Improving downwind speed in the Laser class is the focus of this video from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and hosted by Penny Clark. It’s really well done and clear with a few good nuggets. I’ll highlight the top points below, but be sure to watch the video for the instruction in action.
0:32 Heading downwind (running), explore the extreme positions, far forward then far aft.
Notice the effects of position in the various positions for you and your boat type with respect to:
- Ease of trimming
- Rudder effectiveness and load
Main Sheet – 1:42
This section gives a good demonstration of active main sheet trimming to maintain the proper sail angle and fullness as the skipper changes angle to wind. Penny gives a very good caution that a common mistake is to under trim when heading up, resulting in a luff along the mast.
While the vang, outhaul and cunningham are mentioned, there isn’t any advice given other than the best angle with which to observe each other to explore boundaries of control settings and performance.
Centerboard / Daggerboard Positioning
2:34 The centerboard plays a vital role in stability and steering…
Too little and difficult to steer and unstable. Penny highlights how a sailor can vary the board height based on need for stability in different conditions.
Double Hander Tips
3:12 Double handers will often have extra sails up front, so coordination and communication are key to ensuring the fastest velocity made good (VMG) to the leeward mark.
TIP:Crews should communicate the spinnaker load to help the skipper steer the best course up or down.