Tuesday, March 04, 2014

How to Get Killer Starts in Laser Races

Last Thursday evening there was another webinar organized by Javier "Rulo" Borojovich, the head coach at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete. This one was about Starting Technique and featured as guest expert, UK Laser sailor Nick Thompson, currently ranked by ISAF as #5 Laser sailor in the world.

Nick Thompson

God knows I need to improve my starts but unfortunately - well fortunately really -Tillerwoman and I had agreed to babysit the four Massachusetts tiller extensions at the designated hour for the webinar while their parents went out on a well-deserved night on the town in Boston which was somehow earned by my daughter-in-law's blogging efforts. I think I mentioned before that she is the successful blogger in the family. People actually give her things like money and nights out on the town in Boston for her blogging. I don't know where I'm going wrong.

Where was I? Where am I? Oh yes babysitting the Massachusetts tiller extensions.

4 grandkids randomly doing stuff
 on a couch that isn't very level

So as I really really need to improve my starts, and as I was clearly not going to be able to concentrate on the webinar while four grandkids were running around the house pretending to be a ballerina or monster trucks or whatever it is they are supposed to be, and bouncing off the walls and singing songs about royals or tigers or making monster truck noises, and clamoring for something to eat or refusing to eat what is put in front of them, in other words just kids being kids… I asked Rulo if I could have a look at a recording of the webinar at some later date. And he agreed.

So once I had recovered from the babysitting experience (only joking kiddos - I always love spending time with you) and the terrible awful disgusting thing that happened just after their parents came home from their bloggy night out in Boston (you really don't want to know) I settled down quietly at home to watch the recording of the webinar and learn about starting technique from Rulo and Nick.

Rulo's presentation and Nick's expert contributions covered everything you would want to know about getting killer starts in Laser races including, how to decide where on the line to start, how to hold your position on the line, how to create a leeward gap, how to accelerate at the start, and how to hold your lane after the start.

Of course a lot of this is standard stuff that you will hear at any starting clinic or can read in any good book about Laser sailing. But there were also quite a few useful tips and hints that I hadn't heard before such as…

  • Why Nick doesn't start in the middle of the line very often but why Robert Scheidt does and where someone who doesn't have very good boat speed (I think he was talking about me) should start.
  • A trick on how to spot the RC boat at the end of the line when the view is blocked by sails.
  • The importance of checking "drift rate."
  • How to find a gap on the line in the last 30 seconds before the start (with a video showing Nick pulling this off to perfection!)
  • Six tips to minimize leeward drift.
  • Three ways to create a leeward gap.
  • Five keys to protecting your gap.
  • A trick to confuse the judges. Sssshhh. Don't tell anyone.
  • Three best ways to practice starting.
  • And much much more.

So thanks to Rulo and Nick for an excellent webinar.

And thanks to Emily, Aidan, Owen and Andrew for being good kids and so much fun (apart from that terrible awful disgusting thing that happened after their parents came home.)

The next webinar will be on 27 March and will be about upwind speed in light and medium winds with Laser Olympic Bronze Medalist Rasmus Myrgren from Sweden as guest expert. You can sign up here.


JP said...

What does daughter in law blog about? Have often wondered whether there's ways of blagging (say) a trip on a J class during Antigua week.

Tillerman said...

My daughter-in-law mainly blogs about family and being a Mom. But that gives her many opportunities to work with all sorts of brands who are marketing stuff to Moms and families. It doesn't just fall in her lap though. She works very hard at making potential clients aware of what she can do for them.

I suspect there are similar opportunities in the sailing world if you seek them out. If sailing on a J Class in Antigua week is what you really want to do then contact the owners of those boats and make them a pitch.

Personally I wouldn't want my blog to become too commercial with lots of sponsored posts pushing various services, and I certainly don't want to spend my time selling myself to potential sponsors and advertisers.

But in the interest of full disclosure I should point out that Rulo did provide me with free access to the two webinars I have reviewed recently.

JP said...

I have a food blogger friend and she's always getting invites for free meals and goodies - and had two all expenses paid weekend breaks in Europe. I wouldn't want adverts and sponsors but there are some boats I'd like to try out.

Tillerman said...

Yes. I think we are in the wrong niche. I think being a travel blogger may be the best gig. All those free trips and vacations!

Annie {Stowed Stuff} said...

I know the daughter-in-law. She'll never be the blogger that IS Tillerman. But she's so happy that her kids got his brains.

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