Sunday, December 30, 2012


This year has been bad and good.   Probably check out March 31 on LASERS PRACTICE STARTS.  Check  down to the left for starts and they will all come up.

I will have a resolution for January 1. 2013 --- so check back.        

Thursday, September 20, 2012


                                   A democrat and a republican go for a sail.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


After your races, sit down and write the stuff you did well and that the things that were not so good.
Try to do it as soon as possible after the races.

Can you think of a way to do it better?   Practice?  New equipment?   Get stronger?   Try to figure a plan.   Ask for help if you need it--- maybe even if you think you don't need it.

After you collect some notes--- review them and see what has been happening.


Monday, August 27, 2012


This is not a picture of God.  I don't have a picture of her, so this will have to do. 

Sam Varner, former trainer of US Olympic teams, is his book "Slimmer,Younger, Stronger" writes about breathing, fluids, food, sleep, exercise, thought, and the power of prayer.

Sam is spiritually motivated and suggests that you pray to God twice a day about your goals.  Write them down on a little card to carry with you, so you won't forget.

I am not sure God cares about your sailing, but if you continue praying twice a day for better sailing, after a period of time I wouldn't be surprised if it worked.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


 Look at that picture! Aren’t you glad you sail a laser? 

Somehow this sailing business has to do with ‘fun” or just being happy.  If you look down the left side bar, you will find I have 52 posts on fun.  Check out the August 27, 2911 post which is a pretty good one.

Shawn Achor, Harvard Professor, tells us that if you are happy, you work faster and smarter at about everything. That is compaed to being neutral or sad. He doesn’t mention sailing.  They haven’t tested that yet, but he will probably think so.

Shawn has a 21 day program that goes like this. 

Every day for 21 days.

!) Write down three things you are happy about.  Try and keep them different every day.

2) Journal an activity that made you happy in the past 24 hours... this will help you remember it.

3) Exercise at least ½ hour every day.

4) Meditate.  To clear your brain of all confusing thoughts and multitasking Junk.

5) Record one thing that you did to help another.  Open a door for them. Pick up trash that wasn’t yours.  Write a note to thank someone.

I found that number one was easy except after a few days I was repeated something.  Try to keep them all new.

Number two was fun to do and turn out to be mostly about sailing because I can do a little of that every day.

Number three reminded me to get the exercise in.  Get the happy hormones working!

Number four was hard for me.  Usually I just stopped writing, closed my eyes, focus on my breathing and spent a few minutes then.  Better to do it twice a day 5 or 10 minutes at a time.

Number five required some new thinking.  I do things for people, but it is random.  Now I am looking for things to do to help every time I am out and about.

AM I HAPPIER NOW?    I was really pretty happy before.  IT WAS “FUN” ANYWAY.


I REALLY JUST WANT HAVE MORE FUN SAILING.  Yes, maybe a little faster, but if you get really good you just have other problems.

You can “Google” Shawn Achor and see one of his videos. Worth a look and he is funny..

Monday, July 2, 2012


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is Alejandro checking the bottom of his boat.   I put this in because I can't figure out
      how to get my David Dellenbaugh picture in here.   I probably have your attention.

The last ”Speed and Smarts” skipped telling us about the finish in the last race with Greg Fisher in 24th and David D. in 25th.  Before that race David D. was winning the series if he could throw out his worse race, a 22.--- but he had to throw out the 25 and that put him in second with Greg Fisher in first.               I e-mailed “S and S” asked what happened and have had no answer.  I hope that David D. dose a “S and Smarts” on that subject.

All the good guys keep track of the score in a long series and know who they have to beat to stay ahead or get ahead.

The last race may turn into a match race thing or a team race activity in a fleet race situation.

Usually the first shots are in the prestart, with one boat trying to chase the other away from the line so both can be very late.  That didn’t seem to happen as David had a fairly good start except for one fellow that tacked under him just before the start.  Was that Greg?   Then David was taking a lot of bad air and took a lot of sterns trying to get free air.  But did that get him down to 25 by the end of the race and Fisher a 24.  Fisher must have been messing with him around the course.

Maybe there is some question of “sportsmanship” to throw match racing into a fleet racing, but it is regularly done and not outlawed by current racing rules.  The team racing that I mentioned above is referred to action that slows another boat so other boat can get ahead.  Team racing as such with a second boat interfering with a competitor so that another boat will win has been ruled illegal.

Certainly many times a person will cover another for reason of a short or long series and let another boat, which is no threat in the scoring go off uncovered.   I have personally won several races because the first two boats are covering each other and let me have the last wind shift.

For a moment I feel like a real winner and then you realize what happened.  They let me have it.

Monday, June 11, 2012


 From this past weekend there are seven things that the bottom of our fleet needs to work on.

1.      Sail the boat flat when the wind is up.

2.      If you can’t hold it down “super vang”. Two block with the sheet and then pull the vang on as hard as you can.  Now you can ease the sheet out whenever you need to keep the boat flat going up wind.

