Back in the box: Kinetics Again

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by gouvernail, Oct 12, 2005.

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Read the post below first then choose:

  1. Yes, I agree with Fred.

    45.0%
  2. No, I do not agree with Fred.

    55.0%
  1. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    In another thread I suggested we should let sailors sail without rule 42 whenever planing conditions exist.

    I was reminded by another poster of the usual poo poos about the Mistral class pumparamas, the fear of conditioning overwhelming all other factors, and the chance the winds could die in the middle of a free for all race.


    Did I ever NOT want to set off another discussion of the pros and cons of kinetics.
    1. Mistrals took the pumping to the absurd level and when nobody fixed the rules, the sport was damaged.
    2. I do not believe for a minute that conditioning is less than huge in big breeze already. When the wind blows, I think we already line up according to condition with a size factor mixing the results.
    3. If the wind drops below the whitecap level, the committee could simply raise a flag reinstituting the kinetics rules at any mark or abandon.

    My opinion about rules in general:
    We should constantly seek out the best ways to play the game. We should not assume that every rule or game change means the previous game is forever abandoned and the new game is forever accepted as the norm.

    So finally...returning to removing the kinetics rules in planing conditions. I would LOVE to see a midwinter championship sailed with a plan:
    Iff there is a predicted day of wind where there will likely be planing and surfing conditions for the entire day.
    Iff there are competent judges available for the races which will be sailed with the kinetics rules in effect.
    Iff competitoirs will be able to throw out at least one race.

    I would like to see two or four races sailed in that breeze such that half of those races are without the kinetics rules.

    My hunch: The competitors will finish in the exact same order and the competitors will find the sailing more fun in the kinetics rules free races.

    Also: I would not be surprised if some younger and less skilled big strong sailors break parts of their boats and/or tire themselvesmore than usual. That is a test of skill. Boat busters fail boat care skills tests.

    Also: Most of us would sail about the same as we always do because after the first 100 yards we are just sailing around the course and sort of hiking about as hard as we have the energy to hike. Pump constantly? With what for energy? Would an old fat fart catch an occasional wave because he used three pumps? Yes. Would some skinny kid jump on the same wave without even pumping once? Yes. Would the kid pass eventually anyway? Would the old fart get tired? What do you think?

    My opinion: I like surfing down waves. I am not all that good at it and sometimes it takes me nine or ten pumps to catch a wave. Once on the wave it often takes an occasional pump to hold my fun surf ride. I hate the part of racing that says I must just sink down in the water and watch a fun wave roll past. In marginal planing conditions, were I not so damn competitive, it would be more fun just to leave the race course and go for a fun ride.

    My opinion is the kinetics rules make it such that the sailors who are EXACTLY the right size have a huge advantage. Those sailors can ride their craft at full performance. The rest of the sailors are not allowed to PUSH their boats around the course. They are required to just go more slowly and hope their skills are sufficiently BETTER than the right sized sailors such that they can compete despite the handicap.



    Every rule does not have to be written for the olympics and world championships.
    Every rule must not be written to allow the least common denominator a chance.
    I think once the wind picks up, kinetics rules free sailing would be a lot more fun for most sailors most of the time.
    The purpose of this thread is to find out if anybody disagrees with me and why. If there are people who think differently about this subject, I need to be educated. As you can see by what I wrote already, I just don't understand. Help me!!
     
  2. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    About the poll above. Great! I didn't put the poll in there but I like it. But a poll is only as good as the question posed.

    I propose the answers mean:


    Agree with Fred:
    Yes. I think we should consider the rules to be a living document for a living game among living thinking people. We ought to continue to experiment with the rules and possibly even schedule a few test races with other rules in effect. There is the distinct possibility we will find the current rules to be the best we can invent, but I still probably need to be convinced by some real time tests.

    Disagree with Fred:
    Starboard, leeward, tack, gybe, ooch, rock and pump are simple and defined. They are all 100% obvious and clear. The rules should be written once and for all and written in stone. I like the kinetics rules exactly as they are. We should use them as is and I never want to be bothered by considerations of change. In the words of Barney Fife, "We have to nip it. Nip it in the bud."
     
