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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 07-30-2008
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accidental jibes on a laser

Hi,

I'm going to start sailing lasers pretty soon and there's one thing I'm wondering.

On sailboats with telltales or a jib I can prevent the accidental jibe by looking at the telltales or by checking if the jib starts to luff.
Now, on lasers, there are neither shrouds to tie telltales to, or a jibe. How can I then know an accidental jibe might be about to happen?

Thanks so much!!
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Old 07-30-2008
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Good helmsmanship and hanging on by the seat of your pants.
Your going to have to learn how to see changes in wind direction by using other means. Watch the water for clues, I know its harder on a reach, but you can see the wind. The water will give you clues. It will become second nature after time, more of a feel for the wind than anything else, and very quick reaction time helps. and just so you know, if the sail gets backwinded, its probably already too late. Never sailed a Laser, but grew up on a Sunfish.
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Old 07-30-2008
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As sailortjk1 pointed out, sailing a boat like a Laser is more about feel and quick reactions.

Accidental gybes usually occur when sailing on a downwind course and the wind catches the leeward side of the sail, swinging the boom across the boat. The best method to keep this from happening is to sheet in quickly and point the bow to windward slightly. If I remember correctly, Lasers sail fastest by tacking downwind rather than sailing directly downwind, so on this course, the gybes are controlled.
Also, when gybing downwind, lower the centerboard and this will help stabilize the boat somewhat through the maneuver. Once underway, you can raise the centerboard again. In addition to watching the water (to judge wind flow) place stick-on telltales on the main sail and insert a Windex wind indicator between the sail and top mast section when rigging the boat.

Simple time on the water will teach you all of the necessary boat handling skills. Lasers communicate hull trim instantly, so it won't take you long to develop the "feel".
Good luck Ragondin, sailing a Laser in a blow can be exhilarating.
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Old 08-05-2008
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Thanks a lot guys. Your input is very much appreciated.
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Old 08-05-2008
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I agree with the above advice, and would like to supplement it (I've had 3 Lasers)

1) Get one of these, or something like it to provide wind direction indication

C-vane Sailing

2) DO NOT sail your Laser directly downwind in anything other than light air until you get lots of experience. A Laser will "Dutch Roll" downwind, and become highly unstable. Back in the 70s, I was sailing our Laser with my Dad. It was blowing about 15 knots, and we decided to see how it would perform downwind. We headed directly downwind, with the sail all the way out and the daggerboard up. The boat rolled violently. Next thing we knew we were in the water. I surfaced and looked at my Dad as to what had happened! It was quite a shock!

Lasers are great boats to sail, and learn on, as long as you don't mind getting wet.

Good Luck!

David
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Old 08-05-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djodenda View Post

C-vane Sailing

A Laser will "Dutch Roll" downwind, and become highly unstable.
On the east coast, we always called it "the death roll" i.e., when the boom is beyond perpendicular , rising, and allowing too much twist in the sail .. the boat starts to rock n' roll

Apply lots of vang downwind.

Nice wind indicator David, I'm going to order one for my son ( Force 5)
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Old 08-05-2008
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The indicator looked pretty good to me also. The one we had was made by my father, but the same idea. On one of my Lasers, there was a plastic tube sewed into the top of the mainsail, at the pocket. A flag/telltale fit into it.

I didn't care for it much, as it was harder to see, and when I lost it during a capsize, I didn't weep.

I agree that "Death Roll" is the correct and more descriptive term.
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Last edited by djodenda; 08-05-2008 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 08-05-2008
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would rigging a preventer on a laser be overkill? I know on larger boats its pretty standard. Its a real pain when gybing, but it does help prevent the accidents.

Forgive me if its a dumb question, as I've never sailed dingies.
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Old 08-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
would rigging a preventer on a laser be overkill? I know on larger boats its pretty standard. Its a real pain when gybing, but it does help prevent the accidents.
Not real sure how you'd do this on a Laser.. there isn't really anything to fasten it to.

Of all the dinghies I've ever sailed on, a Laser would have to be the least dangerous to accidentally gybe. For starters, there's no rigging for the boom to hit, so, as long as you ducka-your-head, all that happens is that the sail hangs out to leeward and luffs merrily..

Because there's no rigging you can swing the entire rig through 180 degrees and sail backwards if you're so inclined (a good trick -you should try it sometime!! ) ..but yes, a Laser needs lots of vang most all the time and, with the round bottom, a bit of board downwind is a good idea also - especially in any sort of chop.
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Old 08-06-2008
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Ive wondered about this also. I got the Barnett last week and have only taken it out a few times. I rigged a vang on it after almost getting smacked by the boom, but didnt get a chance to try it out before the rig came down.
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