The Laser Class

The Laser Class European Series

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Welcome to The Laser Class, established by concerned sailors with a desire to celebrate the iconic One-Design Laser boat and to reconstitute the original Laser Class as a world-class organization that represents and serves its community.

Join us today! Membership of the Association is free until 2022. You will also get a Members Card giving you access to exclusive discounts from our partners.

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Laser Sailboat: Mastering Performance and Techniques for Success

The Laser sailboat is a popular single-handed, one-design sailing dinghy known for its simplicity and performance. Designed by Ian Bruce and Bruce Kirby in 1970, the Laser has become the world's most popular adult and youth sailboat, with over 225,000 boats in 140 countries.

laser sailboat class

The boat's versatility is a significant contributing factor to its popularity, as it can be customized for different sailors and conditions using three interchangeable rigs of different sail areas.

Laser sailboats offer both beginners and experienced sailors the joy of sailing with their user-friendly design and competitive performance capabilities .

With a strong focus on sustainability, LaserPerformance, the leading producer of Laser sailboats, actively works to minimize the environmental impact of their products through ethical sourcing and manufacturing practices.

laser sailboat class

Key Takeaways

  • Laser sailboats are known for versatility, simplicity, and high-performance capabilities.
  • Designed in 1970, they have become the world's most popular sailboat for both adult and youth sailors.
  • LaserPerformance is committed to sustainability through ethical sourcing and manufacturing practices.

History and Development

Inception of the Laser Sailboat

The Laser sailboat, an internationally popular one-design class, was conceived in 1969 by Bruce Kirby , a Canadian designer and former Olympian. He aimed to create an innovative design that was simple, affordable, and easy to sail.

The prototype, originally called the "Weekender," was first introduced to the public in 1971 at the New York Boat Show . Its inaugural sail featured the insignia "TGIF," a reference to its early name.

The boat's simplicity and performance attracted sailors of all skill levels, and by the early 1970s, it had become a commercial success.

Laser Class Evolution

The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) was established in response to the growing popularity of this sailboat. The ILCA sought to standardize the Laser's various specifications and ensure consistency across all boats.

One of its key contributions has been the establishment of three interchangeable rigs: Standard, Radial, and 4.7 , which cater to different wind strengths and crew weights.

This adaptability has made the Laser more accessible and appealing to a broader range of sailors.

laser sailboat class

The Laser's rise as an international class was further solidified when it became an Olympic class in 1996. The boat's simplicity, strict one-design nature, and large worldwide fleet have made it a staple of the Olympic sailing program.

Its design has remained relatively unchanged since its inception, with only minor modifications being made to improve performance and durability .

The Laser remains a popular choice for sailors globally, both competitive and recreational. Its unique combination of simplicity, adaptability, and performance has ensured its continued success as a one-design class, and the International Laser Class Association continues to play a crucial role in maintaining the consistency of the boat and promoting the sport of sailing around the world.

Laser Sailboat Specifications

Hull Design and Construction

The Laser sailboat is known for its simplicity and performance which was designed in 1970 by Ian Bruce and Bruce Kirby. The hull design contributes to its stability and speed in the water.

Its construction uses a lightweight hull, ensuring optimal handling for sailors of various skill levels. This sailboat has been designed with durability and stability in mind.

Its materials and construction techniques focus on withstanding the rigors of sailing while maintaining a consistent and smooth ride on the water.

Rigging Variants

There are three interchangeable rigging variants for the Laser sailboat, each offering different sail areas to accommodate sailor weight and wind strength. These variants include:

  • Laser 4.7 : With a sail area of 4.7 square meters, this rig is suitable for youth and lighter female sailors. It is considered the smallest and most accessible rig for Laser sailing. More information about Laser 4.7.
  • Laser Radial : This rig offers a 5.1 square meter sail area, suited for women and lighter sailors seeking a more challenging sail size. Learn about Laser Radial.
  • Laser Standard (ILCA 7) : The most common and originally designed rig using a 7.1 square meter sail, also known as MK2 , features a larger sail area suitable for heavier and more athletic sailors. Details on Laser Standard sail and rig.

laser sailboat class

Dimensions and Sail Measurements

The Laser sailboat has specific dimensions and sail measurements which contribute to its design and performance. Here are the key dimensions:

  • LOA (Length Overall): 4.2 meters
  • LWL (Length at Waterline): 3.81 meters
  • Beam : 1.39 meters
  • Draft : 0.787 meters
  • Weight : Standard 58.97 kg (130 lbs)

The sail measurements for the three different rigging variants are as follows:

Rig VariantSail Area (sqm)
Laser 4.74.7
Laser Radial5.1
Laser Standard7.1

These specifications ensure consistent performance and ease of handling for sailors in various conditions and preferences.

