Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hands On: SailFit Seminars DVD

We just got in a new DVD about Laser sailing put together by Kurt Taulbee of SailFit on Clearwater Bay in Florida. The DVD is basically just footage from some of the seminars that SailFit runs for the Laser.

The DVD is divided into seven sections: tacking, gibing, mark rounding, starting, more boat handling, upwind & downwind sailing & rigging tips. Each section is broken up into the different drills they run during the seminars - things like tack on the whistle, rudderless sailing & a how far can you heel downwind without a death roll drill. All together the DVD is 82 minutes long.

The SailFit DVD is definitely different from most of the Laser DVDs we offer. Since the footage is of the sailors at the seminar instead of some Olympic level Laser sailor they make normal mistakes just like the rest of us. It provides a different way of learning and can help you see some of the mistakes you might make yourself.

The downside is that if you are a fairly experienced Laser sailor there's not a lot of stuff here that you won't have heard already. There's not a lot of advanced technique like you might find in the Rooster DVD - this is primarily just the fundamentals of boat handling

You won't see any elaborate camera angles - the DVD appears to be filmed with a hand-held camera from a rib following the sailors. This occasionally results in some intense shaky camera action but for the most part it's good quality footage. Almost all the sailing is done in pretty light air (looks like mostly 5-10 sometimes less).

Basically this is a good collection of drills for improving your sailing and some tips for executing them properly. Beyond that it's nothing ground breaking. It never hurts to see more examples of how to sail the Laser but somewhat unfortunately this DVD contains as many examples of the wrong way as it does the right way. Overall it's just a collection of film from the training seminars - and it never feels like something more than that.

Seminars like this are great because you get one on one coaching and individualized advice. Unfortunately watching someone else get one on one coaching doesn't come across as well as being there.

I think the SailFit Laser Seminar DVD would be pretty good for beginning Laser sailors or anyone who wants to work on their boat handling (a really important part of Laser sailing). If you've been racing the boat a while I think you could get all these drills out of a book or website and not miss out on much by not watching the DVD.


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  2. I could see how you would think that way if you had not gone threw the seminar. I got the rooster sailing dvds that investment is well overshadowed by my experience of going threw the seminar and learning directly from Kurt because there is a lot that goes along with the videos that is learned in the classroom section of the seminar.

    I benefited greatly during the course of the seminar last November. Although, I only had a half of a season’s experience racing a laser, I saw vast improvements after even the first day of training with Kurt and by the end of the seminar I was sailing competitively with some extremely seasoned veterans of the boat. Basically, what I took away from the seminar is that I now know what I need to do to improve my skills and have a personalized plan to do so.