- 1 Rigging a Laser Sailboat Steps
- 2 Laser Sailing Dinghy De-rigging
- 3 More Information
Before you head out on the water laser sailing, you have to rig your dinghy, and if you have never done this before, it may seem a little overwhelming.
There is no real order in which you should rig your Laser sailboat. There are many combinations and ways of rigging a laser sailboat, and that shown below is simply one combination. Talk to a few people as you rig up, have a few goes yourself, and you’ll work out which way works best for you.
It’s always good to rig up a few times at home before you head out laser sailing if it’s practical and safe to do so. This is recommended so that you are confident that you know what goes where, and so that you can remember how you tie the knots.
Rigging a Laser Sailboat Steps
As mentioned, there are many different ways when rigging a Laser sailboat. Below is 1 suggestion of rigging sequence…
Before You Leave Home
Check The Weather
Check the forecast before you leave home, and look outside to check for yourself. Safety should be your first priority, so if the conditions are not suitable for your level of experience, then you may want to reconsider heading out.
Pack Your Gear
If you have been out sailing before, it’s a good idea to pack all your gear away neatly so that it is easy to find, This means that when you pack all your gear to head out sailing the next time, you will know where everything is and you won’t forget anything.
There is nothing worse than getting down to the waterfront and then start to rig your laser sailboat only to find that you have forgotten something crucial (eg. your sail or life jacket), and have to head home before you have made it out onto the water.
It’s easy to get excited about heading out for a great day on the water. However, before you leave, take a minute to check that you have everything packed.
When You Arrive At The Waterfront
Detach the Trailer/Dolly
If the trailer has to be detached from the car when parked, do this 1st. Then slide the dolly/trolley off the trailer, and position it relatively close to where you will launch, with the bow pointing into the wind.
Unpack Gear and Check
Some people like to get dressed in their sailing gear before they start rigging their boat. If you get dressed at the start, then as soon as you have finished rigging, you can hit the water immediately. It also means that your sail won’t flog as much and cause any extra wear and tear, and hat your boat won’t accidentally tip over while on the dolly… which may happen especially if there is quite a strong breeze blowing.
Start Rigging Your Laser
It is advisable to tie a figure 8 knot in both ends of the mainsheet rope so that it doesn’t pull through when out on the water. At the boom end, this is so that the mainsheet can be pulled fully on so that it is in the block-to-block position. At the other end so that it doesn’t pull through the mainsheet block in the center of the cockpit.
Leave it loose and un-cleated. Feed the outhaul rope along the boom also.
Next to the hull, lay the sail out and install the battens. Connect the 2 mast sections, and feed it up through the mast sleeve in the sail, making sure the boom spigot is in line with the sail.
Also be careful to ensure that there is no mud or dirt on the bottom of the mast (this may over time cause abrasion between the bottom of the mast and the mast step, which may eventually compromise the integrity of the hull).
Ensuring there are no overhead obstructions (including power lines), from the bottom ½ of the mast, lift it up almost vertical (slightly leaning into the breeze may make it easier to handle), and slot it gently into the mast step hole. This may prove to be a little awkward, so obtain assistance if required
With the mast in place, slot the boom into the mast, and tie off the outhaul to the sail clew using a bowline, as shown in the knots section. Then attach the clew tie-down, making sure to tie it underneath the outhaul.
Attach the vang and cunningham. Tie a small loop in the end of the cunningham and feed the end of the vang pin through it. This will keep the eye of the cunningham down low near the deck, stopping it from riding up (see photo below). Then feed the cunningham through the 2 eyelets in the rope itself, then down to the eyelet on the deck, and run it back to the cleat in the cockpit. Tie a bowline in the end for easy gripping when on the water.
A knot (bowline or figure 8 knot) in the end of the cunningham is essential, as it is the only thing preventing the rig from becoming completely detached from the hull when capsized.
Attach the Rudder & Tiller
Attach the rudder, making sure that the lift stop clicks into place, and leave it in the fully up position. Insert the tiller and fasten the retaining pin, ensuring that the tiller is underneath the traveler.
Lay the centerboard on the deck. Put in the drain plug in the stern of the hull.
With the mainsheet eased right out, the boat should sit quite contently while you tidy up your gear, sail bag, etc. However, if there is a breeze, be careful that your dinghy will not tip over while it is on the dolly, or that the boom will swing around and hit someone.
If it is windy, this is probably not the best time to be going out for a sail if you are a beginner.
If you are not already dressed in your wetsuit, rash vest, life jacket, hat, sunscreen, glasses, shoes, etc, now is the time to do so. It’s a good idea to get someone to keep an eye on your boat and laser sailing gear if you have to go to the change-rooms.
Launching Your Dinghy
With the mainsheet eased, carefully wheel the dolly around, down the ramp, and into the water. Keep the laser sailboat pointing into the wind as much as possible, however as long as the mainsheet is eased you should be able to manage ok as long as the wind is less than 90° to the hull. If possible, do not allow the wind to exceed 90° to the hull.
Wheel the laser dolly into the water until it is fully submerged, and float the boat off the dolly. If you are on your own you may have to run the boat up onto the beach so that you can pull the dolly back out of the water (be careful not to damage the drain plug on the bottom of the hull, or the hull itself). Otherwise, get someone to pull your dolly out for you.
With the boat pointing into the breeze, slide the centerboard into the fin case so that it is most of the way up, but low enough so that the boom clears the fin when it swings around. Run the elastic retaining strap up to the eyelet at the bow and back to the centerboard or mast (the tension in the elastic creates friction so that the centerboard will remain in place when capsized).
If you are in deep enough water, you will be able to push the rudder down or pull the rope attached to the rudder head, to rotate the rudder to its fully down position. If this can’t be achieved, then you may have to wait until you push the boat into deeper water to do this. Once the rudder is down, tie off the line, and make sure that you do not hit it on the bottom. Take every precaution to protect your foils.
Now, you’re ready for your 1st sail.
Laser Sailing Dinghy De-rigging
When de-rigging, simply reverse the order of the above steps.
If possible thoroughly wash all your gear in fresh water and dry all your gear before storage.
Also take care when folding the laser sail to not create a crease in the sail window, as it will weaken and eventually crack.
As mentioned, there are many different ways of rigging a Laser sailboat. Some have to do with personal preference of rigging order. Some differences also have to do with different types of gear and sailing accessories that you may have (eg. turbo kit, wind instruments, etc). We can’t cover every possible scenario here, so just have a go and see what works for you.
Also, make sure to check out the video below which talks some more about rigging a Laser sailboat, and enjoy your laser sailing 🙂