Sailing Dynamics and Performance

Handling and Maneuverability

The Laser sailboat is known for its excellent handling and maneuverability, making it suitable for sailors of all skill levels.

Its simplified rigging and straightforward design allow for easy control and quick response to changes in wind and water conditions.

The Laser's hull weight is only 120 pounds (54.43 kg), contributing to its nimbleness on the water.

Steering the Laser sailboat is mostly dependent on the sailor's body positioning and sail trimming techniques, giving more room for tactical excellence. Due to its responsive nature, the Laser rewards sailors who can make quick adjustments and maintain an optimal sail trim.

Speed and Stability

The Laser sailboat offers a good balance of speed and stability for both recreational and competitive sailing.

Its relatively simple design, combined with a large sail area of 75 square feet (6.97 square meters) , enables it to reach impressive speeds for its size while maintaining stability.

Key factors affecting the Laser's speed and stability include:

  • Hull design: The Laser's hull is designed to reduce drag and enhance stability, providing a fast and steady sailing experience.
  • Sail size and shape: The Laser's sail is optimized for various wind conditions, allowing it to perform well in both light and strong winds.
  • Sailor's weight and athleticism: The speed and stability of a Laser sailboat are also influenced by the sailor's weight and athleticism. An optimal weight range for Laser sailors is 140 to 190 pounds (64 to 86 kg) , and experienced, athletic sailors can better handle the boat in challenging conditions.

Sailor Interaction

A significant aspect of the Laser sailboat's performance is the level of interaction between the sailor and the boat.

As mentioned earlier, the Laser rewards sailors who possess excellent steering and trimming techniques, as well as a strong sense of tactical awareness.

This interaction allows the Laser to perform at its best under various conditions.

Sailors can further optimize their Laser sailboat's performance by:

  • Adjusting the sail's angle and position to match wind conditions
  • Proper body positioning and weight distribution
  • Adopting efficient upwind and downwind sailing techniques
  • Maintaining focus and awareness of wind shifts and changes in water conditions

Types of Laser Sailboats

Laser sailboats are a type of one-design dinghies, which means that they follow strict design and manufacturing rules to ensure all boats in the Laser class are identical.

The versatile laser class is widely popular as they offer different sail and rig sizes, catering to sailors of various ages, weights, and skill levels.

Laser Standard

The Laser Standard , also known as the ILCA 7 , is the largest of the three laser rigs. This adult racing class boat features a 7.1 sqm sail, making it suitable for heavier and more athletic sailors.

Laser Radial

The Laser Radial or ILCA 6 has a smaller 5.1 sqm sail. It is specifically tailored to lighter sailors, including women and youth sailors. The Radial's sail allows for better control and easier handling in various wind conditions.

This provides a level playing field for a wide range of sailors in terms of age, weight, and experience level.

Lastly, the Laser 4.7 or ILCA 4 features the smallest sail, measuring 4.7 sqm. This rig is designed for young sailors who are new to Laser sailing and need a more manageable sail size. The unique 4.7 lower mast section includes a pre-bend near the boom fitting, which allows the sail to depower more easily.

This provides a more forgiving experience for new and younger sailors.

Each Laser sailboat variant utilizes the same hull design, ensuring that the core sailing experience remains consistent across the board. This enables sailors to transition seamlessly between the different rig sizes as they progress in their sailing abilities.

Competitive Sailing

Racing and Regattas

The Laser sailboat has been a popular choice in the sailing community for competitive racing due to its simplicity and one-design class. The Laser Class Association organizes races and regattas in various formats where sailors adhere to the class rules.

