100kg - what singlehander dinghies to sail?

I bought an old Laser as part of a social sailor group of mostly retirees at my local club  before the competitive ones bought new and near new Lasers with the go fast bits so I am no way near competitive. My bitch is the laser is a technical boat.. not a comfortable one.. when it heels it really puts pressure on my lower back .. Suggestions to ease the stress or do I look to another class. I like the look of the Contender but they are a trap boat so they are out.. which leaves what other dinghy classes ?

 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
I bought an old Laser as part of a social sailor group of mostly retirees at my local club  before the competitive ones bought new and near new Lasers with the go fast bits so I am no way near competitive. My bitch is the laser is a technical boat.. not a comfortable one.. when it heels it really puts pressure on my lower back .. Suggestions to ease the stress or do I look to another class. I like the look of the Contender but they are a trap boat so they are out.. which leaves what other dinghy classes ?
I'll let others discuss other boats.

When the breeze is up and the boat is excessively heeling, vang on, a lot!  Then ease the main out until you are back to level, a heeling Laser cannot hold a line with one that is not.  If you do not have the modern vang you either want to install one or consider a different boat.  A Laser with the go fast bits, even an old one, will be reasonably competitive unless you are in chop or heavy waves.

In addition to many other weekly workout portions of my routine includes belly and back planks. You need to get your back into decent shape for any dinghy if for nothing else than to prevent an injury.  If you are having problems now I would consider talking to a doc and getting into physical therapy where you can learn how to strengthen your back and keep it strong for life.

 
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RobbieB

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Sorry  :)  …though to be fair you race a keelboat not a Laser. The point I was trying to make was that being 20 years too old is every bit as much a handicap as being 20kg too heavy but, as you say, it is not much of a handicap to having a successful and enjoyable time.  No one will win the ILCA Worlds at 100kg or at 55 years, but there is still many races to be won and, more importantly, plenty of fun to be had.
Have you sailed on a Viper?  I have not, but I've been crewing on it's sister ship the VX One.  Having sailed on MANY keel boats in the past 40+ years I'll tell you sailing that boat ain't like sailing any "keel boat".  I'm 55 and also a fairly skilled ILCA sailor.  However, the VX is WAY more physically demanding in breeze than the ILCA.  The primary reason is the damn things go so fast and are so sensitive to sail trim, (especially DW cause one chute luff and she'll drop off a plane) there is 0% downtime while racing.  You seriously can't take your attention off anything for more than 3 seconds.  On windy regattas I literally drop into the boat, (like tri-athletes do) when it crosses the finish line and pound as much water as I can to keep the arm cramps off until the end of the day.  I also work out 3-4 times a week, cardio, weights and swimming. My 90kg's are solid.

 

RobbieB

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I bought an old Laser as part of a social sailor group of mostly retirees at my local club  before the competitive ones bought new and near new Lasers with the go fast bits so I am no way near competitive. My bitch is the laser is a technical boat.. not a comfortable one.. when it heels it really puts pressure on my lower back .. Suggestions to ease the stress or do I look to another class. I like the look of the Contender but they are a trap boat so they are out.. which leaves what other dinghy classes ?
Tighten your hiking strap so you can straight leg hike, (as much as possible with very little knee bend) with your toes pointed out, (not up!).  Get your butt over the side of the boat at least to where the back of your upper thigh is resting on the gunnel.  Get your quads to do the work. Don't lean WAY out to keep the boat flat, but you need to lean out a little.  Going way out can hurt your back.  Instead make sure you've got a lot of vang/kicker on and dump the main about 12-18", (inches) in the big puffs.  Flatter is faster, but you don't have to kill yourself.  Depend on your driving to get through chop instead of working the boat with your upper body too much that can tweak you back as well.  When I sail my ILCA I much prefer a breeze that's enough to allow for a solid comfortable hiking position than having to practice extended yoga on the light air days...

 

Lifesave

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                                                                            . which leaves what other dinghy classes ? 

International Canoe

 

Jono

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So I sailed the Auckland Champs on Saturday. 4 x 40 min races. Lucky if it was over 5kn all day. Just enough to sit on the side with the odd lean out. A few were mini hiking but not me. The standard rig Masters sailed with open sailors. And yes I was the only sailor over 100kg although there were another couple around 90.

I had fun. Good starts, no OCS - there were a few under U flag. Pleasingly I was able to hold a lane long enough to have options for when to tack. Picked enough good oscillations and pressure to be in the top 10 to the top mark every time. And then got run down on the runs. Probably wasn't aggressive enough on the runs - I was happy to get a bit high  to keep my air clear which led to giving away a few places for buoy room. I might have gybed  earlier and then tried to hold an inside lane. 

There aren't any / many more regattas this season. It will give me a chance to sail through winter and gain general boat fitness. I was pretty stiff today.

 

WCB

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Glad to hear it, @Jono We have a guy over 100kg in our fleet and he does well most of the time unless he doesn't care.  I'm 95-97kg and same here, I'm usually top five most of the time in our 20-25 boat fleet but downwind one has to work harder to stay in front.  Sometimes I just don't care enough and I deal with the passers but then get them back on the next upwind leg.  So much more fun when the wind comes up and you put the lightweights behind you.

