DVD Review: “Advanced Laser Boat Handling”

This video provides expert instruction for perfecting tacks, jibes, mark-roundings, and more. "Gear Up" from our June 18, 2009, /SW eNewsletter/

The coaches from the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, give your maneuvers a makeover in the DVD “Advanced Laser Boat Handling.”

The coaches from the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, give your maneuvers a makeover in the DVD “Advanced Laser Boat Handling.” Courtesy Laser Training Center

Last year we dispatched longtime SW contributor Dave Powlison– who (with legend Dick Tillman) literally wrote the book on Laser sailing back in 1983, The New Laser Sailing– to the Laser Training Center in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. When he returned after a week of one-on-one coaching, he claimed to be a changed man. He was much more in tune with how the dynamics of manhandling the ubiquitous 14-footer have changed since the early ’80s, he told us. And, man was he ever showing his old-school style.

Like Powlison, many a Laser sailor has made the pilgrimage to the palm-lined shores of Cabarete, seeking the advice of resident head coach Javier Borojovich, aka, Rulo. Even Laser Radial gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe sought council and trained in the big breeze and waves that makes the training center ideal.

Now, one of the most important components of a training session at Cabarete is the video debrief, which in frame-by-frame style can show the nuance of a good roll tack and reveal any source of bad habits. And over many years with many great sailors, the Training Center’s founder Ari Bashi has amassed a wealth of instructional material, enough to deliver to the rest of us an excellent addition to our self-help DVD library.


Entitled “Advanced Laser Boat Handling,” the DVD methodically describes the Laser’s most important manuevers-tacks and jibes through the wind-range, mark roundings, penalty turns, and more. There’s great attention to detail when explaining the essentials, and most importantly, slow-motion frames reveal the little tricks that will take your ordinary boathandling simply extra-ordinary. The sailors are Olympic-caliber and the instruction is, too.

Considering a day’s worth of coaching would cost a couple hundred dollars, this $49.95 DVD is a great investment to break from mid-fleet status this summer. I’ve watched it at least a half-dozen times (ADD, I suppose), have taken pages of notes (as if I really were in Cabarete), and now I’m ready to face my bad habits one by one this summer. When I finally get to Cabarete myself, I’ll be ready for Rulo.

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