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Speed Off the Line

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Technique
Forum Discription: 'How to' section for dinghy questions and answers
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=12591
Printed Date: 11 Dec 18 at 9:17am
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Topic: Speed Off the Line
Posted By: iGRF
Subject: Speed Off the Line
Date Posted: 12 Dec 16 at 8:20pm
I had it totally laid out for me on Sunday just how crap I am off the line, went off alongside another Solution only one sailed by somebody who knows how to do it. Just when you think you're nearly there, these past few weeks getting my arse handed to me every which way down the lake after a lazy summer of easy sea sailing and finally the sun came out a bit, I'm back in the wetsuit, so no excuse about being trussed up in a dry suit and gloves ruining my style. A wide open start line and still I binned it.

So hints and tips please, the trouble is I know what to do, I just can't make the bloody boat do it. I'm doing every stupid wrong thing, banging straight into a lee bow and dropping back, not getting my nose out far enough fast enough, this week really wound me up.

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Replies:
Posted By: laser193713
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 9:07am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUY8g8rDhis 

Simple!


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 9:31am
Best place to start would be an analysis of what you did wrong, my guess is that the other Solution was closer to the line than you, that you were too close to the Solution, that you didn't have fast off the line settings and probably was forced into pinching  rather than footing into the gap to leeward that you should have established before the start.

I would concentrate on getting your timings to ensure that you hit the line on the bang, you could acheive this by looking around you to ensure that you either have a good line transit, or at least are not falling back relative to the boats around you.

It is usually more important to be close to the line, than being in the perfect position relative to the pins.

Concentrate on tucking up under the boat to windward, to create the space to drive off into to leeward.

Calibrate your sail settings, so that you can go fast from the "bang" and know what settings would allow you to point before you are lee bowed, probably ease a bit of foot and pull on some kicker.

Don't stuff when coming off the line unless for tactical gain.


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: GarethT
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 10:17am
How often do you practise?


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 10:19am
[QUOTE=davidyacht] Best place to start would be an analysis of what you did wrong, my guess is that the other Solution was closer to the line than you, that you were too close to the Solution, that you didn't have fast off the line settings and probably was forced into pinching  rather than footing into the gap to leeward that you should have established before the start.
/QUOTE]

Pretty much bang on, he was ahead and to leeward and could have if he chose to as would have been the case at Hythe, shut the door and sailed me the wrong side of the start so I was probably a bit shy because of that.

But this isn't the only scenario, what did you mean 'line settings'?



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Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 10:22am
Originally posted by GarethT

How often do you practise?


Never, it's not like windsurfing where it is actually quite fun to just go sail, I guess I should make the effort, but, it's one thing saying practise, but practise what? You need to know what it is you're doing wrong to begin with or all I'll do is reinforce crap habits.

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Posted By: fab100
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 1:42pm
Here's some ideas for you then

Practice holding the boat on station (standing up helps) by hovering near a mark. This might require backing the sail or pulling it to windward, pulling the plate up, pumping the tiller to push the stern one way of the other (but read the rules, it's not allowed to cross the centre-line as you shake it for instance and also you have no rights if going backwards). Bewarned, this ain't easy

Practice protecting your slot and ensuring you have a space to leeward to accelerate into with a few secs to go

Practice 'pulling the trigger'  - work out how long and how far it takes to get up to full speed in a variety of conditions. You cannot park a dinghy on the line and sheet in just as the gun goes - after 10 seconds you will be 5+secs behind the boats that hit the line at speed and in their dirty wind for the rest of the beat.

Make sure you know where the line actually is, using transits or whatever and how long it will take you to get to it.

Practice different approaches to the line, such as coming in relatively late on port and tacking into a (sufficient) gap. Again, read the rules.

Better to have a clean start than get embroiled in a melee. 

There is no point winning the pin if it means you are trapped and forced to sail on a starboard header.

Line settings: David is referring to the sail (and other) controls - what works for holding the boat on the line is different to when seeking max acceleration or full speed (different again). You may well have different settings if you need to engage stuff-mode because you have a pincher below you or fast-n-low mode because someone is trying to reach over the top of you.

Coming off the start line is also a crucial pinch-point, so is the perfect time for a burst of 110% effort, so yes you need to hike for all you are worth, and then some



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Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 1:50pm
How does pulling the plate up help keep you on station? Not being facetious, genuine question in case it came out wrong in the sentence and was meant in some other context.

