A few questions from a new sailor

Thread starter #1
Not just new to lasers, but new to sailing in general. Went out a few times in mild breeze and am learning. Recently that mild breeze turned into 10kts steady. Man, the learning curve got steep!

Attaching the hiking strap: I am using a sheet bend. I have never seen one fail... until that day. What knot are you using?

I have been learning on large keel boats. While racing on those, during shifts the cunningham, outhaul, and vang are adjusted quite a bit. How much do you all make these adjustments on lasers? I saw little improvement with their adjustments going from light to heavy air and back, except for down wind of course.

Tacking: I have seen videos of races, though not very good quality, and it appears that the turn from tack to tack is rather fast. Like violently fast, any tips on steps to better this transition. I have a nice knot on the head from not ducking fast enough.. :) (not having an extension was a big player in that problem though, besides not ducking fast enough)

Thanks a bunch... Looking forward to meeting some of the Seattle crowd in the comming months... ( I am out on lake Ballinger 3 or 4 times a week if anyone wants to play coach)

Rob B

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the fleet. You're in a different world now when compared to the lead bellied money guzzlers! My best advice is for you to hook up with a fleet in your area and sail with those folks. You'll learn much more and faster than trying to sort out the good and bad info you'll get here. Everyone will give you advise with the best intentions here, but things you'll learn from other sailors in peraon will get you much further down the line.
tannerz - the seattle fleet is great. There are tons of knowledgeable sailors there who will help you get up to speed.

Here's some input -

Hiking strap - bowline knot to tie off the line. Dick Tillman has a book that shows how to make an adjustable hiking strap line, which is pretty sweet.

Control Lines - They are important, for certain, but at what price? If the breeze is steady, and you are looking to go out and learn and have fun, you can often set and forget. (downwind easy your vang though). On a radial, the outhaul is more important than you think, and vang on + cunningham will help depower you.

That said....don't get too caught up on changing controls, when you want to focus on getting a good feel for the helm, keeping the boat flat and working the main with new pressure.

Tacking - sounds like you have a long tiller extension (this is GOOD). You want to sit far forward in the cockpit. The fast, almost violent tack you see are 'roll tacks'
You can search here for articles, but it's almost easiest if you are able to watch someone do it a bunch, try it yourself, and have someone watch you.

Are you on the seattle laser list already? Lots of people will offer help when your out there sailing with them, they can show you better than I can type to ya :)
Thread starter #4
Hiya George, this is Bill.. I won't have a long tiller until you get the one I ordered in the mail.. :) I am on the Seattle list, but it seems to be a lot of spam lately... I'll be heading out on the 7th, just to meet and greet and spectate. Thanks for the info in the strap and lines...


New Member
Rob B said:
...My best advice is for you to hook up with a fleet in your area and sail with those folks. You'll learn much more and faster... things you'll learn from other sailors in peraon will get you much further down the line.
Absolutely. That's my experience already. There's a small but socially-competative friendly fleet of Lasers that sail out of here, and I've been learning HEAPS just asking questions and watching what they do and how they do it. Tho... practise makes perfect!

Just a few little things I noticed were so different from my old boat, a Solo. You gotta sail a Laser FLAT! And the tiller extension is held palm DOWNwards -this took a bit of getting used to at first! And the amount of rudder you need to use to tack! Nothing major tho - just little things I took for granted in other boats that are a bit different in a Laser.
After reading this, I couldn't help but share my 2 cents. When I'm sailing, I tighten my hiking strap all the way. I like it to be taut so I dont fall out er nothin. I dont know if this helps, but there you go!