Advice to Newbs - Lessons learned from first sail

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by OldDog, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. OldDog

    OldDog New Member

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    Hi Theodore,

    Thanks for getting back. No I'm not confused on the terminology of bearing or or heading up, but perhaps I am misreading which way the boat want to go during the capsize. It happens pretty quickly and my mind is focused on trying to stop it. What I do know for certain is that as I am sailing close hauled and I start to bear off away from the wind the boat does indeed want to heal to the side I am sitting on. The most likely contributer is that I am about 35lbs overweight for the boat (working on it) so I would expect the boat does not respond exactly as designed. There might even be centrifical force involed. Your statement about maintaining proper sail trim during the maneuver is probably in play as well. I'll focus on that the next time I go out. Still getting used to the boat. Like I said it is quite a different animal than my last boat.

    But you may be correct that I am confusing which way the boat start to head during the capsize.
     
  2. Theodore

    Theodore New Member

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    I'm not sure about centripetal force. Lasers are pretty slow in the grand scheme of things. An Inter-20 cat will buck you in jibes no problem, but they also goes 25 knots with ease.

    Bearing away from the wind with an overtrimmed sail is akin to running dead before the wind. The sail stops foiling, and now works like a windbag. Of course, this will stop you from healing, there is much less force. In fact, on some larger (much larger) boats, it can be safer to bear away than head up in a puff. Heading up can leave you in irons, and playing the main is impractical.

    Your weight really shouldn't change anything. The boat will be slower and heel less, that is about it.

    Be gentle on the tiller. If you are bearing away while close hauled, and capsize to weather, you're pretty damn far off the wind.

    Just a review.
    Capsize to Leeward - You fall on the sail
    Capsize to Weather - The sail falls on you
     
  3. OldDog

    OldDog New Member

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    Hi Theodore.

    OK thanks for the feedback and advice. I'm going to pay attention to this next time out.
     
  4. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    As a fellow newb I thought I'd bring this thread back.

    I have a question about the rudder/tiller interface. I just bought my boat and it came with a carbon tiller (no name, very flat, metal plate for the traveler). It doesn't fit in the rudder head very well. The pin was just making it worse, so I won't use that.

    What is the best way to fix this? Jamming it in using the rudder downhaul doesn't seem to help. It gets tight enough up and down, but still moves quite a bit side to side.

    I read someone saying they used some tape around the tiller, but that seems like a bad idea to me.
     
  5. dredies

    dredies Member

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    The head of the tiller gets worn over time. Mix up a bit of epoxy and apply to the wear spots and you'll have a nice, snug fit again.
     
  6. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    It doesn't really seem to be worn, but I'll try and build it up anyway.

    Any type of epoxy recommended? I don't have anything yet. Just build it up and then sand it down until it fits tightly? Is it supposed to sort of wedge and get bigger from back to front?
     
  7. Braecrest

    Braecrest Member

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    Pedal, the shape of the tiller jam is correct smaller aft, larger forward. the flat side faces down while the side with the slope faces up. If the tiller wedge isn't snug in the rudder head and moves side-to-side but not up or down.
    1. Go to West marine, or any other boating store and pick up a combo kit of expoy resin with a hardner. Should be about $20USD.
    2. Using tape and cardboard built a form around the sides of the tiller wedge. mix up a small amount of the expoy resin following the directions on the can, and then pour into the form you've made. it need only be about a 1/8 to a 1/4 inch deep.
    3. Allow it to harden, then remove the form and test the fit.
    Too lose?, repeat molding and pouring. too tight? using sandpaper gently sand down the entire flat surface evenly, checking the fit often.

    hope that helps; Good luck!
     
  8. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    I actually looked again, and it's actually the rudder head that's bent on the sides. The carbon tiller is just fine and almost new.

    I think I'm gonna try to bend the metal on the rudder head and flatten it out. Maybe just blocks of wood on each side and some good wacks with a hammer.
     
  9. Braecrest

    Braecrest Member

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    There are very few problems in this world which cannot be solve by the porper application of either a hammer or high explosives...
     
