Rule Jockeys... What do you think?

Thread starter #1
I'd like to cleat my out haul on the boat so I can actually adjust it during the race... Now, the rulebook says I can have any type of mainsheet cleat I want mounted in the indicated area and also that I can attach the free end of my outhaul to 'any deck fitting'... So, if I install a 'mainsheet' cleat within the prescribed area, but facing forward, and then 'attach' the free end of my outhaul to it, am I offside? I believe I comply with the letter of the rule, but what do you guys think?
no expert on laser rules but that all seems legit

there is no rule that stipulates that only the mainsheet may can be cleated in that area (feel free to prove me wrong)

This might be legal, if your turning blocks are? I think your cunningham/outhaul (at the deck) turning blocks would have to be the "builder supplied" version, instead of a simple double, or two lines thru the c/ham eye. But what if you are on the other tack? Then you can't do a thing?

I sail on a lake, evenings, often in an evening dieing breeze, so I like to adjust too. I use the old alum. cleat, plus cascading blocks, then turn around the mast, return to a tiny tight loop, and dangle a handle. Depending on angle, this is either 4:1 or 8:1(with friction). It seems to be plenty, and results in one less tail in the cockpit to mess up the main ratchet block, compared to the new "builder supplied" system, and cheaper.

This is easy to ease when "in" or downwind, and I can grab the handle and yank when I am "out" to snug it up. If you adjust this more than once in a leg, I'd guess you are gonna miss a shift, and lose way more than you can gain? Of course, if I'm "out" I'll have cleated my main, before I reach for the outhaul ;-) which the Olympic level guys will howl at, but works for this soon to be Grand Master. (anyone else have chronic tennis elbow from squeezing tiny main sheets for 30 years?) Soooo, consider the source, lol.

Hike Harder!

Al Russell 66451
This is addressed to Overdraft: I am curious where you hike and whether you use the newer Vanguard Performance Upgrade Kit for Outhaul and Cunningham or the standard outhaul.
In reply to Matt Sterett:
"Overdraft" is obviously referring to the old rigging. He wants to be able to cleat his old-style outhaul on the deck.

It was noted long time ago on drLaser that there is no way of doing that!

Chris Murphy speculated:
> there is no rule that stipulates that only the mainsheet may can
> be cleated in that area


Rule 3(c)iv about the mainsheet states:
"One mainsheet clam or cam cleat of any type may be mounted on each side deck in the position shown on the measurement diagram."

The term "mainsheet clam or cam cleat" sets in stone that the cleat mentioned in this rule can be used ONLY to cleat the mainsheet.

You therefore can not use 3(c)iv as a justification for mounting a cleat on the side deck to cleat the outhaul system. You must look for other rules in By-Law 1 that may allow you to use an "Optional" part to cleat your outhaul line on the deck. And the ONLY place you will find any rules related to this will again be within Rule 3.

In particular: Rule 3(b)iv (which explicitly allows for "a becket, a swivel and/or a shackle" on a block) implicitly bans blocks with internal jamming devices (except as allowed by Rule 3(c)iii for the mainsheet). And the only place where cleats can be added to the deck are defined by Rule 3(b)viii(c) - which allows the "deck cleat base" - and Rule 3(c)iv - which allows the mainsheet cleats. Therefore, there is no room afforded by the Rules for placing cleats anywhere else on a Laser.

This is based on the "FUNDAMENTAL RULE", which states:
"No addition or alteration may be made to the hull form, construction, equipment, type of equipment, placing of equipment, fittings, type of fittings, placing of fittings, spars, sail and battens as supplied by the builder EXCEPT when such an alteration or change is SPECIFICALLY authorized by Parts 2 or 3 of these Rules."

That is, if you want to cleat your outhaul line on the deck, the ONLY thing you can do is to buy a deck cleat plate.

But you surely can lead your old-system outhaul control line tail to the deck without cleating it on the deck -- i.e., as long as you accept to cleat the outhaul line on the mid-boom clam cleat (as Al Russell does). This is made a bit more flexible with the November 2003 Interpretation 4, which now states "The cunningham fairlead may be used to lead the cunningham AND/or outhaul control lines..."

This allows TIGHTENING the old-system outhaul (revamped by using Optional blocks instead of thimbles) more easily, from the deck, from a hiked position, without reaching for the boom. But to EASE the outhaul, you would still need to reach for the mid-boom clam cleat -- which is hard (no matter what Al Russell says).

With the old-type rigging, uncleating the line from the mid-boom clam cleat by yanking on a bowline release handle at the exit from the clam cleat
- was impossible whenever your boom was too far out,
- required some acrobatics (quickly reaching in to the boom and hiking back out again) in anything other than light conditions, and
- was next to impossible in strong winds, restricting the timing of a release to the middle of a tack.

Can you do anything to make easing your old-system outhaul easier without much additional cost?

Note that the new Rules for the outhaul system allows for
A- TWO control lines [see 3(f)i], plus
B- another line to tie an Optional block at the mast/gooseneck junction [see 3(f)v], plus
C- still another line to tie yet another Optional block at the mast/gooseneck junction [see 3(f)viii(a) coupled with Interpretation 9].
And this is independent of whether you use a new or old system rigging. So, the question is, can you legally rig an "outhaul release sub-system" using the 2nd control line referred to in A above?

The answer is "Yes, if you are willing to use up one or two of the maximum of 6 "turning points" for this release system.

The recent Interpretations issued by ILCA point to the possibility that some people have already thought about this. In particular, Interpretation 9 changes the rules to now allow for a second turning block for the outhaul system near the gooseneck. Interpretation 8 changes the rules to now allow for attaching a block directly to the mid-boom clam cleat. And Interpretation 2 changes the rules to now allow for using "shackles, clips, balls or hooks" to attach blocks (instead of just "line").

