Intro / newb questions - Billygoat

Thread starter #1
Greetings Laser people.
I picked up my first laser today. I'm located in Ballarat, Australia. I sailed quite a bit as a kid, then had a few decades off before getting a 14' catamaran, 2 years ago, which I've been enjoying alone (and with my 11 yo daughter) on the inland lakes around here.
Now planning to join the local Laser fleet and work up to a bit of racing.
I have got myself an older hull ("35656" on the transom; not sure if this is the actual original sail number or a build code to be decoded) with a newer sail (192*** full rig, with a measurement stamp from the 2010 Australian nationals). Very cheap, on trailer with dolly and hull cover, not expecting everything to be perfect.

And it's not perfect. First issue is an incomplete rig.

Spars are intact (planning to end-swap my upper section due to 2-rivet collar). Vang saddle on my lower section will need to be re-rivetted, but it's there.

Boom appears to be sleeved. Mid-span mainsheet pulley is a basic nylon block, is nearly seized, and is mounted directly on a saddle rivetted to the boom. Not sure if it's legit, but it will work for a first launch at least. I have a rivetted saddle where I would expect the strap to be. Boom-end pulley has bearings; is tired but okay. There's about 10m of ~7mm mainsheet. There's a clew strap on the boom.

Control rigging... I'm lost. No turbo kit. Just these pulleys and the foredeck clam cleat:
IMG_20190210_211156.jpg
No vang key at all (boom has a key slot), so I'm certain I'm missing some things. Don't know if these pulleys are even proper laser parts.

There's 2x ~8 foot red, and 1x ~12 foot black ~5mm control lines. And one short one (~3 foot?) with a daisy-chained handle tied in the end.

Somehow out of this mess I will need to make up an outhaul, vang and Cunningham.

Any suggestions? "Throw it all away and get a turbo kit" is a legitimate suggestion, but will add more than 50% to my investment so far.

Foils are in okay shape. Look to be timber, so very old. Daggerboard case in the hullmay need repair, seems to be separated at the seam. Mast socket had some water in the bottom, so there's that going for it.

IMG_20190210_184727_1.jpg

Traveller is old nasty line, too small to even hold in the cleat.

Keen to bodge something together and get on the water, but will have to order some bits (nearest proper chandlery is an hour's drive away).

What bits do I need?

-goat
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
#2
"35656" on the transom; not sure if this is the actual original sail number or a build code to be decoded)
That sounds like a real sail/hull number from 1976 or '77.

Mid-span mainsheet pulley is a basic nylon block, is nearly seized, and is mounted directly on a saddle rivetted to the boom. Not sure if it's legit, but it will work for a first launch at least. I have a rivetted saddle where I would expect the strap to be. Boom-end pulley has bearings; is tired but okay. There's about 10m of ~7mm mainsheet.
The original sheet blocks are plain nylon blocks from Allen and attached to the boom as you describe; the aft boom block is probably illegal if it has ball bearings, unless it's the kind of new Harken Laser-specific block.
The sheet should be about 13.5 metres long. Six or seven millimetres is a good thickness.

No vang key at all (boom has a key slot), so I'm certain I'm missing some things. Don't know if these pulleys are even proper laser parts.

There's 2x ~8 foot red, and 1x ~12 foot black ~5mm control lines. And one short one (~3 foot?) with a daisy-chained handle tied in the end.

Somehow out of this mess I will need to make up an outhaul, vang and Cunningham.
You absolutely need a vang key.
Triple blocks are illegal in the Laser, and the fiddle block in the picture is probably too big (>30 mm diameter sheave).
Hard to say how those lines were meant to be rigged.
I'm tempted to say, throw it all away... :D But you're right that you don't need to spend all the money that the "new" control line kits cost.

Are the Clamcleats made of plastic or metal?
Could you post pictures of all the boom fittings, as well as the traveller blocks and fairleads?

I'll look at what your local/national dealers offer and come back later, ok?

_
 
Thread starter #3
The original sheet blocks are plain nylon blocks from Allen and attached to the boom as you describe; the aft boom block is probably illegal if it has ball bearings, unless it's the kind of new Harken Laser-specific block.
Heres my boom:
IMG_20190211_064753.jpg
Key slot with no key IMG_20190211_064759.jpg
Nylon pulley has been re-saddled at some point and isn't good now IMG_20190211_064818.jpg
Plastic clam cleat and a saddle where I expected a strap IMG_20190211_064845.jpg
Boom end. My mistake, may not be bearings. Looks like most lasers I've seen. Markings on block are worn and very hard to read.

