Laser Sailing Fitness Develops the Mind, Body and Spirit

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Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Brendan

For anyone who has never sailed a laser, they may not understand the importance of laser sailing fitness. One of the main reasons why the Laser is so popular is its simplicity; simple to rig and sail, sturdy and agile on the water. But don’t let the Laser’s simplicity fool you into believing anyone can sail it; Laser sailing fitness is essential for injury prevention and as an added bonus, sailing the boat in itself can give you a good workout. Sailors who hike hard, for instance, rely on muscle groups in the arms, abs, thighs, and hips, while sail trimming requires highly trained arms, shoulders, and core.

Why is laser sailing fitness important?

Laser sailing fitness doesn't only mean more time on the water
Laser sailing fitness doesn’t only mean more time on the water

The Laser is an Olympic-class boat. Racing a Laser particularly requires a unique set of physical skills and fitness; in fact, an advanced level of laser sailing fitness is required to be competitive. It is one of the most popular single-handed sailing dinghies in the entire world and provides competitive racing because of the association’s tight class controls. This means no differences in sails, hulls, and other sailing equipment. All Lasers are built to tight specifications; the hull is 4.23 meters long and weighs in at a mere 56.7kg. The Laser has one main sail, but has 3 different sized rigs, which you can choose depending on your size, fitness, and ability. The boats all look much the same; identical really, so when a boat wins a race, you can safely say it was the skills of the sailor that made the difference.  Manufactured by different companies in various countries, although it is a small single-handed sailing dinghy, it may be sailed by two people, but this is generally not the case.

Different-sized rigs for different people

There are three different types of rigs for a Laser dinghy; the Laser 4.7 (which has the smallest rig and is typically for the lighter sailors), Laser Radial, and the Laser full rig. The Laser is suitable for both men and women sailors of all ages and is raced by beginners right through to advanced. Rigs are selected according to body size and weight. Hiking is essential with dinghy sailing; the action of moving the body weight as far to windward as possible, so as to decrease the extent that the boat leans away from the wind. The boat can easily capsize unless the sailor counteracts the wind’s force by hiking. You can even buy a hiking bench to practice hiking techniques, and just 10 minutes a day working out on it will strengthen hiking muscles and abdominal core muscles. Hiking puts demands on the abs, lower back, quads, shoulders, and neck as well as knees and ankles. A base level of aerobic fitness helps too because the effort required while you hold the sheet at the same time as hiking calls for a high level of stamina as well as the ability to think clearly.

Laser sailing fitness to handle stronger winds and larger chop

Physical fitness, along with tactical intelligence, go hand in hand with successful sailing and winning races. Many sailors manage their weight, as too much weight will result in a slower time around the course. Increasing strength while decreasing body weight requires performing higher reps of moderate-weight loads. For many sailors, fitness training involves modeling other sailors who have undergone strength training which has resulted in aerobic endurance, cardiovascular fitness, increased strength, and flexibility. Agility exercises also improve hand and eye coordination.

Robert Scheidt, born in 1973, is a renowned Brazilian sailor who has won two gold medals and many others from five Olympic Games, while Tom Ramshaw is a typical example of a young sailor preparing to represent Canada in the 2016 Olympic Games. He joined a cross-fit gym to participate in workouts that allow him to push himself physically while hiking in his Laser. Both sailors realize the importance of laser sailing fitness and preparing to get super fit for the Olympics and any races they participate in.

Sailors can set goals and achieve them

There are few one-design classes that can display a sailor’s skills and physical fitness like the Laser. When you start researching the most successful Laser sailors, it is clear that fitness equals speed, agility, and clarity of mind. With laser sailing fitness, having a high strength-to-weight ratio enables you to react faster and hike harder, enabling keen sailors to set goals and achieve them.

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About Brendan

Brendan has over 30 years experience sailing dinghies, yachts, and windsurfers, but has recently started Laser sailing. "I found it difficult to find all the information that I needed when I started sailing my Laser, and I am sure that others have had the same problem. So I combined all the information I could into this website to help other Laser sailors get the most out of this sport. If you have any questions or comments, let me know... I will get back to you as soon as I can."