 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
Have you sailed on a Viper?  I have not, but I've been crewing on it's sister ship the VX One.  Having sailed on MANY keel boats in the past 40+ years I'll tell you sailing that boat ain't like sailing any "keel boat".  I'm 55 and also a fairly skilled ILCA sailor.  However, the VX is WAY more physically demanding in breeze than the ILCA.  The primary reason is the damn things go so fast and are so sensitive to sail trim, (especially DW cause one chute luff and she'll drop off a plane) there is 0% downtime while racing.  You seriously can't take your attention off anything for more than 3 seconds.  On windy regattas I literally drop into the boat, (like tri-athletes do) when it crosses the finish line and pound as much water as I can to keep the arm cramps off until the end of the day.  I also work out 3-4 times a week, cardio, weights and swimming. My 90kg's are solid.
Let me start with, this is not a post picking a fight.  We are similar weight and age.

I find a heavy wind day on a ILCA7 a lot harder than a VX/One in the same breeze.  The one difference I'll note is that the cardio requirements in a VX are higher due to the explosive nature of sets, gybes, and take downs.  But I've always felt the downwind is the easiest point of sail physically, though I'm seriously puckered due to intense closing speeds during congested crossings and mark roundings.  Upwind, because I don't have the mainsheet to pull against, I feel hiking on the VX is harder.  Downwind on the ILCA when a puff hits at the wrong moment of a wave or s-curve I have to pop up explosively to keep the boat from bowling over to windward.  The VX downwind is just a lovely power washing.  One regatta as a part joke I wore swimming goggles the second day so I could see downwind.

I do work out with dumb bells a lot, trying to keep what ever weight I'm currently in shape for, at around 50 repetitions for each arm coming to 200 reps for each arm, for several different positions, each at a total of 200 reps, meaning over a thousand reps for each arm in different positions.  This means always using lighter weights but I've found that is better for me on the boat and helps protect two torn rotator cuffs.  For me, being able to work out with a 35-50lb dumbbell at fewer reps doesn't seem to be as valuable as using a 15-20lb weight for significantly more reps.

You're right about there never being enough time for drinking water.

 

RobbieB

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Let me start with, this is not a post picking a fight.  We are similar weight and age.

I find a heavy wind day on a ILCA7 a lot harder than a VX/One in the same breeze.  The one difference I'll note is that the cardio requirements in a VX are higher due to the explosive nature of sets, gybes, and take downs.  But I've always felt the downwind is the easiest point of sail physically, though I'm seriously puckered due to intense closing speeds during congested crossings and mark roundings.  Upwind, because I don't have the mainsheet to pull against, I feel hiking on the VX is harder.  Downwind on the ILCA when a puff hits at the wrong moment of a wave or s-curve I have to pop up explosively to keep the boat from bowling over to windward.  The VX downwind is just a lovely power washing.  One regatta as a part joke I wore swimming goggles the second day so I could see downwind.

I do work out with dumb bells a lot, trying to keep what ever weight I'm currently in shape for, at around 50 repetitions for each arm coming to 200 reps for each arm, for several different positions, each at a total of 200 reps, meaning over a thousand reps for each arm in different positions.  This means always using lighter weights but I've found that is better for me on the boat and helps protect two torn rotator cuffs.  For me, being able to work out with a 35-50lb dumbbell at fewer reps doesn't seem to be as valuable as using a 15-20lb weight for significantly more reps.

You're right about there never being enough time for drinking water.
No fight at all- I think the big difference is the VX moves so fast it really lightens the loads on the sails compared to what we deal with on the Laser so point taken there for sure.  Because of the DW reaching position of the VX there's never a hiking break through a race.  As crew you're actually further extended on the DW hiking position on the VX.  While true the by the lee DW position on the Laser in breeze is certainly dicey.  Love the goggle joke!  I've had to be careful with rotator cuff, left elbow and right knee.  Gettin old is fun!

 

Jono

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And the story keeps getting better.

Club Champs this weekend. 8 races over 2 days.

My 15 year old takes the boat with a Radial. Saturday the first race was light in R1 but a solid 10kn the rest of the day. His first sail since April last year (NZ Covid ;lockdowns and and a teenager rebellion against stuff parents like). He had a fun time but was pretty tired. Half a dozen boats and he was mixing it at the back. I watched it all as RO for the day. He did fine. But a mate saw all this and offered me his boat for Sunday. So there we were, father and son, Standard and Radial racing boat for boat in the same start. I was super proud. We went out earlyish and I taught him to roll tack and checked his set up. Definitely a help as the breeze never got above 5 kn all day. Ed beat me around a triangle in one race but I got him in all 4. Cleaned up the starts in 3 races and kept my nose in front in 2. The 4th was marginal but I scrambled. Anyway Ed had a good day and was 3rd Radial and first Youth for the weekend. Great fun and the best father/son stuff we have done in ages.