The sheet should be about 13.5 metres long. Six or seven millimetres is a good thickness.
Length guestimate was made by folding it in 8, eyeballing and saying "that's about 4 foot *8", so may well be 13.5m

You absolutely need a vang key.
Triple blocks are illegal in the Laser, and the fiddle block in the picture is probably too big (>30 mm diameter sheave).
Hard to say how those lines were meant to be rigged.
I'm tempted to say, throw it all away... :D But you're right that you don't need to spend all the money that the "new" control line kits cost.
Looks like I have a new downhaul for my catamaran then. Good, I needed one.

If I'm buying a complete vang, I may just spring for a complete new style one. That's A$450 worth of hardware on to a A$1200 boat, but so be it.

Are the Clamcleats made of plastic or metal?
Could you post pictures of all the boom fittings, as well as the traveller blocks and fairleads?
IMG_20190211_065135.jpg 15498293853788042730656050796002.jpg IMG_20190211_065205.jpg
IMG_20190211_065212.jpg IMG_20190211_065225.jpg IMG_20190211_065008.jpg

So, a few jobs to do, but mostly fixable.

Thanks for your help
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
#5
Great pictures! Now it's a lot easier to give further advice.

Just a quick rundown for now:
  • the vang key fitting looks ok
  • the forward sheet block is not ok! It's an illegal block, an illegal strap, and it's fitted in a way that weakens the boom considerably at that point ( :eek:four extra holes at the same cross-section)
  • the centre eye strap for the sheet is ok (we can talk about plastic Clamcleats later)
  • the aft end of the boom is ok in all aspects; the forward sheet block should be this same Allen model (without the becket) and attached the same way
  • the traveller blocks and line are ok
  • the traveller fairleads are illegal; only Allen A 282 and 282A (like those for the cunningham and outhaul) are ok here
  • the mast hole looks badly worn and needs some new fibreglass
  • the aft end of the cockpit looks ok except for the one rusty bolt
  • the vang tang looks ok except for that one rivet.
_
 
Thread starter #6
At this point I'm figuring I'll use that boom until it snaps at that corroded and over-drilled main block, then throw it away and get a new one.
Anyhow, I cobbled together what looked like a workable (albeit nowhere near legal) rig out of what I had (triple-block vang on a dyneema strop around the boom because I don't have a key yet ).
Tensioned it up in the driveway, and... simple 1-rope 2:1 Cunningham pulls the sail down the mast. Webbing at the end of the pocket is dust and the mast poked straight through.
IMG_20190217_142659.jpg

Rest of the sail seems to be in good shape and relatively new (okay, it's a 19* sail so 10 years old, but relative to my 3* hull and fittings...), but the webbing was stuffed.
I'm not sure whether a bit of 2" car seatbelt counts as like-for-like repair, but given that my nearest sailmaker is an hour's drive away and I'm only going to be tooling around at club level, DIY repair seemed like the best option.
IMG_20190217_172838.jpg

My hand sewing had to steer through a few wind shifts on each tack
Back-stitched in dental floss, I reckon that will hold up pretty well.

Got me wondering though - how much "repair" does it take to make a boat illegal? Wouldn't be too hard to add a bit of strategic glass in the hull to stiffen up some critical areas while "fixing a crack". I just repaired around my mast step with a bit of woven fibreglass cloth (where it was almost worn through), although I understand hull construction is strictly chop strand mat - legal to repair with glass cloth?

I still haven't been on the water yet - see if I get a chance this weekend.
 
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LaLi

Well-Known Member
#7
how much "repair" does it take to make a boat illegal? Wouldn't be too hard to add a bit of strategic glass in the hull to stiffen up some critical areas while "fixing a crack". I just repaired around my mast step with a bit of woven fibreglass cloth (where it was almost worn through), although I understand hull construction is strictly chop strand mat - legal to repair with glass cloth?
Well, class rule 26 answers (or at least tries to answer) this:

Repairs and preventative maintenance to the sail, hull, deck, centreboard, rudder, mast, boom or any fittings and fixings may be carried out without violation of these Rules provided such repairs are made in such a way that the essential shape, characteristics or function of the original are not affected.

As you see, the key word is "essential". How "essentially" close something like your homesewn head strap is to the broken original, is often more a matter of judgement than measurement. I would say that another key concept here is "bona fide": if you actually tried to keep the boat similar to what it was and not "tweak" it, then you're likely ok. But there will remain large grey areas. The roving/mat question is one.

Your countryman AlanD would have more authoritative comments on this.

