard should right the boat in usual circumstances.
If the sail is to windward when the boat is righted, it will likely capsize again in the other direction. Hot shots may hold onto the centerboard as the boat rights, slowing the flip and come up on the windward side to climb in without the problem of righting the boat a second time.
If you are capsizing in windy conditions, let go of the hiking stick as it might break and hold on to the sheet so you don’t have to chase the boat.
One condition that is difficult to recover from is turning over to windward with the sail out more than 90 degrees. The sail is not in the water but full of wind and the boat is on it’s side. Even if the sail was trimmed in more it may get out a little more as you turn over. To prevent this from happening, you can knot your sheet so it won’t go out more than 90 degrees on a day with strong wind.
Sometimes when the boat is capsizing you can jump over the windward side and step on the centerboard , right the boat with out getting wet. If the mast is already in the water and you try to climb up the deck side to do this you may drive the mast under and into the tough muck at the bottom of Lake Eustis. This muck will really hold the end of the mast tight and you might need help to get it out. If a helping motor boat takes a bow line and pulls it gently at right angle to the boat on the bottom side (away from the sail) it will unscrew the sail form the mud and bring you up. If you have no help, then just keep pressure on the centerboard with righting pressure and you may come loose. If someone else jumps in with you, two people on the centerboard can usually do it.

DEATH ROLL. Is a capsize to windward. On a broad reach or a run when the top of the sail twists enough to point to windward, a roll to windward increases the apparent wind at the top of the mast and with the lone lever arm of the mast, the boat is slammed down to windward. Because it is very hard to stop once the final roll starts and you are sitting on the wrong side to counter it, it is called the "death roll."
It was more of a problem a few years ago when lines stretched more and the sail was of lighter material. All this would stretch in a puff. What was a good balance before had the top of the sail pointing the wrong direction.
Last moment action.. Trim sail, head up and lay back in the water on the windward side. (Lightens the down side of the boat– trying to get to the high side increases the torque to turn over.) Steve Cockerel says to turn the other way and the rudder will dig in and help prevent the roll, but you may gybe. Check out the "Boat whisperer- downwind". We believe Steve now-- a bunch of death rolls since.

THE BIG BLOW. How to handle it.
1) Turn the boat down and sit on the high side balancing the boat with several feet of mast in the water. That can be a comfortable sitting position. The edge of the boat is in the water resisting drift and the sail is in the water out of the way. You might see hot shots doing some of that between races, especially if the wind is blowing strongly and beating the sails up. This is a method used by Lasers and International 10 square meter canoes when the wind is too strong for them to handle. When the little storm has passed, right the boat and sail on.
2) Let the sail out in front of the boat so it luffs while you comfortably sail someplace down wind or a broad reach.
3) The sail can be reefed by unplugging boom and rotating the mast to roll the luff of the sail up. If the top batten is removed a lot of sail can be rolled up, and then plug the boom in again. This was much easier to do with the old sail controls.
4)If it is survival sailing for you, then the vang off, out haul tight, close reach as much as necessary to work up wind. Downwind, see 2 above.

WALKING AROUND THE MAST. Occasionally you may want to get on the bow of the boat and then get back to the cockpit and visa vera. Stand in the middle of the boat with one or two hands on the mast, tip the boat about 45 degrees to one side and step to the center of the boat on the other side of the mast. Don’t step on the side of the boat and don’t stay with one foot in front of the mast and one be hind. It is not hard to do and works better with the centerboard down.
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