3.      Get the vang off before the windward mark.

4.       Going downwind sail the fast angles, right or left, depending on which is closer to the leeward mark.  When the wind gets lighter sail a higher angle.  Don’t sail straight downwind except changing right and left, by the lee to broad reach.

5.      Before the three boat length circle and arguments about who is inside at the mark, get the out haul and Cunningham set for up wind.

6.      Leave the centerboard up for one last push down before your turn.

7.      At the mark, enter wide (two boat lengths) and exit close-hauled next to the mark.

If you don’t have time to practice between races, get out early or stay late.  It takes time and practice to remember all the stuff.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


When you are waiting for Sunset, if you extend your arm out toward the Sun, make a fist and extend your thumb up, from the top of your thumb to the bottom of the fist is 15 degrees.  If you have big hand then your arm is longer and it all works out.

15 degrees is the amount the earth rotates in an hour.  The Sun don't really set, we just roll away from it at 15 degrees an hour at about 300 or 4000 miles an hour.  Measure the Sun from the horizon.  Just the thumb is 5 degrees or 20 minutes.  Just the fist is 40 minutes.   That helps tell you when to head for home or when you turn on the Laser running lights.

It will also work horizontally,  If you are sailing on little lake without your compass,  A header of 5 degrees (the thumb) means if you tack you gain or loose 12 %  of your separation from boats on the same line of equal position.  The fist or 10 degrees is 25 % of the separation.

While your sitting there watching the Sun, say "thank you Sun for all the wind I enjoy".  Remember the Sun makes the wind, but that is  another story..

And THANK YOU Tillerman for the nice Sunset picture.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Recent "Speed and Smarts" news letter told the story of Dave Dellenbaugh's trip to the Lightning circuit and his preparation.   And his practices...

Practice number two, after spinnaker handling, was STARTING.

How many of you practice starting?

He had an interesting system.   Find or put out an anchored buoy to be the starting line and then set up to leeward and to the right of the buoy.  Start your watch for ten minutes and try to be at the "line" in one minute and at full speed.   A few seconds past the line, circle back and repeat at the next minute.  

When you get that down pretty well, move your set up point closer and closer to the buoy to see how little distance and time you need to get up to full speed.

At the start you are closer to all you competition than any other time in the race. 
Shouldn't you be at your fastest and best?   Well, get out and practice.

Dave doesn't comment about the last race in the series, when he lost the lead....I may tell you about that next time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Wayfarer dinghy is popular in England, Canada, Michigan, and a fleet  at Lake Eustis Sailing Club in Eustis, Florida and also popular as a beach cruisning dinghy.

This group has a song!

The only racing class that I know that has their own song.

"Wayfarer, wayfarer, finest dinghy ever seen.
Wayfarer, weather fair.  really makes me feel so keen.
Do wake up from your lazy sleep
Sail your Wayfarer out on the deep.
Wayfarer, wayfarer, finest dinghy ever seen."

Verses repated in Danish, Dutch, and French/

If you come to Eustis, I can find someone to sing it for you.

I don't think the Lasers should be out done by this little grouip of boats. 
SONG WRITERS GET BUSY   ---  We have 200,000 boats somewhere!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


To increase your comfort with the boat, play with it.  Turn it over.  Sit on the high side.  Swim around it.  Walk around the mast.  Sail backwards.  Sail double or more.  Check out the crazy stuff on YouTube.

BUT be careful.  Don't overstep your ability or do it where you can't rescue yourself.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This is not about Laser sailing, but I have sailed a Laser in these waters.  The rowing in the rain part is about a few years ago, when I was working as an MD at the Key West VA Clinic.   They had recently moved into part of the Old Key West Navy Hospital in Key West and I lived on Stock Island next to the water.  The hospital was on the other side of Cow Key Channel about a ½ mile away. 

For a week I rowed over in my 16 foot St. Lawrence Skiff.  –(Thanks to the model boat folks for the picture of their model that is very similar to my boat.)  I would row into a little harbor and tie up to the dock at the enlisted men's barracks and walk a ¼ of a block to our offices.  I did that for a week just to be able to say I was the only doctor in the USA that rowed to work.  The Navy MDs  and the VA were just getting used to working in the same area, so after a week I drove my car over so my use of the little harbor would not become an issue.

One morning about 7:30 as I was rowing away from home and going west. I am looking east at some big black clouds coming from the east.  (Wind is KW mostly from the east—some Bermuda high thing.) OK, it is only about a half mile to row.  Go a little faster.   Now I am in Cow Key Channel and almost to the little harbor and the rain drops start to fall.   In the Keys the little thunder storms just rain hard for a few minutes and then move on-- and I am right by the bridge that goes from Stock Island over to Key West.   Row under the bridge.  Now it is raining pretty hard, but not on me.  I am under the bridge… only one problem, the tide is coming in and I have to keep rowing to stay under the bridge. 

OK, move over to the edge of the channel where the current is less.  Yes, but now I look over to the shore about 10 feet away --- 7 or 8 homeless folks sleeping under the bridge on the 15 feet of dry land under the bridge.  They are all asleep.  Some with the little pile of the only possessions they have in the world.

