pre-rigging for launch - how to prepare for dock type launch?

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by deeman, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. deeman

    deeman Member

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    I have a question about launching the laser at a public launch. I plan to use a fairly low use lake with about 8 launches, so I don't think there is a huge need for speed in terms of dumping the boat in the water to free up the dock for the next guy. I don't think there is a waiting line - I may be wrong. What is the general strategy for pre-rigging prior to dropping the boat in? The docks I plan to use are about 3-5 feet higher than the water.

    It seems like It would be best to get the sail / mast all rigged up in the rigging area and then install the rudder dagger once the boat is all the way in the water before pulling the trailer out. My only concern would be the boom spinning freely around with the wind and becoming a hazard.

    Any thoughts?

    I will post some pics in the next day or two on my Laser. I am hoping to maiden this weekend.
    Thanks as always!
     
  2. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    There are about as many opinions on this subject as there are noses on faces. (c: A lot depends on how much wind you have at launch. If it's breezy, then you can expect the boat to capsize if there is any restraint on the main sheet at all. So plan your positioning with the dock so a capsize won't put a hole in your sail. My dock is about a foot off the water, and very smooth, so I actually plan on the capsize as part of the launch on a windy day. The boat's mast lays over the dock, and I can rig it all in horizontal mode. Your dock is too high for that.

    A beach is *so* much easier. That being said, make sure you identify wind direction, and launch such that the boat will be downwind of the dock. Make sure the blades are not in the water and the main sheet is *very* loose. In any serious wind, you will have an issue with the boat wanting to blow off the trailer as soon as you get it halfway launched, if it's a 'normal' trailer with bunks. If it's a gunwale support trailer you might be better off. It's way easier to launch if you have help. Even some one to just catch the mast when it goes over is a big help.

    I put my hull in the water, then stick the mast/sail on, then tie on the boom, normally. That works, and if the boat capsizes I don't really care, as then it's stable and laying on it's side with the sail across the dock. On the beach it's the same.. who cares if it blows over.

    If you use a dolly I think a large part of these issues go away, but I don't have one so I improvise other solutions.
     
  3. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Rig up the sail, mast and control lines before you launch, but leave the clew untied while you back the boat into the water. This allows the sail to fly free without worrying about the boom hitting something or the boat flipping over. Attach the clew right before you sail off. This is a situation where the clew sleeve would be a BIG help.

    You can maybe go ahead and install the rudder and tiller, but make sure the rudder pivot bolt is tight and the rudder will stay up. After all, we all know how bad it is to have a loose nut on the tiller. Probably just as easy to wait to install the rudder until after the boat is in the water. Definitely do not stick the daggerboard in until you are ready to sail away.
     
  4. laser11

    laser11 Member

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    I always launch from a dock about 1 foot off the water. I rig fully except I leave the dagger board up and rudder up (but on). If there is a cross wind or i am launching into the wind (as long as it isn't too strong) if find as long as you have the mainsheet completely loose and you make sure to pick the bow up and point it into the wind as you push it off the dolly it will usually be okay and not capsize. Then its quick and easy to sail away instead of trying to hold yourself on the dock while attaching the clew (and all the other things you decide not to rig).
     
  5. sailin in Eire

    sailin in Eire Member

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    just have your boat facing head to wind and back or pull it in whichever is needed... you can rig all controls lines this way just watch the swinging boom
     
  6. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    Geeeze, why didn't I think of that :) Gotta be easier than what I go thru.
     
  7. deeman

    deeman Member

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    I agree - that seems to be the best option. I imagine I can even bungee the sail to the mast white dropping it in the water to prevent the sail from whipping around. Great suggestions from all - thanks!!!
     
  8. oztayls

    oztayls Member

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    Maybe a good way to deal with docks and slipways is to just rig the boat fully but don't thread the mainsheet through the ratchet block so that the sail can't catch the wind and cause problems when launching. This leaves the sail to move around freely, even forward of the mast. Kind of like the reverse process when you come in to shore with a strong wind behind you and you undo the stopper knot in your mainsheet to let the boom fly forward and then you just drift in. I've never done this, but it may work OK.
     
  9. harpo

    harpo Member

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    Attaching the clew with the boat in the water on a windy day can be a real head-banger. One variant I use a lot is to attach the sail to the boom, but only run the mainsheet to the end of the boom (up through the mainsheet block and along the boom, but not down to the traveler deck blocks) and leave the vang off the boom as well.

    Now the boom can swing freely 180+ degrees while you launch. Once the boat is in the water it's quick to run the mainsheet through the traveler blocks and tie a figure 8, then attach the vang.
     
  10. Lazzzerrr

    Lazzzerrr Member

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    All you need is a clew strap and a Harken clew hook with a block on it... Easy rigging easy derigging!!!
     
