Friday, May 29, 2009

Advanced Laser Boat Handling DVD

I have had the pleasure over the past few days to review the Advanced Laser Boat Handling DVD produced by my friends at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. And I must say I am very impressed. This is the best video training aid I have ever seen for teaching the techniques of Laser boat handling.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I raced in the Laser Caribbean Midwinters and participated in pre-regatta clinics in Cabarete in 2007 and 2008.
The 2008 clinic was taught by the head coach at the Laser Training Center, Javier Borojovich, known to everyone as Rulo, and he is the brains behind the Advanced Laser Boat Handling DVD. Rulo is an excellent coach and I learned much from his classes in Cabarete. The best way to describe the DVD is that it has captured Rulo's lessons on boat handling in a medium that you can use at home. If you can't attend the Laser Training Center at Cabarete, then owning the DVD is the next best thing. And even if you have sailed with Rulo at Cabarete, the DVD is the best way to remind yourself about everything you learned there... and more.

So why is this DVD so good? Essentially... attention to detail.

The DVD covers tacks, gybes, mark roundings and penalty turns. But it breaks down each of these maneuvers into several categories, e.g. the section on tacks covers light, medium and strong wind tacks separately. Then for each of these it breaks down the maneuver into a series of steps and illustrates each step with slow motion video taken from various angles: the coach boat, aerial shots, and even cameras mounted on the Laser. The coverage of exactly what to do in each step is meticulously and clearly explained in the commentary.

As an example the section on light wind tacks has...
  • a discussion on why good technique for light wind tacks is so important

  • overview of objectives of a light wind tack

  • two keywords to remember

  • detailed explanation of how to execute the four steps of the tack
    1. heading up
    2. heeling to windward
    3. switching sides
    4. flattening the boat
    with several tips on each step illustrated with video taken from a coach boat...

  • close-up videos of the same steps from a camera mounted on the transom of the Laser picking up some more detailed issues such as exactly what to do with your hands and feet through the tack

  • a variation for extremely light winds

  • what to do if you come out of the tack too low

  • two ways you can go wrong and how to correct them

  • tips on how to improve

Get the idea?

To give you an even better feel for the quality of this DVD check out this short clip from the section on light wind gybes...

And the sailors in the videos are world class Laser sailors such as Brad Funk, Andrew Campbell, Anna Tunnicliffe and 3-time Olympian from Poland, Maciej Grabowski. I've never seen anything quite like this before.

I can imagine using the DVD before a training session to focus in on one aspect of technique before going on the water. Now let's see exactly what to do with the sheet in a roll tack. Exactly when should I sheet in, when should I ease, how much should I ease, when should I sheet in again, and how fast should I sheet in? It's all there. Attention to detail, as I said. Review the DVD. Remember the details. Go on the water and practice. You couldn't wish for a better training aid. I'm sure I'm going to be using it a lot this summer.

The Advanced Laser Boat Handling DVD is available from the Laser Training Center for $49.95. Full disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of the DVD for free but if Ari Barshi hadn't sent me a free copy I would certainly have bought one at this price. Hell, don't tell Ari but I would probably have paid even more for it; it's that good.

One last point... I am really hoping that Rulo and his friends in Cabarete will produce a second DVD on the techniques for sailing a Laser upwind and downwind in those classic huge Cabarete waves. That would be make for an even more spectacular DVD.


Anonymous said...

It’s interesting that the clip you chose to show (the light air jibe) shows the sailor violating the rules of propulsion, by coming out of the jibe faster than going in. I have several other training DVD’s and they all seem to train and advocate the same thing. (One even says to do this carefully so as not to alert the refs.) What gives?

Brian said...

I'm looking forward to the second DVD you described as well!!!!

Tillerman said...

A comment via email from Ari Barshi, owner of the Laser Training Center and producer of the DVD...

1. The way to get the most of the DVD is get someone to video tape you while you tack three times in a row and jibe a few times.

Than compare your footage with the one we show. In our clinics many sailors are astonished to find out how much better they should be performing a maneuver.

We sailors see the champs here and there, and even video footage of pros, not realizing how far we are from that level.

2. Violating the rules of propulsion in light winds. This is a valid concern of one of your readers. Head coach Rulo finished the light wind segment, after returning from coaching in the light wind China Olympic games. The techniques we show on the DVD are the ones ISAF IJ accepted in the Olympic games.

Jos said...

I'm at the Delta Lloyd Regatta and just showed this Video to the current ISAF rules 42 specialist, Sofia Truchanowicz. She informed me that the gybe is within the current interpretation of rule 42 and this manoeuvre is legal.
She did add that it is on the very border. If after gybing the boat would have been heeled to windward, creating propulsion in the form of a stroke of a paddle, it would be yellow flagged.

Tillerman said...

Thanks Jos. That's a great validation for Rulo's teaching on the video.

Spevak said...

Hey ease your conscious on Ari comping you a copy how about buying one at full price (or more if you feel compelled) and shipping it to me? :) Great to see you at Wrightsville Beach.

Tillerman said...

Walt, I think you may be confusing me with someone else who can really sail a Laser.

Just for the record...
I am not Dick Tillman.
I did not win the first three Laser North American Championships.
I was not at Wrightsville Beach this year.

Tillerman is just a pseudonym I chose when starting this blog. Sorry for any confusion caused. It's not the first time.

Yourblogfan said...

Dick Tillman
Three time Laser North American Champion
Author of the best seller: The Complete Book Of Laser Sailing. Said:
The Advanced Laser Boat Handling instructional DVD is a must see for
any Laser sailor seeking a higher level of skill.
Techniques for sailing Lasers faster are constantly improving. This
DVD, produced at the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, features
some of the best sailors in the world. It examines their every
move using on board cameras to show the nuances of tacks, gibes,
mark roundings, and penalty turns. I have been
actively racing Lasers for 38 years and this DVD is an eye opener.
To achieve your full potential, I recommend you include this DVD in
your training program".

Ari Barshi said...

Some reviews from people who purchased the DVD.
Hope it is helpful.

I got the DVD ten days ago (very fast delivery!) and I cannot tell you how often I have watched the DVD since its arrival. The DVD is much better than every book I have got about Laser sailing and its an extremely useful resource for improving my Laser sailing skills (I have started this year). Very good is the step-by-step approach explaining the different maneuvers and the tips. Furthermore - very important for me as a German- it is easy to understand, there is no accent which is difficult to understand.

Andreas (Germany)

This is simply the best Laser video course I've seen so far, worth the money. Thanks!

Alexey (USA)

It plays well on both TV and Laptop.

This might be a strange question but have you got any training footage of recovering from capsize?

Tim (Australia)

The video is great! It's so nice to see live action instead of just pictures in a book. It really helps bring everything I'm trying to learn together. Of course I went sailing last night and all the things that looked so easy on the video were not easy at all, but at least I know what it is I'm trying to do now. I have sailed most of my life but I'm new to the Laser and have found it to be a humbling experience.
 ... I should also mention that I appreciated the narration and explanation of all the nuances involved with each maneuver, something that (other DVD) tends to gloss over.
As a golfer, I have always been amazed at the sailing industry's lack of available instructional media. There's a golf video or book for just about every aspect of that sport and it's pretty sparse on the sailing side, so this DVD seems like a great idea to me.
One small criticism, there are several typos in the text portions that don't do justice to the balance of the well done presentation.
This DVD was a great purchase and will definitely help me sail faster (after I practice!). Thanks!
Bruce (USA)

I have read many books on Laser sailing. The DVD is vastly superior. You are to be congratulated for this production.
Sincerely, Jack (Canada).

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