I meet these folks around town often.  Most have mental or just drug problems.  No problem, but you don’t want to have long conversations because it can get pretty weird.   I hope they keep sleeping.

So I keep rowing and they keep sleeping.  How long is all this going to go on?

It is still raining pretty hard and I notice the eddy behind one of the support posts and row into the eddy.  Now the eddy is holding me against the current and I just need to steer enough to stay in the eddy. 

My friends on shore begin to stir and the time is almost 8 AM.  Time for me to show up for work.  So I row out into the rain which is now letting up.  Into the harbor and tie up to the dock and over to the Clinic – only a little damp.

So rowing in the rain can be an extra adventure.  I recommend it.  Take something to bail with.  Forget the umbrella unless have a passenger or want to use it as a sail.  No, I changed my mind—take the umbrella.  Maybe an anchor for under the bridge?  Nice to have lunch along just in case.

Maybe you had a good adventure rowing in the rain.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Sam had a good day on Saturday and here is a little WOW (Words of Wisdom) on that day that he won two of the three races.  I still have the "rowing in the rain" story coming up, but this is already put together. Really nothing new-- but what happened. 

WOW…  We had some big right shifts and you had to be sure you were taking that long task first (starboard) and working to the right carefully.  Delay going to the lay line for the windward mark.  You can approach it, but tack before you get there.

Sail fast – that is “bow down” with windward and leeward telltales flowing, boat flat or windward heel.  Sail trimmed into 6 to 8 inches between the boom blocks and if you are sitting out to hold the boat down, then two block.  Check what the boats near you are doing and how they are moving.  If you have a boat to leeward you can see easily, work on sailing faster than they are.  If you can see shore in front of them, then try and be “making trees”...  seeing for shore in front of them as you move faster.   Or just to increase you angle to them … bow down a little more … a little different trim.  Work at going fast – that make your tactics smarter.  If you get in a really light wind spot, heel to leeward and weight forward.  Get the roll tacks working.  It takes the curse out of tacking to much with the short wind shifts.  Try to link the areas of dark water together.   If the roll tacks are a problem and you don’t live close for sailing practice, then get some practice in before, after the races or after lunch.

The fun is not necessarily winning, but sailing better.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Several weeks ago Rob put in two extra marks on our windward leeward course to give us some reaches and ponts of mandatory gybes.
On the diagram W is the windward mark.
1 is a beam reach.
A is a gybe mark.
2 is a broad reach.
B is a gybe mark.
3 is a broad reach
P is the pin mark of the starting line. Leave it to port.
4 is a run.
L is the leeward mark.
5 is the beat to the finish.

When the wind is up it is an exciting course.  Slide to the back of the cockpit to get the bow up and over the waves and then gybe at the gybe marks.  Then one more gybe before the leeward mark.
You might want to try it.  Yes, it may tend to be the parade of the old triangle course, but adds the excitement of the reaches.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Several weeks ago I saw a new way to help get a boat up.  The lake we sail on is about 10 to 12 feet deep with very sticky mud in the bottom.
.  Vince had turned over with the mast stuck in the mud and the boat to windward so the force of the wind was pushing the mast in deeper.  Vince was not able to right the boat and what we have done in the past was for a second person to turn over his boat nearby and swim over to the first boat and then two people pulling on the centerboard usually could right the boat.  Then the two get in the righted boat and chase the second boat down and right that one.   Sam sailed around trying to think of some other way to help and then settled for waiting for the ‘big boys” (Dave and Rob) to come.   Dave arrived and tried a couple of things (wind is blowing pretty good) then he got Vince up to the bow of Vince’s boat and told him to hold his bow and grab Dave’s traveler line at the stern as he sailed by. Then Dave sailed by closehauled just to windward of the bow of Vince's boat.  Vince grabbed to traveler rope and hung on.  The bow was pulled around to windward so the wind was blowing the boat away from the mast stuck in the bottom.   It worked. Vince and the wind righted the boat.  Not too much mud on the sail and everyone well and happy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


  Lasers like Lake Eustis

A response to the Tillerman challenge, My Favorite Place to Sail.

It is in Florida.

Lasers sail all year long about every other weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM to till noon.

We have fresh water lake about 3 miles by 5 miles in size and plenty of room for five fleets to sail.( MC scows, Flying Scots, Wayfarers,  struggling C scows,  and struggling A cats)   The “youth foundation” has Optis, Laser, and 420 sail boats that sail every Saturday from September to May and then take the Summer off.   With the fresh water we don’t have to wash everything off after sailing.

Our location is central Florida.  North and South and East and West.  If we have a hurricane, there is no Storm surge and the intensity is greatly reduced by the time it reaches us.  Average high temperature in our coldest month, January, is 68.6 and the average high temp in our hottest month, July, is 91.1.

