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

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

  1. code08

    code08 New Member

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    So deeman since I just started sailing lasers this year I pretty much suck at the whole launching and retrieval thing too. Here are some techniques I have developed. At our yacht club we have a dock area for launching the lasers and the wind is almost always blowing in towards shore which makes for some interesting launches. The first few times I just rigged up everything on land and tipped it off the dock into the water. Once it was in the water I hopped into the water, inserted daggerboard/rudder and then just sailed off like I had capsized it anywhere else. This seems to work well other than you start off the day getting wet. Now I've become a little more refined and can get it into the water right side up. For this I rig everything except the mainsheet and leave the rudder and daggerboard out of the boat (actually on the dock so there isn't any chance of me messing them up). I slip the boat into the water and then tie it off so it won't be banging against anything. One big point here is that you rotate the mast the right way to make sure the cunningham and outhaul don't get twisted, i.e. if you turned the boat clockwise to enter the water you need to turn it counter-clockwise once it's in the water. Then I hop into the boat and finish rigging everything and then just sail out. I've tried leaving the clew untied but this seems harder to rig in the water than the mainsheet.


    Coming back to the dock is a bigger challenge. As I suck at downwind sailing and coming back to the dock is almost always downwind things get interesting. I've developed three key strategies for this.
    1. Come screaming in and when I get close enough to shore round up hard (possibly capsizing) hop out of the boat, grab the bow and walk/swim it over to the dock. This seems to work well if there is nobody else around and you don't mind getting wet.
    2. A slightly more refined method of the above. I come in and round up a little bit further from shore. Then I untie the main sheet from the boom-end block, release the vang and drift in backwards. This works pretty well except I suck at steering in reverse and usually have to hop out to get over to the dock anyways.
    3. Same as above method except I untie the clew of the sail. Then I can usually turn down towards the dock and sail in like normal except with the sail flapping out infront of me. I still haven't perfected my timing/aim to get me perfectly right up against the dock but at least it doesn't look like I'm going to ram the shore while coming in anymore.

    After making it to the dock if people are around I have them help me get it back out of the water as is. If I'm by myself I'll tie it up and de-rig everything in the boat and take out the mast/sail before I try and drag it back up onto the trolley. This way the boom and sail aren't flying around during the delicate task of lifting the boat out of the water. Basically I take my time and don't worry about looking like an idiot. Also I've gone a few times now while the highschool team has been out practicing and it's good to launch/retrieve while they are around as all of them are better than you at it and have no problems with telling you what you did wrong.
     
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  2. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    Ah...that youtube video is crazy. I couldn't lift that entire rig like that each time, especially with the wind blowing. Hard enough just to pop the mast in with the sail streaming.
     
  3. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    That's what Lasers studs do. They pick up the whole rig and maneuver it into the mast step like a giant windsurf sail. I just about threw my back out when I tried it.
     
  4. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    Most of the Uk fleet rig that way, and indeed if you go to a major event you won't see many not rigging this way.
    I struggle to lift the rig in with any sort of breeze but Lasernut is convinced its easier with breeze. Trick is to handle it like a windsurf rig, letting the wind hold some of the weight of the rig. Even us radial girls can manage it with practice. Means you can get rigged go to briefing/get changed without a sail flogging around and you're only a minute or so away from launching as only the control line handles to tie.
     
  5. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    I was too old to be a Laser stud before the Laser was invented..............

    I've found that picking up any part of the rig when the breeze is blowing is much easier, as long as the breeze is comming from the right direction. Sometimes it's hard for me to coordinate the orientation of the boat and the breeze by myself to take advantage of it. Thus the 'lay it down on the dock' approach discussed earlier. One particularly breezy day I was munching a sandwich while the boat lays on the dock. Wind gets under the sail, picks the mast up, and rotates it 180 degrees to a perfect capsize in the other direction.

    I'm glad there aren't any highschoolers there to tell me how dumb I am (c:
     
  6. code08

    code08 New Member

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    Haha you're missing out man. Sailing lasers isn't that humbling until you have to ask a 15 year old girl for help getting your laser out of the water :D
     
  7. deeman

    deeman Member

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    Well I did have a much better launch today. This is still only my fourth time out on my Laser and I am still learning. In the main parking lot, I rigged the sail onto the mast, lowered the mast into the mast step, and attached the boom to the mast with the vang.

    I then drove closer to the dock and once near the dock and slightly out of the water I attached the clew to the boom while the boat was still on the trailer. It was kinda windy (8 knots). I also added the rudder and tiller and ran the main sheet (actually did this before attaching the clew) through all devices EXCEPT the main ratchet block.

    I made sure to drop in on the leeward side of the dock and the sail stayed downwind and away from the dock while I tied off the boat. I parked, walked a bit into the water to push the nose into the wind, slid the dagger in and tied the dagger retainer bungee, and lowered the rudder all the way and tied the rudder downhaul off. I then jumped in the boat and pointed away from the wind and zip, zam, zoom I was off with only wet feet and up to my knees!!

    It worked very well but I did spend a fair amount of time taking up a dock space. Luckily the launch was DEAD and no one was waiting to come in our pull out their power boat.

    This is a fantastic resource - thanks for all the great advice! I love the learning process and have a long way to go.
     

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