All good advice, and everything I am so totally crap at, yet was so adept at on a board, this is the one bit that separates boats and boards and I've never totally dialed it except when it's very light, I seem to be able to guages the distances better then, running at a line at different windspeeds, I just haven't got it judged, there's a video of sundays debacle on fb, their lines are never as clean as this one was yet still I fouled it up.

That start video URL %20https://www.facebook.com/RedoubtSailingClub/videos/1331781413533049/" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/RedoubtSailingClub/videos/1331781413533049/

I'm 399 2nd boat away.

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Posted By: laser193713
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 2:21pm
Look at the way in which the lead boat rolls and flattens the boat to steer from his close reaching course to the close hauled course, right on the gun. He had a good start, but was under no pressure at all from the fleet. I suppose the one good thing is that you weren't as late as the rest of them!

I would try to be closer to the line for much more of the start sequence, I can't think of a reason to be as far from the line as any of the other boats in that video after about 3 minutes to go, let alone in the last minute. I think that would be the best tip, try and stay in the vicinity of the line, at least then the pressure is on the other boats to make your life difficult rather than being in a situation where all you can do is follow them.

Clive is right about trying to hold your bow by a buoy for 30 seconds at a time or so, longer the better. Approach the buoy on a close reach, stop the boat (very important skill) by aggressively shifting your weight back to drag the transom whilst heeling slightly to windward and simultaneously pushing the tiller hard away. This will really put the brakes on. Then try and keep the bow 30cm away from the buoy for as long as you can. Jabs of the tiller to keep it up. Shifting your weight around, forwards and backwards too can make the boat move in all sorts of ways. 

I used to practice this for hours and hours and I would say that I'm probably one of the better "starters" in most fleets that I race in either as a helmsman or tactician on bigger boats. 

Best thing to do is get time on the water, maybe even with a friend too so you can challenge each other, work on all the little boat handling skills. Tacking duels, 360s 720s, holding by the mark... etc... 


Posted By: fab100
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 2:28pm
Originally posted by iGRF

How does pulling the plate up help keep you on station? Not being facetious, genuine question in case it came out wrong in the sentence and was meant in some other context.


if the board stops the boat sliding sideways...

Also, moving the plate's centre of effort aft changes the balance of the rig

If you've tried rudderless sailing (best with a jib), most boats spin like a dervish on full plate but behave far better on half-board 

And pushing the boom out can fill the sail the wrong way...

Experiment! But read the rules.






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Posted By: fab100
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 2:36pm
Originally posted by iGRF

That start video URL %20https://www.facebook.com/RedoubtSailingClub/videos/1331781413533049/" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/RedoubtSailingClub/videos/1331781413533049/

I'm 399 2nd boat away.

Pull the sail in and get your ar$e over the side

How deep is the water? Looks like you could have got out and held her on station


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Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 3:36pm
Also looks like the other boat either has more rake running or more kicker on as your boom angles are different.

Looks like kicker but you may want to compare settings.


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Paul
---------------------------
D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 3:55pm
I think that I would have been lining up below the other Solution to squeeze him out at the pin, or lee bow him.  Had you been further ahead he could have been quite aggressive.  You could have worked out a transit to allow you to lay the pin, with him as keep clear boat, or even held station by the IDM.  The way that everyone fetched in would suggest that a well timed run in could have been quite effective.

Ref. Line settings; its good to mark up your kicker, and other controls with a scale, or with a permanent marker so that you can readily repeat known fast settings; it's no good having your head in the bottom of the boat randomly pulling controls, while the bigger picture is the guy coming up from underneath of you.  There is a gear change from accelerating off the line to straight line speed, but really the kicker is the only control that need be adjusted at this time.


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: Late starter
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 4:18pm
I've seen this time and time again and the only answer is practice I'm afraid. As others have said, the ability to "park" a boat is vital, We used to practice this for hours at a time back in the day on Jim Saltonstalls training camps. He also used to make us race dozens of short (50 metre??) races a day, so we got to do start after start after start, all videoed for later analysis.

If you haven't got any racing coaches at the club I'm sure the RYA RDO could find someone to run a session. 



Posted By: Chris415700
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 5:52pm
You're sitting too far back.

Look at what the other guy is doing. 

With about 3 seconds to go he pulls the trigger and accelerates away while you are healed to windward with the sail out. 

As he pulls the trigger he moves forward to stop the transom dragging in the water, while you stay further back.