There are about 140 members of the Lake Eustis Sailing Club with all the classes counted, so it is not hard to know everyone after a little bit.  The club house has a large dining room for catered dinners at regatta time, toilets, showers, a small kitchen, no bar and no restaurant.  There are picnic tables in the shade of the cypress trees next to the club house with a view of the lake, the two launching ramps and the T dock for the MC, Flying Scots and Wayfarers.  Favorite views from the picnic tables are the coming and going of the sailboats--- both good and bad, as well as the sunsets with gorgeous color changes across the lake and sky.

There are three 100 foot sand beaches and the Lasers launch off the North beach and have a five or ten minute sail to their own race course that is usually south of the club.  The Laser fleet is a branch of the “youth foundation“ and has short windward leeward races with a three minute starting sequence.  If the wind is up we may have a race finish in ten minutes.  That fixes things so that if you have fallen behind, never fear a new race starts pretty soon and we get a lot of practice starting.  If the kids (youth) sail a radial, a 4.7 or a 420, we take time and give them corrected time.  When the adults do that because of the high wind, then no time allowance for them because we are all going at ‘hull speed”.  We have a couple of youth that can win is the full rigs.   Because we have our own course, we don’t have to wait for other boats to finish or start.  In the two hours we usually have four to seven races depending on wind velocity.   If anyone wants to race longer we have a deal with the “bigger boats” that we can go and sail with the Wayfarers on a long course at noon.

We have 5 to 15 Lasers racing.  All good friends. A few that win most of the races, but they are pleased when somebody else sails well enough to win one.  Back on shore after the races there is always good talk about who ought to have done better and how.  Then if you want to sail better we can loan you the books on how to sail your Laser.  The DVDs we also loan out.  Then Sam has his http://howtosailthelaser. and if you want to know who was sailing on any day, how they did, and something GOOD about them =

We are happy to have you come and sail with us or happy to have you not come.  We have people from France, Hungary, Spain, Columbia, Brazil, and Canada as well as Indiana, Ohio and New York that sail with us regularly or occasionally.

Wednesday afternoons or evenings (Daylight Saving time) and Sunday afternoons we have an invitation out to others, “come and sail a Laser” No real racing.  Depends on who comes.  We usually use a spare Laser and the youth foundation boats.  If you haven’t sailed a Laser I usually start you off with a 4.7 rig so you can get used to moving around in the boat without much sail area.  We follow along in motor boat or another Laser depending and who and what kind of wind and weather.

If you want more experience with bigger waves, the sea breeze and bad tasting waster then a two hour drive to Melbourne on the east coast or to St Pete and Clearwater on the west coast.

Eustis is residential city of about 16,000 people with good restaurants, a small legitimate theater, and a museum with the center of town a mile south of the sailing club.

The lake is inhabited by alligators, but they have learned to stay away from the sailing club and they do not eat small sailboats.

For some reason the water skiers and jet skis are not popular on the lake.  Occasional bass boats are seen fishing along the shore running on their little electric trolling motor then they can be seen going at 50 miles an hour to other side where they fish very slowly again. An occasional pontoon boat crosses the lake.  So at the present time we have most of the lake just for sailing.

If you stop by and didn’t bring your Laser, we will loan you one so you can check the lake out for yourself.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I use a Harken ratchamatic block on my Laser, but often hold the sheet directly from the boom when going downwind.  To help pick up the correct side of the ratchet block  when I go back to it, I mark the "pull" side of the block with white.  I have used paint, but it rubs off too quickly.  White 5200 works best for me.  Any other suggestions??

Monday, April 16, 2012


To sailo fast look at your tell tails.   Windward and leeward both flowing that is low and fast.  Windward one lifting and leeward flowing that is pinching up a little and sailing aq little slower.
Leeward lifting and you are stalling and going slower as well as lower.

When the wind is light and you can't see the leeward tell tail because the sun is on the windward side of the sail, you can head up a liitle till the windward lifts a little and then head back down.

In those conditions you can stallout and not realize it.  Check every now and then if there is any question.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We have been practicing starts.  You can look down on the left side of this blog and I have 27 other thoughts about getting a good start.   It is still hard to do and when you get caught in the second or third row---what now?

1. Get right at it.  This may be the most important race in the series.
2. Sail fast in the right direction. 
3. Hopefully you had the right direction figured out before the start..
4. A clear lane if you can find it.
5. Avoid confrontations with other boats.  You are sailing the course now.
6. Hit the shifts and stay out of the corners.
7. Watch the folks ahead. They are probably going the right way.
8.  Downwind is the catch up leg. Look behind for zone of pressure.
9. You are trying to pass one boat at a time so stay away from little groups.
10.  It is eaier to pass the folks at the bottom of the fleet than at the top.
11. Now get back to practicing the starts.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


This picture I stole from Proper Course.  I don’t know if it is Lao Tzu who is said to say “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.”  The race begins long before the start, but in one sense it begins with the START.

I sail quite a bit by myself – alone-  just to keep from getting too much slower.  In case you didn’t know it – as you get older, you get slower.  That’s what all that masters stuff is about.  Make an old slow person a winner.  That’s dumb, but it is also OK.  Remember, this is a “game” i.e. fun—not serious--- but we still like to do better.  To sail better.

