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.