Wednesday, September 30, 2009


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


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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


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.

Monday, September 28, 2009


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?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


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.

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.
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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


We have some big boat sailors that are converting over to Lasers and I find I am teaching the hand exchange again.

If you look at the Rick White DVD you will see some good stuff on the hand exchange, including the exchange on the cross over.

In the Laser we are holding the sheet in the forward hand and the tiller extension in the aft hand. When you tack or gybe, you do it facing forward with the back foot going over the hiking strap. When you sit down on the other side your foot automatically will be under the strap and you can lean or jump back right away. You hold on to everything. Extension is in the forward hand and sheet aft.

Now when you are on the other side, you have the tiller extension behind your back in the forward hand and the aft hand has the sheet. You can continue steering with the front hand behind your back and holding the sheet in your aft hand, if you are not going very far ( and you don't have to hike very hard). Just tack back and you don't need to exchange hands.

But most of the time you need to change hands, so let a little sheet slide through the aft hand and move it back to to get hold on the tiller extension. Now you are holding the tiller extension in the aft hand along with the sheet. You can steer and /or open your hand an let a little sheet out to flatten the boat if you need to. The forward hand lets go of the tiller extension and reaches for the sheet at the ratchet block. You drop the sheet from your aft hand and the exchange is complete.

The tiller extension is behind your back. You can sail this way with the "frying pan" grip, but will probably want to do a little finger roll with the tiler extension over your head so it is in front of you with the "microphone" grip.

Sounds complicated and is strange if you are coming off a big boat with a steering wheel.

If it is new to you, then you have to do a bunch of them, so it is no mystery and now second nature.

Friday, September 25, 2009


What was the #1 stupid thing you did in the last race??

OK, now get you fluid replacement and start your prep for the next race.

Time the line again. Check the wind again. Pick your strategy. Stand up and look up wind for pressure.

Synchronize your stop watch and move into your final approach.


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Recent athletes have been taking it on the chin.

The tennis greats have had big fusses when they are not winning.
Tiger hits a T shot way in the rough and breaks a club.
Baseball player gets sent home when he mouths off.

At lest one Laser sailor has gotten stupid.

Of course, the professionals have a lot of money riding on the outcome of the games.

I am attracted to the scores of our races and other fleets. You see that some long series are dominated by one person that just sails away with it. He or she seems to have the right boat, sails, get the right wind, pick the right side of the course and just sail away with it. Then in an other regatta it is down to the last race and then some times decided on a tie breaker.

The same can be said for the losers. Some times you do well, when it comes together for you. Then sometimes you don't get that last shift, your weather, or the right practice. So don't get upset with a down performance. Tiger and Serena have a bad day when they are playing on the edge, but you don't need to be a jerk. This is a game--Fun, remember?

Give the winners a congratulations.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Some place on my list of things to record will be "clouds".
In case you need help:
Stratus =layers
Cirrus= high icy wisps

So try Cumulus, Towering Cumulus, Cumulonimbus, Stratus, Alto Stratus, Cirrocumulus, Cirrus.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


John Loe writes an article in Sailing World, June 09, on note taking.
Why take notes:
1) Don't make the same mistake twice.
2) Remember the fast stuff.
3) Hardest part is getting started note making.
4) Have a template to make it easier.
5) Organize after you have a group of notes by regatta sites, wind direction, wind velocities, current sets.
6) So make your notes on separate sheets so you can juggle them.
7) I will be using standard type writer paper. Both sides but may switch later to single side so I can see both sides at once.

I have made notes before, but am not sure I have really gained much -- maybe just to rethink the day.

I tried to down load the "template" but couldn't get it --- so here is my list of stuff. Offered free. You can space it how you want. I have it on two side of a sheet.

Maybe next year, I will tell you how it worked for me.

If you can get the "template", send it on, and we can compare.

Here is the list compressed: Date, Time, Place, Boat, Sail, Dress, Temp, Wind Direction, Shifting, Force, Wave, Fleet, Finishes, Winner, Winner equipment, Starts, Line, Beat- outhaul- vang- cunny, Run - outhaul, vang- cunny, Leeward mark rounding, Beat to finish, The good, The bad,
Number of boats on the line, Favored end, Time of the line, Speed at the start, Boat flat going up wind, Wind clear, Cross when you can, Don't let them cross you, Stick with the group, Favored side, Vang up wind, Cunny, Outhaul, Windward rounding, Starboard by the lee- heeling-broad reach-transitions-surfing- gybes, Leeward mark rounding- port- starboard, Second beat, Second run, Finish where.