When I sail by myself, I practice tacks, mark roundings, gybes, etc. and when I get tired of that stuff I do a couple of starts.    WOW—then a few weeks ago I had a couple of good races and realized they were when I had the good starts.

So now I am really practicing starts.  Starts by yourself---YES

1.      Stop by a buoy and hold position for 30 seconds.  Outhaul and Cunningham set for fast upwind.  Vang off.  Close reach position at full luff.

2.      10 to 7 seconds to go. Reach in and pull on the vang.

3.      “Jab” the tiller to windward with the tiller extension – hard – so the bow goes down.

4.      Lean in to heel the boat to lee.

5.      Trim in the sail

6.      And hike out to flatten and accelerate the boat.

7.      Trim in to close hauled

8.      And sail fast (bow down), windward and leeward tell tails flowing, boat flat for 30 seconds (maybe you will need tell tails at the front of the window so you can always see the leeward flow.)  No reaching in to make adjustments—those were to be set up before.

Now vang off and go back and do it again and again until it flows together without thinking about the parts.

I will let you know when I get it to “ flow”.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Sam has been too busy sailing and stuff to get much on the blog.  Sorry about that.  I think of a lot of things, but most of it is already up here some place.  Look down at the left -- pick out a category and go for it.  This is our Wednesday night report.

 Wednesday we had gusty winds and the Nagy Family spiced up the Wednesday night sailing.  Chris Nagy rigged a Radial as did Tom Jennings and Sam Chapin. Jackie Nagy rigged her Opti and with Monica Nagy in the committee boat with Dennis Oldham (the guy that hates Lasers and already spent too much time in the motor boat last week) we were off to short high wind races.  Dennis is calling times to the start.
If we have any advice it is the old stufff.  1. Take the long tack first. 2. When that approaches not being the long tack, think hard about an excuse to get back toward the middle.  3. Delay going to the lay line.  4.  When the wind is up in smooth water, the laser tacks in less than 90 degrees. 5. If you heel much, the bow will want to turn the boat up wind and you need to keep pulling on the rudder to go straight.  So stay pretty flat- hike and/or ease the sheet. 6. Downwind by the lee is a little more stable, but don't let the boom out to more than about 70 degrees. 7. Straight downwind will be slower and may rock you back and forth as wind tries to go right and then left around your sail. 8. When you gybe, roll a little to windward to help you turn, cross the boat quickly and turn back downwind -- the S turn.
Wednesday sailing from 5 to 7PM.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


When the "blogger" goes in to add a post, there is a little spot that says  "STATS".    Surprise --- here is the STATS from a couple of weeks ago.

Views so far today      66
Views yesterday         100
Views last month         2,406
Views all time              50,180

USA      197
UK          56
France    28
Canada   20
Australia   19
Germany  16
Russia       15
New Zealand 11
Mexico      10

What they look at...
LIFE COACH - chapter 3       17
LASER STUFF   6-5  2010      14

Source     Some from  Proper Course blog and most from Google.   Google  "Laser and some activity" and it may land you in an old post.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


 I watched a recent MC Scow race with 45 boats in the start. I was watching from just above the windward mark. The wind was up a little with a few white caps, some of the guys doubled up on the boats and one boat turned over on the way up to windward.

At the first rounding of the windward mark, the first boat came in on port tack with about a 2 boat lead on the first starboard boat and the second boat also coming in from port just squeezed by. Then the confusion really set in. About half the fleet on port and half on starboard. The starboard guys that couldn’t lay the line were in real trouble. Port tackers dodging trying to find a hole to get through.

I am thinking that the bigger the fleet, the more important the START.

I have an old book by Manfred Curry. He was an American MD living in Germany and wrote the first book about sailboat racing. That was in 1925 and in written in German. That was a long time ago. Two years before I was born. My copy in English was published in 1933, the third edition.

The first half of the book is theory and the second half is racing. He describes the “safe leeward position” and among other things getting the good start. He says that if you are not over the line twice in ten starts you are not trying hard enough. Well, maybe --- that depends on the race, the competitors, your standing, how many more races in the series, etc. I have 27 posts on STARTING. Go way down on the left side of this blog and click on STARTING and they will all line up for you.

Wonders of the computer world.


Friday, January 27, 2012


I love to tackle the fun question because you can read about sailing smart and fast in all the books--- but FUN is a different problem.

The January 2012 "Vitality Magazine" has an article "5 ways to have fun in Fitness".  ( Yes, it often is both Hard and Boring.)

1.  Let music move you.  Get the portable stuff and tune into something with the right rhythm.

2.  Get out in the cold.  Ice skate.  Winter walk.

3.  Get your game on.  Play tag with the kids.  Adult league sports.

4. Energize your environment.  Pictures in the stairwell and even music.  Skip the elevator.

5. Socialize as you exercise.  Nothing like working out with others.  Walking group.  Fitness class.

OK.  Now join the Laser Fleet and do 3 and 5.  If you are up North maybe add 2. and frostbite.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


WHEN THE WIND IS LIGHT, sail the Laser like a scow.   Heel to leeward to reduce wetted surface and sit forward.  Head the boat lower (bow down) to keep the boat moving.  Close reaching if needed. 