It looks like the other guy has more kicker on allowing him to point higher. You have less kicker and the lack of pointing ability coupled with the lack of lift from the foils due to less speed means that you end up sailing deeper and deeper into his dirty air. Just where you do not want to be.

Finally about 6 seconds after the gun you have your head in the bottom of the boat, while the other guy is sitting forward, concentrating on speed and looking up checking the rig.

Oh, and did I mention you're sitting too far back?




Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 5:57pm
Originally posted by fab100


Originally posted by iGRF

That start video URL %20https://www.facebook.com/RedoubtSailingClub/videos/1331781413533049/" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/RedoubtSailingClub/videos/1331781413533049/

I'm 399 2nd boat away.

Pull the sail in and get your ar$e over the side
How deep is the water? Looks like you could have got out and held her on station


Yes you probably could that marker is a shallow spot it's normally under water but we've been light on rainfall this autumn so the other issue was running aground. Jack knew all that and probably guessed rightly there was no way above him, my plate kicked back a bit as the gun went.

it's difficult to assess the line originally my plan was to try a starboard approach blocking then tack onto port last minute but a sudden shift and wind drop put paid to that idea and pretty much everyone had to shuffle to line up for a port end run, I was lucky to get ahead, got a lucky puff, that bit is right next to some reeds that cause a windshadow, he was just far enough out to hike, I'd have gone in to weather if I'd sat out to hard at that point, he was lucky a bit as well I guess but he did set himself up nicely.

They've all been chastising me for insufficient kicker, you'd think by now there would be guages for kicker tension with numbers on them, then all you old boys and bloody youf practising for hours on end wouldn't have that advantage now would you? I can't believe I'm going to have to go and practise this sh*t all over again, I'm far too important to be learning beginner stuff..

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Posted By: fab100
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 6:10pm

Originally posted by iGRF

They've all been chastising me for insufficient kicker, you'd think by now there would be guages for kicker tension with numbers on them, then all you old boys and bloody youf practising for hours on end wouldn't have that advantage now would you? I can't believe I'm going to have to go and practise this sh*t all over again, I'm far too important to be learning beginner stuff..

here's a rule of thumb* for you then, you want the final third of the top batten to be parallel to the boom. If it's falling away, pull harder, if its hooking to windward, ease kicker.

*this does not work for Lasers




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Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 6:58pm
Gauges for kickers ... I have three indelible marks on the kicker multi purchase to check the final purchase block against, these are about 2" to 3" apart, the middle setting was set following some buddy training, the other settings are, lots of kicker, for breeze and pointing (in a Solo) and not a lot of kicker, mainly used in dead boat situations.

One device that turned up at the Solo nationals was having a scale on the boom, a line from the last purchase going through a block adjacent to the kicker take off, then a plastic stopper, then bungee dead ended on one of the main sheet boom eyes, you can then read off the kicker tension from stopper relative to the number scale.


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: pondlife1736
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 7:00pm
Informative thread this one, and hats off to igrf for putting up the video.
The space to leeward thing always gets me, how do you defend it? Just when I think I've got a nice bit of room to accelerate into, somebody pops into it, forces me up and I get spat out the back. Any suggestions what I should be doing?


Posted By: Time Lord
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 7:18pm
If you look at your boat about 3 lengths from the line, you can see about 3-4 inches of the turn of the bow out of the water. Definitely not quick but easy to correct by sitting further forward. I've always buried the bow in upwind and get the transom out when its light winds.

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Merlin Rocket 3609


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 7:21pm
Originally posted by pondlife1736

Informative thread this one, and hats off to igrf for putting up the video.
The space to leeward thing always gets me, how do you defend it? Just when I think I've got a nice bit of room to accelerate into, somebody pops into it, forces me up and I get spat out the back. Any suggestions what I should be doing?
I found the Shirley Robertson video particularly helpful.
 
Ref. The gap I think it depends on how competitive the start is, but you can try and make the space look uninviting by filling the space, heading down, easing the boom and so forth so the port tacker ignores your space.   

This is rarely a problem at a club race and certainly was not an issue for Graeme's start.  I am pretty hopeless at it at championships, I think that I am the marshmallow, since there always seems to be a hotshot to windward!


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 8:16pm
When it's light, I can get right forward, but it was winter wind puffy up on my ear now and again, he the Youf a third of my age and probably a third more weight can get forward and still control any puffs, me, need to be at the wide point of the boat which is too far back, which is why I'm sat back there, not an excuse, a reason, I know you're supposed to be forward and the head in the boat bit was getting my plate back down.

