Stepping into a Laser from a dock

Discussion in 'Sailing Talk' started by OldDog, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. OldDog

    OldDog New Member

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    Hi Everyone.

    I'm considering getting a Laser this spring but I am still puzzling in my head how I am going to launch it. A lot of the material I have read so far show the boat being launched via a dolly from a beach. The reservoir where I sail has a boat ramp between two piers. I will need to launch the boat from a trailer and tie it to one of the adjacent docks so I can park the car and trailer. I will then have to step into the boat for final preparations before casting off from the dock.

    My current boat is a 16' Rebel. It has cleats both for and aft so it's pretty secure when it's tied to a dock. It's stable enough that you can stand in it and walk around without capsizing.

    How easy is it to step into the Laser from a dock? With only the bow ring for a painter, I am wondering how to get it secure enought to step into and how stable will it be once you do step onboard. I have visions of the boat capsizing as soon as I step onboard. Same question for returning to pier. How easy is it to tie up to a pier and step off a Laser?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    There are different ways to get into a Laser. You are not going to be able to use your usual methods, as you have guessed. I usually bring the boat parallel to the dock, sit down, and then scoot into the cockpit. You could also step into the Laser while it is alongside, as long as you step into the center of the cockpit. The boat is tippy like a kayak or canoe. People with great balance can step onto the bow and quickly tilt the mast to the side as they step around it. I can do this 50% of the time, meaning that if I get on and off the boat that way, I'm sure to get wet. ;)
     
  3. OldDog

    OldDog New Member

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    Hi Merrily

    Thanks for getting back to me. I read in the Laser Book the technique of tipping the mast to the side and nimbly stepping around it. Sounded dicey. Even sitting on the dock and scooting in sounds a little hairy. I can easily see myself trying to hold the boat near the dock with my foot as I try to edge myself in eventually falling between the boat and the dock to the amusement of all.

    Ok then so how do you launch a boat rigged with the sail raised from a dolly or trailer, ditch the trailer, and get into the boat without it sailing away?
     
  4. AQBill

    AQBill Member

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    Dear Old Dog,
    With apologies to Elmer Fudd, you get into a Laser (or Sunfish) "verrrrwe carefully!"

    AQBill:D
     
  5. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Verwy Carefulwy?

    It helps if the wind is blowing the right way! If you've got an onshore breeze, I would attach the sail right before sailing away. Otherwise, launch the boat, leave the dolly for a minute on the ramp, and tie the Laser to the dock. Leave the Laser (with mainsheet pulled in front of the block so sail can swing) and go stash the dolly or trailer somewhere out of the way/safe. Go back to the Laser, untie, adjust mainsheet, push off while getting in and sail away. Fingers crossed.
     
  6. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Well, we all like dock entertainment, but getting in the boat like Merrily described isn't hairy at all.

    Push or pull the boat off the trailer or dolly, hold the line attached to the bow and tie it to a cleat on the dock. Once your boat is 'safe', take care of the dolly or trailer. "No worries, mate" as they say on that other continent.
     
  7. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    This one took me a while a well since I was moving to the Laser from a nice stable 18' cat.

    For me, I launch the bare boat off the trailer, take it to the end of the dock and tie off. Put the car in the lot. Come down and rig. To get on most of the time, I can either pull the boat over to the dock sideways and then let it drift back or try the 'quick-crawl-over-the-deck' routine. That last one gets me pretty close to getting wet though! I've not been real successful trying to tilt the boat to the side walking over from the dock.

    For launching out to sail, I just untie, turn the boat as needed and step in to the cockpit gingerly. Since the Laser can turn on a dime, unlike my cat, I can usually work my way out to the harbor pretty easily in close quarters.

    Coming in is also a little tough at our dock, since head to wind puts the bow on the wood. I've got to work on coming along sideways with the sails depowered so I can just grab the dock.
     
  8. OldDog

    OldDog New Member

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    Hi Everyone;

    Thanks for getting back to me. I'm feeling a little more comfortable. I was figuring my procedure was going to invovle tying the boat off, parking the car and then getting into the boat. It was the last crucial step that had me concerned. Sounds like it is do able.

    At what point in the process to you attach and rig the boom, while on the dolly/trailer or after you put the boat in the water?

    Thanks for the help! With each fear put to rest I'm getting more and more excited (which is how it should be afterall!)
     
  9. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    I don't do much rigging prior to putting the boat in the water. I have the boom already prepared with the mainsheet threaded however. So when I climb in to complete the rigging, all I have to do is lift the boom and attach to the mast, hook the sail and thread the outhaul. FWIW, having knee pads while you are doing all of this in the boat really helps!
     

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