 

Jono

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Had a reality check in this weekend. Got a late leave pass due to kids sport being cancelled so joined Day 2 of the Freshwater Champs on Pupuke. Rubbish forecast and when I arrived the fleet was smaller than I expected in the 7 rig with non-attendees and retirements after a windy and cold Day 1. Winds ranged from 10 to 20+ in the squalls with typical lake shifts and isolated gusts.

I sailed 3 races of 4. I decided after 3 that I was likely to a) hurt myself due to tired muscles, b) sail like an idiot because of tired brain, c) sit on the side and go slow, d) all of the above.  Probably the right call this early in my rebuild. I sailed ok, didn't capsize,  and was at the tail of the bunch. As expected in these conditions, only the good guys were there, and a bit of local knowledge was in play. And as I said to my wife that evening over a well earned rum, I know what needs to be done, and fitness will still give me more gains than $.

Finished with a podium GM. Could have been worse, and at least I showed up.

 

Jono

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The (re)education continues.

Sunday was a club day in the local estuary. Again 10-20+ knots. Only 2 Lasers, 10 Zephyrs (don't be fooled if you look them up - the fleet included ex Masters world champs, Olympic coaches and Americas Cup sailors). Plus a father and son Cherub with a multiple Americas cup sailor on the wire. Just your standard club fleet!

In my regatta on the lake in the post above the water was so flat you could just point and shoot. With the harbour chop it was quite different up and downwind. I knew this would be the case and had tightened my strap accordingly. The other Laser called it quits early and the Zephyrs were whittled down each race. 3 races, no capsizes and some great rides. Even managed some planing to planing gybes. Plus one swamping the boat, screwing up and having to reset gybe... but I didn't swim!

Big work on. Bottom mark - going from full noise reaching to setting up for the upwind. How / when do you get the centre board  down vs mainsheet and turning?

On a related note - I was surprised few GMs were at the Worlds in Mexico. I missed my opportunity to pull a top 20 result.

 

Bill5

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The (re)education continues.

Sunday was a club day in the local estuary. Again 10-20+ knots. Only 2 Lasers, 10 Zephyrs (don't be fooled if you look them up - the fleet included ex Masters world champs, Olympic coaches and Americas Cup sailors). Plus a father and son Cherub with a multiple Americas cup sailor on the wire. Just your standard club fleet!

In my regatta on the lake in the post above the water was so flat you could just point and shoot. With the harbour chop it was quite different up and downwind. I knew this would be the case and had tightened my strap accordingly. The other Laser called it quits early and the Zephyrs were whittled down each race. 3 races, no capsizes and some great rides. Even managed some planing to planing gybes. Plus one swamping the boat, screwing up and having to reset gybe... but I didn't swim!

Big work on. Bottom mark - going from full noise reaching to setting up for the upwind. How / when do you get the centre board  down vs mainsheet and turning?

On a related note - I was surprised few GMs were at the Worlds in Mexico. I missed my opportunity to pull a top 20 result.
Throw the board down first. Very important for steering.

 

Jono

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Thanks. I was full hike and thought that keeping full speed was more important than coming in. Thinking back another factor was I had no boats around me. I imagine that in a fleet we would all come in early before the mark for dropping the board to keep high coming out of the mark.

No outhaul getting adjusted in this breeze!

 

tillerman

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On a related note - I was surprised few GMs were at the Worlds in Mexico. I missed my opportunity to pull a top 20 result.
Yeah, and there are only 10 Legends at the ILCA6 Masters Worlds. I believe I qualify as a Legend next year. Almost tempted to get myself an ILCA6 rig for my old Vanguard Laser and start training to go to my 7th Masters Worlds. Might even make top 10!!!!
 

Jono

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Gotta be in it to win it!
So the Nationals are at Murrays Bay in January and they run a one day Spring Icebreaker every year. Traditionally it has been junior / youth classes - inc ILCA 6 for allcomers. This year they added the 7. What a great opportunity to get some venue training I thought. Turned up and I was the only 7 and only one 6 Open/Master plus the Youth sailors. I couldn't believe it! Fortunately the 6 Master is a multiple National Champ so we had great racing. I shared the same start. I was a fraction faster upwind and slower downwind. 110 kg vs 70 will do that. 4 races, lots of puffs and shifts, and dodgems with the juniors. Great fun and funnily enough I got first 7 overall. It was a fantastic training day but certainly made me wonder where the others were. Maybe Masters get too complacent in their own club environment. The forecast had been for light which might have put some off but we we generally 5-10kn all day with a couple of extra puffs. Anyway - I felt it was worth the trip.
I've picked up a good Mk ll sail and it is definitely faster downwind than with the old crosscut. Also moved to the smaller Harken spring loaded ratchet block and a slightly longer 6mm mainsheet. So things are improving.
And on the Sunday my son used the boat at club racing. First time out for a while as he had been doing winter sport so he was very rusty. Although he pulled a bullet in one race.
 

surf nazi

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I do work out with dumb bells a lot, trying to keep what ever weight I'm currently in shape for, at around 50 repetitions for each arm coming to 200 reps for each arm, for several different positions, each at a total of 200 reps, meaning over a thousand reps for each arm in different positions.
I call BS . I was going to let it go but it's better for you to know that no one believes you
 




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