Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Did you notice Sunday that the "youth" have taken over the Laser fleet. Ben, Seth, Conner, Tim– and around the corner Luke ( when he tames the wild streak), Max, Darcy, Nicole, Bart , Jonathon– that’s OK because we have the MASTER TROPHIES, the BALD HEADED GUYS TROPHIES, the TROPHIES FOR GRANDMOTHERS, etc.
The rest of this is just for the Laser sailors–so the rest of you skip it.

I noticed Sunday and for some time that Ben’s tacks are the best and that allows him to use more wind shifts (the big separator on screwy little lakes.) The boat whisperer guy describes the modern roll tack (don’t come out faster than you went in) as flat slow turn to windward using up you momentum more directly to windward and then as you are slowing, sharpen the turn (when head to wind) with a pretty big row to windward (becoming leeward) putting half the side deck under water, trimming in the sheet tight during the turn and then easing out 2 or three feet– then stand up (old guys) or jump up, hiking out to pump the boat forward and trim the sheet in for some extra push.
You need to turn over occasionaly practicing this and then be so good that you don’t.

OK, that’s Ben - now I won’t name the others. There is more stress going around the windward mark when the wind is up a little.
1) You have to let the sheet out big time or you will take off like a rocket on a beam reach– fast in the wrong direction, a big no no in boat racing.
2) The vang needs to be off so the clew doesn’t dig into a wave and turn you over.

So as you come into the windward mark:
1) Pull out a little or a lot of sheet on the windward deck so it will run.
2) Vang off.
3) If you have time, dump the outhaul and Cunningham. You can do that later, but they will run out quicker right now.
4) Pull up a little centerboard if you are making an easy rounding and are running out of things to do on you list.
5) Be sure the boom and sheet have cleared the mark before much of the rest of this.
6) Hike hard and roll the boat up to windward if you can so the boat wants to turn you down.
7) Dump the sheet so that the boat really rolls to windward and heads down.
8) As you pull on the tiller, hike and lease the sheet, also roll toward the stern to raise the bow.
9) Now you have done everything to turn the boat downwind. Good Job. Maybe an extra 100 dollars for the new ball bearing Harken Laser sheet blocks will get the sheet running fast and in light wind you won’t have to step forward and push the boom out – but not if the sheet is wrapped around your foot or full of kinks and knots.

But more common problem is the leeward mark rounding especially when it is a gybe and mark rounding
The tactical rounding is to sail to abeam of the mark one to two boat lengths away. Try to make a smooth turn to keep up boat speed and pass close by the mark close hauled so that anyone following you will not be able to sail any higher than you are.
Usually it means that you have to start trimming in the sheet before the mark is abeam , gybe and get to the other side of the boat, change hands and trim with both hands and arms in long pulls with enthusiasm while you are turning to close hauled course.
Turn to close hauled course even if you are a little slow in trimming. If the sail is luffing, the trimming just gets easier. If you loose speed it is not as important as being close hauled next to the mark. An overtaking boat has to keep clear, will eat your bad air and not be able do anything but fall behind or tack out.
It will help coming into the mark to visualize the angle of the close hauled boat so you can steer for it.

If you come into the ZONE with the right of way (starboard tack inside boat) then you can do the wide tactical turn. If you come in on port and windward boat, then you have to do a "seaman like rounding", close to the mark and sharp turn even if it stops the boat. Be close hauled ASAP.

Now you are around the mark in good shape, still are ahead of the folks on the run or outside on the turn, check out "short beat to the finish" on howtosailthelaser.blogspot.com.

How do I know this stuff and can’t win a race? Hey, check out that last score sheet, I did get a second.

No comments:

Post a Comment