Small light folk do have more to deal with, not that we're moaning, everything else writ here is very helpful...

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Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 10:20pm
I haven't got back to that stage racing dinghies yet (used to be ok at club level in my youth). In the intervening period, like GRF (but at a much lower level) I raced windsurfers pretty seriously at regional level and the odd National, I was pretty good off the line, especially in the lighter stuff. If that had been me in 399 in that video I'd have said I was just too late for the start, on a Raceboard I'd have given it loads of PLF to limit the damage but.......

I'm also an advocate of getting the transom out in light airs but I've been told the Blaze doesn't like too much of the bow buried either. If it's more medium then you have to be on the racks so can only get so far forward but that doesn't seem to be too much of an issue as if you're sitting out on the Blaze there's enough power to get things going.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 13 Dec 16 at 11:41pm
Originally posted by fab100

, pumping the tiller to push the stern one way of the other (but read the rules, it's not allowed to cross the centre-line as you shake it for instance and also you have no rights if going backwards).

Where in the rules is the tiller crossing the centreline when sculling prohibited? The best I can find in the RRS is that sculling is allowed to help you turn onto a close hauled course from above close hauled but must not move you forward or prevent you from moving backwards? TBF I haven't read the IYRU interpretations yet.........

I'm just learning the current RRS as I've been out of serious racing for 10 years and for the previous 30 raced windsurfers (where, relatively speaking, I was the rules guru at my club).


Posted By: laser193713
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 10:48am
The tiller crossing the centreline thing is a rule of thumb used by most jury boats at big events. If they see a rudder blade flicking both sides it suggests that the boat is not trying to steer because flicking both sides would not achieve this. 

As for protecting your space to leeward, this is mostly done by rotating your bow down to a beam reach, without moving forwards. Mostly done using jabs on the tiller and big body weight movements. Once the boat has decided that they don't want to steal your space, or has reacted by setting up to leeward of your space then you can rotate the boat back to close hauled and you instantly have a one boat length gap, which is enough. In this case you should be close enough to the line that the leeward boat cannot spit you out the back without being ocs themselves. 

This website sums it up quite well! http://thefinalbeat.com/categories/starting/protecting-space

And this one http://www.sailingbreezes.com/sailing_breezes_current/articles/Aug01/dell.htm


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 11:36am
Thanks, interesting stuff, racing windsurfers with pumping allowed sitting on the line until just before the gun was the usual tactic, loads of PLF and you could hit warp speed in a couple of board lengths but back in the day when I was racing OKs and Herons the plan was to hit the line at full speed, close hauled and exactly on the gun. This was recommended by several of the pundits with various methods suggested to achieve it. (e.g. with 20 secs to go sailing away from the line for 8 seconds turning and making your final run). Hitting the line at speed is probably still the fastest way to start but is definitely a high risk strategy and not really an option on a crowded start line.

edit :- I've just been leafing through a couple of old sailing books (Elvstrom's "Expert Dinghy Racing" and Eyvin Schiottz "Practical Yacht Racing") and discovered that Paul Elvestrom was credited with developing the technique of sitting on the line and using it very effectively at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952........ 


Posted By: Ardea
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 12:36pm
As a small, light, person I'd suggest getting the trim right even if it means you lose some righting moment is the way to go.  It's probably faster and will give you more options on pointing high or low.  When you move back to a wider section of boat to generate some extra righting moment (probably not much extra, but I'm happy to be corrected) the transom will create more drag which means you need to sail lower to generate the power to offset the extra drag, sort of a vicious circle which will stop you having the option to point high.

I don't know you, but with my limited experience of windsurfing there is little to no on the water rig control so you might be behind the curve here.  Getting some pointers, or crewing/helming on a 2 person boat with someone who knows how to adjust a rig around the course could be helpful?


Posted By: Steve411
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by davidyacht

Originally posted by pondlife1736

Informative thread this one, and hats off to igrf for putting up the video.
The space to leeward thing always gets me, how do you defend it? Just when I think I've got a nice bit of room to accelerate into, somebody pops into it, forces me up and I get spat out the back. Any suggestions what I should be doing?
I found the Shirley Robertson video particularly helpful.
 
Ref. The gap I think it depends on how competitive the start is, but you can try and make the space look uninviting by filling the space, heading down, easing the boom and so forth so the port tacker ignores your space.   