The laser class has three different sail sizes - Laser Standard (ILCA 7), Laser Radial (ILCA 6), and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4). These cater to sailors of different ages, weights, and abilities to participate in a single class.

These characteristics make the Laser sailboat a widely sought-after option for sailors who are interested in competitive racing 1 .

Olympic Presence

The laser class has a strong presence in the Olympics, being recognized as an Olympic class sailing dinghy. Laser Standard (ILCA 7) and Laser Radial (ILCA 6) are the two divisions that have been part of the Olympic Games since 1996 and 2008, respectively.

With its universal appeal and the level playing field it offers to sailors, the laser class has grown significantly in popularity over the years. It has achieved global recognition as a highly competitive sailing class in the Olympic Games.

National and International Championships

Alongside racing, regattas and their Olympic presence, the Laser Class Association also organizes various national and international championships.

Among these events are the ILCA 4 Youth World Championship, scheduled to happen in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, in June 2024 2 .

The World Championships typically attract top sailors from different nations, competing for the title of world champion.

A list of major championships for laser sailing includes:

  • ILCA 4 Youth World Championship
  • ILCA 6 World Championship
  • ILCA 7 World Championship

In addition to these flagship events, many national championships are also held regularly by various Laser Class Associations around the world. This fosters the growth of talented sailors and promotes the spirit of competition within the laser sailing community.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Routine Care and Maintenance

Laser sailboats are known for their durability, but regular maintenance is essential to ensure their longevity and maintain resale value.

Inspect the hull and foils for any damage or signs of wear. Also, check the steering systems, such as rudder and tiller, ensuring they are functioning smoothly without any wiggles.

Regularly inspect tiller extension fittings for cracking and signs of potential breakage.

Cleaning your sailboat after each use will help minimize the chance of damage from dirt, salt, and debris. Store sails, lines, and other equipment properly to avoid moisture damage, mold, and mildew growth.

Verifying the functionality of the autobailer should also be a part of the routine maintenance process.

Transport and Storage

Transporting a Laser sailboat can be done with relative ease, as they are lightweight and their compact size allows for cartop transport.

When cartopping your Laser, use appropriate padding and straps to secure the boat without causing damage to the hull, mast, or other components.

As for storage, it is essential to keep your Laser sailboat in a covered and well-ventilated area, preferably on a dolly or custom cradle that supports the gunwales to prevent unnecessary stress on the hull.

Moreover, ensure the mast and other equipment are safely stored alongside the boat.

Periodically inspect the boat during storage to check for any signs of damage, moisture buildup, or rodent infestation.

Laser Sailboat Community and Culture

The Laser sailboat has built a strong sense of community that extends across different countries. This community primarily revolves around clubs, associations, and social and recreational sailing.

Clubs and Associations

A significant part of the Laser sailing community is the involvement in clubs and associations at various levels. The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) is the governing body that brings together Laser sailors from all around the world.

This association is responsible for maintaining the one-design principles, organizing international events, and promoting Laser sailing as a high-quality, competitive sport.

At a local level, numerous clubs are home to passionate Laser sailors. Club racing is a popular form of competition within the community, offering a friendly yet competitive environment for sailors to test their skills.

There are also regional associations supporting the growth of the Laser sailing community in their respective areas.

Example of Laser clubs:

  • Family Fun Sailing Club : Focused on promoting sailing for the whole family and organizing social events.
  • Weekender Club : Emphasizes weekend gatherings and collaborative sailing initiatives.
  • TGIF Racing Club : Prioritizes Friday evening club races for those looking to engage in competitive sailing after work.

Social and Recreational Sailing

The Laser sailboat's appeal extends beyond competitive racing, with many enthusiasts enjoying the boat for its simplicity and versatility in social and recreational sailing.

The Laser community is known for organizing events that cater to various interests and skill levels, ensuring that everyone has a chance to find their niche.

Some common social and recreational sailing events include:

  • Casual group sails : Informal gatherings where sailors can share tips, learn from one another, and enjoy sailing in a relaxed and social environment.
  • Adventure sails : Excursions to explore new sailing locations or participate in long-distance trips.
  • Family fun days : Sailing events focusing on family-oriented activities, making the sport accessible and enjoyable for all ages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors determine the price of a Laser sailboat?

