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.