  3. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    Fred;

    as you say, Mistrals took pumping to an absurd level. Problem is, there's nothing in your proposal that stops sailors from taking Laser pumping to the same absurd levels once the wind reaches whitecapping stage. Top sailors are already reaching their aerobic limits upwind in a breeze according to (Dr and Olympic medallist) Michael Blackburn who is the expert in this AFAIK. Add pumping and it will only became vastly more strenous upwind AND down.

    You also say "boat busters fails skills tests". For a start it can't be true, as AFAIK even the best bust Laser spars on occasion. Secondly, the strains put on gear by pumping are far higher than the strains of normal sailing. Of course the only way to find the limits is by reaching them. The only way (with new developments) you can learn the skill of going almost past the limits is by going past there. So many sailors will break their spars while trying to explore the limits of pumping.

    I dunno about you, but I feel sorry for the guys who will either bust spars or potentially lose a regatta while they take part in your experiment. And that's the answer to Gouvernail's point about not making experiments. We shouldn't take those experiments that will stuff up other people's boats and their regattas, for very little benefit.

    Why is there very little benefit? Because what we learn from one trial regatta has NO bearing on what will happen if pumping is allowed. Experience in Raceboard/Mistral class proved that. When we allowed pumping, we did not realise how far it would lead. The same will apply in Lasers. The sort of pumping that would be used in a trial regatta will bear no comparison to the amount of pumping that Robert etc will do when they have had a few years to push pumping beyond limits you haven't dreamed of.
     
  4. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Consistency of expression means you have to remain as stupid as you were the last time you expressed yourself.

    It is time to modify my position.

    Cool.. Somebody finally made some comments and caused me to think about my proposal. After reading those thoughts, my original ideas need some tweaking.

    Here we go:

    How do we hurt Lasers with kinetics?

    Rocking? Maybe we need to prohibit rocking, period, even in proposed theoretical test races.. Rocking by flexing the more powerful sets of legs could whip top sections. The very strongest could develop a feel for the line between breakage and speed and they could sail at top speed. Those who would be strong enough and rocking as hard as they could would regularly break their boats. Those who were less strong would simply sail more slowly.
    Muscle would probably be a larger factor than it is already.
    Most of the time it is fun to sail against those who are not as strong as except for 15 to 18 they are usually in front of me.
    Fun matters a lot. I no longer propose that we have unlimited rocking.

    How does a person break a Laser by pumping?
    There is no way to pump to advantage on a beat.
    On a downwind leg, all pumping involves is pulling on the mainsheet. How can you hurt your boat by pumping unless you add a violent rock?
    If we modify the open kinetics races to allow just pumping and ooching, do we protect our friends from self hurt and save the boats?

    Ooching? Give me a break. There is no way you can bust a Laser by ooching.

    So...Back to the test race theory / proposal. If we allow sailors to yank on their main sheets extra times to go down the faces of waves, or make it over them or whatever. If we do not allow a corresponding slam rock whip of the mast, I simply cannot see the harm. I absolutely cannot see the "limit of aerobics" being any more tested by adding pumping. Currently the rules on reaches and runs allow sitting in your boat and steering. If that is an aerobic activity for our sailors, I suggest they try walking and chewing gum.

    Does my modification of the proposal gain any supporters?

    Or more education about how I am clueless?
     
  5. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    I think you'll find that theorists from Marchaj to Bethwaite say it IS possible to pump on a beat. Certainly it is in boards, and as a similar proposal has gone around another class I sail, I went out and confirmed (to my own satisfaction anyway) that it's possible in singlehanders in conjunction with rocking. Can't see much reason why you can't pump without rocking.

    Pumping downwind can push the limits of fitness. Try hauling the mainsheet in as fast and hard as you can in 20 knots, then dumping it instantly. Experience from boards indicates that the faster and harder you can sheet in, the faster you go. This is dependent on fitness.

    If you can find a top-level Laser sailor who just sits and steers, I'll be interested to meet them. All the ones I know are moving continually to roll the boat, shift back and forth, trim, and pump legally.

