Regular readers of this blog will know that I raced in the Laser Caribbean Midwinters and participated in pre-regatta clinics in Cabarete in 2007 and 2008. The 2008 clinic was taught by the head coach at the Laser Training Center, Javier Borojovich, known to everyone as Rulo, and he is the brains behind the Advanced Laser Boat Handling DVD. Rulo is an excellent coach and I learned much from his classes in Cabarete. The best way to describe the DVD is that it has captured Rulo's lessons on boat handling in a medium that you can use at home. If you can't attend the Laser Training Center at Cabarete, then owning the DVD is the next best thing. And even if you have sailed with Rulo at Cabarete, the DVD is the best way to remind yourself about everything you learned there... and more.
So why is this DVD so good? Essentially... attention to detail.
The DVD covers tacks, gybes, mark roundings and penalty turns. But it breaks down each of these maneuvers into several categories, e.g. the section on tacks covers light, medium and strong wind tacks separately. Then for each of these it breaks down the maneuver into a series of steps and illustrates each step with slow motion video taken from various angles: the coach boat, aerial shots, and even cameras mounted on the Laser. The coverage of exactly what to do in each step is meticulously and clearly explained in the commentary.
As an example the section on light wind tacks has...
- a discussion on why good technique for light wind tacks is so important
- overview of objectives of a light wind tack
- two keywords to remember
- detailed explanation of how to execute the four steps of the tack
- heading up
- heeling to windward
- switching sides
- flattening the boat
- close-up videos of the same steps from a camera mounted on the transom of the Laser picking up some more detailed issues such as exactly what to do with your hands and feet through the tack
- a variation for extremely light winds
- what to do if you come out of the tack too low
- two ways you can go wrong and how to correct them
- tips on how to improve
Get the idea?
To give you an even better feel for the quality of this DVD check out this short clip from the section on light wind gybes...
And the sailors in the videos are world class Laser sailors such as Brad Funk, Andrew Campbell, Anna Tunnicliffe and 3-time Olympian from Poland, Maciej Grabowski. I've never seen anything quite like this before.
I can imagine using the DVD before a training session to focus in on one aspect of technique before going on the water. Now let's see exactly what to do with the sheet in a roll tack. Exactly when should I sheet in, when should I ease, how much should I ease, when should I sheet in again, and how fast should I sheet in? It's all there. Attention to detail, as I said. Review the DVD. Remember the details. Go on the water and practice. You couldn't wish for a better training aid. I'm sure I'm going to be using it a lot this summer.
The Advanced Laser Boat Handling DVD is available from the Laser Training Center for $49.95. Full disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of the DVD for free but if Ari Barshi hadn't sent me a free copy I would certainly have bought one at this price. Hell, don't tell Ari but I would probably have paid even more for it; it's that good.
One last point... I am really hoping that Rulo and his friends in Cabarete will produce a second DVD on the techniques for sailing a Laser upwind and downwind in those classic huge Cabarete waves. That would be make for an even more spectacular DVD.