When looking for a Laser sailboat, various factors such as brand, condition, materials used, size, and additional features all play a role in determining the price .

A brand-new Laser will typically cost more than its used counterpart. Higher quality materials and improved technology can also increase the price, as well as customizable options and additional accessories.

To find the right Laser sailboat at a competitive price , it's essential to compare offerings from various vendors and take time to evaluate factors like reputation and warranty. Sailing Chandlery provides more information on Laser sailboats and their prices.

What are the essential specifications to look for in a Laser sailboat?

When considering a Laser sailboat, pay attention to details like hull weight , rig size, sail size, and weight capacity , as these will affect the boat's performance and suitability for the intended use.

A standard Laser sailboat generally has a hull weight of 125 lbs or 56.7 kg , with different sail sizes available, such as ILCA 4 (Laser 4.7), ILCA 6 (Laser Radial), and ILCA 7 (Laser Standard).

Each sail size is designed for sailors within specific weight ranges, providing the best performance and stability.

How can I find a reputable vendor for Laser sailboat kits?

To find a reputable vendor for Laser sailboat kits, research different suppliers, seek recommendations from fellow sailors, and read reviews from previous customers.

Online platforms like West Coast Sailing offer resources and information on Laser sailboats, including detailed guides, FAQs, and where to find quality suppliers.

What is the recommended weight capacity of a standard Laser sailboat?

The recommended weight capacity for a Laser sailboat varies depending on the rig size.

The ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) is suitable for sailors between 60 kg and 75 kg , while the ILCA 7 (Laser Standard) is better suited for sailors weighing 75 kg to over 90 kg.

The ILCA 4 (Laser 4.7) is designed for younger and lighter sailors. When choosing a Laser sailboat, ensure that the rig size matches the intended user's weight range for optimal performance.

What are the characteristics that define the best Laser sailboats on the market?

The best Laser sailboats on the market offer a combination of durability, performance, and ease of use.

Look for models with robust construction. They are made from high-quality materials to withstand harsh sailing conditions.

Additionally, seek sailboats with easy-to-use rigging systems and low-maintenance designs.

Also, make sure they have support from reputable manufacturers. This ensures they meet strict class specifications.

Is sailing a Laser suitable for beginners and what are the challenges involved?

Sailing a Laser is generally suitable for beginners. These boats are known for their simplicity, ease of use, and responsive handling. However, beginners should be prepared for some challenges.

These challenges include mastering the correct body positioning and balance or adjusting to different wind and weather conditions. It's essential for new Laser sailors to familiarize themselves with the boat's assembly and rigging process and seek guidance from experienced sailors or trainers. This ensures a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.

laser sailboat class

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    Beam:  5.50'    Draft:  3.42'
    Beam:  4.5'    Draft:  3'
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    Beam:  9.48'    Draft:  4.98'
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    Beam:  4.7'    Draft:  2.6'
    Beam:  3.8'    Draft:  2'
    Beam:  4.7'    Draft:  2.7'
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    Beam:  4'7''
    Beam:  4.8'    Draft:  2.7'
    Beam:  4.5'    Draft:  .5'
    Beam:  4.5'
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    Beam:  5'    Draft:  .5'
    Beam:  4.49'
    Beam:  4.67'    Draft:  0.33'
    Beam:  4' 7'    Draft:  2'7'
    Beam:  4.5'    Draft:  2.5'
    Beam:  5'    Draft:  2'
    Beam:  4'7"'
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    Beam:  4.6'
    Beam:  9'    Draft:  5'
    Beam:  47'
    Beam:  4'    Draft:  .25'
    Beam:  4'7'
    Beam:  4'8'    Draft:  2'7'
    Beam:  3' 8"'    Draft:  5"'
    Beam:  5.6'    Draft:  3.4'
    Beam:  5'
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    Beam:  4.5'
    Beam:  4.7'    Draft:  2.7'
    Beam:  4.1'

laser sailboat class

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Guide to Laser Sail and Rig Sizes

banner-laser-page-img.jpg

Over 200,000 Laser sailboats have been built over the last 40 years, more than most other small dinghy sailboats. In this article we are going to answer one of the most common questions we get: What size rig do I have?  This will help answer what size sail and/or rig you already have and what size sail and/or rig you need to purchase to update your Laser. 