  10. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    Turns out that the proper tool was some big vice grips. Just bent the edges of the rudderhead flat again, fits perfectly now. Still has a bit of movement up and down, but I'm not gonna worry about that for now until I get a sail in and see how it goes.
     
  11. capn_billl

    capn_billl New Member

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    Ow. I've seen several lasers sailing in my area, the top 5 foot of the sail was algea green.

    So far I have only capsized once. I just read in a west marine catalog about a boomvang upgrade pulley recommended to prevent the "laser death roll" from an under trimmed sail on a broad reach? Can anyone shed some light on this? I was going downwind on a broad reach, when unexectedly the boat suddenly rolled to windward. Any other gotcha's???
     
  12. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    So I got my first sail (post college) in this weekend. It's been about 5 years since I last sailed a Laser in high school, and that was with the old controls and much less knowledge.

    Winds were about 0-15, no joke. It was much gustier than I remember, even for a lake. I was sailing in a cove and the wind was mostly off the land, so that was making it squirrely.

    I was slow, my tacks and jibes were horrible at first and just bad by the end of my couple hours. I capsized a few times. Once I managed to get halfway over the gunwale, but then the boat started to turtle and I fell between the boom and the boat (somehow wrapping myself in the mainsheet on the way)

    I think two of the capsizes (it was all a blur) were to windward on a beat. I'd be hiked pretty far, the wind would just dissapear, and I couldn't get in the boat quick enough. Besides learning to watch the water better for wind to anticipate the lulls, how do you avoid these?

    I was also getting my PFD caught on the boom during tacks and jibes (as was another poster). I could avoid it but I basically had to get both knees into the cockpit straddling the hiking strap and then bend all the way over. I had a drysuit on, so this may have been part of the problem. The PFD is some Extrasport with really skinny shoulder things (it's also annoying because it rides up when you're in the water and tries to drown you).

    I also ended up with my mainsheet caught on the transom which caused at least one of my capsizes. The boat ends up heading up much faster than you expect. I've read a few ways to avoid this but what do you guys do? Sheet in before a jibe like you would on a big boat?

    My telltales also ended up stuck to my sail like glue. They're yarn that came with the sail from Intensity. Should I get some magnetic tape or something else?
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Last summer when packing my sailing gear I somehow missed out my PFD and rather than not sail, the club had some old discarded ones around and I borrowed one and had loads of problems getting it caught on the boom. Maybe it will just take some time to get used to it or maybe if it is riding up on you it is not well suited to Lasers.


    When gybing as the boom starts across I give a full arm length pull in on the mainsheet (i.e. arm from inboard to right out over my shoulder). Then, as the boom comes across so I grab the mainsheet section running under the boom and give that a pull. all this pulling is when the sail is already moving so you are not pulling against load, just taking in slack. Also, when you can, roll gybing helps a lot (so the mainsheet is well clear of the water and drops across.

    I imagine everybody has different tricks that work so I'll be reading what others say to help me improve my own technique (and it does need improving - a lot). The other time I have problem with mainsheet round transom is before starting when slowly tacking round e.g. reach to beat through tack and back down onto a reach, all done slowly and without bothering to take mainsheet slack in - ends up round transom but then you have time to sort it out.

    I have wool on one sail and light nylon proper ones on another sail and once they get wet they stop working. Do you have a wind indicator (bow, gooseneck or top of sail) as I find they also help. I tend to use telltales more when beating and wind indicator(s) more as one moves round to a run.

    (I am no expert so am just recounting what I do and not advising it as the correct/best way).

    Ian
     
  14. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    Sounds like your buoyancy aid isn't a great design for laser sailing. Try wearing a lycra bib over the top to hold it in place and stop it catching on anything - cheaper than buying a new BA. I hate sailing without a bib and my BA is designed for the job. Attached pic isn't the clearest for showing a bib but hopefully you can see what I mean (grey bib over black waterproof and black BA)

    There are lots of videos on youtube or the boat whisperer DVD's have lots of gybing footage and tips. If its catching you need to roll the boat and flick the mainsheet - video is much better way of demonstrating so you'll understand. link is the first video that came up in youtube for me, lots more out there.

    You can spray your telltales with lube spray and this stops them sticking so much. As you get better you'll capsize less anyway so will be less of a problem.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    Also forgot about the Caberete advanced laser handling DVD which is really good.
     
