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more laser….

Call it Night of the Living Laser. The boat’s been killed and come back from supposed death so many times it puts The Walking Dead and mummies to shame. It was due for another cycle, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s right on schedule. Nobody’s exactly saying death to the Laser, but it’s implied. The villains previously were dubious management and financial downturns. This time it’s the evil RS Aero, Melges 14 and D-Zero supposedly driving a tiller extension through its heart. Surely it can’t withstand the onslaught of newer, faster and dare we say better boats. Especially if and when one of those others is chosen for the 2024 Olympics. We’ll see the Laser crushed and dumped on the heap of dated and discarded singlehanders like the Opti, Sunfish, OK Dinghy and Finn. Wait. Those classes aren’t dead. In fact, far from it. Read on thanks to sailish...

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oh yeah

Every year, at the end of January, we all drive 2 hours north of Cape Town to go and sail the River Race in Port Owen, see attached NoR. It is quite an unusual dinghy race, it is sailed on the river, and therefore you have to negotiate current, tide, eddies, sandbanks, submerged obstacles and the odd 505 on port tack. Sometimes it can become quite windy. You cannot sail it on an Optimist, you won’t make it upstream. On Saturday we normally have a short practice race to get accustomed to the current, that can be quite strong, and in the afternoon we sail the River Race. On Sunday we sail along the river, out to sea, around 2 marks and sail back up the river to the finish. Both Friday and Saturday evening there is a Legendary fish braai (BBQ for you) at the clubhouse. That alone is worth the road trip. As a club, and family, we have been going for quite a few years now, at the beginning we were sailing with the kids on Picos, now we sail against them on 420s and they beat us, ungrateful youth. This year the wind was the lightest we ever experienced there, topping at 12 knots, and for that reason it was not possible to sail out to sea, the current going out would have prevented most of the fleet from coming back in the river mouth. Therefore we sailed a second river race on Sunday. Two races sailed on handicap, no discard determine the winner. For classes that have enough entries there is a separate class prize giving too. There is also a inter club prize. There are pictures here. - Anarchist Stefan.  ...

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the big sexy

UFO Race report "The East Coast UFO Swarm got it's first regatta in down in Key Largo, Florida over the weekend of the 25th. We shared the venue and course with the Moths and Waszps and happily played around with the group. We got three days of solid racing in and definitely got a huge opportunity to grow as a fleet, with all skill levels gaining and getting tighter to one another respectively. What continues to stun and encourage me is the degree that stability and safety have facilitated participation. Unlike any boat this fast, the score sheet was remarkably low on alphabet scores. Starting racing, foiling, learning and finishing was a constant. I cannot wait for the next event. I've never done anything like this and the prospect of doing it again just makes me happy all day. Obviously, I'm biased because I won the event after an obscenely tight dogfight with Nick Burroughs which left me up by one point after 12 races, but that bias is only a tiny part of the picture. The strict one-design nature of the UFO is making the competition so tight and the results so meaningfully about you and only you that I'm proud to get badly beaten when out-sailed. You simply can't write off results to anything other than technique, tactics and athletics. It's foiling as a sport and it's getting all my competitive energy churning. Also unlike any other class I've ever been in, we were absurdly low maintenance, apparently much to the excitement of the race committee. UFOs had a perfect record for looking after themselves and going out and back without any outside help. Just go sailing. Forget everything else. Also wear sunscreen. My nose is falling off." Dave Clark President Fulcrum Speedworks llc...

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crossed up

Part two of the Laser at the Crossroads by Jean-Pierre Kiekens. Part one is here. - New Radial Composite Bottom Mast Section;  Top Composite Section & Video As I mentioned in the webcast, the top composite/carbon section seems to be a good patch, but it came late (seems first trials were in 1999), and at a pretty high cost for what it is (625 euros in France for example). I now hear in the grapevine that these top sections may not all be the same, in terms of flexibility. I hope this is not true, because that would bring us back to the situation where the top sailors will be testing 20 or 30 top sections before selecting one fitting their requirements. This is not one design sailing any longer. Actually, variable degrees of flexibility of the top section may be a way to accommodate wider weight ranges, but then it should be a stated goal, and not a byproduct of inconsistent production.  In windsurfing, you have many types of mast flexibility to choose from. In the Optimist, typically sailors have several sprits and select the one to use according to the expected conditions. Maybe that’s a model that the Laser could embrace. I insist: maybe; it would need to be analyzed in depth. And yes, there is a new Radial bottom mast section that is coming, but again pretty late and at a pretty high cost, as announced in Australia, adding to the price of the boat, while the competitors - D-Zero, M-14, RS Aero - don’t need these upgrades, as they are all already full composite for their rigs (2 parts of the mast, plus the boom - which stays aluminum in the Laser). As for the Sarah Douglas video, which was not part of my slideshow, and...

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out

AT 1900H UTC YANN GUICHARD, THE SKIPPER OF SPINDRIFT 2, CONTACTED HIS TECHNICAL TEAM ASHORE TO REPORT DAMAGE TO THE STRUCTURE OF THE STARBOARD RUDDER. SPINDRIFT RACING IS CHALLENGING FOR THE JULES VERNE TROPHY. Having made a full assessment of the damage and possible repairs, the team has reluctantly concluded that they are unable to make the necessary repairs without compromising the safety and performance of the 40m trimaran. "Because of this technical problem we have no choice but to stop this record attempt. It is a huge disappointment to all of the crew. We are now heading to the south west coast of Australia and expect to reach there in the next four days,” confirmed Yann Guichard. More here....

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bow down

Cool shot of the the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, the IRC corrected time winner in the Pineapple Cup, but wouldn't you say there is way too much weight forward? Bow is dug in a bit and that big ass is way up, and the rudder can't be too happy...Click on leave a reply to comment....

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