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Laser - to cleat or not to cleat

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barclay174 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote barclay174 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Laser - to cleat or not to cleat
    Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 11:58am
Not having my own boat, I sail club Lasers & have found the ones at my new club are differently set up to the ones at the old club. Most notably, these ones have a cleat for the mainsheet - & after one race I can't decide if this is a good thing or not. Clearly, I can eliminate the 'forgetting to uncleat while tacking & getting knocked in the water' problem & cleating does make beating much less tiring - but on the other hand, I can't help wondering if I wouldn't have been able to point higher & maintain speed better if I'd been constantly playing the main as usual.

I'm sure this is a question so obvious as to be almost embarrassing, but would very much appreciate any advice.

Thanks
Lucy
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jeffers View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 12:04pm
In a Laser the fastest way upwind is to be constantly tweaking the main. Cleating means you cannot react to changes in the wind (gusts and lulls) and you can very quickly find yourself swimming.
 
The flip side is that you need strong arms as the load can be relatively high.
 
I have owned several lasers and on each one I have removed the cleats if they were fitted they are (literally) a pain in the a**e (as this is where you need to be hiking when going upwind).
 
Some of the 'older' generation like the cleats because they are not as strong/dynamic and this helps them with that but IMO a cleat on a mainsheet in a dinghy (unless you are in a spinnaker boat or cruising a lot) is not necessary.
Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GybeFunny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 12:09pm
I have a selection of cleats in my toolbox, removed from the different Lasers I have owned.
Do these boats have ratchet blocks? If they do then you dont need a cleat.
If you are finding the mainsheet heavy when playing it are you putting on enough kicker, pulling the kicker on harder makes playing the mainsheet less work.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 12:26pm
 More trouble than they're worth for the reasons already posted.
 
If you need a spare hand to adjust other stuff, pass the mainsheet to your tiller hand and do both with one hand. I can't remember the last time I used one, I don't even when I hoist the spinny.


Edited by GK.LaserII - 14 Mar 12 at 12:27pm
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PeterG View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PeterG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 1:30pm
As someone with arthritic fingers I find the cleats invaluable. Even though I don't use them all the time, but they are great to have there when you run out of hands, need a rest in strong winds. Just because they are there doesn't mean you have to use them all the time.

If you are youngish and fit and aiming for the front of the fleet then getting rid of them may be the right route, for mere mortals having them there can be very useful.
Peter
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Post Options Post Options   Quote A Seabadger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 1:31pm
The cleats give you lovely bruises on your thighs!!
I removed mine.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote barclay174 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 2:37pm
Many thanks guys, you have confirmed my suspicions & I will try to avoid the cleats in future (as I can't remove them) with both mainsheet & bum!

GybeFunny - yes I do have the kicker on hard, but being just about off the bottom of the weight range for a Radial I still have to work the main fairly hard to stay upright in anything breezy/gusty!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jon711 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 3:22pm
I can not really comment on the Laser, but when I removed the mainsheet cleat, on the Blaze, I went a lot faster!!

Jon
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fraggle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 3:39pm

If its a centre main sheet jammer you are talking about remove it quickly.  Last thing you need is a cleat there.

However, deck cleats I find much more personal preference.  Some people hate them and are very anti them.  I have them on my boat but don't use them racing.  They can be invaluable if you have a long sail out/home from a race area (such as at the Laser Qs) where you can cleat the main and just cruise for a bit to have a rest.
 
Whether you have them or not you should try not to use them whilst racing as you need to be playing the main. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 12 at 3:55pm
Whilst I 100% agree to get them off a Laser, it's worth remembering cleating isn't a totally redundant skill to master.  

You'll certainly need one if you plan to sail an asymmetric singlehander and they more than have a place on a unarig with a traveller set-up like a Finn or Solo.  

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