Wednesday, February 27, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I participated in another Laser sailing webinar, very similar in some ways to the one I wrote about at Web Orgy.
Coach Rulo from the Laser Sailing Centre at Cabarete was once again hosting it. This time the subject was Laser Downwind Speed (which god knows I need to improve) and Rulo was joined by guest expert Anna Tunnicliffe who, as all my readers surely know, won the gold medal in the Laser Radial event at the 2008 Olympics.
Once again Rulo did a fine job of covering the subject in depth with a well-structured presentation using bullet point slides and video footage dealing separately with the techniques needed in light, medium and strong winds, with a separate section of what to do in "survival" conditions (which I do seem to encounter more often as I get older. How can that be?)
Rulo also did a good job of bringing Anna into the discussion at key points in the presentation where she was able to offer her own accounts of how she approached downwind sailing. And then, at the end, we were able to ask our own questions.
One issue with any webinar or coaching or books or words of wisdom for me these days is the one I raised in Are Words a Wisdom a Waste of Time? I have been sailing a Laser for so many years and trying to soak up knowledge about Laser sailing for so many years that I have heard before a lot of the collected wisdom about how to sail a Laser fast.
Not that I necessarily I have the skills to execute well all that I have heard. That's another issue.
But I didn't expect to hear any new magic go-faster tips from Anna that would suddenly turn me from a below-average downwind sailor into the guy who can pass 20 other boats on every downwind leg. That wasn't going to happen.
When you have the opportunity to listen to someone of Anna's caliber, and question them, you do discover little things and subtleties about their technique that you didn't know before. Or at least I did.
A difference between how to sheet in on up-turns and sheet out on down-turns.
A trick to gain extra speed in 0-4 knots.
When to sail with a tighter vang.
Where to tie the stopper knot.
When knees-down is OK.
And so on.
So, if you want to improve your Laser sailing skills, and you can't get to Cabarete in the immediate future, I definitely recommend you attend one of Rulo's webinars.