Personally, i have found my laser to be the fastest on a broad reach, but to a leeward mark i'm not sure if its faster to reach across or just go dead down. on the mailing list I have heard that downwind its fastest to go slightly by the lee heeling to windward very slightly(precarious but fast)
I'm really not sure but it seems to be a general opinion (a thread aout 2 years back on the laser.org mailing list was devoted to this). I know that for most keel boats they are enough faster on a broad reach to make it worth jibing downwind, especially for ultra-lights where it might make the difference between planing and hull speed. Since it is pretty general I would guess that its something to do with more of the sail area being exposed, but I really don't know.
yea in regards to the LARGEST, most ACTIVE, RACING laser fleet not to mention most attractive(HOTTEST), on the North East, id have to give it to those D1 No Limit Novies, those cannucks really know how to bring the house down.
ACC's are gunna rock....
If you have enough wind to get the boat planing dead downwind, this will be the fastest way to get to the leeward mark. Otherwise it will be faster to go higher or sail by the lee. The problem with sailing dead downwind is, that the wind is not flowing over both sides of your sail. It is just pushing it. For optimal performance it's important that the wind flows along the sail on both sides. It normally pays of to go a bit higher than dead downwind.
Going down wind by the lee is one of the most important skills to learn in a laser. Downwind speed and techniques are currently a major area of discussion. I am by no means an expert, so I will just pass on the resources that I have found helpfull. First of all, lasering down wind by the lee has many different names, all of which refer to basically the same thing. So far I have found it refered to as:
by the lee
the fourth dimesion
the wild thing
i find that the fastest is either beam or broad rteacking in about 20-25knts. going on a dead run is also fun but it is very very very very VERY dangerous. you must be skilled because if you deathroll you could have your head taken off. OUCH!