Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Laser's five basic design flaws

When you compare the 2013 designed RS Aero with the 1969 designed Laser it is easy now to see the Laser's five basic design flaws.

Three are due to the technology and materials limitations of the day, namely the Laser hull weight, the Laser hull shape and foils.

But why did designers, Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce, chose a sail plan that required block to block sheeting at the transom?

Setting a low boom  also required a cockpit inset into the boat so low it cannot self drain. Centre sheeting and self draining cockpits were common in Moth designs in the 1960's and its hard to explain why the Laser ended up with such a poor configuration.

The Laser was unlucky to end up with a hull weight of 59kg as just 5 years later Ian Bruce and Frank Bethwaite produced the 68kg (fully rigged) Taser using Fiberglass sandwich foam. This substantially larger boat two person boat carries 11.5m2 sail and planes upwind.

In 2013 RS produced the Aero with a hull weight of 30kg

The Kirby's foresight was the was the unstayed mast that simply slotted into a hole in the deck. Comprised of two pieces aluminium tubing it made easy work of rigging, storage and transport. The approach now perfected further by the Aero and the WASZP.


1.  Bruce Kirby's doodle on a yellow legal pad. The tear sheet from this pad later became what we called the “million dollar doodle.”

2. 1960's Australian Moth with centre sheeting and self draining cockpit

3.  The WASZP with no stays, good when dismounting at 20 knots.

Read more about the history of the Laser design in Kirby's own words.

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