Laser Sailboats

There are many different Laser Sailboats, because Laser is such a huge brand in sailing. I have sailed many of their sailboats and they are all very good fun to sail.

I will be reviewing all the ones I have sailed and commenting on their sailability, ease of use and feel, but you of course can make your own opinions about them.

Laser One

One of the top single handler sailing boats ever made and also an international class in the Olympics. The boat was designed by a Canadian called Bruce Kirby, who wanted to build a dinghy that could be placed on top of a car roof rack.

Since conception in the 1970s, there have been over 190,000 boats manufactured by 2007. It was incorporated into the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as the mens' class and in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a smaller Laser Radial was created for the womens' class.

The Laser is a one design boat (meaning having altercations to this design will disqualify the boat from any races or regattas) and has a waterline length of around 3.8m. The hull weighs around 56kg making it light enough for a car rack.

The Laser has one sail only and can be sailed by one or two people (rare) and is best sailed in higher winds by a fit, moderate weight person (less than 80kg).

It is sometimes quite difficult to sail, because of the constant moving forwards, backwards and sideways and so the sailor must be very agile and fit to be competitive in the boat.

Tacking and gybing by rolling the boat is also more difficult since the boom rests quite low on the mast, meaning you really have to get your head down and is not the best boat for taller people.

Another annoying thing that I found is that it can do sme very odd stuff such as death roll (capsize to windward on a run) and broach (goes up into the wind from a run) much more easily than a standard two person dinghy. The mainsheet also has a tendancy to get wrapped around the back of the hull, causing a few minutes of loss of control of the boat.

Apart from this though, it is very spacious with a large hull compared to smaller Laser Picos and Topaz's. The sail controls are also very accessible and colour coded.

A very nice boat, but for a more advanced sailor than a beginner. You should probably do some two person dinghy work or smaller single handler work before taking on the Laser One, simply because it requires someone who knows quite alot about sailing to sail it (no doubt why it is an Olympic class).

Laser Pico

This is a smaller sailboat that was designed by Jo Richards in the mid-1990s, for training and casual sailing. It is usually used by more advanced children or beginner adults. It can be manned by one or two children or one adult.

It can have two sails, but when used as a single handler, only one is used. The boat is self draining, with two small openings in the back of the hull. It has a daggerboard, boom and mast as well as a lifting rudder.

It has a waterline length of about 3.5m and weighs about 60kg. It may seem odd that this smaller boat is heavier than the Laser One, but the reason is the different materials used in construction for this casual boat and the Olympic class racing boat.

I have sailed this boat many times at school and it is great fun, but has quite a small sail area and no tell tales, which makes sail trim quite difficult as well as beating.

It can be quite fast and is very easy to put back up after a capsize even inverted capsize.

All in all, a great fun boat for beginners!

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