Thursday, April 29, 2010



First remember if the current is running with or against the wind, look for the zone with the smallest waves going downwind. Otherwise you are looking for the bigger ones.
If you are going faster than the waves, then try to go around the bigger ones. So be doing transitions right and left so that you can cross the them at their lowest points.

If the waves are coming up behind you then you need to be looking for the deepest hole in the water opening up someplace in front of you. Head down into it and pump the sheet to start the surf. When you take off then angle right and left to run down the side of the wave as far as you can go. Some of the waves will be good for only short rides and then others may be fairly long. Then look for the next one to ride.

Occasionally you need to look for leeward mark and get back on course.

To practice, you might get your coach boat to run back and forth behind you. Then try to have him run along side while you try to catch and hold the quarter wave.

If you are sailing with bigger boats try to get on the windward quarter wave as they go by and then hang in with them. I haven’t done that in a Laser, but sailed with John Smittle on his J-24 in the first Key West Race week. John was a specialist in catching quarter waves and we got on one with a 50 footer and went from 6.5 knots to 12 as we rode that quarter wave for a mile.

If you don’t have big waves where you sail, then try to make some trips to big wave country. Get hooked up with the local Laser sailors there. You will need wind, local knowledge, and maybe some motor boat back up. Then try to get in some of their races and regattas.