Downwind technique 20kt

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by pugwash, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Have to agree. Reading that post I had a vision of a guy just sitting in the boat dead still and plowing through waves filling up the cockpit with water.
     
  2. Krycek

    Krycek Member

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    Yea... cleating the mainsheet terrifies me. A lot of guys in my YC do it with success but to me it seem to add only one more step to a sometimes hairy moment.

    Also, when it comes to draft in the sail you never want the maximum point of draft past the mast. I ease my downhaul and outhaul as I round the mark and try to keep the draft of my sail between 1/3 and 1/2 way back from the mast. That seems to decrease the tendency of the boat to "death roll." Also, boom tends to stay between 80 and 85 degrees. At 90 degrees I've noticed that I get some additional turbulance without an increase in speed.

    I tend to keep some vang on. The leech tesion seems to help... esp when your sailing by the lee.

    And for god sakes!!!!! Play the centerboard!!!!!!!

    Most important fact of laser downwind sailing in 20+ knots is that upright is faster than upside down!!!!
     
  3. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    When its blowing a gale for the downwind I want my cunningham off, my kicker off (if I'm being a wimp I leave a tiny bit on and make sure I ease it before I gybe). I won't touch the outhaul - if its that windy you don't need to ease it when you bear off, you'll still fly. Board is pretty much left alone, I may raise it a touch but never a lot. Coaches go on about the board all the time but its the last thing you actually need to worry about I think.

    As for cleating the main - are you serious?? That is asking for trouble, even when it is blowing a gale you should still be playing the main to help you steer through the waves. Cleating it is asking for a swim.
     
  4. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    I actually know a guy who does cleat his main downwind. I believe he cleats it at the point of 90 degrees, probably a little bit more to allow for some play. This serves as a marker for him, and he is still able to play the sheet fine downwind. I guess the cleating would also serve as protection against dropping the main sheet when going downwind in breeze, which can often be disastrous.
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I put a figure 8 knot in my sheet that will let the sail out a few degrees past 90. Then I take the tail end and tie it to the back of the hiking strap. Can't loose track of my main sheet.
     
  6. madyottie

    madyottie Apprentice

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    I think most people would agree on the following for big downwind stuff (and even if they dont, its my 2c worth!)....

    Board up until it's just below the boom (just incase i do the accidental gybe, although I never have) (yet!)
    Cunningham (dh) right off (helps to keep the mast stiffer by reducing the compression - keeps the leech straighter)
    Outhaul eased a bit (if i remember before the top mark, otherwise left alone)
    Vang/kicker right off in waves, slightly tighter if flat water (helps to keep the boom out of the water)

    Play the waves both broadreaching and BTL, according to the waves.
    Try to avoid using the rudder to do the transitions as it slows the boat and loads up the rig - do it by heeling to windward (to bear off) or leeward (to head up).

    and play the mainsheet! those little cleats are really only useful to hold the sheet on the beats while you get the rest of it untied from your ankles! aside from that, try to avoid using them!
     
  7. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Ummmm...I disagree:eek:
     
  8. whirlwind2

    whirlwind2 New Member

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    I think it is better to tighten the vang when going through chop so that when the leech pops it is like an "auto pump" and isn't just spilling air from your sail. The vang should never be so tight that it catches in the water.
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Disagree on the board position for BIG breeze. It provides stability and direction. With it up as high as you are mentioning there is NONE of it under the boat and in the water. You'll roll right over to weather in the first wave or puff you get. In big breeze you need some board down while off the breeze.

    Also, disagree with no rudder movement when sailing downwind in BIG breeze, (big breeeze is the topic here). If you are making aggressive body movements to roll the boat to weather to drive a down turn you're gonna roll it right on top of you.

    Smaller breeze these things are good, but in 20+ you're gonna spend more time upside down than right side up.
     
  10. crazysailor

    crazysailor New Member

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    This is straight from olympic gold medalist ben ainsley so you know this is quality information.

    1) Weight as far back in the boat as far as possible to prevent nose-diving

    2) Dagger board down

    3) basically just hold on. if the boat is planning just head straight for the mark sheet in and reach.

    From my own personal experience:
    if the boat starts rolling sheet in and head up QUICKLY!!! Dagger board down if the boat is planning, if the boat isn't pull up the board and head up. I always release the vang all the way (just above 90 degrees) because if the vang is on it hooks in the leech of the sail and keeps alot of power in the sail. mostly just keep on practicing and you will eventually get comfortable in those conditions.
     
  11. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I agree with all 3 points particularly if you weigh under 170 lbs as he does. For the heavier sailors I feel you should have just a bit of board up, (about 1/4) especially when you have to jibe.

    From recent/last weekend personal experience and from watching the "Boat Whisperer" CD I feel that when you begin to roll to weather you should bear away and sheet in a touch to stop the roll.
    If you head up during the roll it will become more unstable, be more likely to flip and if you do successfully head up you are still going to need to get back down to get on course and that will be harder to do and mean you will have to sail even lower and/or jibe more than you may want or need to.

    In addition, you should have some vang on. If your received the last "Laser Sailor" Anna, (our recent gold medal winner) did a little piece about vang tension when sailing DW. In breeze too little vang will cause the boat to be unstable and roll. So, when the breeze comes up put a little more vang on when going DW.
     
  12. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Wait a minute Rob...

    "if you weigh under 170 lbs as he does"

    Ben Ainsley? Really?

    Sailing a Finn at 170 lbs?

    I'm not disagreeing at all, but seriously?
     
  13. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Yikes! You are correct. I recently saw that Ben put on 30 lbs for the Finn. I thought the quote was from Paul Goodson. However, the last time Ben was sailing the Laser I think he was around 170 lbs.
     
  14. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Haha I was gonna say. He would be fast in the light stuff though, no doubt about that.
     
  15. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    When everybody talks about the sail at 90 degrees do they mean the boom or the most forward part of the sail or something between the two ?

    Ian
     
  16. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Boom at 90 degrees
     

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