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Chris 249 View Drop Down
Really should get out more
Really should get out more
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Joined: 10 May 04
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chris 249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 04 at 8:41pm
Sure, it's a good boat that has done an enormous amount for the sport. If the sport promoted itself as being more about Lasers etc than about super maxis etc, the sport would probably still be as big as it used to be.

But the Laser sailors I know recognise that the boat has a heavy helm. The credentials include; 3rd in the Open worlds; first in the Youth Worlds; 27th or so in Open Worlds at 19 years of age (just behind Ed Baird etc); winning a District Open title at 18, ahead of that season's World Champ and the guy who was 3rd; two Seconds in Masters worlds; down to winning the Radial district (Open and Masters) against the three-time world Masters champ and the guy who was 4th in the Radial worlds (a couple of places behind Ben Ainslie); etc etc etc etc.

So the Laser sailors I know aren't exactly slow. We ARE sailing the boat well (even the slowest are Masters worlds runners-up, that's not exactly dog slow), but it's still heavy on the helm compared to many other classes. As Blobby pointed out, I was wrong in saying changing the rake would reduce the helm, it would just hide it.

I agree with Fizzi about the way the boats last. I'm just getting back into the class in a casual way, and I've picked up a 1977/78 boat which still feels fine. Not as stiff as my old racing boat, but with training the old boat would take me back to the top 10 in Australian Radials as far as I can see.

The sails don't last too well, but for one that's cause Aussie LAser sailors treat them terribly (letting them flog for ages) and secondly at least a proportion of the price goes to promoting the class.

One of the reasons I never returned to the class seriously was the attitude at championship level. Not so much at the front, where the racing was tough but clean, but when you had a bad race and fell into the pack it was pretty ugly. And down here, the social aspect has really deteriorated outside club level. We go to mixed-fleet regattas and sometimes not a single Laser sailor will turn up to club functions.

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redback View Drop Down
Really should get out more
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Post Options Post Options   Quote redback Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 05 at 6:33pm
I enjoyed my Laser racing and learnt a lot.  If only I'd switched the boat I now sail my knees wouldn't be so bad.  I don't know if others have noticed, but if you relax for a moment in a Laser - to say only 95% effort - the boat slows to about 80%.  My current boat slows to about 90% when I switch to 95%, it would give me more time the think if I wasn't going about twice as fast anyway.
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DiscoBall View Drop Down
Far too distracted from work
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Joined: 03 Jan 05
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 05 at 9:00pm
Originally posted by fizzicist

The weatherhelm soon disappears if you sail the thing completely flat. Which you should do anyway if you want to be quick.

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Actually if you watch the coverage of the olympics you'll see that ainslie (back in the day...) sceidt etc. sail the boat with a continuous small amount of heel.  One reason is that your backside drags in the water otherwise!  The other reason - that I didn't realise 'til I read Jon Emmets article about the radials adoption as an olympic class in Seahorse - is that if you sail it bolt upright the plate waggles around in the case which is slow....  Another great design feature...

The thing about the attitude in the fleet is very obvious in handicap racing where the top few laser guys in any fleet will be pretty normal  but the rest will be shouty halfwits...  At salcombe last year we led the 12 fleet round for absolutely ages, having our best race ever.  Then with perhaps half a mile of the course left we encountered a lone laser sailor, well off the back of his own fleet.  We kept going high to pass him well clear but he just kept staring over his shoulder and luffing up to our line until he was under our lee bow pinching madly.  Suffice to say it dropped us out of 1st and a few choice phrases were directed in his direction...

T
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