Laser 4.7’s - the journey so far and looking ahead to 2017
The transition to a new class is always exciting but also a potentially challenging time. After three fantastic years in the Optimist class, April this year was the start of my transition into the Laser 4.7 class. I’ve had a really enjoyable first 8 months, so wanted to share some of my experiences so far as well as my current thoughts on goals for 2017.
My first competitive event in the Laser was the Datchet Ladder back in late April. Whilst I was a little nervous arriving at Datchet on the Saturday morning, it was also great to catch-up with friends who sailed in Optimists. Overall for first event in a new class things went fairly well as I finished 7th and I’ve not really looked back since then.
My best results of the year have been winning the Nationals at Weymouth and the Inlands at Rutland. I’ve also managed to win a couple of Ladder events – Rutland in May and Datchet in November. The training available for 4.7 Lasers is first class. Tim Hulse runs an excellent Class open training programme, which is normally based at WPNSA – one of my favourite places to sail. I’m also really enjoying training with the RYA National Squad and would like to wish head coach, Martin Boatman, well with his recovery from illness. Martin recently won the Performance Development Coach of the Year Award at the 2016 UK Coaching Awards – which was hugely deserved!
The Laser is a one-design class, but there are still quite a few areas for tweaks and changes.
Wind Indicator – I started using a Little Hawk low down on the mast, but quickly switched to a wind indicator at the top of the mast. The lower down on the mast position can get knocked and tangled, particularly at the Leeward mark roundings, so I prefer that it’s out of the way at the top of the mast.
Tiller, Tiller Extension and Traveller – all are areas for Rooster upgrades! The Rooster Carbon tiller is a great upgrade and works really well with the DM20 Traveller. I also prefer the grip & feel of the Rooster Carbon tiller extension.
Mast Retainer – The Rooster upgrade is a really simple solution for this class rules requirement.
Kicker and Cunningham – I’ve also started upgrading key control lines as they start to wear out with secondary lines which are neatly spliced to the blocks. Hopefully a neat and tidy boat is a fast boat!
I’m sure I’ve still got loads more to discover about the Laser, but all of the above have been positive upgrades.
Looking ahead to 2017 we are already making plans for the Euros which are being held at Murcia in Spain at Easter. I’m also looking forward to the prospect of competing in the 4.7 Worlds which are being held at Nieuwpoort in Belgium during July. Nieuwpoort is a great sailing venue, which can deliver really challenging sailing conditions – big waves and strong tides! Going into 2017 I’ll also be starting another transition, into the Radial class.Best wishes, Matt GBR209997