What size rig / sail do I have? Standard vs. Radial vs 4.7 Explained

The Laser sailboat has had a number of different rig sizes, with the intention of making the boat sailable by a wide range of sailors (and different sailor weights) by simply swapping out the lower mast section and sail while keeping all other components the same. There are currently three different rig sizes and they are commonly referred to as 'Standard', 'Radial' and '4.7'. Below you will find an image that shows the three rigs side by side, and in the following section we'll explain each one.

laser-rigs.jpg

Laser Standard / MK2 / ILCA 7

This is the most common Laser rig size, and the original rig on the boat when it was designed. It features a 7.06 square meter sail (about 76 square feet). In 2018, the Laser Class approved a new 'Standard' sail, which is referred to as the 'MKII' or 'Mark 2' to distinguish it from the first version. The difference, among other things, is in the panels. The original 'Standard' sail featured horizontal cut panels. The new MkII sail has radial cut panels. There is no difference in size between these two versions, and as of 2020 all new Laser Standard sails are available in this updated cut.  

measurement-diagram-std-sail-mastlower-791x1024.jpg

How to tell if you have a 'Standard' sail:  The first and most obvious way to tell if you have a 'Standard' sail is to look at the panels. If they are horizontal, it is most likely a standard sail. Next, you can measure the luff (the front edge of the sail along the mast sleeve). This measurement should be about 5130 mm or 200 inches  from the top of the sail to the bottom.

How to tell if you have a 'Standard' lower mast section:  The 'Standard' lower mast section should measure about 2865 mm or 113 inches . It is a fairly stout mast section compared to the two smaller mast sections. 

Laser Radial / ILCA 6

Originally called the 'M' rig when first designed, the Laser 'Radial' sail is smaller than the 'Standard' sail at 5.76 square meters (62 square feet). At the time, it was the only Laser sail to feature the radial cut panels, which allowed the sail to be de-powered more easily in bigh winds. Per the notes about the 'Standard' rig above, both the Standard and Radial sail feature the radial cut design. Another typical indicator of a Radial size sail are the blue panels at the tack and clew of the sail.

measurement-diagram-rdl-sail-mastlower-791x1024.jpg

How to tell if you have a 'Radial' sail:  The first and most obvious way to tell if you have a 'Standard' sail is to look at the panels. If they are radial, as in emanating out from the center, it is most likely a radial sail. Next, you can measure the luff (the front edge of the sail along the mast sleeve). This measurement should be about 4560 mm or 180 inches  from the top of the sail to the bottom.

How to tell if you have a 'Radial' lower mast section:  The 'Radial' lower mast section should measure about  2262 mm or 89 inches . It is also a bit smaller in diameter than the standard section. 

Laser 4.7 / ILCA 5

The Laser 4.7 (or ILCA 5) is the smallest of the three Laser sails and was designed for young sailors just getting into Laser sailing. The 4.7 lower mast section is also different from the others in that is has a pre-bend near the boom fitting, allowing the sail to depower much easier. This is the least common Laser sail size, and if you have an old one around, chances are it is not a 4.7 sail.

measurment-diagram-47-sail-laser.png

How to tell if you have a '4.7' sail:  The 4.7 is similar to the old 'Standard' sail as it has cross cut panels. Many 4.7 sails also have an obvious 4.7 logo somewhere on the cloth. Next, you can measure the luff (the front edge of the sail along the mast sleeve). This measurement should be about  4080 mm or 160 inches  from the top of the sail to the bottom.

How to tell if you have a '4.7' lower mast section:  The '4.7 lower mast section has a pre-bend in it and should measure about 1810 mm or 71 inches . The bend is the easiest way to tell it apart from the others. 

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Laser – LaserPerformance

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Laser Class Laser by LaserPerfomance – $6,475.00!

laser1

Features Laser sailing is an investment in skills that will last a lifetime, skills that apply to any boat. Laser sailors have access to a community of sailors from around the world who love to race. One Laser sailor in Honolulu recently recorded the first Laser speed record at 16.8 knots, or 28 feet per second. ( Link to our Laser speed record story ) When you are ready to race, get into a Laser.