    Pumping is faster. It is in boards. But it has lead to a dramatic reduction in fleet size, and since Lasers are not very fast no matter what, they're just not a boat where speed really matters anyway.

    I'm curious - have you sailed a class with unrestricted pumping?

    I know from personal experience there's a lot more pain, fewer tactics, inferior racing and less fun at 5th nationally in a pumping class (Mistrals) than there is at 10th nationally in Lasers.

    Can you give me some more information how I'm clueless?
     
  6. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    I don't know that you share my level of clueless but I am curious how any new and currently not legal pump up wind could do much good in a blow.
    If you are not overpowered I think letting out the main would just let you lose some ground to leeward.
    If you are overpowered, the difference between pumping constantly and easing and trimming to keep the boat level and driving through the waves is rather hard for me to separate and define Ithink in the overpowered conditions, most of us trim and ease as often and as effectively as we can. Is that pumping? I sure hope not.
    Unless you yank the mast to weather, which would be rocking and illegal under my revised thoughts, I just don't see how letting the sail out and yanking it in could do much good..

    Sailboard comparisons on beats aren't really fair here as part of trimming the sailboard sail is a lean back and yank of the mast to weather. That weather movement IS effective on a board with a flexible mast step but the only way to bring the Laser mast to weather would be to rock.

    Downwind, the huge pump can often bring a surge of speed but, the payback comes when the sail is eased again. On a Laser I think the fastest sailing on a run would come from occasional short burst style trims. Those trims would be used to break over a wave, accelerate just enough to hold a dying ride or something like that.
    Currently rules say we cannot pump to PROLONG a plane. The only time we can pump is to make the boat start planing and only when planing conditions exist. If you pump to plane and fail a couple times and nobody else planes...you are out.
    If you are a big guy who on any similar wave loses his plane ride sooner than a little guy the rules say you may not compensate with your muscle and try to keep up.
    My theory is that bigger guys who can pull harder and more often will still not be able to pull hard enough or often enough to entirely make up for the advantage held by just being the right size for the conditions.
    My "I wish it is so" theory is that the big guys will lose less ground on reaches and runs and the game will be more fair between those who are too big and those who are the right size. If I am right, the game (defined by the number of people who can play at full speed) gets bigger. If I am wrong, we still have the old rules.
    Now...I MAY be ignoring those who are too small to compete on Lasers. That accusation may be true. Also, the smaller fellows and fellowettes have Radials. Radials are supposed to be for competitors under 165 lbs ( 75 kilo)
    Currently Lasers are targeting the remainder of sailors who are above 165 lbs.
    Ideal Laser weight is only 175 lbs or 80 kilos. Larger sailors are disadvantaged unless those larger sailors can use some of that size to make up for the extra displacement.
    I don't believe bigger guys can make up for all of their extra pounds but under the current kinetic rules, the big guy sailing equally perfectly downwind has to just sit and watch the little guy go by.
    Maybe letting big guys pull with that extra muscle is not the solution. Perhaps Laser sailing at the top level will always be restricted to the 80 kilo sailor and the very tall.
    I don't believe it should be restricted by rules which could possibly be inmproved.

    Maybe we can try things and come up with a way to expand the competitive sailing weight range.

    THis thread was started as a branch off because my initial thread's intent was misunderstood. I believe I will try again with a new title.

    WQhat I really want to work on : How do we increase the probability that more of us can arrive at the finish line side by side and wondering who beat who?.
     
  7. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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  8. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Member

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    I call it body pumping. And the judges at the Masters US Nationals did flag at least one sailor for exactly this.
     
  9. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Guys?? The discussion doesn't work well if we ignore each other and just keep disagreeing.

    A few posts back HECS made a point that sailors would muscle the rigs and break them. he also suggested the muscle game would possibly displace the sailing as in Mistrals and that muscling the boats could break the masts.

    I decided to AGREE that rocking should probably remain illegal even if we allow all other kinetics.

    Crunching your abs while sailing upwind is NOT pumping or ooching. Crunching the abs would simply rock the boat to weather.

