Dear fellow frostbiters!
Hangover Regatta this year was a little wet and cold but still 11 boats persevered!
Dear fellow frost biters,
December 20 proved yet another beautiful race day run by our two grownups, Jim and Jacob. Short up-down courses and a short starting line provided abundant thrills and excitement in the first few races. After a couple of general recalls, J&J released the pressure on us with a longer start line and an Olympic course that calmed the mark roundings. A big thanks to J&J for an excellent set of varied races!
A few Annapolis exiles joined us again bringing new blood and adding to the vibrant racing. Thanks to whoever invited them and a warm welcome to our visitors and newcomers.
It seems tradition to reflect on sail trim. Many of you already know I’m back on the water after more than a couple of decades as a landlubber, and my last few pre-landlubber years were in a 27 ft keelboat (h-boat) with very different trimming. I think I’ve done well because of starts and other factors, so with weak confidence to advice on Laser trim, here’s what I was working on in the light wind.
Downwind: no cunningham, outhaul provided for a deep sail curve by the boom. I trimmed the kicking strap to where there is just enough control of the leech/twist, and I sometimes tightened it during puffs. I’m still trying to figure out how to sheet relative to the wind – a vane is on my list to Santa.
Upwind: clearly the combination of sheeting and the kicker is the key, no kicker is always too little, and with more wind, more is needed, but I haven’t figured out the balance. I play with it a lot. I usually find myself sheeting more loosely than others. I use very little cunningham if at all, and the outhaul is trimmed with the sail ~4-5 inches from the boom and only marginal variation.
Starts: I felt I did very well starting on the port end of the line as close to the mark as possible. After the tide turned, I thought it was better to be farther east, where I think the current is stronger, but I’m not really sure. Especially after we got a bit more space on the start line, rather than waiting in a promising spot, keeping moving around with some boat speed before the start seemed to allow me to find a good spot and cross the line with some momentum.
All in all another great day in the series, and I look forward to more. Until then, my best wishes for the holidays!
Thanks to Farley, the race results are attached
All in all another great day in the series, and I look forward to more. Until then, best wishes for the holidays!
I was afraid going into the last race yesterday that this might be my fate.
Well actually I was pretty pleased.
Arriving at the dock at 11, it looked the westerly breeze had nearly died. As we got out to the race course, the northerly shift arrived and started filling in. In the first 2 1/2 races, the right side was strongly favored. In the first three races I got out to the right early, and was at or near the front at the first mark each race. The wind started shifting left in the middle of the third race and several boats who took the chance did well.
The wind shifted fairly strongly to the left at the end of the race, leaving the starting pin strongly favored. So I worked hard to get port tack starts for the last three races. In races 4 and 6 I missed the front hole, and had to cross some sterns. I was actually over early in race 4, and went around the pin, but was able to find a nice lane and clear air. In race 5, I was right on the line, and only “let” Tom pass me at the last leward mark. I still haven’t figured out how to do everything one needs to do down there.
Best thing on the day for me was being able to see where the wind was and get there. Worst thing is still that leward mark rounding.
Thanks to Farley for doing RC solo.
John Van Voorhis
Thanks to Jim Klein for providing a seamless solo RC experience.
– boom Vang tension upwind. A number of folks are sailing with loose Vang tension upwind. Even when it is relatively light air I suggest you keep at least a snug Vang. In really light air I actually put on a good bit of Vang to induce bend in the mast to flatten the sail. As the wind builds from around 4-6 knots I I will loosen it a bit but the Vang will never have slack in it. As the winds builds beyond that I will continually add more Vang to flatten the sail.
– traveler block A number of folks were sailing upwind with their traveler block too far inboard. Often that is a sign that your traveler line is too loose. If I see my traveler block is not all the way outboard I will ease my sail a few inches to encourage it to get further out before trimming it right back in.
– boom angle downwind. Sailing by the Lee is really fast in a laser, but a lot of people sail with their boom too far out. Remember that your leech falls off far beyond your boom angle, so if your boom is eased beyond 90 degrees, let’s say it’s hypothetically 110 degrees, your leach is probably somewhere around 125 degrees. In light air having the boom beyond 90 is okay, but not way beyond (unless you are purposely trying to move across the wind for a tactical situation). As the wind builds, you want to bring the main back in to 90 degrees and when it is windy, in a lot more than that. Did you flip (or almost flip) recently when a gust came down the course from behind? That could be a clue that you are sailing with the main too far out. It is hard to tell when your main is at 90 degrees, but what I find helpful is a mark or piece of tape on my mainsheet that tells me when the boom is at 90. I use that as a reference to adjust from. The other critical adjustment downwind is Vang tension. A good way to tell if you have your Vang tension right downwind is to watch the leach of your sail. You want a lively leach, meaning it should bounce a bit when you hit waves or when you get puffs. If it is too rigid you have to much vang. If it is falling off to leeward and never bouncing back, you have it too loose.
– turning the boat around the weather mark. Getting quickly away from the weather mark is a big help when you are next to other boats. Many people lean in as they come to the mark to ease their Vang, outhaul, and Cunningham. The trouble is that leaning in causes the boat to heal to leeward, which makes the boat want to head up not down. To compensate, most people will use their rudder to steer the boat down, which creates huge amounts of drag (slow). A better approach is to ease your control lines before getting to the mark (Vang is most important). As you get to the mark hike out and lean back, which will shift the center of lateral resistance and cause your boat to turn sharply downwind. Due this as you ease your sheet and you will escape quickly from the mark.