Friday, January 28, 2011


This should be Lasers Stretch and have Fun..  Look at that smile..

Thank you, John Payne at JOHNPAYNEPHOTO.COM

I have finally found a topic to use with this picture.

If you have more flexibility, you will be able to move about in the boat better.

In Ben Tan’s “Complete Book of Laser Racing”, Michael Blackburn has a chapter on “ Sailing Fitness” with a section of Stretching. Basically he recommends “Static stretch” for sailors. That is a stretch of a muscle gently for at least 30 seconds. He recommends a stretch after a little warm up and then again after a work out and a third time in the evening.

Stretch should be gentle and depend on the time spent with a mild stretch and the repetition to produce more flexibility. You will be tempted to push hard and get it all done at once. That will only lead to sore muscles and delay of the whole process.

I pick out these stretches for you.

1. Hip bent with back straight . This pulls the “hamstring” or the muscle behind the thigh.

2. Then with the back bent, do the same. Now you are reaching for the toes and beyond.

This works the hamstrings and the back flexor.

3. Calf stretch. Pull the toes up with the leg straight.

4. If you don’t have two Lasers in the water like in the above picture, then the push up position on the floor and lower your body with your arms straight. This stretches the abdominals and hip flexors.

5. Elbow up with hand behind the head and reach down your back.

6. Hand behind your back low and reach up toward the
                                              other hand in 5.

Then a few that I add because I have trouble turning and looking behind.

7. Right and left body rotation

8. Right and left neck or head rotation.

Get Michael’s book and read more or go “on line” for a thousand stretches.


Monday, January 24, 2011


Good bye Jack.  You tried to get all of us to be strong and active.

A little bit ago, when we had some big wind and big waves, one of our Laser sailors turned over and had a little trouble getting back up. Then he just sailed home again.  When I talked to him afterwards, he said he just knew that if he flipped again he would be on the verge of being too tired so he sailed back to the club.   I think that was smart.  Know yourself.   Add the skills slowly if you need to.  But you need to be strong to sail competitively.

On the same note, a few years ago I visited with a Laser sailor who had been an accountant, but for family reasons had taken over a lawn care business.  Now he was outdoors working with his body and muscles every day and felt that his Laser sailing had greatly improved.

Get strong Laser sailor.

Friday, January 21, 2011


From the 1900 Olympic games, this is the "Lark" an entry in the 0 to 1/2 ton class.  I guess they didn't have any Lasers then.
Before we got to far away from the Buddy Melges advice, I want to record part of an interview with Robert Scheidt from the April 2007 Sailing World.  Dave Reed asks "In the boat park before a day of racing you're said to be very intense and focused, mainly keeping to yourself."

"I'm a quiet guy and don't like to talk to much before the race. I try to concentrate on the day.  I try to keep my routine before the race: washing the boat, checking the gear and going to the course early to check the conditions.  After each race I relax, have a quick discussion with my coach, and not think too much about the race.  I try to not  bring bad feelings in to the next race or the next day and deal with each race at a time.  If I win the race, OK, but focus on the next race.  If I do badly, I try to forget it."

Anything we have touched on before?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I come across a Laser sailor occasionally coiling up his sheet like the one above.  That means that he has put a half turn into each loop as he added it to the coil.  No big deal for a ten foot length, but any
thing over 20 feet it means a lot of twists-- that means kinks--- and now the sheet won't
run through all the blocks.

So if you just reach out for each loop with your hand open, and add it to the coil with out a twist, you should have one figure eight coiled on top of the next one.
Now there are no twists that you  have put in and the sheet should run fine. 

Happy Sailing


Friday, January 14, 2011


This is the last of my notes from rereading Buddy Melges' "Sailing Smart".

1. Start near the favored end or in the middle.  Simple, but not so easy.  It means that you have to keep checking the wind direction and guessing where the other folks are starting.  Buddy doesn't shoot for the boat end or the pin end.  Just near it.

2. Room to leeward at 10 to 20 seconds to go.  If you don't have Buddy's experience you may need to be practicing stopping the boat, holding position, turning cross wind and then back up to close hauled and stopped.

3. Hang close to the line in light wind.

4. Don't barge.

Now you can go out and do the Melges start.  Don't forget the bow even and then sail faster.  Have Fun..

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This is an Etchells start in Miami from our favorite Photographer.  I think that the right end of the line was favored from the look of the angle of boats crossing the line down close to us, but I imagine that the boats are tacking in less than 90 degrees, so it may be more even.  And there is a crowd at the other end.

We are still checking out Buddy Melges' "Sailing Smart" so we are going over more that you know all about...  Spend some time checking out the line as soon as the RC or PRO sets it up.
1.  Time the line.  That will help you know how to set up for the start and also help you get a feel for how fast you are traveling and how long it takes you to get from A to B.  Do it several times because the time will change with wind strength.
2.  Check for the up wind end.  Go head to wind and see which end of the line you bow points toward.  Check it with your compass.  Check the flags on the committee boat.  Check the angle you cross the line when you are closehualed.
3. Get on the line and pick out a range.  A spot on shore that lines up with the pin end.  Maybe a spot on shore that lines up with the committee boat end (the flag they sight the line from).  No shore in sight, then use your compass to get a bearing.  Maybe pick out a range from two boat lengths behind the committee boat.  Then when you are on the range, you will be one boat length behind the line when you sail up to the middle of the line.  Try that for a midline start.
4.  Check the pin for current.  If you are sailing in tidal stuff, I hope you have the tide tables down and some local knowledge and your local time watch on.

5.Check right and left laylines to the starting line.  Keeping checking wind heading right up to the start.

6. You want to know what to do next.. Keep tuned in.  That will come up next..                                                                              

Monday, January 10, 2011


Lasers get out and sail early.  Maybe half hour before the scheduled race start.  Yes, you have heard this before but we are reviewing the advice of Buddy Melges via his book "Sailing Smart".

He wants you to get out 30 minutes before the start of the race.
1. Warm up with some tacks and gybes. 
2. Get you sail set up for up wind and down.
3. Check for current at the marks.
4. Check the right and left sides of the course for the best winds.   Do this with another boat, if you can arrange it.  One sail the left side of the course and the other the right.
5. Don't forget to stand up to look for the pressure.   The good sun glasses helps you to see it.
6. Keep track of the starting time and be sure to be back at the committee boat before the start.
7. Yes, I know a lot of good sailors that just arrive before the race and can still win.... but not sailing against Buddy and the better sailors.
8.  You think this is too early, but if it is an important event at a new place the good guys arrive a week or so before to get some local knowledge and familiar with the conditions.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Thanks again to John Payne for the great pictures from Orange Bowl Regatta.

Now we are back to advice from Buddy Melges and "Sailing Smart"...   "My basic racing rule now is that I will never steer myself into a situation that I will know will create a discussion after the race... Any jam up can easily effect my race results no matter who is right."