The International Laser Class hosts more events in more nations than any other one-design class in the world. In North America alone there are more than a thousand events each year. Whether you choose to race in local club events or international championships there is an event for everyone. The International Laser Class magazine,  Laser World  and the North American class magazine  Laser Sailor  will always keep you up-to-date on future events, results, and tips to improve your Laser sailing.

The International Laser Class Association runs a circuit of Masters events for Laser sailors over 35 years of age. The Masters circuit culminates in the Laser Masters World Championship which is held annually. The Laser Masters racing circuit is the largest and most heavily attended masters racing group of any one-design class in the world.

Lasers are available with one of two options, the Race package and the XD package.Laser Race: Allen upgrade powerpack, Allen upgraded vang, gorilla tiller with 42” extension, 60 mm Allen ratchet block, padded hiking strap, rolled sail, upgraded line package, GRP foils with upgraded rudder bolt.Laser XD: XD Harken vang , XD Harken powerpack, XD Carbon tiller, XD Carbon tiller extension, XD padded hiking strap, Harken 57 mm ratchet block, upgraded vectran line package, GRP foils with upgraded rudder bolt. The Laser has a Vela gray hull with a Vela gray deck. The $6,475 list price is for the Laser Race version.  The Laser XD option is available at $6,998

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Contact Shoreline Sailboats for more information about the Laser or to order your boat:

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  • Sailboat Guide

Laser (International)

Laser (International) is a 13 ′ 8 ″ / 4.2 m monohull sailboat designed by Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce and built by Performance Sailcraft and LaserPerformance starting in 1970.

Drawing of Laser (International)

  • 2 / 4 Traverse City, MI, US 1979 Laser (International) $2,000 USD View
  • 3 / 4 Traverse City, MI, US 1979 Laser (International) $2,000 USD View
  • 4 / 4 Traverse City, MI, US 1979 Laser (International) $2,000 USD View

Rig and Sails

Auxilary power, accomodations, calculations.

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.

Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio .311 Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.

SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64) 2/3

  • SA : Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D : Displacement in pounds.

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.

Ballast / Displacement * 100

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.

D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.

Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam 1.33 )

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.

CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

First selected as Olympic class in 1996.

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International Laser Class Association

International Laser Class Association

One Boat, One Sailor, One Design.

International Laser Class Association

Introduction to Laser Sailing

by Jon Emmett

The Laser is truly the boat for all ages from our Junior 4.7s to our legendary (over 75 year old) Masters. No other adult class is raced in more countries in the World, in a class which takes grass roots to Olympic sailors. Come and join us to see why!

Not only are there nearly 215, 000 boats out there at the time of writing, but there is truly something for everyone in a combined class which covers the competitive weight range for nearly everyone from junior to adult, although it is not just about racing. Lasers form a key part of many sailing holiday fleets for people who just want to blast or potter around for fun.

Many of the world’s best sailors, difficult to mention them all, have come through the Laser rank. It seems like medalling in an international Laser event means you are likely to be able to medal in future classes as Laser sailors go on to compete in nearly every aspect of the sport. Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy, Paul Goodison, Robert Scheidt, Francesco Bruni, Tom Slingsby are probably the best known, and with so many to choose from it is hard to know where to start. Behind them, there is a whole host of talent with the level just getting higher and higher.

Photo by Jon Emmett

The inspiration for a young sailor joining the fleet is there for all to see. Yet for the Masters, the competition is in a way no less fierce and keeping active in older age is recommended on so many levels. After all, Laser sailing has been compared to cycling, so it certainly keeps testing you both physically and mentally, and the Masters’ European circuit continues to go from strength to strength.

The core skills you learn in Lasers: the starting, the tactics, and the fitness lifestyle are for life, not to mention the ability to surf downwind whilst within Rule 42, and navigate every type of wave upwind in a non-planing boat. We are always learning, and this is the reason the Laser remains as popular today as when it was first launched as a beach boat in 1969.

It is not only about having a rig for every weight but competition for every level. Of course, this varies from region to region. Another beauty of the Laser is the ability to jump on a plane and charter a boat when you get to the regatta. Due to the class’s numbers, there is no other class where this option is so widely available.

