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 The construction materials are out of date, heavy fibreglass hull construction, aluminium spars subject to metallurgical failure with fittings that cause bimetallic corrosion especially in salt water.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 The new carbon top section is made heavier to conform with the outdated and heavy aluminium section.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



  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?

  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.

  3. Chris raises a good point. As a current Aero owner and former Laser sailor, I am acutely aware of the need not to be too negative about the Laser in my conversations with other sailors or in my online writings. It can turn people off and actually make them less likely to buy an Aero. The Laser gave me 30+ years of fun, competitive sailing and I am grateful for that.

    On the other hand I am not still driving a car designed and first manufactured in 1971. There is such a thing as technical progress and it's not surprising that my 2014 car is better than the cars I was driving in the 1970s.

    And there is a need for information for potential boat buyers. People need to know the pros and cons of Lasers vs Aeros vs other single handers. Ii seems to me that Nick is providing a good source of information on this question that will be useful for buyers looking for a one man dingy.

    So please keep on writing this series Nick. Good luck!

  4. Thanks Tillerman, its been a while since I posted, comparing Laser and Aero features. I might do another one soon. Maybe show off the clever way the Aero cleats off the downhaul and outhaul.

    Cheers Nick

  5. Nick
    It is better idea to write about “the clever way the Aero cleats off the downhaul and outhaul” than write bad about the most popular and most liked boat in the world.
    Please write how time consuming is rigging outhaul line inside the boom, and how to replace outhaul blocks integrated with Aero boom.
    Take a look what experts do with your Aero “clever way”:
    Almost all Aero “modern” downhaul and outhaul system throw to the garbage.
    I understand that Laser is too unstable for you and you found easier way but your writing about dinosaurs insult thousands Laser sailors.
    Best Regards

  6. The main reason for sailing a laser? Mass of numbers. Can you enter regattas with 50+ boat fleets and club race at a lot of local clubs with 10-20 boat fleets in an aero? No.. But you can in a Laser. Can you go to training camps with 40+ boats with olympic level coaches? The fleets simply don't exist in an aero.

    I'll keep sailing what is more supported, more sailed and more competitive.

    Is an aero a better boat to sail, lighter? Yes - of course! New boats come and go. But if I just want to go fast and sail by myself I will get back into windsurfing - or a moth, at least they are truly innovative..

    1. Second reason,
      On laser you can develop your skills to expert, on Aero you will never be an expert.
      Third reason
      Aero is boring downwind.
      Fourth reason
      Laser hull is much better designed.
      Fifth reason
      Laser has better designed almost everything.
      Sixth reason
      Aero is light and hard to repair.
      Seventh reason
      Aero is more expensive than Laser.
      Eighth reason
      Aero is shorter and smaller, as a consequence of this is slower.
      Ninth reason,
      On Aero you can't sail barefoot (everyone who sailed Aero know why).
      Tenth reason
      Laser is just nicer.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Useful to new sailors to see a comparison of the boats. As an Enterprise sailor new to single handers I found this an informative read.