Monday, September 21, 2009


You can't drag your feet and leg over the side anymore (ruled an unnatural action before Lasers- seems natural enough to me) but you need to be able to slow up. You don't want to get caught outside at that downwind mark. You want to be inside or behind, so you can round close to the mark with fairly free air and a chance to tack out if it is too stuffy.

Don't be just inches behind. If the person ahead slows in the turn you may have to dive outside to miss them. Four to ten feet depending on the wind and you have room to maneuver.

OK, you can over trim the sail, move way back in the boat to drag the stern, but best to make wide turns. Big S turns.

Think about it before you get close to the mark, you might be able to work it into an inside position at the mark.

Be inside at the mark or behind--NOT OUTSIDE.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


We were discussing the problem of crossing the fleet at the start from the pin end when you have a big left wind shift or if the RC just has the line that way.

Luke Yates, our local Opti cross the fleet ace, wouldn't/couldn't tell us how to do it, but I will offer these suggestions.

1) Keep checking for wind direction by head to wind or close hauled heading.
2) Stay were you can reach the pin.
a) Along the line. Don't get more than a boat length below or if you get a big left shift, you will be beating to the pin.
b) You can go and set up at the pin, but that may draw a crowd with you.
c) If you stay within reach you can go for it as time is running out.
d) If you hang out in the middle of the line, you can do a port tack approach to the committee boat end or a starboard tack run to the pin.

If it works it is fun, but be ready to duck or tack back if you don't have enough room to get by the good starters on starboard tack.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The July/August Speed and Smarts which arrived a few days ago (in September) has this "brain teaser"–"At a starting line set square to the sailing wind the current is flowing strongly from the committee boat to the pin end. If the current and the wind stay steady up the first beat, it will be better to start at the RC boat (the up current end). True or False."

My first answer was False- start at the pin end because the "strong current" will give you a current wind and angle the apparent wind to the left. The pin end will be up wind.

Dellenbaugh’s answer was "false" because he says all the points on the line are equal. Start anywhere.

Now I am looking for some address to complain to. Then I read the question again. "Sailing Wind" OK, he added the current into that.

The committee folks have a hard time getting that line square to the "Sailing wind." They are anchored. They have to get a sailor to give them a heading or a compass bearing on the wind, while he is are carried along in the current. That is a good RC that does that.

Now I still want to start at the RC and work right which is up current. If you get very far left, you will have a hard time judging the lay line and end up going too far and reaching back to get around it.

The more I think about it, the pin will be a terrible place to start. The strong current carrying you away from the starting line.

Lasers, you folks start at the committee boat and work right. When you get to the mark give it some extra room, so you don’t get swept into it.

If you have a chance, sail in some current. It changes the game.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Yesterday when I told you about touching that mark, (I have trouble with this blog thing backwards-- but you can find yesterday if you try.) some of it was because I didn't have the vang off.

We had had some good gusts coming up wind and I had "super vanged" and was doing the "really get low" on the tacks thing, but coming into the windward mark on port tack I did the "really get Low" tack.

Now I am hiked out and easing out the sail to get around the mark-- DON'T!

Coming in on port tack with the vang on -- GET VANG OFF BEFORE YOU TACK!
You will have better control of your turn around the mark.

Practice the "port tack vang off" approach to the windward mark so it will be "automatic".
Train the bottom part of your brain to do this, so the top part of your brain can be looking for the next mark and managing the nearby boats.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Nobody saw me touch that windward mark with the end of my boom, but I have always admired those honest trustworthy guys that accept cheerful their penalty. (Besides I remember the days, along time ago, when you sailed home if you touched the mark.) So I did the 360 turn. Then I tried to do a little surfing on our little waves. I am chasing the folks ahead. Yes, I could get an occasional surge.

The Lasers ahead of me are in a pile at the leeward mark. The wind at the end of the run is coming in from my left. The second one rounding catches the transom on the gybe and has trouble trimming in. The third guy is caught outside him. That second guy has left me a gap between him and the mark.

