The little boat has been around for 35 years plus and there is a lot of information out about how to sail it.
So this BLOG is just some ideas to bounce off.
If you are just starting then go to PRIMARY ADVICE of Feb. 09. That is the best starting place.
There are a lot of books and DVDs to tell you how to do it.
Dick Tillman "The Complete Book of Laser Sailing" The first and revised and new sections added. The old bible
Glen Bourke "Championship Laser Sailing" How to, plus the story of his run to World Champion.
Ben Ainslie "The Laser Campaign Manual" includes a CD ROM. Great picture sequences.
Ben Tan "The Complete Introduction to Laser Racing" Not written by world champion but biggest and most complete with training and medical section. If you only have one book, get this one.
Tim Davidson "The Laser Book" Some of the best pictures.
Paul Goodison "RYA Laser Book" Great pictures and advice with some simple things glossed over.
"Laser Coach 2000 CD" Computer thing with around the course format.
Rick White "Red Hot Sailboat Racing DVD" Basic DVD The one to start with.
Steve Cockrell "Rooster Sailing Lasser Boat Whisperer" both "Up wind" and "Down wind" DVDs These are the MUST ones. Advanced sailing. Do a lot of the other stuff first so you don't get to scared with the high wind materal.
Michael Blackburn "Bass Strait Laser" Crossing Bass Strait is a long time on a broad reach. Amasing what he puts on and can still sail a Laser. Surfing and gybing sequences. Maybe share this one with friends but you can skip this one.
"Advanced Laser Boat Handling" DVD by the Laser Training Center in Cabarete. Instructional DVD pictures of professional type sailors demonstrating tacks, gybes, etc. If you really want to be good you should see this DVD.
"Sailfit Seminars" DVD Sailfit.com... 82 minutes from Kurt Taulbee's Seminars in Clearwater, Florida. He has given a 5 day seminar here in Eustis, Florida. and is well thought of. Tillerman attended at least one of his in Clearwater. A good look at seminar exercises and lots of stuff done the wrong way with Kurt's comments. The comments cover some new ground for us. You should see the no rudder exercise, if you have ever tried it and given up. How about pulling up the centerboard on the starting line, if you want to slide to lee a little.
"Daring Downwinds-- Clearwater Pass" DVD Sailfit.com Kurt Taulbee's video of the high winds and high waves as the tide rips out the pass, the high winds blow in and crazy radial sailors try to get back in. Some comments about how to handle it by Kurt, but more questions than answers. A little like the Bass Strait Crossing, but with a bunch of wipe outs.
At Lake Eustis Laser fleet you can borrow all these books and DVDs from Sam. In another fleet maybe just divide them up and get most to pass around. All the advice is not the same and you get a little different flavor from each.
Now if you do that -- you can skip all the stuff I put in the right hand side of this blog.
I am an old guy that has sailed Lasers for a few years, and do it locally, and encourage others to join us. We have a good little group going -- have some extra boats to loan and invite you to come and join us on Lake Eustis in central Florida.
Look for me at Lake Eustis Sailing Club and check the web site.
Check out these blogs
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wandered off-- following links to blogs on Laser sailing and stumbled onto one by Kevin kevinlikesstuff.wordpress.com 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.
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-- UJane I'm Moving Out. I don't really know, but that is the story.
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.