Heavy Air
August 10, 2012 11:50 PM   Subscribe

Last year, the Heavy Air Laser Slalom regatta was run out of St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Organizers pick what they think will be a consistently windy day, and competitors race on the fastest points of sail. Here is some incredible footage.

There is also video from the 2008 slalom race. The race originally started in the 70's(video).

Laser is a one-design racing class also in the Olympics. While the hull remains the same, different sails (like full-rig or radial-cut) can be substituted for sailors of different size and skill. The boat was designed in 1969 as an inexpensive, car-toppable daysailer(PDF), and quickly became a worldwide hit.

In too much wind, bad things can happen ...
posted by the man of twists and turns (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
More Metafilterers should sail

It's good for life and stories.

And health.

Sad or happy truth: it is always a buyers market for sail boats.

From a former Cal 20 owner.
posted by notyou at 2:05 AM on August 11, 2012

Lasers are neat.
If you want a bit more extreme you could try Keel Walking or even go for a Smashing Sunday.
Now I'm off to sail with some Classics.
posted by adamvasco at 3:02 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lasers are notoriously hard to sail upwind, you need to find an edge just between stalling out and over powered.

When they go over, if you see it coming you can just sit up on the edge, then just lean back and and the boat slowly tips up and the sail comes out of the water. That is if you have the balance just right, the scene I didn't see in these videos is when that is done not just perfectly, the sail comes up out of the water and keeps going, you go over backwards with the sail flopping down on you.
posted by sammyo at 5:04 AM on August 11, 2012

Okay, that looks like fun. (that i totally couldn't do, but sitll, awesome)
posted by rmd1023 at 5:16 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sad or happy truth: it is always a buyers market for sail boats.

True enough. For wind riding, you can pretty much set your buying options almost as low as you like and still have a good time.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:16 AM on August 11, 2012

Extreme Laser sailing with slow-motion tacks

Probably the most difficult and dangerous maneuver in heavy air is the gybe or jibe.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:39 AM on August 11, 2012

Lasers are notoriously hard to sail upwind

Or downwind! There you are, blasting away on a run, daggerboard up, heeling to windward to keep the helm neutral - and you catch a little header, or you crest a wave, sweeping your mast to windward, moving the apparent wind at the head of the sail that direction, and BANG your sail grabs that wind and becomes a wing again and pulls the boat over to windward! And you're sitting low-side so there's fuck all you can do about it...

Yep, Lasers are fun.
posted by nicwolff at 6:01 AM on August 11, 2012

I was expecting actual lasers, made of photons. This is still kind of cool though.
posted by Foosnark at 8:00 AM on August 11, 2012

A 10 for subject matter, a 10 for camera placement and a 10 for soundtrack choice. Drop the highest and lowest scores for an average score of 10
posted by Redhush at 10:20 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the post, I remember when I learned to dinghy sail , it was completely addictive....15 knots can feel like 90, with the wind, and the water, and feeling in your body the boat respond to tweaks. When I crewed on a bigger boat in races, I didn't like it nearly as much.

I also remember having friends who went on to windsurf, surf, parasail, all looking for more thrills and all genres of shred videos like this, but about time just plain sailing got its due as a thrill
posted by C.A.S. at 10:50 AM on August 11, 2012

Dinghy sailing is the best.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:41 PM on August 11, 2012

The moment that captures why these boats are great to sail is about 3:21 in the last linked video from above the fold - hiking all the way to keep the wheels on the road as you come around the turn.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:03 PM on August 11, 2012

Needs more actual lasers.
posted by delmoi at 7:41 PM on August 11, 2012

enjoyed very much. reminded me of my dormant passion. thx
posted by halatukit at 8:07 PM on August 11, 2012

Anyone know the song this is from? Sorta sounds like Black Sabbath but a remix maybe.
posted by stbalbach at 6:51 PM on August 13, 2012

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