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Old vs. New Laser

henrikdagfinrud

New Member
Hello!

I'm new here. I gave up my Europe dinghy sailing about ten years ago. Now that I have the time again - just finished studies, I have bought an old Laser to get started. I realise that I will not be an olympic contender, but if this works ok, and I get some speed in the boat, I will probably want better gear. Therefor, I really wonder what the real differences in a brand new boat and rig, and an old boat without the new trim systems are?

Please discuss! How good do you have to be to "beat yourself" in a new boat? And what changes/upgrades can be made?

PS: My new beauty does not leak, and have an "ok" sail.
 

sailchris

Member
I also sail an older Laser (from 1989). As long as your hull is dry there should be little difference in speed. The new rigging is worth the investment, but not absolutely necessary.
I wrote about my rigging upgrades here, and here.
 

henrikdagfinrud

New Member
Thank you for your response.

I'm thinking about testing the sail that came with the boat, and maybe get a new(er) one. If I find good positions for outhaul and kick, I can't imagine the hull being to different from the new ones.

Looking forward to the season - still ice on the fjords here...
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
Jack this topic could go so deep there is just not enough time. However, a well cared for and well sailed 20 year old hull can compete with a new hull at least in the master level. The old rigging will do ok as long as the breeze really does not get over 10 mph. The updated rigging becomes an advantage in more breeze. It is easier to depower the boat, and make adjustments to the sail controls. You can race ANY laser at ANY event as long as you are a class member, (at the events where membership is required).

The general rule of thumb is the newer hulls are stiffer and therefor faster, but I've seen really good sailors make the older rigs sail just fine, but when the wind picks up they begin to struggle.

It's all legal. Since 1974 the class has made adjustments to the rules to allow for upgrades to the controls of the boat. Hulls, spars, blades, and sails, (since the 3.8 full rig sail) are all the same and have not changed.
 

bjmoose

Member
This topic centers on the rigging upgrades.

The old-school laser sailors learned some really funky tricks for adjusting the old style control lines. Guys would round the leeward mark, put one foot on the boom while yanking the vang, etc. Weird sh*t. But it was fast.

Those weird tricks, though some folks liked them, were part of the rationale for the new upgraded rigging packages. You wouldn't have so many weird "laser specific" tricks to learn, and could focus on the sailing.

Now if you learned or are willing to learn the old techniques, there's really nothing faster about the new rigging vs. the old rigging. Otherwise, being able to adjust the vang, outhaul, and cunningham under load by simply pulling on a line is faster than not being able to do so. Of course, you still have to learn what adjustments are *desirable* to make, and that's the part of the game most folks seem to prefer to focus on.
 

henrikdagfinrud

New Member
Thanks bjmoose, you provided the answer I was fishing for. If a guy in a new Laser adjust his trim too much, and I get the right positions, it won't help him having a new hull and better trim line control.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
One more thing: Does anyone out there actually race old Lasers, without the trimming upgrades, successfully?

There was a guy at the recent masters mid winters east in boat 41127, (it had wood blades and old vang/outhaul control lines). It light medium air he was very fast with mostly top 10 scores. However, when the breeze got over 15 he fell back in the pack. He was a decent size too so it was not that he was too light for the breeze.
 

WPB Sailor

New Member
I saw that guy on a Green Boat. Was on a pier watching the boats approach off the starting line was blowing 18 or so with gusts. Anyway this guy goes by and there's a humming sound comming off his sail as his leach was fluttering wildly - he also couldn't point with the rest of the fleet. Was shocked to see that he did relatively well for the regatta
 

henrikdagfinrud

New Member
Rob B and WPB Sailor: THAT IS THE GUY I WANT TO BE!

I'm going to pick up my boat this sunday - my very first Laser. I'll give you an update on the boat number when I know.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
I saw that guy on a Green Boat. Was on a pier watching the boats approach off the starting line was blowing 18 or so with gusts. Anyway this guy goes by and there's a humming sound comming off his sail as his leach was fluttering wildly - he also couldn't point with the rest of the fleet. Was shocked to see that he did relatively well for the regatta
When the breeze kicks up that is the difference between the old vang and new vang.

You just can't get the necessary leech tension w/the old vang. In a breeze that is key to depowering, easy of sheeting and pointing.
 

TonyB

Member
In most fleets and in most conditions, the age of the hull doesn't matter too much. Hulls can go soft or put on weight with a lot of use but you have to be sailing very well or have a real lemon before that makes much of a difference. More important are good foils, a good sail, and a straight mast. An older sail can be made to go fast if you understand enough about sail shape, but the same sailor with a new sail should always be much faster.