Rounding with a preliminary sheeting gybe, close hauled at the mark, got in my tack right away, and on a lift to the finish.

Second place- my best score all week.

File under 1)Honesty is the best policy. 2) Sail the boat man, keep it going. 3) Head out of the boat and see what is going on. 4) Before rounding the mark: a. know where the next mark is and b. visualize your close hauled heading. 5) Boat handling.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The zone is three boat lengths. Did you pace it off and get a good look at it? The zone is not painted in the water. Laser folks need to be civil and talk it out.

During the last half of the run, I am heading for the left side of the zone, not for the mark. If I have someone with a marginal overlap when I reach the left side of the zone, I make a right 90 degree turn and that breaks the overlap as I enter the zone without the overlap.

I need to tell him that!

If he thinks that we reached the zone before that, he needs to be talking to me.

We are sailing (mostly) with our friends and let's be honest and friendly. (Tomorrow I will tell you how that pays off.) If the other boat has much of an overlap and we are both doing the starboard tack hard by the lee thing, all he has to do is come up claiming leeward boat as he takes my wind, forces me up, goes ahead and heads for the mark.

If he comes in on port tack, I can go at him on starboard till he gybes over or we go into the zone.

Be kind. Be friendly. There is more race left. Next race, it may be you trying to get to the mark first.

Don't mess around too much and let those other folks either get ahead or catch up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


For the "Laser Sailing Songs" check out Tillerman has that really going and I can't touch it. That will really increase fleet attendence. Who will not want to join the SINGING LASERS?

This past weekend we had some more trouble at the leeward mark. So let us go through the plan ahead stuff.

1) Before you get to the big fight at the zone, set up the outhaul and Cunny for up wind. then set up a little vang. (As you round up for closehauled you will be reaching and the vang will make that all faster.) Leave the full vang till you are going up wind. When you practice leeward mark roundings put that into your program so it is automatic, other wise you will find yourself trying the go up wind with the down wind settings and reaching in to try and fix things when you should flat out for speed.

Who is practicing mark roundings? Do baseball players take batting practice? How about the pros? How can I practice when I live so far away and can only come on race days? Sail before the races or after or have lunch and go back out.

OK, that is the automatic part-- now the plan ahead. (Maybe check back and find Short Beat to the Finish) but first if the wind shifts to the your right as you are approaching the zone then you will be wanting to hang onto port tack (assuming a leave the marks to port rounding) as you round the mark. Also try to get a feel for what direction you will be headed on port and how much of a turn you will need to be on it. If the wind has shifted to your left as you approach the mark then be thinking you need to tack quickly onto starboard after rounding. You will have the right of way on starboard tack close hauled, but be careful of the group that may be following you. You will not be faster if they wrap a sheet around you. You don't need to give them 720s, you are already ahead of them. Use some judgement but get sheeted in and ready for the tack.

More about THE ZONE tomorrow. Three boat lengths for a Laser is 42 feet or 14 paces. Mark is off on shore and have a look at how far it is. It will be more of an argument than two lengths.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This Saturday the wind was light and I had a chance to try this stuff again.

When it is really light wind going down wind, get the boom out a good bit ahead of 90 degrees so when you heel the boat to weather the boom will stay forward from the pull of gravity. The sail will be high and steady. Now it seems that sail trim is not that important at this time.

How much to heel to weather (away from the boom)? I would say that get the edge of the deck in the water. Really good sailors may not agree with me. Putting that cupped rail of the laser in the water and dragging it along should make you go slow, but when I have been sailing along with others it seems faster to get the rail in. Maybe it gets the sail higher, etc.

Looking down wind the folks ahead seem to be heeled more. On a beat the folks ahead seem to be flatter. What is that message?

The reasons for the heeling are 1) It gets the sail up higher where the wind is stronger. 2) To balance the push of the sail on one side to turn the boat in the other direction. With a good heel actually you need a little rudder to help the sail keep the boat going straight. 3) Wetted surface is reduced and that is the biggest drag factor till you go faster and start making waves. Then it major drag is wave making.

