I've just bought a Laser 5000. How do I sail it?


Paul Brotherton hands out advice on taming the beast
I've just taken up Laser 5000 sailing, having only sailed much smaller boats. What advice do you have? Before Take it step by step. Don't throw yourself in at the deep end because you are in danger of putting yourself off the whole thing. A good first step is to get hold of any books or videos of people sailing Laser 5000s or similar boats. Try contacting the Laser Centre in Banbury for any relevant videos or literature, or else see what the madforsailing shop has to offer. John Merricks and Ian Walker produced an excellent video with footage of Laser 5000 and 4000 sailing too, which may be worth a look. Ask other Laser 5000 sailors how they approach basic manoeuvres like tacking and gybing. Then, get them to watch you and crew doing dry runs in the boat park. Strap your boat down to the launching trolley and secure it to the ground if possible. Then you can both safely step into the boat and practise tacking and gybing on the boat. It might look a bit silly, but with some dry land practice at least you won't look as silly the first time you go out on the water. If you can convince an experienced 5000 sailor to take you out on the water, all the better. Either go out three up, or get him to take you and your team mate out one at a time. This is a very quick way to pick up the hard-won secrets of the experienced sailors. Finally, having completed as many of the aforementioned steps, the time has come for your and your team mate to go sailing under your own steam. Pick a nice comfortable Force 2 to go out the first time. Any more and you could struggle with the

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