ISA Online Course UPWIND SPEED: MEDIUM Now Live!

Int. Sailing Academy

Active Member
Dear Sailors,

We hope you’ve been getting out on the water in your Laser this summer, and putting all your new skills from the Upwind Speed: Light Wind Course to task. We’ve had a lot of feedback from sailors worldwide, thrilled with their ability to move up the ranks in their local fleets.

We’re happy to announce the release of our Medium Wind Online Course! There are a couple free sample lessons there to view as well.

In this course you’ll learn how to go faster in Medium Wind - everything from marginal hiking up to and including the first stages of depowering. This condition requires a broad range of skills to outperform the fleet in terms of boatspeed, and in this course, we cover them all.

10 HD, detailed, narrated video lessons with model behavior, instruction and common mistakes, performance checklists, sail setting charts verified by Olympic champions, deliberate practice drills, and more are all included. You'll also receive access to our discord chat where you'll receive customized support from Olympic coaches and other course students.

You’ll learn:

Medium Wind Objectives for Upwind Speed
Hiking Essentials How to dial in your hiking strap length and use the correct body mechanics for marginal, normal and maximal hiking positions. Everything hiking!
Early Hiking Strategies The holy grail for marginal hiking performance - who can get in the strap first and stay in it? You’ll learn the secrets on how in this lesson.
Sail Setup: Medium Wind Learn how to determine the optimal Sail Setup throughout this entire condition using current settings and feedback strategies vetted by Olympic champions and coaches.
Adjusting Your Controls: Learn the key moments Champions pick for adjusting their control lines, and how to execute this skill efficiently while minimizing damage to upwind performance during the process.
Ease for Power: This lesson illustrates the sometimes elusive key concept of easing sheet with a soft vang. Why, when and how are all covered here.
The Fast Boat Paradox: Understanding relative boatspeed to the wind is a crucial skill for medium wind. Unlock this understanding to manage lulls, swell and post acceleration moments like top sailors.
The Slow Boat Paradox: Do you know the most important moments for accelerating the boat during an upwind leg? What about the process for doing so in medium wind? Learn how to anticipate, identify and react to these relative slow boatspeed moments. Nail this concept, follow the drills outlined, and you’ll have gusts, swell and wave impact moments dialed.
Active Driving & Body Movements: Great active driving coordinated with purposeful body movement will absolutely take your speed to the next level. We break it all down, step by step, and provide a system for learning the skills in this comprehensive lesson.
Lane Holding: Can you believe there’s more? Master the skills, process and mentality for an EFFECTIVE high mode. Then put them together to stay alive and thrive in bad lanes.

We hope you enjoy the course and know that it will help you sail faster in medium wind.

The Team at ISA
Agreed. Been sailing the boat for over 40 years at a decently high competitive level. The light air series had enough "nuggets" for me to make it well worth the price and time. Looking forward to checking out the medium air series!
Agreed. Been sailing the boat for over 40 years at a decently high competitive level. The light air series had enough "nuggets" for me to make it well worth the price and time. Looking forward to checking out the medium air series!

Thanks Rob! We are so stoked to get reports like this. I hope you enjoy the medium air upwind lessons as much or more than the light wind stuff. We've tried to incorporate some things even the best sailors can learn from in each series so it's nice to hear someone like yourself can learn something new after all this time sailing the boat.
what wind speed in knots do you call as your medium wind any info on boat handling/adjustments on strong tidal waters ?
what wind speed in knots do you call as your medium wind any info on boat handling/adjustments on strong tidal waters ?

Hey thanks for writing - good question.

For Medium Wind, we classify it a little more based on body position/hiking amount because different sized sailors, different fitness levels and different sailing rigs all come into play. Also you've got a bit of variance with air temps and wind force etc.

We define the beginning of Medium Wind (for the purpose of the course) when you are just beginning to get your butt over the side and are engaged with the strap AKA Marginal Hiking. On the other end of Medium Wind, we cover the first stages of depowering where you are putting on controls but not sheeting out more than a few inches to depower.

In terms of handling in heavy current, the handling is the same but depending on the exact situation, you'll need to calibrate to account for drift.

Note the Medium Wind course is all about Upwind Speed. We don't address tacking, starting, mark rounding or other boat handling in this course. (It would just make it too long. We will have courses for those eventually)

Medium Wind Summary.jpg
Yes definitely. We have some YouTube videos that might help your downwind in the meantime. Not sure where you're at exactly. This one below is a bit older but has been really popular and useful for Laser sailors.

Are you looking to do a downwind series as well?
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These courses are fantastic. Each skill is explained thoroughly and presented in a way that makes it easy to duplicate on the water. Specific exercises are given to strengthen each skill so that they become second nature. Knowing how to optimize the boat and why takes the guesswork out of setup and the results are amazing. The production quality of the videos is superb and the written material that is included provides a quick reference and cues for practicing. I find myself using the notes regularly and keep them in my truck for a quick review before practice or racing.

I returned to Laser sailing last year after a long break from sailing. After a year of trying to figure it out on my own I was still in the bottom quarter of my local fleet (Annapolis, MD). I was off the pace upwind and was always deep at the first mark. I spent a week in La Cruz with the ISA guys and then subscribed to the online courses. I am very deliberate about doing everything they preach and I rewatch the videos before every outing to make sure I am locked in. I am now at the front of the fleet at the first weather mark quite often and have moved up to mid-fleet or slightly better for entire regattas. I am still trying to figure out many of the downwind techniques and look forward to the downwind courses. I have really been concentrating on my upwind sailing and these upwind courses have dramatically improved my upwind performance. It is a real mental advantage knowing that my boat and sails are set up properly and I can concentrate on racing and not second guessing whether I am doing something wrong. Needless to say, it is a lot more fun to be in front.

I wish I had not wasted a year of effort trying to figure this out on my own. It is much more efficient to have clear, concise examples of the correct way to set up the boat and how to transition between different wind speeds and then practice doing it correctly. If you are serious about improving your performance, you need to follow ISA’s instruction. As an intermediate level sailor, having expert coaching is invaluable. I have found the online forum invaluable for asking questions about the videos and for reading other users questions. The ISA staff is right on top of the forum and often it is a real-time conversation. The ISA staff seems very committed to helping me improve. I really appreciate their patience and knowledge. I cannot think of a thing I have done that has had a more positive impact on my performance or enjoyment of the sport.
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