Friday, June 05, 2009

Laser jibes

The Laser Training Center (LTC) in Cabarete, Dominican Republic has fast become the preferred destination for dedicated Laser sailors to hone their craft. From those that have been to LTC, they provide glowing reports of the consistent winds plus quality equipment and coaching. But is there more that meets the eye? The release of LTC’s ‘Advanced Laser Boat Handling' DVD has the Laser class and sailing community concerned about what is being taught in this Central America sailing site.

The question being asked on online forums: Are these sailors (US and Canadian Champions, among others) so good, or are they violating the rules of propulsion in light winds (aka, cheating)? Taking on the challenge of reviewing the DVD was Jos M Spijkerman (NED), an ISAF International Judge/Umpire, and author of the popular rules blog, Racing Rules of Sailing, and current ISAF Rule 42 specialist Sofia Truchanowicz (POL).

After Spijkerman showed a scene of light wind jibes from the DVD to Truchanowicz, she informed him that the jibing technique taught on the DVD was within the current interpretation of Rule 42 and that the maneuver was legal. According to Mr. Spijkerman, she did add that it was on the very border. If after jibing the boat would have been heeled to windward, creating propulsion in the form of a stroke of a paddle, it would be yellow flagged.

So there you have it… the line in the sand has not been crossed, and the rules have kept the lions in their cages.

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