Tuesday, November 30, 2010


First a little report on the weather in central Florida.  80 degrees out today and it is going to be 60 tomorrow.  So this is the last warm day of the year and I was able to get some Laser sailing in this afternoon.

Well if you had a jib, you could have the crew back it while you eased the main to slow up, so not to be over the line at the start.   In the Laser it is luff up, vang off, and back the sail by pushing on the boom if necessary.  Bow even with people around you.  A little room to leeward if you can arrange it.  Heal to lee so you can get a pump in when your time is expiring, vang on and sheeting in.

I know this in old stuff, but we hit the slow up button from Buddy and just trying to touch the three slowups that I know.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It is Thanksgiving Day and I am thank full that I will be able to go down to the lake and sail a Laser with a son and a granddaughter.  And I still have time for this blog.

We are still working on Buddy Melges's book and suggestions.   Working up from the last bit on the windward leg, he wants to delay going to the starboard tack lay line at the windward mark.  You save the wind shifts till the end, but now you  may face a long string of starboard tackers going to the mark. 

When he is looking for a gap to tack into, he does not bear off and sail down the line.  That is the wrong direction and makes the turn into the tack too much and too slow.  Just ease the sheet, slow the boat and wait till the gap comes to you.  This is the second of three times during the race that you should slow up.

Also if you can arrange it, come in on port tack more than three boat lengths from the mark to preserve some of you rights around the mark by entering the ZONE on starboard.

Monday, November 22, 2010


When Buddy Melges works out a little lead toward the left, he will be looking for the first opportunity to tack toward the middle to consolidate what ever lead he has. Maybe a little header. Take as much as you can he says.  Hang with the fleet and somewhere in the middle of the course if you can.  From that position you won't loose to much on big wind shifts.  The goal is to be in the top few boats at the windward mark.

Friday, November 19, 2010


After the start, Buddy Melges will scallop to windward.  Head downwind just a bit to gain speed and then with more water moving over keel or board, he heads up a little to pinch to windward.  The boat to leeward will limit how far down he can head to gain speed, but then he pinches up to clear them and to free his wind.  When he has headed down to gain speed, he is footing out away from the boat to windward and then pinches up to deflect air into the wrong side of their sails.

Keep the boat flat and sail fast for that first minute or so after the start to work a clear lane.  Then look for a header or opportunity to tack and consolidate your lead (Oops, that is the next hint.)

Sure, this is old stuff.  Many people will be doing it.  You just need to try to do it better.  Practice??

Monday, November 15, 2010


More Buddy Melges suggestions:   Practice the START.   From stopped to close reach and changing gears to going fast close hauled.  It is at the start, that you have the first chance to get out in front with clear air and ability to tack with the wind shifts.

This is the time that the boats are the closest together and a little more acceleration  will  really pay off.  You need to practice this alone and in all kinds of wind conditions.  And you can practice it with a friend and after you get all the details worked out.

It needs to be automatic, so you can be keeping track of your competitors, time and wind shifts when the real starts come up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Another tip from Buddy.

In "Sailing Smart" Buddy Melges tells us to hold the tiller lightly.  A little weather helm and lightly so you can feel the right angle for the boat and not over steer.

If you are going to fall out of the Laser, drop the tiller extension and hold onto the sheet.

Smile, you are having fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Thanks, John Payne, for this neat photo of Laser action.

One of the Sailing World hot shots tells us to read Buddy Melges's "Sailing  Smart" book.  I have an old copy and was able to find it in the midst of a collection of other sail fast type of books.

They were  right.  It is worth keeping under your pillow so you look up stuff.  Lots of Jib trim stuff, that I can skip these days, but then when he goes out to practice---- starts out with 50 tacks and 50 gybes.. 

Wow.  I loose count after about 17.   Last week we had some big wind and big shifts along with colder weather (40 degrees at night and 55 during the day, frostbitters) and I sure needed some better boat handling.  Things get harder when you are moving faster.

OK, Buddy.  First I have to practice counting to fifty.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Lasers hail “protest”.

Lake Eustis had a Youth Regatta this past weekend and it is worth reporting we had two protests that were judged invalid because rule 61.1 was not followed— “she shall hail ‘Protest’ and display a red flag” 61.1(a)(2) “less than 6 meters, need not display a red flag.” (Maybe Flying Scots need the red flag at the ready.) Note that it takes 60 rules before you get to that one. (And Sam doesn’t even have it in his simplified free rule book, yet.)

Since the big rule change about 12 years ago with rules 14, 15, and 16 included to stop boats from bumping into each other, protests have gone way down and maybe learning the rules have suffered also.

In the protest business it is often a fifty-fifty thing, about who is right. Maybe the protest committee just flips a coin, and decides who to throw out.

So if someone hails (shouts) “protest” at you, you have an opportunity to do the 720 turns or go to protest meeting. In our own Laser fleet we have not had a any protests. Folks do 360 and 720 turns and we keep sailing. We could make up a P committee, when ever we need one.

If you get tangled up in a boat to boat conflict, it slows you progress around the course and interferes with watching the wind, watching other boats, and stay on the lifted tack to the next mark. You generally do better to keep sailing fast, and not worry about one person that doesn’t know the rules yet. Some time though, you will think you need to protest someone, or someone that “hails” protest to you– and you would rather run the risk of the flip of the protest committees coin to doing the 720 turns. Remember if the P committee throws you out you get worse than last place. A couple of turns maybe will loose you a couple of places and maybe none..

So we should have “a make believe protest and hearing” so our youth and “not so youth” can see how it works? Maybe a Saturday after the racing. Serve ice cream so we can keep the youth around?