Now sail by the lee if you can or straight down wind. Maybe you want to go by the lee the other direction. GOOD LUCK. If you get a good pump by pulling the aft sheets, you will produce an apparent wind from ahead and be trying to push the boom out against that wind on the other tack.

Give it a try. Practice makes perfect. Sail in the magic of a day when you are the only one that believes the wind is blowing.

Tomorrow, more about the sailing Saturday.

Friday, September 11, 2009


and then back to some stuff about sailing the little boat.

1) Bring a friend to Sail a Laser Day.
2) Write a Laser sailing song.
3) A Laser Hat.
4) Celebrate "National Laser Day"
5) Make a Laser T shirt contest.
6) WOW (Words Of Wisdom) e-mail from the days winner.
7) Speed Circle -- invite everyone to sail it. A spectator event.
8) Slalom Course -- better spectator event.
9) Laser free style contest-- best spectator event.
10) Ladies Laser Sail.

I put in two entries today because I will be sailing tomorrow and then back to HTSTL stuff.

We will come back to fleet stuff later.


TILLERMAN stopped by yesterday with a suggestion on Fleet building. He is telling us how he had contests with the Sunfish Fleet. First sailing Sunfish and then Lasers. Engage the other fleets and see what shakes out.

Actually we don't want to be in open competition with the other fleets. The more sailors, the more times a few of them, will want to sail single on a small boat. Also the Laser is a good second boat to hang in garage for those days the big boat racing is not happening.

This week I wrote this report on our Wednesday evening Sail About (not really racing.).

"I don't know what is happening to this crazy Portsmouth thing. Ray Laguna wants to form a Portsmouth Fleet. Like we don't have one. Hey, what has Sam been doing for the past 3 years??

Then it looks like the Carlton and Aggie Brown with the San Juan 21 are the only ones really interested. They have the boat is the water and ready to go but not wind and no RC. Then they are off to check on grand babies-- that's OK, there is no wind and no RC anyway.

Ray knows that the wind will be bad so he is off firing his pistol with gun group.

Now Jim Orth with the Lido wants to sail P. Ron Stevenot (new member), the granddaughter and the Omega want to sail P. Charles Mancino and the Precision 15 think that racing P would be a step up from single cruising. Steve Hayden (the lightening guy) will send the little fellow out in the Sunfish with the Lasers.

Now Wednesday evening, the folks that started all this, Carlton and Aggie Brown show up with Kevin Somebody that wants to join LESC and race his Oday Day Sailor. That is another P boat.

Now that is great, right. New members, growing new fleet-- but then they all get in Lasers. Carleton Brown, Aggie Brown, Kevin got emergency call and couldn't stay, Kim Kelley (full rig is a fair amount of wind), DENNIS OLDHAM, (RETIRED AND RUNNING OUT OF THINGS TO DO-- ask him about the wind, Darcy Jensen (one of our regulars and has to go home to study CALCULUS. I am glade I don't go to high school these days.) Luke Yates in Laser and part of time with the neighbor kid on the bow. Sasha had the Opti out. Craig Yates brought his new/old Phantom (like a biggish Sunfish)out and Darcy sailed it some.

Gosh, if those P guys would just sail Lasers it would save a lot of fuss.

The Pizza Lady came through.

We saw the rest of the "Morning Light". They made it to Hawaii, but didn't win. Sam is glad he doesn't have a 52 foot boat and can sail and then go home for dinner and TV. Luke want to do the Morning Light trip and be the guy they hoist to the top of the mast to see if they can see Hawaii yet.

Next week it is back to North U and we will try to get the marks out earlier to have some race starts if any of the P fleet guys want to sail Lasers again.

Any way it was a lot of fun and sunset is about 7:28 now."


Now that is the last idea I have to help build a fleet. Do you think so?? When is he going to get back to "howtosailthe laser"?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I thought by now I would have some crazy ideas added on to help build up the fleet number. Maybe no one is reading this stuff, maybe not.
What happens to all this electronic stuff 10 years from now. Will it all be out there where Goggle can find it?

I still have a list, so the next on it is:

SAIL DOUBLE. Do the sail with a kid thing. Sail with a friend. Sail with the other sex.
Race that way-- we did it in Sunfish years ago. You can use the same boats, just change crews around. Youth alone. Father and son. Mother and daughter. Mixed doubles-- I think that is what we called the boy- girl thing. The Sunfish sailed so much better with just one on board, that stuff got dropped. Maybe that was a mistake?

