clamslapper

Re-newbie Laser sailor questions

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I recently acquired a ~20 year old Laser which looks like it was a serious contender in its day .  Pretty good shape, and everything works.

I hadn't been out in a Laser in 42 years before this past weekend. Since then I've only raced much larger keelboats, but due to business travel haven't been onboard any sort of sailboat in years.  I had a Laser when I was a teen, with the old-school wooden tiller and very simple rig.  This one has a carbon tiller and all the high-purchase setups for outhaul, vang, cunningham, yadda yadda.  

Couple of simple questions, some about the boat and one about technique:

- The long tiller extension -- must be 4' or a little longer -- was impossible to get flipped around smoothly when tacking -- how on Earth is this done?  I swear I felt like a rank beginner.

- The tiller kept popping out of the rudder head, which was seriously scary out in the bay. The rudder downhaul line doesn't seem to cleat hard enough to really hold the tiller in.  Am I allowed under class rules to drill a horizontal hole through the rudderhead and tiller, and install one of those "quick pins"?  I really want to solve this issue once and for all; there are plenty of issues to deal with but whether the tiller stays put shouldn't be one.

- The way that boat is rigged, the sail clew gets attached to the little block that's permanently attached to the outhaul primary line with a plastic stopper-ball loop.  Looks like it will hold just fine (and I personally love stopper-balls, as we used to use them in the UK in dinghies for halyards, etc.), but is that class-legal?  Didn't notice it set up that way on any other boats in the online pics I studied, that's why I ask.

- The blades are in need of some TLC as the paint/gelcoat/whatever it is is really flaking off.  Just normal wetsanding for this?

- The daggerboard kept popping up about 3", even with a long shock cord tied to the bow eye. Pretty loose-fitting. In fact, when I flipped the boat a couple of times, the board kind of receded into its hole, which I sure didn't appreciate.  Any way to lessen this effect while staying rules-compliant?

 

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38 minutes ago, clamslapper said:

I recently acquired a ~20 year old Laser which looks like it was a serious contender in its day .  Pretty good shape, and everything works.

I hadn't been out in a Laser in 42 years before this past weekend. Since then I've only raced much larger keelboats, but due to business travel haven't been onboard any sort of sailboat in years.  I had a Laser when I was a teen, with the old-school wooden tiller and very simple rig.  This one has a carbon tiller and all the high-purchase setups for outhaul, vang, cunningham, yadda yadda.  

Couple of simple questions, some about the boat and one about technique:

- The long tiller extension -- must be 4' or a little longer -- was impossible to get flipped around smoothly when tacking -- how on Earth is this done?  I swear I felt like a rank beginner.

- The tiller kept popping out of the rudder head, which was seriously scary out in the bay. The rudder downhaul line doesn't seem to cleat hard enough to really hold the tiller in.  Am I allowed under class rules to drill a horizontal hole through the rudderhead and tiller, and install one of those "quick pins"?  I really want to solve this issue once and for all; there are plenty of issues to deal with but whether the tiller stays put shouldn't be one.

- The way that boat is rigged, the sail clew gets attached to the little block that's permanently attached to the outhaul primary line with a plastic stopper-ball loop.  Looks like it will hold just fine (and I personally love stopper-balls, as we used to use them in the UK in dinghies for halyards, etc.), but is that class-legal?  Didn't notice it set up that way on any other boats in the online pics I studied, that's why I ask.

- The blades are in need of some TLC as the paint/gelcoat/whatever it is is really flaking off.  Just normal wetsanding for this?

- The daggerboard kept popping up about 3", even with a long shock cord tied to the bow eye. Pretty loose-fitting. In fact, when I flipped the boat a couple of times, the board kind of receded into its hole, which I sure didn't appreciate.  Any way to lessen this effect while staying rules-compliant?

 

Congratulations! Welcome to The Laser Class.

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2 hours ago, clamslapper said:

I recently acquired a ~20 year old Laser which looks like it was a serious contender in its day .  Pretty good shape, and everything works.

I hadn't been out in a Laser in 42 years before this past weekend. Since then I've only raced much larger keelboats, but due to business travel haven't been onboard any sort of sailboat in years.  I had a Laser when I was a teen, with the old-school wooden tiller and very simple rig.  This one has a carbon tiller and all the high-purchase setups for outhaul, vang, cunningham, yadda yadda.  

