Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Laser Upwind Technique; The Good and Not So Good

I've been on somewhat of a Laser sailing kick with my recent posts. Video on Laser sailing on YouTube pops up on almost a daily basis, Laser videos are proportional to Laser's popularity. One can hear my audible groan when, another one of what must be a thousand onboard cam or headcam videos on Laser sailing, gets posted . Conversely, out of the chaff, there are some video nuggets that are excellent and enlightening Laser videos.

Sailing a Laser upwind, particularly in wind and waves, is a horse of a different color. Because of it's flat hull, large daggerboard and smallish rudder, there is no groove to speak of. The Laser rewards a very physical, attacking style of sailing upwind. It's not just good enough to hike the boat very hard, there is fore and aft torquing of body through waves coupled with a precise and rapid, almost sculling, rudder movement.

Through the unrelenting eye of YouTube one can see how a Laser World and Olympic Champion does it and then an average Master sailor subjecting himself to a coaches video at the Cabarete, Puerto Rico Master Laser clinic. (Oops! Tillerman has pointed out my geography error, Cabarete being in the Dominican Republic - see his comment).

First, Brazilian Robert Scheidt, 7 time World Laser champion, 2 Olympic Golds, 1 Olympic Silver sailing upwind;



Next, a Master sailor, who despite a good effort looks like a lardy lump compared to Robert.



I had grasped some of the torquing and sculling techniques of Laser sailing when I was in my 20's. Unfortunately in my 50's, my brain may be saying one thing but my upper thighs are screaming, my upper arms are trembling and I too, after a short energetic spurt, revert back to being a less energy intensive lardy lump on a Laser gunwhale (well not too lardy yet).

1 comment:

Tillerman said...

Very instructive videos. By the way, Cabarete is in the Dominican Republic, not Puerto Rico.