Monday, June 29, 2009

How to Tack a Laser Like a Champion

The natives are getting restless. They don't appreciate the current rain songs meme incorporating my wry commentary on climate change and my subtle mockery of all those lazy bloggers who, instead of writing stunning original thoughts, think it's OK just to post a YouTube video of one of their favorite songs from back in the day when they still had most of their hair and a modicum of sex appeal. They (the restless natives not the lazy bloggers) are starting to leave comments like, "Is this the blog of the Laser sailing grandfather known as Tillerman? It seems to have been hijacked... "

Well you only have yourselves to blame. In that poll last November I gave you a chance to vote for what you wanted this blog to be about. The old warrior Sailing was soundly defeated by the candidate of change who promised a policy of allowing Tillerman to write about Whatever The Hell He Wants.

So you can't complain now. You voted for it and now you're going to get four years of Whatever The Hell He Wants. Suck it up.

But, like all good leaders, I am sensitive to the mood of the people. So here are some hard-core, real Laser sailors doing some real Laser sailing, a video of the Laser Medal Race from Kiel Week.

The Brit, Paul Goodison, won of course. Doesn't he always?

Pause for all British-born Laser sailors to bask in the glow of their vicarious superiority.



Pause over.

So you asked for a serious sailing post about serious Laser sailing, so let's discuss what we can learn from this video. I ask you to take a serious look at Mr. Goodison's tacking technique.

Don't all of we serious Laser sailors know how to tack while holding the sheet and tiller in our hands, to hike out after the tack and then to do the famous Laser hand swap without ever letting go of sheet or tiller?

Well take a look first at seconds 42-48 of the video. Doesn't Mr. Goodison actually let go of the tiller after the tack? Is he even sitting on the tiller extension?

Then take a look at the tack by Mr. Goodison at around 2:10. Does he actually cleat the mainsheet just before doing the hand swap? I thought that was terribly non-U.

Amazing! What a bad example he sets for all the kiddies watching. But I guess that when you're the Olympic champion you can sail how the hell you want.

I know there is at least one seriously fast, real Laser sailor who reads this blog. Please do share your views in the comments on Mr. Goodison's tacking technique. Is he an unconventional genius or has he pushed Laser tacking technique to the next level?

Oh, and by the way, also look at those sailors going downwind at around 1:50. Look how the leech of the Polish sailor's sail is pumping away (quite legally) giving him a nice spurt of speed on every little wave. Get your vang setting just right and you too can achieve the same effect Jo-Jo.

So did you like that, nation? Is that the kind of serious Laser sailing post about serious Laser sailing that you have come to expect from Proper Course? Or are you waiting with bated breath for tomorrow's rain song?


Smilicus said...

Keep on doing what you do, love the Blog

Andrew said...

Thanks for the GBR moment of glow.
I'm not the seriously fast Laser sailor that you invited to reply, but I do agree that if you can win every race at Kiel you can tack anyway you like.
Obviously it's more important to tack at the right moment than to get the hand swap right and the shifts wrong.
How's the weather?

JP said...

Mamma Mia! Sailing a laser with no hands on the tiller!

And winning

And a Brit!

Fab :)

ps good video that.

Post a Comment