  11. deeman

    deeman Member

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    Only thought on this is that if the clew is not attached, then the boom will not stay in....correct? The clew / outhaul is the only thing that holds the boom onto the mast, right? Or do you just lay the boom on the deck until you secure the clew?
     
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  12. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    For me.....about the only thing I pre-rig is the main sheet running through the boom. (actually I leave it there all the time.)

    I launch the boat sans sail and gear. For one thing, the boat sits on the trailer higher than on the water so getting the mast seated is actually tougher. I assemble the rest of the items once tied up. Yeah, it's kinda a pain and I wish I was on a beach.
     
  13. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    The vang, if tightened, also helps to secure the boom to the mast. But to hook (or tie) the clew onto the boom, one has to release the vang to a reasonable extent. If I am not really careful, my boom will drop down onto the deck. :eek:
     
  14. deeman

    deeman Member

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    For the love of this board, I will share the highlights of my disasterous launch today. I have never sailed this lake before and the public launch area is in a smaller sized bay that's sorrounded by expensive houses. The wind was whipping about 12 knots (okay, not WHIPPING) and the wind blew right accross the end of the dock - so the wind was perpendicular to the dock. I rigged the sail onto the mast, lowered the mast in and tied a knot on the outhaul line while in the parking lot. I also had the clew tie down wrapped loosley around the boom. I had the vang on and slightly loose. Keep in mind my boat is a 74' with all the 74' old school gear.

    I only needed to secure the outhaul line through the clew then cleat it off and then tie the clew tie down around the boom. The main sheet was loose and run through all but the traveler blocks as mentioned here.

    I dropped the boat in the water, parked and came back to perform two simple tasks. I gotta tell you, I gave the people in the houses around the bay the best entertainment ever. As soon as I approached and tried to grab the sail it must have know and played hard to get while the boat spun wickedly in circles. Whenever I grabbed the clew the boat leaned, spun and twisted violently around. I felt like I was trying to hogtie a 800lb bull. The shore was lined with big boulders and the hull smacked them 3 or 4 times whenever I tried to run the outhaul through the clew. I got the outhaul through the clew twice and the boat became nasty and I had to let go. I always tired to stand in the downwind direction to do this work and the boat spun and, I think snorted (or laughed) as I tried to wrestle the thing. It smacked into the rocks again, nearly capsized 10 times and finally capsized. I was upset and embarrassed for about 2 seconds and realized the boat was not moving that much any more lying on its side. But with the hull exposed it became a small sail and the boat still tried spinning away from me and almost drifted out into the bay. I was hip deep in weeds, muck and rocks wrestling this thing. In the wresteling match I lost the clew tie down line - luckily I had a spare line in my fat bag / inspection port. Of course the Vang was limiting how much I could adjust the outhaul and of course it was really loose. I put the centerboard in and noticed one of the clip hooks had somehow come off, so in desperation I just did a double knot with the bungee around the mast.

    So, boat banged on rocks, lost clew tie down, lost centerboard clip, soaking wet and exhausted I flipped the boat over and jumped on before she took off on a run out to the lake. What an experience!!! I always try to stay positive and I learned from the experience that, as mentioned here, a self induced capsize is not all that bad. I am just glad it was not November. I was able to get everything done that I need to. I really don't know how wicked the boom would have been whipping around if I did secure the outhaul and clew on land. I don't suspect it would have been pretty.
     
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  15. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    Hey Deeman...everyone has been there....

    How could the boat move so much if it's tied off to the dock? At our launch, the wind does the same as yours, coming across, so when tied up, the boat flags out. It will move but mostly just point into the wind.
    I do use a hook for the outhaul for quick on and off.

    Quite a day, but makes for a great story!
     
  16. deeman

    deeman Member

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    ya know, I don't know why in heck I untied it. I guess I thought it would whip into the dock or the boom would hit some vertical posts, but your right - with it pointed into the wind, the stern would be out and downwind of the dock with no chance of hitting it. I still wonder how it would have behaved when I tired to grab the clew and attach to the boom. I will have to look into the clew hook - I don't want to deal with that situation again.
     
  17. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    With a decent breeze blowing, what I do is wait for a bit of a lull before attaching the hook. I just let the boat center itself and then at the right moment, snap on and tighten the line.
     
  18. deeman

    deeman Member

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    Nesdog - do you use the hook with the Harken sleeve?
     
  19. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    I don't have the sleeve, but rather just a strap. Truthfully, since I just go out and sail around for fun and never race, I don't bother with it....just more stuff to have to mess with!
     
  20. deeman

    deeman Member

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    One last thought (for those who care lol) I noticed on Youtube that Jon Emmet rigs his entire sail on the ground - vang, outhaul and all. Then lowers the completed rig into the mast step. I may have to try that the next time. The only thing was that in his video there was very little wind.

    I did order the Harken clew hook with block. Looks kinda nice - clew strap and quick connect / disconnect in one small package.
     

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