So, whether your aim is simply to have fun on those warm sunny days when the wind allows you to plane freely without getting blown off the water, or you have the Olympics firmly set in sight, there are step-by-step routes to success.

Club sailing: There are very few dinghy clubs anywhere in the world without a Laser or two, meaning that fleet racing is possible. This really is the true test of skill, racing against someone in an identical boat. Whilst handicap racing has its place and means, we can race our friends who are of very different body weights or sail very different boats, this is a far from perfect system because an overpowered boat will always tend to do well in light winds and an underpowered boat do well in strong winds, especially if it has a trapeze and can plane upwind!

Europa Cups are not only for European sailors. Indeed, we see many sailors from all over the world attend these and they make an excellent stepping stone to other international events. More and more, the other regions are having their own circuits of events.

Europeans: In recent years, probably the greatest depth of competition has been found in the European region, meaning those from other regions will travel to participate not only in the EurOlym regattas (Olympic class events in Europe) with world class venues such as Garda, Medemblik, Kiel, as well as the European Championships (and Open Trophy) themselves. For example, in Asia we have the Asian Games, in America the Pan-American Games.

For more information please see  http://www.eurilca.eu/

However other regions are working hard to catch up.

Some useful links:  Europe http://eurilca.org/

Asia http://www.asiansailing.org/

North America www.laser.org/

Australia http://www.lasersdownunder.com/

Worlds: For some, just qualifying for the Senior Worlds is a massive task, with the level going up and up and up. However, Laser sailing really does have World Championships for everyone with Junior (4.7), Youth, Under 21, and of course the other end of the scale, Masters’ Worlds!  For more information please see http://www.laserinternational.org/

Perhaps the biggest Worlds is the Sailing World Championships run by World Sailing every 4 years, which features all Olympic classes, and sitting roughly in the middle of the Olympic cycle is the major country qualifier for the Olympics.

World Cups: Being an Olympic class, both the top Laser and Radial sailors will do the invitation only World Cup Series, which also forms a very important part of the World Sailing ranking (as these World Cup events generate a lot of ranking points). The circuit currently visits Asia, North America, Europe with a final, for an even further reduced number of sailors counting all three events. For more information, please see http://www.sailing.org/ .

Jon Emmett is an Olympic Gold medal-winning coach, guiding Lijia Xu from China to Gold in the Laser Radial class at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He also sails competitively himself in worldwide regattas when he has the time. Check out his Facebook page, Jon Emmett Sailing, where he posts his latest training videos:  https://www.facebook.com/jonemmettsailing/

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COMMENTS

  1. Laser (dinghy)

    Laser (dinghy) The Laser is a class of single-handed, one-design sailing dinghies using a common hull design with three interchangeable rigs of different sail areas, appropriate to a given combination of wind strength and crew weight. Ian Bruce and Bruce Kirby designed the Laser in 1970 with an emphasis on simplicity and performance.

  2. ILCA Home

    As sailing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in Marseille draws closer, the final parts […]

  3. Home

    Welcome to The Laser Class, established by concerned sailors with a desire to celebrate the iconic One-Design Laser boat and to reconstitute the original Laser Class as a world-class organization that represents and serves its community. Join us today!

  4. About the Boat

    Originally known as the Laser, the ILCA dinghy is a single-handed racing dinghy. The biggest attraction of the ILCA dinghy is that it is protected by strict one-design class rules, which means that no changes are allowed to the boat unless they are specifically permitted in the rules. The result is that all ILCA boats are virtually identical ...

  5. Class Rules

    The principle of the ILCA Class Rules is that no changes to the boat are allowed unless they are specifically permitted by the class rules. The English text of the Class Rules shall govern. The Class Rules below are valid from 21st August 2023. Cancels all previous rules and interpretations.

  6. ILCA (Laser) Sailing

    The Laser class is a one design dinghy originally designed by Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce in 1969. Although the original intent behind the design was a recreational, family-friendly boat, the Laser has gone on to become one of the most popular racing boats in the world, with over 220,000 produced.