    Rocking the boat to weather without trimming the sail is not pumping as pumping involves trimming the sail.

    So...I am back to my original question from my still clueless self.

    OK I modified the question a few posts back by removing rocking from the allowed stuff.

    Why not open the kinetics ( while still not allowing rocking) in breeze where sailors can plane?

    I maintain it would widen the competitive weight range and make sailing more fun for many of usif not all of us.

    Note: For ppurposes of this discussion, if you think the opening would work locally or even nationally but not at the worlds or Olympics...say so. Also, if you believe it would improve sailing in the games where super trained and coached fanatics do not normally participate...say that too.
     
  10. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    I regret to say I'll have to keep on disagreeing.

    Although I've tried pumping etc before, I tried it again on Friday to refresh my memory. I found I could pump the main in while keeping the boat level by bouncing into a flatter hike. The boat stayed steady so I wasn't rocking (because the extra hiking compensated for the pump), but I think even in 10 knots it would have been a fair bit faster than normal sailing. It was also harder work. It would also require a lot more practise than normal sailing and therefore open up the gaps between weekenders, part-timers and Olympians.

    So at my club fleet it would open up the gap (already large) between #1 (who is heaviest in fleet by about 20lbs+) and the rest of the pack.

    At district level in the Masters we already have to race a 3 time world champ and a member of the 2004 Olympics team and even downwind in light airs their 5- 13kg lighter weight (against my current weight) seems to make very little/no difference. The Olympian won our last championship because she was sailing better. A fairly heavy sailor was 2nd in division, just a couple of lengths behind in 12 knots or so. I don't know what pumping would do.

    At district level open we have to race against an Olympian and world champ and they'd win by even further due to superior fitness.

    When you allow pumping at the start, the top sailors get an even bigger advantage because pumping throws vastly more dirty air on those in the second row. Again, those who train hard benefit more which means the fleet opens up.

    I also sail Windsurfer One Designs, the Mk 2 version of the original windsurfer. We are allowed to pump downwind for 30s after the start, and downwind at all times. I'm probably the hardest pumper nationally in my division.

    In the Windsurfer class, pumping does close the gap from mediumweights like me to the lightweights (although in championships we have weight divisions so it's irrelevant) BUT it opens up the gaps generally in the fleet. Pumping is quite hard to master and the less experienced sailors get left behind, especially at the start when getting through bad air of the pumpers is extremely hard. The effort of pumping is not too bad in the heat of battle, but the training is nasty. It is nice to get the extra speed downwind in a breeze, and we sail hotter angles which opens up the tactics. However, the tactical dimension is reduced overall, because the better pumpers can just stay with the pack upwind and pump away downwind to a nice position.

    It suits me in that it may improve my results, but I don't think it's all that good for the class. However, a recent vote did decide to keep to the current system rather than choose a range of other options.

    I think sailing's #1 problem is the gap from winners to mid-fleet and (even worse) from mid-fleet to beginners, and pumping opens it even wider.
     
  11. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I'm with HECS. opening up rule 42 is no way to help a fleet sail closer together. Actually, it will increase the spread between the great sailors and average guys. Pumping, rocking, ooching, (whatever your personal definition is of an act) should remain in the 42 box and out of our competition.
     
  12. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Member

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    I agree with HECS and Rob. Let's keep this is one game with one set of rules.
     
  13. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Sounds like HECS has a great fleet. That bunch would be a fun race anytime.

    HECS does a great job of describing the worst case scenario. His description may be true. My hunch has always been the kinetics rules have little or no effect on finishing position. A accept the hypothesis that the fleet would be further split by a permanent inclusion of unbridled kinetics. I still would rather do the tests because I believe the current kinetics rules make laser sailing generally less fun.
    My example remains: You are riding down a big wave and start to slow and lose your plane. The next wave will catch you if you don't do something. The current rules say you cannot lean in a bit, lean back a bit and pull slightly on your mainsheet.
    The sales pitch remains. If you let people do that the next thing you know Laser sailing will be just a pumping match.
    So in fear of the musclemonster we don't let anybody do that move and everybody has less fun.( This assumes planing is fun and staying on plane sometimes requires a pump or rock and that many of us could pump or rock a bit from time to time and have more fun as a reault.)