Downwind stay away from dead down wind. Do transitions from by the lee to broad reach at almost 90 degrees.  You will be sailing faster and getting downwind sooner.  Keep big windward heel to get sail up higher where there is more wind.

Attached below is performance sheet from small keel boat that shows the larger tacking angle going up wind in lighter air and the larger gybing angle going downwind in the lighter air.   I circled the fast VMG's .

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The Fall 2011 “Laser Sailor” Quarterly Magazine has an article on effect of caffeine on exercise by Evan Lewis... Caffeine causes release of adrenaline which increases energy, reduces fatigue, and enhances mental alertness. The effect is in 15 to 30 minutes and lasts around three hours with difference due to body size and Tolerance.

Test done with cyclists and runners showed that caffeine in levels from 3 to 9 mg /kg increases time to muscle fatigue. Caffeine from coffee doesn’t seem to do the same. Probably due to other compounds in the coffee.

Now an ideal Laser sailor at 170 pounds (about 77 Kg.) would need 231 mg caffeine to get up to 3mg/kg. 12 ounce Coke has 35 mg so that is 6.6 cans. We will need some other way. An energy drink called Bing 120 mg caffeine in 12 ounce can, so you could do that with 2 cans, but look out because there are several other larger amounts of maybe stimulating things listed on the can. Monster Energy drink has 2500 mg of “energy compounds” listed along with caffeine, but doesn’t say how much caffeine.

The two ounce gels at the gym have 140 mg of caffeine. That maybe the stuff. Warning on the bottle -- don’t take more than two a day.

“5 Hour Energy” (2 ounce) has 1870 energy blend including caffeine, but no note about how much caffeine. I bought a little bottle and took a sip. Hardly any, but got so shaky that I threw the rest away.

While the studies apparently were double blind with some contestants getting caffeine and some not and no one knew which were which until after it was all over. I didn’t see any attempt to see what continued high doses would do. That is the question of Tolerance which I capitalized in the first paragraph. I have been on and off caffeine a bunch of times in the past many years and whenever I come back on, I get a big kick from a little and after a while it settles back.

Probably you want to get stronger by sailing and exercise and not by drinking this stuff. If you do use it, do it regularly and be sure to continue it with your sailing. Be careful. All the bottles say not to be taken by children or pregnant women or if you are taking other caffeine products.

Not much help I know!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Reported in the Fall "Laser sailor", Peter Seidenberg at the San Francisco Masters after seven races he felt he was doing poorly.  Problem with the tides.  He studied the tables more closely and made notes on his deck.  Next day, four first and a second.  You need to know what the tide is doing.  

The other notes you might make on the deck are the wind shifts before the race, when you are using a compass.   Don't try to make the notes later-- hard enough to keep your head out of the boat when you are using a compass. Get out early and make your notes and figure an average so you can always tell if you are going right or left.

A lot of good folks don't use a compass.  Ask me about that if you like and we can touch on it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ove  ing

I love to send this sort of thing to you.

Goldie Hawn’s “10 Mindful Minutes”, a book written with Wendy Holden, is about Goldie’s “Hawn Foundation” promoting social and emotional learning programs in elementary schools called MindUP.

Goldie suggests this for children and adults. Let me greatly simplify it for you. For five minutes twice a day, close your eyes and think only of your breathing. You run the breathing. Abdominal and chest. In and Out. Don’t think of anything else. Usually your bottom brain does this, now you run it.

Do this just twice a day and “just as daily exercise leads to physical fitness, engaging in mindful exercise on a regular basis improves your mind fitness. Working memory is an important feature of mindfulness. Not only does it safe guard against emotional and mental reaction, but provides a mental workshop to ensure quick-and-considered decisions and action plans. Building mind fitness with mindful training may help anyone who must maintain peak performance in the face of extremely stressful circumstances.” THERE YOU ARE LASER SAILORS.

This reminds me of an interview I read of Robert Scheidt, who, before the race, after his boat was prepared for racing, he went off by himself to prepare mentally for the boat race.

In addition to the mindful breathing (meditation) 2X a day Goldie’s group of scientists suggest Optimism, Happiness, Gratitude, Ex- anger, Manage Sadness, Control Fear, Develop Empathy, Show Kindness, and do hree random acts of kindness daily.

OK Goldie—come and join our fleet. We will love it.

PS If you want to help yourself and your children with all these things – get the book—lots of games and details.


Sunday, January 15, 2012


 Reported in January Sailing World, a group of Etchells sailors hired a coach to prepare for the Worlds.

 You could get a group for Laser sailing. Maybe only two boats. Could be a lot more. It might help to:

1) Get out on water more.

2) Compare your sailing with others.

3) The good folks work harder to make it look good.

4) The improving group sees the better sailing.

5) You can do speed testing.

6) You can have repeated starting practice.

7) You can throw in extra races.

They have a list of 10 suggestions, but I would cut it down to. Have a leader. Have a plan.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


My comment section is locked up.  At least I can't get in to comment or to check comments.  Strange world of so many things I don't understand.