When all else fails-- use food.

Have a picnic.

Do you think that is all the suggestions that I have?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The easy answer for me to the question of "who is the most important" , IT IS THE LAST PLACE GUY/GAL.

Remember that would be you if each last place disappeared until it was you.
He is the middle fleet fellow next year.
In three years he may be top dog and taking in the big regattas.
Let's figure out how to give him/her a trophy- most improved, last place that sailed all the races, the fellow that traveled to furthest to get to the water, maybe the oldest.

When I think about it a little more, nobody is more important than anyone else.
We need the whole bunch--even you guys that quite sailing and sell your boat to the next fellow.

I think about it a little more and maybe the most important one is YOU. and what can you do to help the cause.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Where is all the help??

Don't any of you folks have some nutty idea about how to find more Laser sailors?

Here is one idea I have not tried yet. Let us have, say, two AMBASSADORS. What is an ambassador? OK, he or she is a person that will go to each person in the fleet, maybe after the race, call them by name, thank them for coming, say something nice to them about what they did, how their boat is rigged, is there anything I can do to help, etc., etc.

Do you get the idea? We want to make everybody that came happy about the action. You want them to have had a good time, feel wanted, feel appreciated, even if they spent most of the afternoon turned over and swimming.

We need to have boats in the fleet but we also need to get the fleet members to come to the races. Yes, we know about the soccer and volley ball and the grandchildren, but if everybody has more fun, won't they come more often..

Just an idea anyway!!

Tomorrow maybe about the most important person in your fleet. Can you guess who that is??

Monday, September 7, 2009


This blog is backwards, so if you haven't been reading right along , then you need to start two days ago and work this way. If you haven't read any of this stuff and are new to Laser sailing, then go back to the first entry "Same Primary Laser Advice."

We are working on building a fleet. So the next thing you need or not in the order of importance is :

A) A news letter or e-news. The e-mail makes it easier, but don't think that it gets to everyone one on the list. Some people don't check often, the computer goes out,etc and /etc. Maybe put a copies at "the club". Maybe mail copies to people that will pay the postage -- or the fleet will pay for printing and postage. I bet mailed stuff gets through to more members. but you can send the e-mail to a big bunch.

B) Telephone tree. If you want to get in touch with part of the group-- maybe a telephone tree to get everyone called.

C) I will leave tweeter and face book off the list. Maybe you know about them.

D) Get the Youth Sailing instructions cranked up. Lasers will pick up the kids into an exciting and manageable boat. We have other boats, maybe hotter , but I think harder to get sailing with control.

E) Get the youth into the 4.7 rigs one way or another. Club boats, private boats, loaned boats. Find a way. Grab them out of the Opti classes. or after the Optis kick them out.

F) Trophies for the top, the youth , the women, the bottom (more about those folks later).
Trophies can be dumb simple things -- it is the recognition.

G) Yes, it will take some work-- maybe you can sell the boat and take golf lessons.

If you can't think of more builders, then check with us tomorrow.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


It takes a lot of things to build a fleet. Let me name a few. You are welcome to join in with other ideas or complain about mine.

1) Boats to loan or to buy.
2) Both boats to loan and to buy.
3) Help with sailing the these little boats. I hand out copies of "Primary Laser Advice" that you can find at the first entry of this blog. I have books to loan and DVDs to loan.
4) Social events-- any kind to fit your group. A long time ago I was a member (still am ) of a Yacht Club where I told people not to buy a boat. If you joined, but didn't have a boat you would be invited to the parties of the Scows, the Snipes, the Thistles, the Rebels, and the Stars. If you bought a boat you would only be invited to your class party.
5) Locals need to know that you are there. Somebody needs to write up the racing results and send them in to the newspaper. They don't have a reporter to send out to your base. Some one in the group needs to do it.
6) Maybe an open house. Take the town sailing.
7) Maybe just a day the fleet invites their friends and neighbors to come sail.
8) If you have boats with crews (Is this the Laser Blog?) then a crew race when the crew is the skipper. Elevate your crews to skippers.