_
 
Thread starter #8
Sailed my makeshift rigged Laser for a couple of hours last weekend in 15 knots. Learned some things, not all of them involving a swim :D . Hull didn't take on any water (which surprised me, I'm pretty sure I have separated seams around my daggerboard case).
Then raced my cat in 20 knots in the afternoon - could hardly move the next day!
I have picked up a second hand turbo vang and deck plates, and have just about finished re-rigging with modern legal(ish) parts.
That nasty section of boom with all the corrosion and holes for the forward pulley saddle... I've put a bit of reinforcement on the outside of the boom and fitted a replica Laser block in the original position. Not pretty, but hopefully less likely to break now I have a proper vang to bend the boom.
Might get out again this afternoon.
A silly thing that really annoyed me last weekend was the tiller extension. Only about 800mm long. I have short arms, and could only just reach the knob on the end when hiking. It's just of 16mm Al tubing, so I've replaced it with a 1250mm piece. But doing so I noticed how perished the universal joint is, so will need to source one of them, hopefully before it breaks through.
Not that my boat is in any danger of being considered legal, but are there any like-for-like rules around tiller universal joints?
I didn't waste a bottle of champagne on the bow, but had a quiet naming ceremony last night...
 

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LaLi

Well-Known Member
#9
Extension joints are totally free: they can be of any design and any material, and can be made by anyone.

Stainless rudder fittings on a "70s-yellow" hull... looks like a real classic!

_
 
Thread starter #11
If you are in Ballarat why not wander along to Ballarat YC.
Yep.
Was down there last evening.
The whole plan of getting (and fixing) this Laser was to race at Ballarat YC. I've been racing my cat there the last couple of weeks, while I've been getting my Laser seaworthy.
I'm picking the local Laser fleet's brains whenever I have the chance, but it doesn't hurt to cast the information net a bit wider. The forum can answer questions between race days too...
 
Thread starter #12
So... my Laser racing career is off to a shaky start. My turbo vang, deck hardware and floating blocks are all installed, so I have a reasonably controllable rig now.
First race was an unofficial race - not gazetted in the NOR because the lake was to be closed for a rowing event, but the rowers cancelled and we could sail. Unofficial races seem to an excuse for everyone to pull their odd-class boats out for a play, so I was the only Laser (of a typical fleet of up to 10). Not what I switched classes for :D. No wind whatsoever, lots of time standing in the cockpit looking for any hints of ripples on the glassy lake. Jostled a bit with a 420, who have about the same yardstick so we're pretty evenly matched. Didn't disgrace myself.
Next week we had 18 gusting to 25 knots. Oh boy, working hard. Struggling with weather helm. Post-mortem I have realised that I should have had (even) more Cunningham on to bring CoE forward and de-power more (was block:block on vang). Need to learn more ease-hike-trim technique too; especially when I was tired, I was pointing up to de-power and going sloooooow. Finished the second race second-last, which was an improvement on the first. Improving!
Next week -yesterday- was forecast to be horrific, but shaped up a little better. 16 plus significant gusts (was forecast to be gusting to 28 but didn't seem that strong). But cold... 12°C and rain squalls. Gusts didn't seem that strong, I say, until the first run (was supposed to be a broad reach but the wind shifted all over the place). A screamer came through... more experienced estimates than mine reckon we had 35 knots for a couple of minutes, then moderated to high 20s. Survival mode, and after at least half a dozen swims I was done. Death rolls, eh? Eventually made my own way back to shore (two others were towed, two completed) and packed up. Wind was dropping and I pondered re-rigging for the second race but settled for a beer in the club instead.
Summer is over and the weather here is unlikely to improve much until October. Still might get a few decent days mixed in - the club has a winter season through May which I may front up for. Looking forward to a nice steady 10kn day to actually learn the proverbial ropes.
Upper body strength is showing up as an issue - at least, under these heavy conditions. I do a heap of cycling so leg and cardio fitness are okay, and have pretty good (and improving) core strength, but I haven't used my arms enough in recent years and I'm finding the mainsheet a big load. Might need to look at some strength training over winter.
 
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thieuster

Active Member
#13
Great write-up. It always amazes me when one writes ‘summer is over’ in March!

Good that you’re able to analyse what’s happening and what’s going good/wrong. Makes it so much easier for you to improve yourself.

Fwiw: Yesterday, had a short conversation with a former (mid 80s, early 90 - World champion,
European champion and Olympic -9th- ) 470 sailor.
He told me: “After my 470 carreer, I bought a Laser for fun and for attending Master regattas. First year with the Laser, I was completely lost. I finished last or something like that. It took me a season to learn the ins ans outs of a Laser!”

You’re in good company!

Menno
 
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