  7. Laser Standard

    The Laser Standard or ILCA 7 is a popular one-design class of single-handed sailing dinghy, originally built by Performance Sailcraft Canada. The laser is cat rigged, with a single mainsail and is a simple, light and fast boat to sail. The Laser Standard is the original of the Laser family of dinghies, which also includes the Laser Radial and ...

  8. Laser

    Boats Related boats Date Time Event Details

  9. Laser

    The Laser is the world's most popular adult racing class boat. True to box one design standards, each Laser in the world is identical ensuring the best sailor on the water wins the race, not the boat.

  10. LASER (INTERNATIONAL)

    AKA: ILCA 7 First selected as Olympic class in 1996.

  11. Homepage

    Homepage - LaserPerformance. The Cascais is the ultimate rotomolded multi-purpose sailing dinghy. Its versatility and innovative design brings together exceptional handling, speed and stability allied with its spacious cockpit and 3 rig/ sail versions makes this the ideal platform for all levels of sailors.

  12. Laser Sailboat: Mastering Performance and Techniques for Success

    Laser Sailboat: Mastering Performance and Techniques for Success The Laser sailboat is a popular single-handed, one-design sailing dinghy known for its simplicity and performance. Designed by Ian Bruce and Bruce Kirby in 1970, the Laser has become the world's most popular adult and youth sailboat, with over 225,000 boats in 140 countries.

  13. Laser sailboats for sale by owner.

    Laser preowned sailboats for sale by owner. Laser used sailboats for sale by owner.

  14. Laser Sailboat Sail and Rig Sizes

    Laser Standard / MK2 / ILCA 7. This is the most common Laser rig size, and the original rig on the boat when it was designed. It features a 7.06 square meter sail (about 76 square feet). In 2018, the Laser Class approved a new 'Standard' sail, which is referred to as the 'MKII' or 'Mark 2' to distinguish it from the first version.

  15. Laser

    Laser Class Laser by LaserPerfomance - $6,475.00! The world's most popular adult racing class. Every Laser in the world is identical. The strict one-design class rules ensure this remains true, making it the sailor that wins the race, not the boat. The Laser is a challenging boat that rewards athleticism, subtle steering and trimming ...

  16. Laser (International)

    Laser (International) is a 13′ 8″ / 4.2 m monohull sailboat designed by Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce and built by Performance Sailcraft and LaserPerformance starting in 1970.

  17. Sailing at the 2024 Summer Olympics

    Sailing competitions at the 2024 Summer Olympics are scheduled to be held from July 28th to August 8th at Marseille Marina. The number of sailors competing across ten different events at these Games has been reduced from 350 to 330, with an equal distribution between men and women.

  18. Olympic Sailing

    The ILCA 7 made its Olympic debut as the men's "Laser Standard" class in Atlanta in 1996, and the ILCA 6 as the women's "Laser Radial" class in Beijing in 2008. Because ILCA is a one-design class, all athletes competing in the ILCA 6 or ILCA 7 at the Olympic Games use the same universal equipment provided by ILCA- approved builders.

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  20. About the Boat

    About the Boat. The world's most popular adult and youth racing class. Originally known as the Laser, the ILCA dinghy is a single-handed racing dinghy. The biggest attraction of the ILCA dinghy is that it is protected by strict one-design class rules, which means that no changes are allowed to the boat unless they are specifically permitted ...

  21. Elektrostal

    Elektrostal metallurgical factory Elektrostal chemical-mechanical factory Elektrostal Heavy Engineering Works, JSC is a designer and manufacturer of equipment for producing seamless hot-rolled, cold-rolled and welded steel materials and metallurgical equipment. MSZ, also known as Elemash, Russia's largest producer of fuel rod assemblies for nuclear power plants, which are exported to many ...

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    Top Dzerzhinsky Landmarks: See reviews and photos of sights to see in Dzerzhinsky, Russia on Tripadvisor.

  23. Introduction to Laser Sailing

    Introduction to Laser Sailing. April 3, 2018 Katie Olsen How To. by Jon Emmett. The Laser is truly the boat for all ages from our Junior 4.7s to our legendary (over 75 year old) Masters. No other adult class is raced in more countries in the World, in a class which takes grass roots to Olympic sailors. Come and join us to see why!

  24. Visit Elektrostal: 2024 Travel Guide for Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast

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