 Just like to guy in the picture.  Everything has stopped except for the swimming. Maybe it is a woman.  I have to be careful about that.

 Several post ago I had a question about the new experimental rules -- they can be found on US Sailing website.  You have to keep sort through the different rules sections, but they are there.

I have a list of posts to put up, so keep looking in even if you can't leave messages.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Well here I go again with a personal report. If you have been reading the several previous post you might recall that I MIGHT be distantly related to Paul Sperry, the Sperry Topsider guy. Paul probably isn’t with the company anymore, but now with winter coming to central Florida I thought I would get some boots and not be barefoot, like the picture above. So what about a Sperry boot? Searching through their online book store I finally found the “Sea Hiker boot black” which looked like the ones in the Laser sailing pictures. I usually wear 11 ½, but sometimes a 12 and sometimes an 11. I ordered a 12 which came promptly. But let us you look at the box first. This is no ordinary shoe box. Chart prints on the top and bottom. Superimposed on the top is a picture of six J-24s maneuvering for the start. One end has three 12 meters and a light house. At the other a motorboat wake. Front and back are harbor scenes with a little note on the back “made in China”.

The size 12 seemed alright, but extra room around the ankle. I wade in knee deep at the beach to launch the Laser, so I ordered the 11. It come and fitted fine. I sent the 12 back and have credit for it.

The bottom cuts are in all directions (tiny circles). If you just look at the bottom, you can see the outline of the toes and ball of the foot and the heel. They really stick to the floor and the deck. I haven’t done any comparison, but wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t tops in the “stick to wet deck category”.

The top from toe to top of the boot are ridges and cuts the hold the hiking strap. I feel connected, but at my age I am not a crazy hiker. You have to ask someone else if this is among the best.

The boot is 7 inches high with a zipper that is the full length on the inside, so it is easy to put on and off. There is a Velcro strap around the top that you can make as tight as you want. The strap can be taken off if you want to wear it without. The strap also locks the zipper closed.

When I get in the boat the boots bring in maybe a half a cup of water. I leaks in and out mostly through the zipper. After I pull the boat out and take the boot off and turn it upside down – no water. The boots wry out overnight.

The rubber sole is thin enough that you can feel some texture to the ground when it is rough. The heel is a little thicker.

Overall I am pleased with the boot. It seems fine for beach launching and think it would work well on the wet deck of larger boats.

We do a lot of bare foot sailing, but if you do a lot in big winds you need some boots you are happy with.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


These folks were fastest around the world.  Can we learn any thing from them?   Rick White, one of the multihull instructors, (NOT TALKING ABOUT AROUND THE WORLD RACING) says that starting is 90% of the game and the other 90% is rounding marks.  He gives us five MUSTS for rounding the leeward mark.
1) Perpare for the upwind leg.  Outhaul, Cunningham, centerboard.
2) Remember the inside overlap rule and watch for inside boats.
3) Watch for the "pin wheel" and don't get caught on the outside.
4) Slow down to get behind if you need to.
5) Enter wide and exit close to mark.

Then I add to 5, if you are way ahead or way behind, nice wide turn and pass close to mark.  No need to go below the leeward mark.   The exit close is to keep the followers in your back wind or to be up wind of the folks ahead it they have bad rounding.

AND  as you go into the mark visualize the last wind shift and your exit angle from the mark.   Then  you can better hit the close hauled course, not to high or to low.    


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Reported in the recent Sailing World. Dick Rose and the US Sailing racing rules committee proposes some changes in the rules. They say that in some regattas a lot of protests are made. In others none or not many. Some fleets are doing a lot of penalty turns and other fleets not many. They don’t state where the data came from, but they want to fix it.

Three ways: 1) change the two turn to one turn penalty except in the zone except for the start. (Apparently one turns at the start)

2) If protested and didn’t do on water turns, accept fault and receive 20 % penalty or 30% depending on how quickly you do it.

3) A simpler protest procedure.

So, no real change in the rules –just the penalty system.

Talk it over with your fleet. You can use the experimental rules or not. Don’t disappoint the Rules Committee. They will keep meeting.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Sorry that I have so much personal stuff in these last few days, but as long as I  mentioned below about our Last Day Sail on Decomber 31, 2011 and our First Day Sail on January 1, 2012, there was four of us that did it.  Here is a picture of three of us. The fourth, who also got a T-shirt, was out in the motor boat at picture time.

Left to right. Dave Johnson and Dave Moring sailed MC scows and Sam Chapin a Laser.  Dave Meaker who is not in the picture sailed a Laser.  So it was three Daves and Sam.  You can see the back of the shirt twice and the front once.

I am sure we have a lot more people that sailed both days and maybe someone who sailed at midnight -- 5 minutes in each year.  If you did, leave a comment so we can tell.  We may send you a T-shirt.

