Friday, September 21, 2012

Cue the ominous music, this is about to go bad

The Gopro waterproof camera has spawned a new sub sub sub genre on youtube - the ‘Gopro laser sailing video.’ There is vision from  mast tops, bows, overhanging sterns, hats and my favourite - off the boom.  Many of these  youtube videos are just raw footage, short and unsatisfying, but every now and again then one turns up that is entertaining, educational, and funny.   

That is not to say that raw footage cannot worthwhile. There is an exceptional four part series of hat-cam videos by Doug Peckover competing in the 2012 Australian Nationals
See them and Brett Beyer’s analysis at

You have to be a Laser sailing tragic to get into them, but hey thats the life we choose.

One of my favourite laser videos is the ‘The Comeback That Wasn’t’ by Fleet Co Club Captain Stuart Streuli. It has music, commentary, drama, comedy or perhaps pathos, all in 6 minutes.

Described as A roller coaster ride of a Laser Fleet 413 frostbite race that looks great, then bad, then OK, then good, then ultimately ends in disappointment.

There is drama at the top mark - ‘cue the ominous music, this is about to go bad’. The breeze is only 8 knots so no one dies.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Two Types of Roll Gybes with Andrew Scrivan

I found the way to unblock the embedding function on this roll gybes video. Yesterday I posted their roll tack video, try this one.

Andrew Scrivan's Laser  demonstrates the two types of roll gybe   Andrew is  a former member of the US sailing team alphagraphics.  

The key points

-flatten the boat before the boom hits the water
-oversheet the main (gybe 2)
-put some vang on (gybe 2)
-use your weight to steer the boat
-smooth fluid movements 

Video produced by Laser XD Sailing 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some New Instructional VIdeos

Laser XD Sailing have recently published some short instructional videos on YouTube  and on their web site.  They are well produced with real time and slow motion video.  There is another good one on roll gybes, but unfortunately they have blocked the embedding function so you will have to find it via their YouTube account.  Here is one that they have let me publish on roll tacks in light air.

Their web site  looks like it is  still  under construction, but they have some some good beginner/intermediate  information.

This is a sample from their rigging guide.

In medium air, the goal is maximum power. The vang should be tensioned just enough so that it isn't sagging while block to block. Having the mainsheet block to block will create maximum leech tension and power in the sail. As the boat becomes overpowered, begin to tension the vang to reduce power in the sail. 

The draft of the sail should be set just under a full sail, about a hands length at the boom cleat or 15 cm (~6 in). The cunningham should be on just enough to take out the large diagonal creases. As the wind increases, depower the rig with cunningham and vang. The cunningham will pull the draft of the sail forward and reduce the draft slightly. It is important to set the outhaul and cunningham so that the draft isn't less than 10 cm (~4 in).

The traveler must be tight in order to avoid the boom from moving towards the center of the boat. If the boom is still moving towards the center of the boat, tension the vang just enough to help the boom to stay in the correct position.

Laser XD Sailing

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ten things that have changed in Forty Two years

It has been an eventful week. I had my first dinghy race in 42 years and the Tillerman put this blog on his list 3 Best Laser Sailing Blogs on the Planet, in the ‘relative beginner’ category.  

So I’ll stay in character for this post.  

Although  I am racing in the same place, Middle Harbour just off Balmoral Beach,  a lot has changed in 42 years.  This is my Australian Moth rigged at Balmoral circa 1969 note the high tech walking stick mast, pocket-luff sail and hand crafted bamboo battens.

This is what has changed in forty two years.

The shorts have got longer - say no more

The web and google gives us all the unorganised information we could hope for

Boats come from factories  -  my Moth was built in a friends garage with plywood, glue and clamps - note the beautiful, rare and depleted rain forest wood veneer deck

The Laser was invented 40 years ago  - it has taken that long for me to get on one

Moths got foils - next the foiling  Laser

Kids get sailing coaching - even a relative beginner GM can hook into some coaching thanks to the NSW Laser Association 

Weather forecasts are now reliable, you can plan the weeks practice sail around the wind you want - in my case 8 to 12 knots is a lot of fun

Dinghies have dollies

The power boat wash has gone from 10 cm high to 1 metre high - all the more reason not to hit the lay-line early so you have space to chip one in ahead of the inevitable giant wash

Capped teeth - it was always stupid to hold the main-sheet in your mouth when tacking