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 of rigging order, 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.
Below is 1 suggestion of rigging sequence…
Laser Sailing Dinghy Rigging
- 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
- 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 all your other laser sailing gear, including ropes and spars, and lay it out to make sure it is all there
- Lay the boom on the deck. Feed the mainsheet rope through the blocks and eyelet on the boom, and through the block in the cockpit and the traveler. While out on the water it is advisable to tie a figure 8 knot in both ends of the mainsheet rope. 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 out the sail 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, 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. 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. If it is windy, this is probably not the best time to be going out for a sail if you are a beginner. Regardless, you should get someone to keep an eye on your laser sailing gear if you have to go to the change-rooms
- 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. 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). 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.
Make sure to check out the video below which talks some more about Laser Sailboat Rigging, and enjoy your laser sailing 🙂