I was reminded of this during yesterday's practice clinic run by Mike Kalin off the St Francis. He had us start the day with one of his favorite drills. He sets a very short windward-leeward with two marks and we do several sessions of three laps each. First lap is tack once and jibe once, second lap is tack three times and jibe once, last lap is tack five times and jibe once. The next set through is the same only now on the run you jibe three times. The buoys are purposely set so close together that you really don't have any time to set up for the maneuvers, which is the point I guess.
After that we set up to do the "hold your lane" drill. The idea is to do a rabbit start where every purposely starts close together, trying to emulate a real starting line situation. Then the idea is to sail as long as possible holding your lane. When someone finally gets shot out the back, they tack over to become the new rabbit and we line up again. Very good practice for off the start line and I know this drill has saved me a few times.
After that we set up to do real starts and short races. It is here that I was reminded that it is really possible to plane on a Laser upwind - if only for very short distances. Basically, out of the starts on a couple of occasions I was able to find wave sets where I could get the boat to plane off the backsides, for just short little bursts. But enough to be able to roll the boats to leeward on a couple of occasions.
I need to remember that for Halifax... all it takes is hiking harder than I do now...