The new rigging is easier to use, but that only makes it fractionally faster if at all. Robert Scheidt used the old vang to win the Gold Medal at the Athens Olympics. The guy that just came second in the Masters fleet at the Worlds was using the old vang too.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
In most fleets and in most conditions, the age of the hull doesn't matter too much. Hulls can go soft or put on weight with a lot of use but you have to be sailing very well or have a real lemon before that makes much of a difference. More important are good foils, a good sail, and a straight mast. An older sail can be made to go fast if you understand enough about sail shape, but the same sailor with a new sail should always be much faster.

The new rigging is easier to use, but that only makes it fractionally faster if at all. Robert Scheidt used the old vang to win the Gold Medal at the Athens Olympics. The guy that just came second in the Masters fleet at the Worlds was using the old vang too.
I'm not sure using Robert Scheidt's choice of rigging is really fair. After all he is Robert. Also, the guy at the FL masters was using a "straight up" classic vang. He may have had some extra purchases worked out using just the vang line itself, but he was not even using the extra blocks that are now allowed to gain purchase power. Even Robert was using the blocks. Also, Athens was a light air venue.

If the new rigging is only "fractionally" faster why does the vast majority use it? Are we just a bunch of lemmings?
 

Merrily

Administrator
If the new rigging is only "fractionally" faster why does the vast majority use it? Are we just a bunch of lemmings?
I don't buy that it makes the rig only fractionally faster. If you have to put your foot on the boom to bend it down to get enough vang on, 1. that takes skill, 2. that takes strength 3. that takes flexibility. Maybe if you've got an abundance of all those, the new rigging is only fractionally faster. I've only got the flexibility, even then if I were putting my foot on the boom in upwind windy conditions, I believe I'd fall out of the boat! No, the new vang was designed to broaden the spectrum of Laser sailors to include the less physically talented, and it has done so. Even so, I recently heard that Laser sailing is still 70% physical, more so than most other boats.
 

sailchris

Member
The new outhaul and cunningham rigging systems are almost completely based on convenience. The old (mid'90s) way of rigging the outhaul (i.e. with loops in one line for purchase and using the mast as a turning point) and the cunningham (i.e. loops in one line for purchase and led to the old jam cleat) was fine as far as purchase goes. The new vang allows people to apply way more vang than they really need. Using the old vang blocks with a swivel and some small bullet blocks instead of loops (see the images in my links above) gives plenty of purchase even in heavy air. In most conditions, block-to-block vang is plenty...and you can put that amount of tension on just by sheeting in to block-to-block and then cleating the vang.

Bottom line, you can set up the boat to go fast using older rigging, but if you are not strong enough to use various versions of the old rigging then the new rigging might help.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
In most conditions, block-to-block vang is plenty...and you can put that amount of tension on just by sheeting in to block-to-block and then cleating the vang.

But not all. Leech flutter is slow and there are, (at least for me) many times when just block to blok will not stop leech flutter, but the new vang can get the leech tension needed to stop it. Not with the old vang. At least not me.
 
R

Ross B

Guest
If you have to put your foot on the boom to bend it down to get enough vang on, 1. that takes skill, 2. that takes strength 3. that takes flexibility.

I never had to do this with the old vang, never had any problems with it
 

sailchris

Member
In most conditions, block-to-block vang is plenty...and you can put that amount of tension on just by sheeting in to block-to-block and then cleating the vang.

But not all. Leech flutter is slow and there are, (at least for me) many times when just block to blok will not stop leech flutter, but the new vang can get the leech tension needed to stop it. Not with the old vang. At least not me.
If the end of the leech is attached to the end of the boom, which is on the deck when you are block-to-block, how can you increase leech tension by adding more vang when you are already sheeted block to block? It would seem to me that adding more vang might increase mast bend, but since the position of the end of the boom is fixed on the deck when you are block-to-block that would loosen the leech.

It was my understanding that the purpose of greater than block-to-block vang tension was to prevent the boom from lifting as the sheet was eased, thereby preventing the sail from becoming fuller when easing the sheet (in a puff in heavy air, or when playing the sheet in waves etc.)

Anyway, I could super-vang without any sheet tension with the old (mid-90's) vang setup of rope loops. My current vang setup is 6:1 with the old blocks and additional blocks instead of loops. I can easily super-vang with this setup also. The only convenience of the new vang hardware (beyond the unnecessary additional purchase) is the better performance when pulling from an angle, such as when hiked out. When I set up my 6:1 vang, it seemed to work fine, so I have kept it that way. I get funny looks from the young-uns on the race course, but I also have much less vang line floating around on my deck and in my cockpit because of the lower purchase.
 

sailchris

Member
I never had to do this with the old vang, never had any problems with it
Merrily is talking about a technique that was used before any additional purchase was allowed in the vang (i.e. 3:1) and when the vang cleat block was the one attached to the boom. Before your time Ross, and mine. Back when men were men, and girls sailed Europes. ;)
 
R

Ross B

Guest
Europe's are still pretty cool, their like Mini-Finns, I want one!
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
If the end of the leech is attached to the end of the boom, which is on the deck when you are block-to-block, how can you increase leech tension by adding more vang when you are already sheeted block to block? It would seem to me that adding more vang might increase mast bend, but since the position of the end of the boom is fixed on the deck when you are block-to-block that would loosen the leech.