    I hate rules that protect us from extremists by ruining things for all of us.

    ( It annoys me that I must have car keys just because some bozos can't understand they are not allowed to use other folks cars without permission but I digress)

    Maybe the rules are necessary and maybe they are the best they can be.
    Maybe there is some better way to play than the status quo.

    Perhaps HECS is totally correct, at the local level, the fleet spread is already huge. The introduction of more physical effort may drive away more sailors than it brings to the local game.

    Last...
    Then there is the OLympics. If Laser sailing is an athletic contest, I believe the kinetics rules should be removed at the very top level so the very best sailor athletes could clobber those who are only sailors
     
  14. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Last...
    Then there is the OLympics. If Laser sailing is an athletic contest, I believe the kinetics rules should be removed at the very top level so the very best sailor athletes could clobber those who are only sailors[/QUOTE]

    You are terribly misguided here. How many Regional or National events have you sailed in? How many times have you sailed in big breeze w/waves? News flash....Laser sailing IS very physical even w/out kenitics. The top sailors also happen to be the sailors in the best shape. These folks spend hours in the gym to be strong and stay under 180 lbs. With open kenitics they would only be that much further ahead. There are fine physical points to making the laser go fast just ask Robert Scheidt, (sp?). Perhaps with a little more exposure to higher level events/sailors you will realize this. You keep talking about downwind pumping. The class has literally driven around the 42 issues on the leg of the course by using the "Z steering" technique. If anyone other than the Gov here disagrees with me and thinks he has a valid point PLEASE speak up. I would be interested to know.
     
  15. fishingmickey

    fishingmickey Member

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    Hello Rob,
    Being aquainted with "The Gov", I've seen him do very well in several regional and national regatta's and he lives for heavy air and big waves.
    Having only been Laser sailing/racing for the last 2+ years now. I'm also a heavyweight (6'1" 225lbs) for the Laser like Gov is and I can understand the need for an extra pump or ooch to keep the boat on a plane in marginal planing conditions to stay competitive. It's very frustrating to not be able to keep on plane when a lighterweight sailor that you happened be ahead of sailing upwind on a W/L course flys by on a plane downwind and leaves you in the dust. I wish I could get in more boat time and get my weight down to under 200 lbs, but unfortunately I work for a living and like to eat good food and drink the occasional suds.
    The other side of the coin is I am probably one of the most avid Laser'ers in the D15 fleet (State of Texas) and will continue to do my best to improve and hopefully continue to rise in the fleet. My first year was nothing but DFL sometimes even a leg behind, this year has been much better with some good mid-fleet finishes. All I can do is hope for some big breeze where I can fully hike and "work" the boat within the rule 42 guidelines.
    That said, the D15 fleet has some seriously top notch sailors and I will continue to do my best to catch'em every race I'm in while staying within the rules. I've seen plenty of younger faster sailors rocking (easy to see from behind) whilst going downwind and not even atempting to conceal obvious rule 42 violations.
    Being a heavy weight it takes longer to acclerate the boat to full speed and motor boat chop is a killer for me. I've seen the top notch sailors roll tack the boat and accelerate out of a tack in light air which is a rule 42 violation but has never been called or flagged for that. It is considered good technique and damn near mandatory to compete in regional level or national level regatta's.
    I'm new to this game and still have a bunch to learn regarding tactics and and boat handling techniques
    There is a need for getting more sailors into Laser sailing and I do the best I can to help promote Laser sailing here in Texas and try to generate more interest in Lasering. So if not pushing or amending the rule 42 issue's helps generate more participation in Laser sailing I'm all for it.
    Best regards,
    Fishingmickey
    150087/181157
     
