Laser Training Center
Cabarete, Dominican Republic.
October 2013

In this issue:
  • Preparing for the perfect hiking position.
  • Re-inventing the wheel? This may Shock you.
  • Still time to register to our Clinics, and regattas.
  • A personal message to Master sailors.

Preparing yourself for the perfect hiking position.

Sailors have many physical fitness goals: Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Core, Agility, Flexibility, Power, and Balance.  Many replace traditional gyms, with TRX, and Cross Training. For some cycling is the way to reach Laser racing fitness, while others swear that wall-sits is the way.
We will not try to recommend here any particular fitness program, as each sailor requires a unique program designed just for them. But, for keeping the Laser flat in strong winds, all sailors can benefit from an extra 2cm of height and therefore weight outside the windward side of the boat. This can be achieved by hiking off the tip of the toes instead of having the upper arch of the foot under the hiking strap.
'The perfect hiking leg', is of a dancer as seen in the picture on the right taken by Roberto Alvarez our Laser Caribbean Midwinter Regatta photographer, during a dance show in Santo Domingo.

Is your ankle ready for toe-hiking?
Ankle flex is an extremely important ingredient for toe-hiking. An easy way to test your ankles flexibility is in a Yoga pose called Vajrasana, simply described as the kneeling pose. (Pic #1). After warming up, get down on your knees, than move backwards and down, while keeping knees and ankles, tight. (Pic # 2).
If you can sit on your ankles, while keeping them touching each other, you are toe-hiking ready.
As you can see in pic # 3, the sailor had to completely separate his ankles in order kneel.
In pic #4, our trainer Maria is kneeling with tight ankles, while lifting all her toes off the floor to demonstrate feet in maximum flex.
The longer you can keep the ankles touching while getting your buttocks closer to your ankles, the better your chances are to hike off your toes, for long periods.
How to train your foot for toe-hiking?
If Ballet classes are available where you live, join some classes this winter. If Ballet is not an option for you, you can add Barre classes as an addition and variety to your strength-training routine.  More information and ideas can be found on
For ankle flex, champion sailors have been known to swim regularly for up to two hours at a time, feet paddling with fins on. The above mentioned Kneeling pose flex test can also be used for slowly converting your feet to a dancer's feet and to being able hike off your toes during the entire race.

Re-inventing the wheel?
Those of us who are lucky to live and sail in Cabarete, are exposed to all the new innovations in surfing, paddle-boarding, Windsurfing and Kiteboarding.
A few days ago, we received our first shipment of a new designed Kiteboarding pulley AKA, the Ronstan Shock. It is a very unique pulley that weighs only 2 grams, and it does not have a sheave.

Like most other sailors I imagine a pulley as "cheeks" holding a rolling "wheel" otherwise known as sheave. How can Ronstan even pretend to define the Shock as a pulley?

On the other hand, is this the first big breakthrough in pulleys since the Mesopotamians used rope pulleys for hoisting water in 1500 BC? Can this item that is a perfect fit for kiting fit the Laser, too?

Sailors who dropped a pulley on a beach while rigging, and did not have the time to wash the sand off before going sailing, would appreciate the fact that the Shock is grit and salt resistant as there are no moving parts.

The normal single pulley we use on Lasers usually weighs around 16 grams. The Shock weighs only 2 grams. This means that by replacing the pulley on the sail clew, the one on the boom cleat, and the outhaul pulley on the mast, a Laser racer will reduce  weight  by a whopping 42 grams. Now after watching the Americas Cup, we all know how important it is to be the first one foiling, or in our case planning.

To test the functionality of the Shock on the Laser outhaul, I decided to first replace only the "mast pulley". As I was about to launch, three of my Laser buddies could not stop laughing at me for going sailing with a sheave-less friction device on my outhaul system. I had a few minutes to sail with it before the rest of the sailors joined me. I sailed out on a reach, enjoying a 12 knot breeze, than bore away to a run, released the outhaul from the cleat, and... nothing. The clew just stayed fixed to the boom. The outhaul was clearly loose between the deck cleats and the Shock, but from the Shock to the aft of the boom, the outhaul line was tight as could be. I headed up back to a reach, than to close-hauled, trying to sheet in the outhaul while doing so, and... nothing. The outhaul was stuck, and did not move in any direction.

Kiters probably love the fact that the Shock comes in different colors, and works perfectly with 2mm lines, that don't have a 90° turning point, as the Laser outhaul line has at the mast. But, I was too embarrassed to go back a shore to get my old pulley back. Man, how could the designers be so off on their claims?
I than realized that I may have rigged the Shock incorrectly. I released the outhaul line completely and reattached the Shock, exactly in the opposite direction to the first time.

The wind picked up to 15 knots. At no point during the 1.5 hour practice, did adjusting the outhaul ever feel any different than when I was using a Mesopotamian type pulley.

Conclusion: The Shock stays on my rig, instead of the mast outhaul pulley. I am curious to try it in 20+ knots. Forecast looks good.
It is recommend, to all Laser racers to make similar tests for the Ronstan Shock.
* The Shock, and the old style pulley resting on the palm of a hand in the picture on the right, are actually facing each other. To accommodate lines coming from the same direction, one of these "pulleys" has to be turned around 180°.
Coach Rulo's comment: In the past two years, we have seen many top sailors switching to larger and larger pulleys, for faster and easier  trim in strong winds.
At the same time I wouldn't be surprised that due to its weight, the Shock will be a very popular "pulley" on many boats, at the Rio 2016, Olympic games, where light wind is expected and every gram of weight counts.

Want to sail faster? register now to a Laser training clinic. Sail and enjoy a warm Caribbean vacation.
Special discounts available for sailors coming for the entire month of January.

October 15th to 19th. Max's pre-worlds clinic.

November 12th to November 16th.  Coach Max's Masters clinic.

November 28th to December 1st.  Thanks giving Youth clinic , by head coach Rulo.

December 31- January 4th. New Year's Clinegatta.

January 6th to 10th, 2014.  Midweek Clinegatta.

January 12th to 15th, 2014. Pre race clinic.
January 17-19, 2014. 12th Caribbean Laser Midwinter regatta. NOR
January 21st to 25th, 2014.  Master's Clinegatta.
For full details on our Winter 2014 schedule keep on looking at calendar.

Grow your own food at home.
A personal message to Master sailors from Ari Barshi.
My son Ben-Yam had the privilege of learning how to sail with Head coach Rulo. He was a natural. Every jibe, every tack, video perfect.  So when Ben-Yam told me that he doesn’t enjoy sailing, and he prefers to Surf, it was a shock. Same kind of shock feeling I felt when after returning from four years of university, studying sound engineering, he told me he is planning to dedicate his life to growing organic food.
Ben-Yam has built aquaponic systems in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. With two of his friends, he now wants to bring  these special gardens to apartments,  classrooms, and other places with limited space.
As a proud father, I invite you to the Aqualibrium promotion page on  Kickstarter is an amzing platform to help ideas get off the ground, and become reality.

Laser Training Center, Cabarete. Tel. + 1 (809) 571-0640.