What else do you think? I will give you a couple of more wild ideas tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2009


If you are going to get good, you need a fleet of Lasers. You need some one to sail with. And against.

I will do a few sessions on fleet building before getting back to stuff on the boat, like marks and settings.

Two boats will get you started.

Three is a bad race. Think about that. I can explain it if you need it.

4 and 5 is a good start.

15 now you are talking.

Up to 20 and now you need to think about A and B fleets, masters, women, youth and all that stuff. You need to spread the winning around.

Now how do you do it? Next time we will tackle that. This post is Friday night to have it on for Saturday. Hopefully will be sailing this weekend and back on Sunday night or Monday.


Yesterday was a conservative approach (at least for the start). Now take a "practice regatta" or races to try all those other things.

Starboard tack and nail the pin end!

Port tack at the pin and cross the whole fleet or take a bunch of sterns to find a whole to tack in.

Set up at the committee boat and try and hold that spot.

Set up behind the committee boat bunch and try to be secon boat at the committee boat end.

If you haven't been sailing down the line on port just before the start, try that now.

If you end up with a second or third row start, then go back and read "June 10--Digging out of second row start".

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I don't know much about this but what I read.

You want to consistency have high finishes. Tenth or better. Paul Goodison had mostly better than 6 until the last race. He may have been messing with only one that had a chance to win the championship in the last race.

So do a conservative start. Toward the center away from the ends, but toward the favored end.

Sail fast. Work the shifts and get to the favored side if there is one.

If you are not leading, pass boats on the run. If you can't pass boats on the run, then back to school for running.

Then in the last race you may have to match race in the fleet or just make someone else take a throwout with you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Yesterday I promised this "heel to weather" stuff.

I don't know if it works all the time or if it is an important action. It feels good, looks good and makes sense.

So if you heel to weather 1) what happens to your helm is a little bit of lee helm. Now the rudder is pointing to windward.

2) The under water shape of the hull gets fatter on the windward side and straighter on the lee side. This is the opposite of your sail shape, fat to lee and straighter on windward. So now the hull wants to go to weather instead of straight ahead. Isn't that what we want?

3) Now the sail is pointing up as well as sideways, lifting the boat, making it lighter. Maybe like the Windsurfers and the foiling Moths all pointing the sails up.

The problem is you can't keep doing this as the wind comes up. You are dragging in the water if you do. Try it some when the wind is medium.

What did I promise for tomorrow?? Maybe "how to win the big championship" for the guys in Canada.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


You will have to help me with this one. It is weight in the boat, heel, sheet, outhaul, Cunningham and vang.

Light wind-- now weight forward. I don't see world champions sailing in Force 1 winds sitting on centerboard, but I do see them with the front foot in front of the sheet. Then we have big time heel to leeward to reduce wetted surface. In the rule book it says you can't sail a Laser from in front of the mast during races. (They don't put that kind of stuff in the rules to keep you from doing stupid things.) Outhaul loose for more power, but some say to make it tighter so you have better attachment of air flow. A little vang to keep about 6 inches from block to block and then you can let it out a little from the transom to keep the boat moving when the wind is really flat. Cunningham off. Did I cover it all? How do you do a roll tack from all this? I think they have to have more wind for the championship races.

Now you know, I really am not sure what to do when it is light.

Medium wind. Boat flat or heeled to weather (more about that tomorrow) Weight pushed to the front of the cockpit. Outhaul for hand breaths from the boom-- do you have a mark on the boom at the clew? (Some day we will do marks for settings on the boat.) Sheet at 6 inches from block to block and if you have to start to sit out then block to block. Cunningham to take the wrinkles out. Out haul tensioned so if you have to bear off to take a stern you accelerate.

Higher wind. Hike the boat flat. Weight can be in the middle of the cockpit. If planing way back and then if you drop off the plane back to the middle. This can keep you busy. Vang on tight going up wind, so you can ease the sheet out in the puffs to keep the boat flat and fast. Out haul tight if you are having trouble holding things down and water is fairly smooth. Cunningham is busy. Keep the draft in the middle and not running aft, where it will want to turn you over and not push/pull you forward.

Now as the wind goes up and down. As you sail into those holes and then into the pressure, keep the gears moving so you are going fast.

No more excuses--I sailed into that big hole.