  16. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    If your PFD is riding up in the water it is either not snugged down enough or it is not properly fitted. To see if it is properly fitted, while on land, adjust it to a snug but comfortable fit, including any adjustment slides on the shoulders. Then have a friend grab the life jacket on top of the shoulders and pull up. If it moves up to your ears, get a different one. Mine has the bulk of the flotation in the front so there's a nice low profile in the back, making it less likely to catch on the boom.

    In squirrelly conditions, bear away with tiller and release the sail a foot or more, while you are leaping in.
     
  17. capn_billl

    capn_billl New Member

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    I had the same problem with the PFD catching the boom. I switched it out for one of the form fitting ones the skiiers use. It fits like a thick wet suit. Minimal buoyancy, but it'll float you long enough to get back on the boat. And it doesn't have anything sticking out to catch on anything.
     
  18. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    Turns out my PFD isn't a sailing one, but a kayaking one. I found it on the Extrasport website. It's a Riptide, which they say is for kayaking.

    I bought it with the boat, guy sold it to me for $30. Seemed good considering it's $125 new.

    [​IMG]

    It looks similar to their sailing ones, such as the Eddy (below).

    [​IMG]


    Maybe I just need to snug it down more. It looks like the torso is cut really low on the one I have, which allows it to ride up. Looks like the sailing one fits closer to the armpits to prevent it from coming up.

    I also have a waterskiing vest, it's pretty bulky but the back is flat and smooth. Maybe I'll try that.
     
  19. Pedal-Force

    Pedal-Force Member

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    Just a heads up to people, but I noticed yesterday that my bowlines in the end of my control lines had come undone by the end of the day. I think it's just that the rope is so slippery and skinny.

    I've gone with double bowlines on these lines now and I'm thinking that should be secure enough. For lines under tension such as the outhaul or cunningham lines in the rigging I don't think it's a concern. It's just when they're not tensioned that they have problems.

    I also put a double bowline in the vang line where it connects to the becket since that was working lose (it had a knot I'm not familiar with in it).
     
  20. Teem

    Teem New Member

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    Nearly my first sail, as I have about eight hours on the Laser on a puddle here in the desert, half of which had my kids at the helm. We made a short tiller so one could sit on the stern deck and steer, I was in the cockpit, and another on the bow in front of the mast. So I saw a high wind forecast yesterday and went out with just my 11 year old sitting on the bow. We'd already had some low speed capsizes on light wind days so I was not too worried. But yesterday gusts hit 20 mph, according to the onsite marina. We had no problem upwind, as I could cautiously start to luff using either the rudder or letting the sheet out if things got too exciting. I quickly began to understand much of what I had read about sailing. I did hit nirvana when moderately heeling and hiking, but pivoting at the hips to keep it all together, like doing slalom on a skateboard. But hold cow downwind was rock and roll and we dumped in twice with some violence. Once we could not get the boat back up as the sail was like an upside down parachute full of water, so I reached in and sheeted it in to spill it out, but as we got it up had to let the sheet out right away to keep it up, and when I righted the boat I got it nose to windward before trying to get in.

    Back on the dock, when I saw another guy hustling downwind I realized I should have completely released the vang, which is not possible on the old rigging once the boom is way out there. Luckily, we had spent a lot of those first 8 hours practicing tight quarters maneouvres, where I eventually learned that if you breeze closely along the dock on a broad reach, the sheet will catch the cleat every time. For some reason my mainsheet was very short, had no knot, and it pulled through the first time it hit the dock and left us there, but the second time it whipped through the dock cleat so fast it wrapped tight around itself and we went from 5 mph to zero pretty quick. I told the kids that's how to use a tailhook to make a proper landing, just like apparently out-of-control planes do at sea. That's why, in a devastating (to us) wind, I knew just enough to make a beeline for the dock and perform a horrendously inefficient tack just before colliding. My son reached out during our perfect stall and grabbed the dock cleat. I swore I could hear applause but when I looked up there was no one there.

    I now know why I need to know how to depower the sail, and that the hiking strap is not just a mini hammock.
     

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