Overpowered

Thread starter #1
I've sailed for may years but new to the Laser.

I'm having a difficult time sailing the boat flat in anything over 10-12 knots with the standard rig. I'm 150 lbs and 5'9". I block to block the mainsheet, crank down on the vang and vang sheet. With appropriate amounts of cunningham, outhaul, and hiking like hell, I'm still heeled way too much and with the foils out of the water so much, can't point up wind.

I have a radial rig, but all the guys I race with are larger then me and use the standard rig. If I go out with the radial, I get stomped downwind.

The boat and standard rig are 6 years old and I bought it second hand. The sail looks to have a decent shape but maybe its the problem?

Other then gaining 20-30 lbs, I'm not sure what else I can do?

Help!
 

torrid

Just sailing
#2
It's simply physics. The boat was designed for a slightly larger person. Don't get me wrong, there are some smaller guys that can really work the boat and do well. However that takes years of experience.

When heeled, your really slide down a lot to windward. One thing to try is maybe not two-block the mainsheet and point off a bit. You can keep the boat flatter, and won't slide to windward as much.
 
#3
It's not clear if you are having this problem using the Radial or Full rig ?

In either case, there is something not quite right in either your technique or controls, especially if it's the Radial.

Describe where the cunningham is being pulled down to.
Describe your hiking style.
Describe where the mainsheet is when heeled (and is it cleated or in your hand)
Describe what the telltales are doing on the luff and what your mindset is as far as pinching/footing...
 
Thread starter #4
Slide to windward???




It's simply physics. The boat was designed for a slightly larger person. Don't get me wrong, there are some smaller guys that can really work the boat and do well. However that takes years of experience.

When heeled, your really slide down a lot to windward. One thing to try is maybe not two-block the mainsheet and point off a bit. You can keep the boat flatter, and won't slide to windward as much.
 
Thread starter #5
It's not clear if you are having this problem using the Radial or Full rig ?


As I mentioned at the beginning its with the standard rig

In either case, there is something not quite right in either your technique or controls, especially if it's the Radial.

Describe where the cunningham is being pulled down to.

In varying levels as much as full on with the grommet against the boom.

Describe your hiking style.

Full out straight legged.

Describe where the mainsheet is when heeled (and is it cleated or in your hand)

In my hand so I can sheet out in the puffs with full vang on.

Describe what the telltales are doing on the luff and what your mindset is as far as pinching/footing

Windward telltales breaking. I might be pinching a bit, but if I bear off a "few" degrees with the mainsheet slightly eased (a foot between block), I'm still heeled so much that the boom end drags at times in the water. I could ease off more to flatten and gain speed, but the windward legs are short enough where I don't think I could make up the difference with the added speed!
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#6
Slide to windward???
That's a mistake, obviously.

I have similar problems with the full rig at 150 lbs. The 30 lbs does make a difference going upwind, but it may give you an advantage on the reaches and runs.

The guys who really know Lasers tell me that sheeting out and keeping the boat flat is faster than sailing fully sheeted in and closer to the wind, but heeled.
Making that work is something I still have to learn. But as they say, time in the boat is all that matters...

Just my two cents!



 

jeffers

Active Member
#7
As has already been mentioned you are a little on the light side for the standard rig although I am surprised that you are finding yourself that badly overpowered in 10-12 knots so I would suspect it is more a case of technique and sail set.

How much Outhaul do you have on, as a general rule of thumb the advice I have been given and always used is to have a stratch hand span (tip of thumb to tip of little finger) as the maximum sail depth in conditions where you are looking for power and the width of a clenched fist when it is light and when you are overpowered.

Too much outhaul can lead to excessive healing just as easily as too little.

If the cunningham cringle comes down to the boom with relative ease it is also indicative of a stretched sail and you may need to pull is on more. On a particularly blow out sail i used a few years back I could get the cringle down almost below the gooseneck.

Once you have sorted your outhaul then it is kicker and cunningham all the way. Using more of each until you are overpowered and then ease the kicker but never any less that 'block to block' when going upwind.

I am guessing that off wind you have no issues?

The other thing you might want to try is to swap boats with someone else in your fleet for 1 day or for 1 race just to see if theirs is different and see what they think of yours. It is surprising how different boats can feel and how a different sail feels (this would give you a good indication on if your sail is blown out or if you are just too light).

Above all practice, especially with the technqiue. You can either foot off in the gusts or feather the boat up. It generally comes down to what the waves are like. On flat water feathering the boat into the gusts can owkr well, in waves you need more power so footing off it better.

At my local club (which is flat water) there is a guy who is about your weight who is fast in all conditions, he does have to work the boat hard though when it gets windy.
 
Thread starter #8
That's a mistake, obviously.

