Thursday, February 21, 2013

Invisible features

The virtual Laser is already a very refreshing sail, but it seems Dutch just can't stop improving it. A few days back we got the windvane, which is great for both beginners and racers. This new feature is different. It is  almost invisible. It's not a gizmo that sits on the boat. It's more of a thingie that hits the other boats. Or should I say "unhits" the other boats?
The sailing...
Wanna take a wild guess? It's not really apparent from the picture, but if you zoom in, you can see it says test at the back of the hull. I put on my own sail though, so no test-text there. I know, the sails are standard. Even so, I kinda like to sail with my own sail. Sails are supposed to the same from the factory, but they age differently based on how and how much you sail.
The testing with Ana
Interestingly, Ana was able to catch me by pointing higher with her centerboard up. It's supposed to be that way on a reach. Here my apparent wind is like thirty degrees or so, and that makes it rather weird.  In a strange and unreal way. This indicates that the Laser needs more sideslip with the centerboard up. Anyways, you see my shadow in Ana's sail? In a minute Ana will shadow me. Windshadow that is.
And then the boat talk
Yup. The Laser now has windshadow. It seems to work great. We were only three boats out there, but the sailing was lag-free and just as refreshing as ever. This time we sailed with windvanes and a brand new shadowing system. That's the invisible feature. It still remains to be seen what will happen in a fleet with ten boats, but it looks promising. Also, I still cannot say if it works within the right angles and distance, - and with the right timing. More on that in another post.

The shadowing itself is not entirely visible though. When shadowed your sails will flap and you'll loose pressure. I am not sure how I feel about this. I can see it has an educational function, but it is unnatural. The thing is, casual sailors are always speculating if they're begin shadowed, and that alone make them loose focus. The good ones can feel it instantly.

I think my preference would be a totally invisible shadowing... lost pressure only. As in make it easy to sail, and make it hard to sail fast. As in make is as real as possible...

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