10 Things To Consider About a Laser

1.  Lasers are hard to sail, the hull shape is unstable, especially downwind.  The boom is very low and the rudder is too small, hardly steers the boat. In heavy chop the rounded bow stalls the boat, the cockpit fills with water, the venturi is antiquated. (see post on foils) (see post comparing Aero and Laser decks) (see post on downwind stability)

2.  The sail cannot be properly depowered in heavy wind, limiting the enjoyable wind range. (see tab Square Top Rig)

3.  Lasers are slow. Portsmouth Yardstick Aero --1066 Laser Standard - 1095 (Aero 3 minutes faster in 100 minute race).  Read Mark Jacobi's reviewThis day of racing convinced me to buy an Aero.

bimetallic corrosion
4.  The boat is heavy, hard to lift into racks - hull 58 kg compared to Aero 30 kg. Not a boat for women, youths or grand masters. The General guideline for maximum weights for men - 25kg, for women - 16kg.  (see youtube one person car topping)

5. The construction materials are out of date, heavy fibreglass hull construction, aluminium spars subject to metallurgical failure with fittings that cause bimetallic corrosion especially in salt water.  (read more)

6.  The design cannot adapt, it can never be a modern boat. The new MKII standard sail was deliberately detuned to the perform the same (as badly) as the old sails. The new carbon top section is made heavier to conform with the outdated and heavy aluminium section.  (read more)

7.  Head and face injuries are caused by hits by the low boom. Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is common due to sheeting action combined with heavy weather helm. (see post on 'No More Duct Tape')

8. While Lasers have big regatta fleets, most sailors are starting a journey and enjoy smaller club level racing fleet which modern classes can now provide.

9. In 5 years time the new boats that came out of the Laser factory in 2017 will be dinosaurs.

10. Buy a Laser if you have no other option, go second hand as an entry level boat, move to a better class down the track.


Its time to move on from the 1970’s design Lase


This is a good article by longtime sailor and scribe Kurt Hoehne offers observations on the changing singlehanded dinghy landscape.

The history of the Laser


Jurrasic Park

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2 comments:

  1. Is it really necessary to do a hatchet job on a competing class? Isn't it known to be bad marketing for the class and the sport?

    Why not take heed of the article you linked to and stop attacking a competing class? Blog pieces such as this certainly make one decide to put the Aero class into the very small bracket that should not be supported; after all, why should anyone support a class that attacks another?

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  2. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate that some see it as bad etiquette to review the strengths and weaknesses of classes. On the other hand an assessment of the relative merits of different designs can help people make informed decisions.

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