Thursday, August 09, 2007

Poetry in Motion

It's been apparent in the last few regattas that the leaders in the local Laser fleets have much better upwind speed in waves than I do. What am I doing wrong? What do they do differently? I was puzzled.

Then today I saw a reference in Sailing Anarchy to an old article in Sailing World by Ed Adams about Robert Scheidt's upwind technique in a Laser. Now I've been hoarding away Sailing World articles that are relevant to my kind of sailing for years. Let's see if it's in my file. Ah yes, here it is: March 1998 Poetry in Motion by Ed Adams.

So let's see what Mr Ed says...

Shoulder down mode. In the flat water between wave sets, sit up slightly and lean forwards with the forward shoulder down.

Punch the wave. Just as the bow meets the wave, throw the torso aft and out and punch the wave by jabbing the tiller to leeward.

Unweight on the crest. As soon as the wave punch is made, come out of the hard hike, sit up and forward to unweight the boat on the crest of the wave, and pull the tiller up.

Power landing. As the boat drops into the trough, throw the weight aft and out violently and put the tiller back down to leeward.

Hmmm. Well that's certainly more complicated and athletic than anything I do right now. I'll have to try it. Just in case, does anyone have a recommendation for a good chiropractor?

By the way, does anyone who really knows about Laser sailing want to comment as to whether this is still the best recommended technique or has someone discovered an even better way in the last seven years?


Christy ~ Central Air said...

To a sailor who doesn't have the good sense to sail a Laser, all that instruction seems like it could be boiled down into a single bit of advice: "Flail!"

Anonymous said...

I gather that "sailing guru", Steve Cockrill of Rooster Sailing covers a numer of issues including this. See and check out hints and tips. I assume that he is pretty much up to date.

Unknown said...

Although I am not the top laser sailor of today, I tend to agree that much of what you summarized still applies. There is more to it than just moving you body weight with a little tiller movement. It all has to do with the way you are effecting the waterline length of the boat and the bend characteristics of the mast to help steer and power the boat at specific times to go fast. Just to give you something to chew on for awhile.
When in doubt hike hard and put the bow down a little! Oh and keep hiking and hiking and hiking...whew now I am tired.

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