Couple of simple questions, some about the boat and one about technique:

- The long tiller extension -- must be 4' or a little longer -- was impossible to get flipped around smoothly when tacking -- how on Earth is this done?  I swear I felt like a rank beginner.

- The tiller kept popping out of the rudder head, which was seriously scary out in the bay. The rudder downhaul line doesn't seem to cleat hard enough to really hold the tiller in.  Am I allowed under class rules to drill a horizontal hole through the rudderhead and tiller, and install one of those "quick pins"?  I really want to solve this issue once and for all; there are plenty of issues to deal with but whether the tiller stays put shouldn't be one.

- The way that boat is rigged, the sail clew gets attached to the little block that's permanently attached to the outhaul primary line with a plastic stopper-ball loop.  Looks like it will hold just fine (and I personally love stopper-balls, as we used to use them in the UK in dinghies for halyards, etc.), but is that class-legal?  Didn't notice it set up that way on any other boats in the online pics I studied, that's why I ask.

- The blades are in need of some TLC as the paint/gelcoat/whatever it is is really flaking off.  Just normal wetsanding for this?

- The daggerboard kept popping up about 3", even with a long shock cord tied to the bow eye. Pretty loose-fitting. In fact, when I flipped the boat a couple of times, the board kind of receded into its hole, which I sure didn't appreciate.  Any way to lessen this effect while staying rules-compliant?

 

1. The long tiller extension is more of a technique thing.  Sit all the way forward so that your forward leg is right up against the front of the cockpit.  There is a tendency to slide aft.  Hold the tiller extension across your body and not like a frying pan aft of your body.  As you tack, you push the extension away from you and follow it across the boat, it doesn't take long to get used to the longer extension.  If after a while you still don't like it, cut 6" off.   Check out videos of tacking a Laser on Youtube, there are lots.

2. There should be a small hold on the top of the rudder head and a similar hole in the end of the tiller where you can put a pin.  The pin should be tied to the rudder head so you won't lose it.  You don't actually need to use the pin.  Pass the rudder downhaul line through the cleat (there's often a 2:1 system so you can pull tighter) and then do a couple of hitches around the tiller on the forward side of the cleat.  That will prevent it from creeping out.

3. That's a unique system for the outhaul but I'm sure it's perfectly legal.  Soft attachment methods are used a lot these days.  Most Lasers use a shackle attached to a block or a hook attached to a block(my choice) to allow for an easy moving 2:1 at the end of the boom.

4. Yes, normal wet sanding but be gentle as the foam blades have a thin coat of white.

5. It sounds like the shock cord needs to be a little bit tighter so just snug it up or maybe the shock cord needs replacing if it's old.  It's standard stuff for it to pop up a little.  Often times on a tack just take a glance at your daggerboard and make sure it's down, if not, give it a little push.  It's a symptom of the design but not a big deal.  Usually once underway upwind it stays in the full down position.  

 

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2 hours ago, clamslapper said:

- The daggerboard kept popping up about 3", even with a long shock cord tied to the bow eye. Pretty loose-fitting. In fact, when I flipped the boat a couple of times, the board kind of receded into its hole, which I sure didn't appreciate.  Any way to lessen this effect while staying rules-compliant?

 

Take a look at the daggerboard brake. Probably worn - the original design wears pretty fast. Of course now there's a "new and improved". See images below for both. I'll let you guess which is new and improved! 

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 1.34.13 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 1.34.47 PM.png

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Good suggestion Alan

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This video will help you setup your rudder correctly. There are a bunch of other videos (70+) on the YouTube site relating to technique which you'll also find very useful. We also have an online upwind speed course with Live Q&A answered by Olympic coaches that you may find beneficial. 

 

 

 

 

 

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et the tiller in, purchase built, and leave it together. I remove my tiller extension, but leave rudder/tiller connected and tight. Leave in your covered boat.

Daggerboard break can get reused. Just loosen the screws and squeeze the "grabber" ends together and retighten. Should grip tighter. Tightening the bungee just pulls it farther away from the break. Tightness of bungee just prevents it from falling out when you're turtled.

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