Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A windy day one for Fleet 413!

Wind report from Rose Island on October 31st
Report from Stu & Dave:

Fleet 413ers,

One day in the books and many more to go. Sunday started out fairly innocently, a clearing sky, and moderate westerly. But after two races, Mother Nature dropped the hammer and all I could hear was the dollar bills fluttering off the leech of my (formerly) brand new sail. The breeze picked up to 20 to 30 knots with some steep, unforgiving chop. It might've been a trick. It was no treat. Turnout was light for Day 1, but hopefully we'll have a few more people this coming Sunday (and a little bit less wind). Ferg won the day, with the usual cast of characters in his wake. Results can be found here.

-Stu & Dave

Words of Wisdom, from 2010 Laser Masters World Champ Scott Ferguson

1. The first couple races were puffy and shifty. What is your gear changing progression in the Laser in those conditions?

Everything was happening too quickly to change too much .... so I try to get a good medium setting on everything and keep my head out of the boat and hike hard. With that said in the lighter portion of the day I reach for the outhaul first. In the really windy stuff it is key that vang on right after the start.

2. In one of your interviews at the Laser Masters Worlds you talked about how you'd train by sailing downwind from Point Judith to Newport. It was choppy yesterday, especially for Fleet 413. What, if anything, can you apply from your big-course downwind technique to the short, choppy waves we saw yesterday?

It has taken quite some time for me to become reasonably fast downwind, and it is still a work in progress ..... one big hurtle for me was to become more 'comfortable' especially in the big conditions. The more comfortable you are the more you can focus on the subtleties. So a few key things I try to focus on is 'letting the boat go' by this I mean never fighting the rudder while at the same time finding a good path to catch or sail around waves. One other note here is the mainsheet/boom position really effects the helm balance.

3. How do you sail the boat upwind once the breeze gets over 20, as it did for the second half of racing on Sunday? How do you set your sail up? How do you sail the boat? How do you prevent waves from washing over the bow and into the cockpit?

Very tight cunningham and just leave it. Outhaul about 5 inches off the boom. Vang very hard (like 15 inches of tail pulled after 2 blocked) this allows you to sheet out in the puffs (sometimes I sheet out 1-2 feet but the vang must be very tight to do this), move back to the middle of the cockpit to help with the waves.

4. What are the keys to avoiding the death roll in those conditions?

Leave the board down all the way the whole time and don't let the boom past 90deg the more you overtrim the more stable you are, but the slower you go. I was over trimmed a number of times yesterday just to survive the big puffs

5. Any other lessons from your summer of Laser sailing that you'd care to share with the fleet?

Stay away from the crowds on the start line ... usually means the middle of the line for me, sail your own race.