Sunday, November 29, 2009


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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


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.
The sun never sets on Lasers sailing. 24/7 someone is sailing.

Friday, November 27, 2009


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 spot and the general Lake Eustis Sailing Club news in the 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.

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 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.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Above are some of the reasons to sail a Laser.
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.

Upwind strategy, tactics and rules ------------strong -----weak
Buoy rounding--------------------------------strong-------weak
Boat speed --
Upwind, light---------------------------------strong-------weak
Upwind, moderate----------------------------strong-------weak
Upwind, heavy--------------------------------strong-------weak
Sail trim---------------------------------------strong-------weak
Running, light----------------------------------strong-------weak
Running, moderate----------------------------strong--------weak
Running, heavy--------------------------------strong--------weak
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
Windward mark-----------------------------strong---------weak
Leeward mark-------------------------------strong--------weak
Stiff boat--------------------------------------strong---------weak
Smooth bottom--------------------------------strong---------weak
No leaks---------------------------------------strong---------weak
Boat weight------------------------------------strong---------weak
Do you really want to sail better?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Maybe this will be your boat when you are too old to sail a Laser?
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
Fleet Ambassador
Spectator boat operator
Community Organizer
Assistant Fleet Captain

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


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:
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
Go to "Animated knots by" Do the boating group and learn the above knots.
If it is too windy or too calm, then practice your knots or help someone else.

Monday, November 23, 2009


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.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


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.
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.
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.)
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.
2. Wet suit or dry suit. You need to be warm enough for your water and time in and out of it.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


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.

Friday, November 20, 2009


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.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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.


Monday, November 16, 2009


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.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Spirituality is concerned with the quality of human experience.
Such as Love.
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.
. It is not competition-- really.
You keep sailing more and the Dali Lama will be in the boat with you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


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.
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.
Maybe when I go to the Olympics I will get a second watch.

Friday, November 13, 2009


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.

Thursday, November 12, 2009



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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


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.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


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


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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


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


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?

Friday, November 6, 2009


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.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


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.

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.

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??

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


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.

Monday, November 2, 2009


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


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.