Last Updated on September 28, 2023 by Brendan
Laser sailing and racing is a sport that has enthralled a lot of sailing enthusiasts all over the world. Competitive sailors finishing their courses as fast as possible, controlling the wind in their sails for utmost speed never fail to inspire awe from the viewing crowd. But what does it take to be just like that?
To be good at laser sailing requires dedication
To be at the top of any sport, for that matter, requires mastery and thorough preparation. Expertise in laser sailing doesn’t just happen – it is a result of unremitting focus and determination to learn, practice, and keep on improving. It is a product of hours and hours of reading sailing theories and principles, knowing all the controls and fittings of their boats by heart, or tying perfect knots. Laser sailing requires an alert mind, one that can detect changes in wind direction in a snap and the skill to act on it at the right time. It requires a higher level of strength and fitness, one that does not buckle under punishing conditions.
Sailing a laser well calls for extreme concentration and focus in order to efficiently direct your boat toward your next mark and at the fastest speed possible. One needs to master basic sailing maneuvers such as jibing and tacking. Since inputs can come from many sources at the same time, knowing where to focus or which ones should be given attention without necessarily losing sight of the race mark is vital.
We always say that practice makes perfect and this holds true for laser sailing. The art of sailing demands that sailors develop the ability of mindfulness. This means being able to notice every detail until you get used to it and it becomes a habit. This skill needs to be consciously honed because overlooking any bit of information, whether it be regarding the trim of your boat, the conditions, or you’re competitor’s position and tactics, can spell disaster. Some sailors may opt to learn meditation or yoga because these disciplines teach concentration. However, you can also do it on your own like taking a walk and looking for the minute details in your surroundings or paying attention close attention to the sounds of your car while driving.
Developing this kind of attention to detail is extremely important. Once you are out on the water, you will be bombarded with so much information and yet you should not lose track of the wind direction, with the condition of your boat, and with your tactics and maneuvers. On the other hand, making mistakes is sometimes inevitable. Hence, it is important as well that sailors are able to assess the present situation and find ways to maximize the options left. Getting your attention back to the race after an error is just as important.
Other tips for starting out laser sailing…
If you are fascinated with sailing and want to learn to sail a laser, make sure that you have a clean bill of health as this sport can be physically demanding, especially in windy conditions. It would be good also to do your homework so you can get some ideas regarding the demands of the sport. The internet is chock-full with information so log on to websites and see what useful info you can find. Getting advice from seasoned sailors is also a good idea. They can even teach you some techniques that they have learned through experience.
However, sailing a laser may not be for total beginners. A laser is a sprightly single-hander and in order to handle it, it’s good to have the self-preservation instincts that are second nature to more seasoned sailors. A laser is the equivalent of a race car in sailing and the sport is a test of the sailor and his maneuvers and judgment on the day. However, if you are serious about learning how to sail a laser, but want to learn in something a little more stable, there are schools that teach sailing to novices using more stable dinghies and yachts. Once a student has mastered the skill in handling these boats then they can then move to the basics of laser sailing.
Sailors may have different reasons for why they love the sport, but they all agree that just getting into the water is all that matters. Whether it is to race or just good, fast fun they all agree that a bad day laser sailing is still better than a good day at work.