This is rarely a problem at a club race and certainly was not an issue for Graeme's start.  I am pretty hopeless at it at championships, I think that I am the marshmallow, since there always seems to be a hotshot to windward!

Yes, there's no proper course before the start so if you see someone approaching from behind then bear off into the gap you've created and they will normally look elsewhere. You may need to work to open up the gap again afterwards but it's preferable to it being completely filled by someone else. Also, don't make your gap to leeward too big too early or you're asking for someone to steal it.

My standard starting technique is to approach on port tack and tack under a starboard tacker and steal their gap!


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RS300 411
D-Zero 11

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Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 3:07pm
Originally posted by Ardea

I don't know you, but with my limited experience of windsurfing there is little to no on the water rig control so you might be behind the curve here.  Getting some pointers, or crewing/helming on a 2 person boat with someone who knows how to adjust a rig around the course could be helpful?

Windsurf course racers (Raceboards, Formula Windsurfing, slalom etc) have used a comprehensive set of rig controls since pretty much the beginning so I'm sure GRF has plenty of experience that way. A windsurf rig has two main controls, outhaul and downhaul (which is the equivalent of a dinghy Cunningham). They work in much the same way too, the downhaul bends the mast and loosens the leech and the outhaul flattens the sail.


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 4:05pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons

Originally posted by Ardea

I don't know you, but with my limited experience of windsurfing there is little to no on the water rig control so you might be behind the curve here.  Getting some pointers, or crewing/helming on a 2 person boat with someone who knows how to adjust a rig around the course could be helpful?

Windsurf course racers (Raceboards, Formula Windsurfing, slalom etc) have used a comprehensive set of rig controls since pretty much the beginning so I'm sure GRF has plenty of experience that way. A windsurf rig has two main controls, outhaul and downhaul (which is the equivalent of a dinghy Cunningham). They work in much the same way too, the downhaul bends the mast and loosens the leech and the outhaul flattens the sail.

The difference is that you can't adjust these controls on the fly like you can with a dinghy.


-------------
Paul
---------------------------
D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 4:52pm
You can organise on the fly out & downhaul systems, some would dump both at the weather mark and balloon out the sail for the downwind legs, personally I preferred a tight rig which pumps better and the time taken to adjust the downhaul measured against a lost shift or tack whilst you were distracted wasn't worth the preceived speed gain.

Back in the day I experimented with boom vangs (kicker style arrangement) and topping lifts but really nothing works any better than good hard pumping, something I can do in a dinghy now, but the Miracle Mums whine like biatches even if they see the little Solution rocking a bit, they don't even like it when I stand up to force it to leeward with my knees when it gets a bit iffy.

But I've got to say what they're suggesting in that video about leaning it to leeward then rocking out hard looks exactly like pumping to me.

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Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 5:05pm
When I was racing Raceboards (and Div 1 before that) I had an on-the-water adjustable outhaul and downhaul. They got adjusted at every windward and leeward mark, and the downhaul was a life saver if the wind really picked up (or dropped). With the Demon Design sails I was using it made a huge difference to the available power and controllability. Compared to (less sophisticated) mainstream designs they were fairly tight leeched (so fast in the light/marginal stuff) but lots of downhaul (mine was 8:1) would open it up enough for my 65kg (as was) to hold on up to 25 knots. Sadly I'm no longer fit enough to pump as much as is required for competitive windsurf racing.

Originally posted by iGRF

But I've got to say what they're suggesting in that video about leaning it to leeward then rocking out hard looks exactly like pumping to me.

It is but it's not the demented butterflies us raceboard sailors look like on a light wind run :)

Apparently you can do it (as a roll tack or gybe) but only if it doesn't make the boat go faster!!!!!


Posted By: GarethT
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 6:55pm
Originally posted by iGRF


But I've got to say what they're suggesting in that video about leaning it to leeward then rocking out hard looks exactly like pumping to me.


And if your course didn't change it would be. You lean it to leeward to steer the boat, then roll it flat.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 10:02pm
Still dodgy as hell, if you ask me, like roll tacking for the sake of it, rather than acting on windshifts or tactics. Watching a Laser start is like watching synchronised cheating.

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Topper 44496, Minisail 3131, Minisail 3446


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Dec 16 at 10:31pm
Or 'demented butterflies'..... Oh hang on that's windsurfers innit?



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