Intro to Light Air Laser Sailing
In light air it is very important to keep the boat moving. If the boat stalls a great deal of ground will be lost. As the boat gains speed it becomes much easier to gain height. It will be much easier to avoid tight situations and recover from tactical mistakes.
Light Air Sail Settings
Wind should flow easily around the sail in light air. The draft should be set at 45 percent with a depth of approximately just over one hands length at the boom cleat (8 inches). The mast needs bend in order to reduce the fullness at the luff of the sail. The kicker can reduce the fullness and hooked leech by forcing the boom into the mast causing the mast to bend. The mainsheet should be sheeted between 4 inches and 1 foot between the blocks until the wind picks up enough to sit out over the gunwale. Then the main can be sheeted in block to block. The kicker should be on enough to take the tension out of the mainsheet. This also reduces the tension on the traveler allowing the boom to remain in the correct position. The traveler block should be touching the leeward traveler fairlead. This ensures that the boat is being propelled forward efficiently. A small amount of cunningham can be used to pull out large creases in the sail.
Light Air Sailing Technique
The sailor should sit forward in the cockpit so that the transom is out of the water. This reduces the drag caused by the trailing edge. Any movements should be fluid and gentle. Abrupt movements will disturb the wind flow over the sail and water flow over the blades. If the boat stalls, bear away slightly allowing pressure to build in the rig. Pulling the boat flat by leaning the upper body back and aft will accelerate the boat. Once the boat is up to speed in flat water, let the boat sail itself with as little input as possible. The boat should be sailed completely flat which will keep the rig fully powered.
In choppy conditions, keep the boat moving at all times. Maintaining a slight leeward heel in choppy conditions will improve the feel on the rudder.