Old vs. New Laser

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by henrikdagfinrud, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. henrikdagfinrud

    henrikdagfinrud New Member

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    Hello!

    I'm new here. I gave up my Europe dinghy sailing about ten years ago. Now that I have the time again - just finished studies, I have bought an old Laser to get started. I realise that I will not be an olympic contender, but if this works ok, and I get some speed in the boat, I will probably want better gear. Therefor, I really wonder what the real differences in a brand new boat and rig, and an old boat without the new trim systems are?

    Please discuss! How good do you have to be to "beat yourself" in a new boat? And what changes/upgrades can be made?

    PS: My new beauty does not leak, and have an "ok" sail.
     
  2. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    I also sail an older Laser (from 1989). As long as your hull is dry there should be little difference in speed. The new rigging is worth the investment, but not absolutely necessary.
    I wrote about my rigging upgrades here, and here.
     
  3. henrikdagfinrud

    henrikdagfinrud New Member

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    Thank you for your response.

    I'm thinking about testing the sail that came with the boat, and maybe get a new(er) one. If I find good positions for outhaul and kick, I can't imagine the hull being to different from the new ones.

    Looking forward to the season - still ice on the fjords here...
     
  4. henrikdagfinrud

    henrikdagfinrud New Member

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    One more thing: Does anyone out there actually race old Lasers, without the trimming upgrades, successfully?
     
  5. TheBoathouse

    TheBoathouse New Member

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    Local and regional club racing is fine (add a few old school knot/thimble purchases) but Grand Prix racing not so much....still ice on the fjords here too....
     
  6. captainJack987

    captainJack987 New Member

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    So if you don't have a new laser you cant really race? whats the difference if all the hulls are the same?
     
  7. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Jack this topic could go so deep there is just not enough time. However, a well cared for and well sailed 20 year old hull can compete with a new hull at least in the master level. The old rigging will do ok as long as the breeze really does not get over 10 mph. The updated rigging becomes an advantage in more breeze. It is easier to depower the boat, and make adjustments to the sail controls. You can race ANY laser at ANY event as long as you are a class member, (at the events where membership is required).

    The general rule of thumb is the newer hulls are stiffer and therefor faster, but I've seen really good sailors make the older rigs sail just fine, but when the wind picks up they begin to struggle.

    It's all legal. Since 1974 the class has made adjustments to the rules to allow for upgrades to the controls of the boat. Hulls, spars, blades, and sails, (since the 3.8 full rig sail) are all the same and have not changed.
     
  8. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

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    This topic centers on the rigging upgrades.

    The old-school laser sailors learned some really funky tricks for adjusting the old style control lines. Guys would round the leeward mark, put one foot on the boom while yanking the vang, etc. Weird sh*t. But it was fast.

    Those weird tricks, though some folks liked them, were part of the rationale for the new upgraded rigging packages. You wouldn't have so many weird "laser specific" tricks to learn, and could focus on the sailing.

    Now if you learned or are willing to learn the old techniques, there's really nothing faster about the new rigging vs. the old rigging. Otherwise, being able to adjust the vang, outhaul, and cunningham under load by simply pulling on a line is faster than not being able to do so. Of course, you still have to learn what adjustments are *desirable* to make, and that's the part of the game most folks seem to prefer to focus on.
     
  9. henrikdagfinrud

    henrikdagfinrud New Member

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    Thanks bjmoose, you provided the answer I was fishing for. If a guy in a new Laser adjust his trim too much, and I get the right positions, it won't help him having a new hull and better trim line control.
     
  10. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    There was a guy at the recent masters mid winters east in boat 41127, (it had wood blades and old vang/outhaul control lines). It light medium air he was very fast with mostly top 10 scores. However, when the breeze got over 15 he fell back in the pack. He was a decent size too so it was not that he was too light for the breeze.
     
  11. WPB Sailor

    WPB Sailor New Member

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    I saw that guy on a Green Boat. Was on a pier watching the boats approach off the starting line was blowing 18 or so with gusts. Anyway this guy goes by and there's a humming sound comming off his sail as his leach was fluttering wildly - he also couldn't point with the rest of the fleet. Was shocked to see that he did relatively well for the regatta
     
  12. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Brmmm Brmmm

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  13. henrikdagfinrud

    henrikdagfinrud New Member

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    Rob B and WPB Sailor: THAT IS THE GUY I WANT TO BE!

    I'm going to pick up my boat this sunday - my very first Laser. I'll give you an update on the boat number when I know.
     
  14. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    When the breeze kicks up that is the difference between the old vang and new vang.

    You just can't get the necessary leech tension w/the old vang. In a breeze that is key to depowering, easy of sheeting and pointing.
     
  15. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    In most fleets and in most conditions, the age of the hull doesn't matter too much. Hulls can go soft or put on weight with a lot of use but you have to be sailing very well or have a real lemon before that makes much of a difference. More important are good foils, a good sail, and a straight mast. An older sail can be made to go fast if you understand enough about sail shape, but the same sailor with a new sail should always be much faster.

    The new rigging is easier to use, but that only makes it fractionally faster if at all. Robert Scheidt used the old vang to win the Gold Medal at the Athens Olympics. The guy that just came second in the Masters fleet at the Worlds was using the old vang too.
     
  16. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I'm not sure using Robert Scheidt's choice of rigging is really fair. After all he is Robert. Also, the guy at the FL masters was using a "straight up" classic vang. He may have had some extra purchases worked out using just the vang line itself, but he was not even using the extra blocks that are now allowed to gain purchase power. Even Robert was using the blocks. Also, Athens was a light air venue.

    If the new rigging is only "fractionally" faster why does the vast majority use it? Are we just a bunch of lemmings?
     
  17. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't buy that it makes the rig only fractionally faster. If you have to put your foot on the boom to bend it down to get enough vang on, 1. that takes skill, 2. that takes strength 3. that takes flexibility. Maybe if you've got an abundance of all those, the new rigging is only fractionally faster. I've only got the flexibility, even then if I were putting my foot on the boom in upwind windy conditions, I believe I'd fall out of the boat! No, the new vang was designed to broaden the spectrum of Laser sailors to include the less physically talented, and it has done so. Even so, I recently heard that Laser sailing is still 70% physical, more so than most other boats.
     
  18. sailchris

    sailchris Member

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    The new outhaul and cunningham rigging systems are almost completely based on convenience. The old (mid'90s) way of rigging the outhaul (i.e. with loops in one line for purchase and using the mast as a turning point) and the cunningham (i.e. loops in one line for purchase and led to the old jam cleat) was fine as far as purchase goes. The new vang allows people to apply way more vang than they really need. Using the old vang blocks with a swivel and some small bullet blocks instead of loops (see the images in my links above) gives plenty of purchase even in heavy air. In most conditions, block-to-block vang is plenty...and you can put that amount of tension on just by sheeting in to block-to-block and then cleating the vang.

    Bottom line, you can set up the boat to go fast using older rigging, but if you are not strong enough to use various versions of the old rigging then the new rigging might help.
     
  19. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    In most conditions, block-to-block vang is plenty...and you can put that amount of tension on just by sheeting in to block-to-block and then cleating the vang.

    But not all. Leech flutter is slow and there are, (at least for me) many times when just block to blok will not stop leech flutter, but the new vang can get the leech tension needed to stop it. Not with the old vang. At least not me.
     
  20. Ross B

    Ross B Guest


    I never had to do this with the old vang, never had any problems with it
     

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