Sailing by the lee 1

Of course you can sail a Blaze by the lee and to great advantage! It's a very useful technique especially in waves for exactly the same reasons as it is with the laser. The only difference is that we have shrouds which limits the booms travel.
However we do have a lot more leach than the laser and if you let off the kicker a fair way you really can sail by the lee - and much faster than the laser in most winds. The other thing you can do to help is to make sure the rig is sloppy as required by upwind sailing anyway.
When we first saw Steve Cockerill in the Blaze we really did have to scratch our heads for a while there - we had thought we were fast already downwind - until all without exception were ripped to pieces at the 2002 Warsash nationals with nearly all the damage being inflicted offwind. So it was back to being suitably humble for a few months and practicing his technique which was simply his well documented laser one translated to the Blaze. The gap was much less defined at the Portland Nationals this year so we must have learnt something in the intervening year.

Let the kicker off a bit and simply try to do what the lasers do - but remember not to  bury the 'windward' wing as you progress. I won't describe Steve's full technique - you can probabaly find it somewhere on his website if he's not provoked into responding here. Regards - Mike Lyons

Sailing by the lee 2

Question: I have dabbled a bit with sailing by the lee this year, but it never really feels 'good' and is sometimes downright unnerving since the boom can't go far out. Maybe less kicker (not currently possible with my strut) and/or more nerve is required! Answer: It may not feel 'good' at first but it certainly does when you get the benefit. If you practise is becomes easier and in the end you will actually enjoy using your newfound skill ! Don't expect to gain at first because you will probably make a mess of it - but that's very much part of the learning curve. It's what everyday club racing is for really - trying out new things without too much to lose (unless that naff bit of club glassware is really that important !)
Young kids learn by 'mucking around' and they try things their parents would not dare to do as they are far too 'sensible'. As a result youngsters stretch the limits and learn faster - don't worry what result you get in the short term, keep 'mucking around' and you really can learn a few new tricks along the way. In the end you will go a lot faster and enjoy it even more. Don't dabble - 'go for it' - the water is quite warm now .... Cheers - Mike Lyons

Sailing by the lee 3

I was just reading Chris  Coleman's e-mail today when an old thought popped into my head. I am the same  height and weight as him and have the same problems downwind (too long for my  own good). I secretly know what the replies to my e-mail will be and can hear  the hoots of derision but her goes.
Does anyone out there sail downwind in  the Blaze by the lee. I know this is not strictly possible because of the  stayed rig but if a knot were to be tied in the mainsheet to keep it off the  shrouds and stronger patches to protect the sail from spreader damage is it  possible.
The area I sail has some lasers and on the reach they cant get near  the Blaze in a blow but running is different because most of them can sail  well by the lee (or 4th Dimension). This means I either kneel like Chris does  or gybe all the way down the course but obviously sail much farther and as  the legs are relatively short (in a harbour) there is no advantage to doing  this.
I obviously don't want to wreck my new Mk II sail but has anyone out there  tried this approach (be nice at this point to get Steve C's  thoughts).

Well Happy Sailing all Iain Robinson Sth Shields 651