May 26, 2012

Laser Cheat Sheet - Sailing Smart 3

By Doug
Laser Cheat Sheet

We end the "be smart" light air sailing with another example. The 1992 U.S. Laser Masters was held in Moosehead Lake in upstate Maine. If you can find it on the map, you'll see that it's about as remote a sailing spot as you can get. But what a fantastic place to sail! In a competitive fleet, I found myself in the unenviable position of having to win the final two races to win the event. So, it was time to get creative and take some risks. There's an extreme case of not sailing the course or the competition.

I'm green on the starboard tack lay line with boats ahead and below. There's a tempting but stationary puff to the right, off the course. I decided to tack away from the mark and competition to get into the breeze and then tack again to come back on a hotter angle to the mark. A fellow behind me said it was strange to watch and thankfully, it worked.

So, would I have tried this without the need to take risks? It would have been very tempting because in light air I prefer to stay in the pressure, but then I also prefer to stay with the competition. So I guess it was a tossup and this time, it worked.


  1. LOL. I have never understood why God puts those stationary puffs a few boat lengths ABOVE the lay line and not on the lay line. It's amazing how often He does that on lakes. And, yes, I've done exactly the same and sailed way above the layline to get in one of God's teaser puffs and pass all the boats beneath me.

    You have to love lake sailing!

  2. Good stuff! Looking forward to finding out what "pipeline" means.


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