It's been apparent in the last few regattas that the leaders in the local Laser fleets have much better upwind speed in waves than I do. What am I doing wrong? What do they do differently? I was puzzled.
Then today I saw a reference in Sailing Anarchy to an old article in Sailing World by Ed Adams about Robert Scheidt's upwind technique in a Laser. Now I've been hoarding away Sailing World articles that are relevant to my kind of sailing for years. Let's see if it's in my file. Ah yes, here it is: March 1998 Poetry in Motion by Ed Adams.
So let's see what Mr Ed says...
Shoulder down mode. In the flat water between wave sets, sit up slightly and lean forwards with the forward shoulder down.
Punch the wave. Just as the bow meets the wave, throw the torso aft and out and punch the wave by jabbing the tiller to leeward.
Unweight on the crest. As soon as the wave punch is made, come out of the hard hike, sit up and forward to unweight the boat on the crest of the wave, and pull the tiller up.
Power landing. As the boat drops into the trough, throw the weight aft and out violently and put the tiller back down to leeward.
Hmmm. Well that's certainly more complicated and athletic than anything I do right now. I'll have to try it. Just in case, does anyone have a recommendation for a good chiropractor?
By the way, does anyone who really knows about Laser sailing want to comment as to whether this is still the best recommended technique or has someone discovered an even better way in the last seven years?