I have similar problems with the full rig at 150 lbs. The 30 lbs does make a difference going upwind, but it may give you an advantage on the reaches and runs.

The guys who really know Lasers tell me that sheeting out and keeping the boat flat is faster than sailing fully sheeted in and closer to the wind, but heeled.
Making that work is something I still have to learn. But as they say, time in the boat is all that matters...

Just my two cents!
Its a good two cents! And yes, I can scream by these bigger guys on a reach!
 
Thread starter #9
As has already been mentioned you are a little on the light side for the standard rig although I am surprised that you are finding yourself that badly overpowered in 10-12 knots so I would suspect it is more a case of technique and sail set.

How much Outhaul do you have on, as a general rule of thumb the advice I have been given and always used is to have a stratch hand span (tip of thumb to tip of little finger) as the maximum sail depth in conditions where you are looking for power and the width of a clenched fist when it is light and when you are overpowered.

Too much outhaul can lead to excessive healing just as easily as too little.

If the cunningham cringle comes down to the boom with relative ease it is also indicative of a stretched sail and you may need to pull is on more. On a particularly blow out sail i used a few years back I could get the cringle down almost below the gooseneck.

Once you have sorted your outhaul then it is kicker and cunningham all the way. Using more of each until you are overpowered and then ease the kicker but never any less that 'block to block' when going upwind.

I am guessing that off wind you have no issues?

The other thing you might want to try is to swap boats with someone else in your fleet for 1 day or for 1 race just to see if theirs is different and see what they think of yours. It is surprising how different boats can feel and how a different sail feels (this would give you a good indication on if your sail is blown out or if you are just too light).

Above all practice, especially with the technqiue. You can either foot off in the gusts or feather the boat up. It generally comes down to what the waves are like. On flat water feathering the boat into the gusts can owkr well, in waves you need more power so footing off it better.

At my local club (which is flat water) there is a guy who is about your weight who is fast in all conditions, he does have to work the boat hard though when it gets windy.
Paul,

I use the same gauge as you for the outhaul. The cunningham does take a bit of effort to get the cringle down to the boom, and when I do the first 12" or more of the luff is completely flat from the mast. In our area when its blowing 10-12, we get about 1-2 ft. of chop and the boat stalsl easily if I feather up a few degrees.
 
#10
I tend to agree with Jeffers, @ 150lbs in the full rig @ 12 knots, with the sail setup and hiking style you described, you shouldn't be overpowered.

It's possible you have a mast that is on the extreme end of stiffness. Ideally you should have the most flexible top section you can find. The bottom section should also be the most flexible you can find, but finding a soft top section is more important.

You also said
"I might be pinching a bit, but if I bear off a "few" degrees with the mainsheet slightly eased (a foot between block), I'm still heeled so much that the boom end drags at times in the water. I could ease off more to flatten and gain speed, but the windward legs are short enough where I don't think I could make up the difference with the added speed! "

That suggests to me you aren't easing enough sheet. The act of easing the sheet does not mean you have to bear off more, you are just using the mainsheet as the final control to adjust your angle of heel. If your course does not change, but you ease the sheet more to help de-power the boat and reduce heel, you may or may not increase speed thru the water, but you will certainly decrease leeway, so the net will be a gain in getting upwind. In the chop you describe, it sounds like you need to be doing this as opposed to trying to pinch more to keep the boat flat.
 
Thread starter #11
Greg,

I can't do anything about the mast, but you're probably right about the mainsheet. I'll go out again in the same conditions and ease some mainsheet but not worry about the tell tales.

Jerry
 
#14
I agree the problem is probably more with your technique, I'm around the same size/weight, my vang is setup for the max to be more than block to block and the cunningham to the starboard side so max on is down to the goosneck. If your hiking strap is too tight you won't be getting the most from your hiking. Hiking pants essential. Keep your outhaul set so that the sail is at least 2 inches deep at the boom cleat.

Behing on the lighter side I've found using a combination of easing the main (up to 3ft max ease) with cranked vang and cunningham while hiking hard to keep the boat flat is fastest in higher winds (usually around 15+kts).
 
Thread starter #15
I agree the problem is probably more with your technique, I'm around the same size/weight, my vang is setup for the max to be more than block to block and the cunningham to the starboard side so max on is down to the goosneck. If your hiking strap is too tight you won't be getting the most from your hiking. Hiking pants essential. Keep your outhaul set so that the sail is at least 2 inches deep at the boom cleat.

Behing on the lighter side I've found using a combination of easing the main (up to 3ft max ease) with cranked vang and cunningham while hiking hard to keep the boat flat is fastest in higher winds (usually around 15+kts).
Thanks for the great tips from all of you. I'm going to try them all!
 
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