The new Laser STD MKII sail - tested by Brett Beyer

The new Laser STD MKII sail – tested by Brett Beyer

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Another great article from the guys at impropercourse on the New Laser STD MKII sail as tested by Brett Beyer recently.

by Brett Beyer

Brett is the current Master World Champion, an event he has now won 11 times. He has worked with Olympic sailors from multiple countries and is the best coach I have ever met. Brett has written some of our most popular posts, including:

Brett has been assessing the new Laser Mark II sail in Sydney. Here are his comments.

This week, one of my guys tried the new sail for the first time. We had a range of wind conditions from 5 knots to 15 knots so it was a good test. My initial impressions are:

  • There is no leech flutter at all – so that will be an improvement.
  • The tapered battens conform to the natural sail shape better – so that will be an improvement.
  • There is less lower leech hooking – so that will produce less weather helm.
  • The mid to upper leech really stands upright, even with firm downhaul. This I feel will produce the biggest (potential) difference. Bigger/stronger guys can enjoy better/more consistent sail shape for longer up the wind range before depowering.
  • The use of downhaul now doesn’t need to be excessive as this is not an effective depowering device, like on the old cut sail.
  • The depowering will now be more reliant on vang and outhaul – more like the Radial sail.
  • You can produce a flat/depowered sail and still have nice consistent sail shape. ie no mismatch of shape.
  • There is not the amount of knuckling on the luff when some downhaul is pulled on. Seems the sail is cut with less luff round down low.
  • The top tapered batten produces rounder shape up the head which will be more power for lighter winds/bumpy water.
  • There is still some diagonal wrinkles from mast join to clew but not as bad/deep.

I’d like to see a top class sailor use the sail in over 15 knots to see how the leech responds. The old sail just stretched and with excessive downhaul did twist off the leech a little. I’m not sure that will or can happen with the new sail, hence the reliance of vang over downhaul.

So, I think the sail will be an improvement in most wind and chop conditions. Because of the very firm and upright leech, I’m not sure how it will go in 5 knots and bumpy water and then in 15 knots or more. There will be some re-learning I suspect of how to get the rig to be slightly more ‘elastic’ in bumpy water, i.e. more leech movements.

Given all that you have learned, do you plan to use the new sail at the next worlds?

I am convinced the sail will be better in light to medium breezes and flatter water. I’ll wait to see a top sailor use it in a breeze to see how the leech opens up. I suspect it won’t and therefore you have to rely on excessive vang like the Radial, but that is just a slight variation. So that only leaves light wind and bumpy water where I think the new sail will be a disadvantage.

I will use the new sail in Mexico as I think it will hold its shape up the wind range and therefore suit bigger guys like me.