Check out the bend in the boom of someone using the updated vang in a blow.

If you have not sailed withthe new vang ina blow it's hard to describe, but when you are 2 blocked and that leech flutter starts you just ean forward and pull MORE vang on. Leech flutter goes away.

It works.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
I never had to do this with the old vang, never had any problems with it
Back in the day when the regular vang was in use I did not have to do this either. But by '89 I was using the extra purchases and the Harken vang swivel. So the cleat was at the base of the mast.

In '83 when I was young and before the extra purchases were discovered I would go back and fourth as to where to have the vang cleat. We mostly just sailed around with loose vangs compared to today's standards.
 

sailchris

Member
If you have not sailed withthe new vang ina blow it's hard to describe, but when you are 2 blocked and that leech flutter starts you just ean forward and pull MORE vang on. Leech flutter goes away.

It works.
Yeah, I can do that with my current setup using the old vang blocks and bullet blocks...but why does it work? Seems like the leech should get looser if you move the mast tip closer to the clew by adding more vang. I suppose it's possible that by adding mast bend you are flattening the sail, moving the draft forward and changing the angle of the leech, thus reducing flutter.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
I'll take a stab at this. I'm no engineer, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

The downforce from the vang pulling on the boom transfers directly to the end of the boom which is where the leech is attached via the clew. The downward force is tied directly to the leech, which connects to the top of the mast.

So, all of the force used to create mast bend is through the leech, but the vang in the lever.

If you draw a scetch of the boom, mast and vang and then draw arrows indicating the direction of the forces involved when vang is applied it helps you to see how the leech does this. At least that's how I see it........
 

sailchris

Member
I'll take a stab at this. I'm no engineer, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

The downforce from the vang pulling on the boom transfers directly to the end of the boom which is where the leech is attached via the clew. The downward force is tied directly to the leech, which connects to the top of the mast.

So, all of the force used to create mast bend is through the leech, but the vang in the lever.

If you draw a scetch of the boom, mast and vang and then draw arrows indicating the direction of the forces involved when vang is applied it helps you to see how the leech does this. At least that's how I see it........
Yeah...I know how the vang tensions the leech normally...but what about when the boom cannot move any further because it has reached the level of the deck (i.e. block-to-block). At that point any additional vang tension can't move the end of the boom. The Laser sail is loose footed (only attached to the boom at the clew), so the only place the boom can apply force to the sail is at the clew. The boom pivots at the mast, and so the boom cannot apply any force to the mast except through the sail (i.e. through the clew). So, when the boom is block-to-block, it has reached the maximum amount of force that it can apply to the sail/mast system. Adding more bend to the boom doesn't move the end of the boom appreciably, and so doesn't move the clew or the mast. (Obviously, adding more vang prevents the boom from lifting when the sheet is released, but we are talking about block-to-block trim here.)

Can anyone explain where I am going wrong here? (i.e. Does adding more vang after the sail is sheeted block-to-block change the leech tension at block-to-block trim?)
 

TonyB

Member
I think the problem is the assumption that a tighter leech will flutter less. I would have thought that a tighter leech would flutter more.

Pulling the vang beyond block to block (when the mainsheet is block to block) will bend the mast more, which moves the draft further back and opens the leech. An open leech has less tension and depowers the sail.

So, pulling on more vang may well reduce leech flutter, but at the expense of power. A pretty sail is not necessarily a faster sail (in the Laser world especially).
 
R

Ross B

Guest
Leech Lines were messed around with back in the day, one of my sails from my first boat has one, and it worked well. I still think they would be added to the class rules, inexpensive and easy to add, and it doesn't make you faster, whats to loose
 

henrikdagfinrud

New Member
Sounds reasonable, TonyB.

I started this thread after reading the "Understand the un-stayed rig" article on roostersailing.com, where the writer is sort of saying that a lot of people are using too much vang, just because they can.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
I think the problem is the assumption that a tighter leech will flutter less. I would have thought that a tighter leech would flutter more.

Pulling the vang beyond block to block (when the mainsheet is block to block) will bend the mast more, which moves the draft further back and opens the leech. An open leech has less tension and depowers the sail.

So, pulling on more vang may well reduce leech flutter, but at the expense of power. A pretty sail is not necessarily a faster sail (in the Laser world especially).
From my personal experience I just don't see how a fluttering, flapping, vibrating leech can be fast. It disturbes the air flow coming off the sail massively. That vibrating has to be taking power away as well.

I know when that flutter starts I pull on a smidge more vang and it goes away. I feel faster anyway.
 
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