This RRS Question one is from Bence from Hungary about sheeting in a Laser. He writes:
I have been reading your rrsstudy-blog for more than a year and I find it really interesting. Just keep up the good work!
I live in Hungary and I'm sailing in Laser Radial now. Besides racing I also organize races and sometimes work as a national jury. We had a regatta last month here in Hungary and there was an argument between the judges, coaches and competitors about controlling the mainsheet in the laser class.
According to the cited rule's last sentence you may control the sheet directly from below the forward boom block.
Is it allowed to use it in such a way for adjusting the sail to a slight change of wind direction, either in a beat on a wave or in a reach?
When doing so, could it be regarded as a pump or not? If there are no surfing or planning conditions, I guess it is a pump and so not allowed.
To facilitate tacking and gybing it can be controlled from any part of it (also aft the forward boom block) - that's clear.
Please try to answer if you can, or if not, could you offer me a laser-expert jury to contact? We also tried to ask it from the International Laser Class Association, but unfortunately we still didn't get any answer...
Kind regards, Bence Böröcz HUN
My answer to Bence is after the jump.
The rule governing the way we can adjust the sails to propel our boat is rule 42.
That is the same in a Laser as in a Elliot 6 or Star. There is (with one exception) NO specific way or place or holding point described in the RRS how to do this.
You can push your boom out if you want, or a crewmember may hold the gib for backing at the sheeting corner. If you want to push the boom up to open the leech, please go ahead. You may even hold the boom – if you have the strength.
The one exception is when you want to initiate surfing! Then rule 42.3(c) specifically states you MUST do so by pulling a sheet or guy. The way most PC/Jury panels interpret this, is that as long as your are touching the sheet with your hand – be it directly on the block – you are complying with this rule.
Next are the Class rules. They also can regulate (change) how the sails are to be used. (It can also be done in the SI’s – but I’ll save that for another time)
In the Laser Class there’s a specific CLASS-rule involved in how you can adjust your sails. Bence already referred to this in his mail:
3. CONTROL SYSTEMS, CONTROL LINES AND FITTINGSIn answer to your question I would allow adjusting the sails in a Laser (Radial or Standard) as long as you touch the forward boom block. Thereby complying with the class rule of never controlling the mainsheet aft of that block.
(c) Mainsheet – also see Rules 3(a) & 3(b)
i. The mainsheet shall be a single line, and be attached to the becket of the aft boom block, and then passed through the traveller block, the aft boom block, boom eye strap, forward boom block and the mainsheet block. After the mainsheet block it shall be knotted. The mainsheet shall not be controlled aft of the forward boom block except to facilitate a tack or gybe.
There are lots of Laser sailors active in the blogosphere – more so then other classes it seems – perhaps they can shed some light on this?
Next time in LTW Readers Q&A; Rule 14 after contact.