Tuesday, November 29, 2005

C (3) iv.

International Laser Class By-Law 1 Rule C (3) iv states that one mainsheet clam or cam cleat of any type may be mounted on each side deck in the position shown on the measurement diagram.

Some Lasers have mainsheet cleats; some don't. It all depends on the preference of the owner.

I have cam cleats for the sheet on my current Laser but have rarely used them. Whenever a rookie would ask my advice on mainsheet cleats I would always adopt the macho pose. "Nah. Cleats are for wimps. You need to work the sheet all the time in a Laser. The wind's always changing. You need to be able to ease the sheet instantly in the gusts. You'll capsize if you cleat the sheet. Sure it's hard but if your arms are too weak to hold the sheet in a blow then you need to get to the gym more."

I've now decided that I'm getting too old for that ridiculous assertion. After several hours of sailing a Laser in 15 knots or more my arms start to cramp. The muscle on the inside of my forearms (I'm sure there must be a Latin name for it) tightens up, my thumb locks over my palm in a cramp and I'm unable to release my grip.

Last time I sailed
I experimented with cleating the sheet when beating in stronger winds. I'd uncleat it if it looked like I might need to tack such as when approaching a starboard tack boat. Nothing terrible happened. (All right. Two terrible things happened but the humble cleat wasn't to blame. They were the fault of the nut on the end of the tiller.)

I finished all the races without feeling like I'd been hanging by my arms from a hook in an Iraqi prison for a week. So now I'm going to start using the cleats more. Time to start sailing like the grandfather I am.

Emily came home today.

No comments:

Post a Comment