Monday, January 9, 2012


This is the B flag for the B course.
Yesterday in a light air race, the old guy was carefully picking out the ares of pressure to work toward on the first beat.  He linked up a group of patches leading up to the mark and it looked like the others could not get to it before he did.  Good work!  We will get to that mark before them.  Take another look. They are going around the other windward mark (we have two windward marks to handle major wind shifts).  Oh! Oh!  I am sailing the wrong course.  Ouch!

So now I need to add another note to the "before start list":  1. Check for up wind end of line.  2. Get a range. 3. Time the line.  4. Check for current.  5. CHECK THE COURSE SIGNAL.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lasers have PAIN.

 I wandered off-- following links to blogs on Laser sailing and stumbled onto one by Kevin with a title “Lost At Sea”. He has various topics including one on pain in Laser sailing both when windy and light wind. We recently had a sailor stop sailing at least partially because he developed sore muscles. It can be a problem, but not forever.

Oh yes, I stole the picture above from Kevin.

My reflection on the subject goes back 10 years or more in Key West when a friend of mine, Howard Crane, wanted to sail a Laser. Howard and I had sailed Sunfish together for a few years and had enjoyed each other. We both fixed up some old boats and went at it. When I had sailed a Laser years before, I had hurt my back pumping and told myself if that happened, I would stop right away. What happened was sore legs at night which had me taking Tylenol with Codeine or Ibuprofen at night to sleep. That lasted for a couple of months and since OK.

Remember with a Laser, there are smaller sails, the radial and the 4.7, that you can use when the wind is above what you can handle with the full rig. Sail yourself into shape or skip some of the higher wind races. Get to the gym. Use the smaller sails.

Why the pain if you would rather be without?


Monday, January 2, 2012


This is an e-mail that I sent out to friends that was enough fun that I will put it in here.  Some Laser stuff. plus.

Sailing World magazine. It came yesterday at my house. What a Surprise! Opened the cover to find a two page add from Sperry Topsider with pictures Of LASERS across the top and lesser boats across the bottom. Now the extra personal touch--- Paul Sperry who designed the first topsider (the first shoe with a thousand little cuts in the sole so won't slip on a wet deck) had a great grandfather Capt. Sereno Armstrong. My mother was an Armstrong, so I might be related to the Sperry Topsider. I have an Armstrong cousin working on the possible connection.

Then there is a few more pages into it a great picture of Fujimo (a "50 footer") from the first Key West race week. More on that at the end.

Then toward the back is a long article with pictures about the Park City, Utah Laser Fleet with a lot of unanswered question like how powerful is the air at 6,000 feet.

OK, back to FIRST Key West Race week. Sam had just bought a third ownership in a J-24 and John Smittle is going to show him how to sail the boat. So I am doing fore deck !!! Yes, yes, just follow the instructions given to you from the cockpit. So everything is going OK. We are in the last start and the smallest boat. Now this is the last race on Friday. Wind is up to twenty. Almost half of our fleet doesn't start. No problem on our boat-- John has never seen a wind he didn't like. This is triangle course day and around the gybe mark, Sam gybes the pole and the crew swings the spinnaker. (A little background-- the J-24 will surf down waves but not plane flat out. The J-22 which is 1,000 pounds lighter will just plane away in 20 knots wind.) Now the 50 footers who start first on the same course come sailing through our fleet. Fujimo sails by to leeward and John jumps on their quarter wave. Foredeck person on J-24 sits  just behind the mast after the spinnaker is up and holding the vang ready to release it if the boat starts to round up. We go bow down and stern up (It is a big quarter wave.) Our speed goes from hull speed of about 6.5 knots to the hull speed of the 50 footer (about 12 ). Fujimo is about 10 feet away and their crew is laughing and smiling at us. We hang on for about 1/2 mile and then round up and loose the wave because Sam doesn't ease the vang soon enough. No worry, here comes the next 50 footer, Abracadabra, John jumps on her quarter wave and we ride that through to the leeward mark. We win our class for that day with a tow from the 50 footers. Wondering about that oriental sounding name Fujimo? We understood that the owner was having trouble with his wife and it stood for F-- U Jane I'm Moving Out. I don't really know, but that is the story.

Take a look at the mag.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I will get sailing this afternoon on my first sail of the year and will let you know about that later.
This is a picture from 2009 Rule 2 Regatta.  Notice all the big smiles.  It was picked up by "Sailing Magazine" in a nice article.
Most of my posts have been about "practice".  I guess I do that most of the time, but I have 45 posts about FUN.
Now that is something that is NOT written about in the books or shown on the CDs.
So maybe I am the one with the biggest leg up on the FUN factor.
Paul Estrom touched on it, but had a hard time applying it when he was not winning.
In our little fleet in central Florida, I am usually in the middle of the group racing.  If I have a bad start or tack or capsize, then I am racing for last or next to last.  I am trying to get ahead of the boat just in front of me.  If I don't and they beat me, somehow I am happy for them. 
Going up those last few tacks to the finish I know I have that split.  I want to get ahead of them--
but will be happy if they sail well enough to be ahead of me.  Now everyone can't be in the fleet building business, so what makes you happy?  What is FUN about the sailing thing??   and we will try it again to tell you how to do it.