I follow quite a few blogs by other Laser sailors.
One thing I have noticed is that I don't learn a lot from reading the blogs of the top Olympic campaigners from various countries. Usually they just report on where they are training and how they do in regattas, but they don't spend much time giving tips and explaining techniques to mere mortals like me.
Of course Laser sailing blogs by total beginners aren't usually much better in that respect. Scary as it seems, some people know even less about Laser sailing than me.
Maybe what would be really good would be to have an average sailor talking to a top sailor and asking the questions that we average sailors need to have answered?
Luckily there are a couple of blogs like that....
1. Improper Course is written by Doug and Pam. Doug is one of the best Laser Master sailors on the planet. Pam, his wife, says she is "just a girl who is still learning how to sail." Actually Doug does seem motivated to pass on some of his Laser sailing knowledge on the blog, but it does also seem to be true that Pam encourages Doug to do this and suggests topics for him to write about.
This week was a good example. Doug scored a convincing win in the Austin Centerboard Regatta. In her post about it Pam discussed that one of the reasons that Doug did so well was that he was using a compass to spot the shifts. So she asked Doug to write a post about that. And he did. Shifts, Lakes and Compasses is one of the best things I have ever read on this subject.
2. Center of Effort is written by Judith. I'm sure she won't mind my saying that, although she is an experienced sailor in all kinds of boats, she is not up there in the stratosphere with the Olympic campaigners. But lately she has teamed up with Clay Johnson, the 2011 Laser North American Champion and certainly a close contender for the US spot in Lasers at the Olympic this year. Judith has been interviewing Clay about various aspects of Laser sailing technique which has produced some superbly helpful blog posts about such topics as downwind sailing in light air and tactics and techniques for footing. Great stuff!
This week I came across another very educational Laser sailing blog that caused me to rethink my views about the value of reading a blog by a relative beginner...
3. 100 Races is written by Nick. I'll let Nick explain his experience and what his blog is about in his own words....
In April 2012 at age 60, I bought my first racing Laser. The plan - to start racing on Sydney harbour in Spring 2012. In the meantime I have to get fit and learn how to sail the boat. The goal to enjoy 100 race days between now and 2016.
OK. Nick is about the same age as me. He sounds like he's even more fanatical than I am about Laser sailing. And it also sounds as if he's a relative newcomer to Laser racing. But he has invested the time to scour the Interwebs and to collect an amazing range of articles and videos about Laser sailing tip and techniques, most of them organized under the tabs at the top of his blog. Shit, some of them are even from my blog, but most of them are written by, or are about, far better sailors than me. Just for starters, check out some great tips from Rob Crane and Steve Cockerill about light air beating and this 20 minute video tutorial on roll tacks.
Right now, for someone like me who is still suffering from the delusion that it is not too late to learn how to sail my Laser smarter and faster, these three blogs are undoubtedly the 3 Best Laser Sailing Blogs on the Planet.
I think I'll go and study some blogs now.