From the veranda in front of our house we get a good view of what’s going on in Nelson harbour. Sailboats, swimmers, kayaks, ships coming in or out, seabirds fishing and on rare occasions even orca. During the school holidays especially, a lot of training takes place. A few days ago it was Laser yachts, mainly the junior “4.7” and Laser Radial models.
At the end of the day, after a lot of tight “round the buoy” racing, we could hear the coach explaining the rules for the last race of the day. They were quite simple: you must remain standing for the whole race, except when tacking or gybing. Here’s the start:
It made for a very interesting spectacle. We’re not used to seeing Lasers looking like that.
Some skippers found it more difficult than others:
I should add that both my wife and I used to race Lasers (she finished in the top 10 in the national championships one year) so we probably look at these boats little more closely. Small changes in body position can make a huge difference to boat speed. Of course, standing up the movements are different and appeared to be even more subtle. These last two pictures illustrate that very neatly.
The first one shows two boats shortly after rounding the mark. (I love this shot of yachts being sailed by feet – it looks so silly to me.) The sailor in the windward boat, #162804, is standing a fraction further aft which is causing the bow to lift and burying the stern. It must be just a matter of centimetres because they both look to be more or less in the same position. When the stern digs in like that, it creates extra drag and really slows the boat.
Around 100 m later look at the difference in position!
Incidentally, the sail number on our boat was 23187. There have obviously been quite a few boats produced since then!