  16. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I lived in Dallas for 6 years before recently moving to the east coast. I know Texas is "eat up" with talented sailors and Mr. Schroth, (sp?) is one of them. I had the opportunity to sail in one Laser event at RCYC prior to moving. I sailed against Doug P who is smaller, but pretty much sits rock steady in his boat while sailing. I have also compeated over the years against Mr. Faust and some of the other talanted laser sailors in other classes like the JY and J22. So, now understanding it was Fred that started this thread I'm surprised. Fred, (like me) is a heavy weight, but he motors upwind in breeze and yes we do suffer off the wind against the smaller guys, but we do get that one pump per wave and we can drive the downwind waves to help some. I have not seen many cheaters on the water. A little at local events, but at the US Champs in April I thought the sailing was very clean, (I had a great position to watch a lot of the fleet, :-( with the exception of crowded mark roundings. I guess rule 42 can be compared to gun control or abortion. It's about as controversial a topic we'll see in our class and there are strong feelings on both sides of the issue. I say if you see cheaters call them out right then and there. I have and it helps, (no I don't go to the protest room, but a friendly reminder on the water followed up with an onshore conversation helps a lot). Anyway, where I've moved to we had about 4-5 active club lasers just over a year ago and now we are at 10 and still growing. We are also all older guys, (AP's on up). We do have one club/beater/loaner boat that is available for use and I know we got one new boat member as a result of the loaner boat. We talk it up a lot a have a couple of good little club rivilaries to keep it interesting on the water. Sailing as a whole is down. I don't know what the key is to make it grow I just know we are trying our best to get our little corner of the world into lasers.
     
  17. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Thanks to everybody who has written or just read all or even a lot of the above.
    Like all kinetics discussions it is long and unfortunatly, it seems to be rather fruitless.
    Those of us who are writing are becoming frustrated and those who are just reading are probably growing sick of the banter.
    Thanks for trying.
     
  18. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I looked at the names of the folks that voted in the poll above. I find it interesting that those of us opposing allowing kenetics seem to be more vocal on the topic than those voting to allow it. The votes are close. I would be interested to hear/read from those that would like to see it other than just Fred.
     
  19. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    I have a few anecdotes that might be worth repeating....

    1) At the 2002 Laser Worlds in Hyannis the members of the ILCA Events Committee held a competitor's meeting with all the top names in Laser sailing in attendance. There was a fair debate on Rule 42 (as it was implemented then) which paralleled this discussion, a small group advocating a "flag rule" and a small group for the status quo and a large but silent group watching. The debate raged for some time until Robert Scheidt himself stood up and said he was opposed to the flag rule because he felt it would make the boat much more physical than it already is and would, ultimately, be bad for the class. The statement was amazing, the meeting essentially ended right then.

    2) About a month ago the St Francis Yacth Club hosted the first RS-X board event in the world (I'm told). I was out sailing my Laser, afterwards I ran into Mark Mendelblatt (2nd at the 2004 Laser Worlds, US Olympic rep in Athens in 2004) who had been sailing in that event. I asked him if he was going to make a go of the RS-X for the Olympics and he said something like "no way, you have to be way too strong to sail these things!"

    3) At the O'Day finals in Long Beach this past summer, Peter Wells (2004 US Olympic Rep in the Mistral) was guest coach the day before racing started. At a post sailing debrief he talked a little about his training program for the Olympics and, while I don't recall the exact numbers, I was struck by the nearly 2 (or 3?) to 1 ratio of time spent in the gym to time spent sailing required to get to that level. And Peter's comment was that the limiting factor in the Olympics was level of fitness, not sailing ability.


    Probably the Hyannis episode has influenced me more than anything else... it is a bit scary if the greatest Laser sailor ever thinks a flag rule would make the boat "too physical..."

    Tracy
     
  20. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    OK So, Based upon speculation that a TOTAL and unbridled go for it flag would be bad...
    There is a vocal group who are absolutely against any attempt to try any opening of the kinetics rules in any situation under any circumstances and we are not even going to try ANY sort of opening of the rules in ANY fashion.

    We can improve the kinetics rules if we try hard enough and the game can be better for the effort.

    As this thread is becoming cumbersome to read...
    I shall start a new thread suggesting a trial rule...
     

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