All these recent changes, when combined, offer opportunities to thos with the old-rig to creatively improve the usefulness and competitiveness of their existing rigging.

This is just food for thought! If you have any creative design that allows uncleating the outhaul without reaching the middle of the boom, I would appreciate it if you shared it with drLaser web site for possible publication. The system on the study carpet right now does it, but it's not reliable (successful in 100% of the tries) with the fittings currently used.


Many thanks to Shevy for the interpretations explanation. I think I'll definately go to a 6:1, by tieing a block to the cleat bridge to get a 3:1 to cascade to the 2:1 at the clue. I might even be tempted to try leading the handle down thru the c-ham eye, now that that is legal, but I'm not thrilled to add another string to the ratchet block area.

I do agree with Shevy that the mid-boom cleat is a bother too, but I find with the extra purchases ahead of it, that the loads on the cleat are much lighter. I can now ease it usually with 2 fingers and from as far forward as my downwind seat up by the mast, after rounding. I can trim it from there as well, just before the leeward mark without accidently overtrimming the main, causing a gybe.

I don't know about all areas, but I hardly ever see a triangle course anymore, which would leave us on a full hike reach, but looking to fatten the main for more power, but totally helpless to reach the mid-boom cleat and old vang. Now, we always seem to round onto a run and are instantly sitting almost on the new "builder supplied" cleats?

I suppose my point is that the purchases are worth getting, even if you can't afford all the shiny new stuff. (And I have made that point before on another thread, where (part of) both of these posts might be better suited to, feel free to move mine).

Thanks again to Shevy for the food for thought!

Al Russell 66451
> but I find with the extra purchases ahead of it, that the loads
> on the cleat are much lighter.

This was absent from Al's earlier post. What a crucial hint for all using the old rigging. Thanks, Al!

"Ahead" here means AFT of the clam cleat. With a 6:1 aft of the clam cleat, the holding load on the cleat is at most 15 lbs.

Judging from Al's "I can now ease it usually with 2 fingers and from as far forward as my downwind seat up by the mast" description, it is clear that he is referring to a sailing area with little chop, small waves and gentle winds. There surely are sailing conditions where the "2 fingers" would have to be "5 fingers" and your "by the mast" downwind seat could even be "aft in the cockpit".

That is, IMHO, the old problem of uncleating from the clam cleat continues to plague those using the old rig, except when we face light air AND windward-leeward courses.


PS. Standard Laser race course is now a "trapezoid" (box) with two reach legs. Obviously, many local clubs don't use it in fleet racing because they don't even have enough marks and manpower to set and maintain it. But if you go to any serious event, you WILL have reaching legs.

PPS. The 6:1 described by Al can be (efficiently) rigged using a single control line and 5 turning points. Even such a rig leaves one extra control line and one extra turning point that can be used to set up a "remote uncleating system".
"I'd like to cleat my out haul on the boat so I can actually adjust it during the race" - Overdraft

The easiest thing to do would be to get the double blocks/cleats from the performance upgrade kit. If you are not doing national sailing, you really dont need the entire performance upgrade kit. It is my oppinion that the outhaul system is by far the most important and necessary part of the kit. This would cost roughly $90 in harken cam cleats (2) and harken small boat blocks (5). "I'd like to cleat my out haul on the boat so I can actually adjust it during the race." You would be able to easily adjust it in ANY coditions. In my oppinion the $90 is well worth it (if you happened to have a couple blocks lying around unused like me, it costs $15 less). Drlaser, roostersailing, and many other sites have multiple picture examples if needed.
Hey all,

I do think I admitted to being a Lake sailor, and a (near) grand master, as per Shevy's "truth in disclosure" posts, which I agree with. But, he correctly caught the major point, lighter loads on the old cleats, make them tolerable (useful, functional, not great but....tolerable!) This is never more true, than on the old vang, souped up to 15:1 as per the drLaser web site, then reversed, so the cleat block is on top. This works great, and I'm quite sure is legal, as Shevy and I discussed this before. The cleating angles, and light (final) loads make this tolerable (great! to this 30 yr. vet.).

Also, I stand corrected, "ahead" (my words) of the cleat is "aft" of the cleat, between the clew and the cleat, making the cleat load as light as possible, so the Clam effect functions, but doesn't lock the line forever. I'm psyched to go from 4:1 to 6:1 (for 8 bucks more).

I do wish that I got to race a Laser regularily in wind and waves, like SF Bay, or Barbados (ok, Buzzards Bay too), so that I got used to sitting in the back seat enough to even CONSIDER easing the outhaul as Shevy suggests, lol, as I'm usually thinking about staying upright as the fastest way to go! Then, the new cockpit mounted cleats would be angled just right! The new rules will probably make us all better sailors than the old "set it and forget it" Laser crowd of the last century, some of whom have moved on to win probably every major regatta that was ever held!

So, I try to keep 2 old Lasers rigged fast, as well as a J24, so $100. here, and $100. there, and pretty soon you can pay for a year of the kid's College, of even get a new sail! My point is change what you can, don't wait forever for the shiny 15:1 vang when for $18. you can have a 8:1 upside down Vang, or a $30. 6:1 outhaul that works great (relatively, compared to the 20th Century "dark" ages), or a $37. 15:1 vang. Just do it!

Again, many thanks to Shevy, for keeping the spirits up during the long winter, as well as the spirit of innovation. The NE Masters are again on Lake Champlain in Sept. so come on up!

Hike Harder!

Al Russell, 1041, 23116, 66451, 66458, 148469, ...
I'm still VERY MUCH interested in pushing the rules to come up with a cheap "remote uncleating" system for the old boom-cleated outhauls.

I will make some related inquiries in a separate thread. These Rules are still confusing me.