1979 Laser Restoration Questions/Thread


New Member
Hello everyone!

I recently purchased this 1979 (I was told it is a 1979) Laser and am going to be restoring it over the next couple of months. Below are some photos of the repairs that need to be done.

I had a few questions I was hoping to get answered:

- What paint and primer do you recommend for use on the bottom of the hull and the top deck?
- how would you recommend treating the wood molding (I believe it is teak) to last as long as possible?
- there is a good bit of fiberglass repair that needs to be done (Cracked corner of dagger board), would you recommend I use epoxy and fiberglass twill? If not what else?
- the drain plug is a rather unusual shape, do you have a recommendation for a place to find a replacement (the plug itself is missing)? Or should I replace it entirely?


Hi Kodiak,

congratulations for becoming a Laser owner! I'll just quickly comment on what I see in the pictures (VERY good to post those right away :) )

Firstly, your boat is a few years older than a 1979 - The wooden grabrails were changed to the current plastic ones not later than 1976. Likewise, the old vang key fitting visible in the same (fourth) picture was changed to the current model before '79.

Your transom plug is the RWO R2060, available in your home state, just like practically everything you need for a Laser :)

What are we looking at in the sixth picture? If that's the aft bottom corner of the centreboard, a side view would show how big a bite it's missing. In any case, chopped strand mat and polyester resin will fix it (just like the rudder blade, and just about everything on the hull, too).

The tiller and the extension look original, which means that the tiller is on the long side, and the extension way too short. (West Coast Sailing solves this, too.)

There should be an embossed code on the starboard side on your transom. It's probably painted over like the rest of the hull, but should be readable (the paint doesn't look too solidly attached :rolleyes: ). What does it say? Chances are it begins with "PSL".

What's the number on the sail(s)?

Hey LaLi! Thanks for getting back to me with so much useful information!

The 6th photo served to show the lack of a straight trailing edge on the dagger board. It's quite warped and the piece that was broken off (which I have and show below) is incredibly warped as well.


Also, here is the code from the aft of the boat. It is worn down and the first two letters are illegible. I'm thinking it says ZFS? What do you think?


Both the radial and full sails that I have with the boat lack numbers and the full rig lacks battens. Do you have a recommended place to acquire those?

Do you have recommendations for paint options that I can replace this current paint with? The plan was to sand everything off and start again.
ZFS247760375 means that your boat is sail number 24776, and built in Montreal in March 1975.

I noticed the warping of the centreboard, too, but it doesn't look that extreme that I'd do anything to it. The missing corner is regrettably typical, but as said, you can build a new one out of fibreglass (note that the blades themselves aren't made of it, but it's still the smartest way to repair them).

West Coast Sailing in Portland is now probably the best place on your whole continent for dinghy parts. Looks like you're lucky to be only a two-hour drive from their physical shop :)

(Looks also like the drain plug is actually sold out at WCS, sorry that I didn't catch that for the previous post :oops:
You probably don't need it right now, but if you do, it's widely available elsewhere, overseas mostly though).

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Awesome! Thanks. I'll definitely have to go up there to check out their stock. For now, I think the priority is to sand and repaint the boat. Do you have any recommendations in that regard?
I think the priority is to sand and repaint the boat. Do you have any recommendations in that regard?
Not really - there are others on this forum who are much better at those things. I do the mechanical/historical/legal/political stuff :D But if I were you, I wouldn't paint the deck, just cover the bare spots with gelcoat filler (if you can get it close to the original "ivory" colour, fine). Not going to say anything about those orange parts!

By the way, have you already tested the mast step for leaks? Fill it with water snd see if the level drops.

(And still about the transom plug... if you are, unlike the previous painter, going to take the socket off, you might as well change the whole thing to a newer, threaded model. Unless you're going for an original/retro look :D )

I'm not a fan of painting a Laser for reasons illustrated by your painted hull, but I guess that ship has sailed. But I do second LaLi's recommendation to not paint the deck.

You may want to consider adding an inspection port and reinforcing the mast tube. Lots of posts on this forum about that. Its way easier to do that than to repair a failed mast tube.

Best wishes for you project!
If you are new to sailing a Laser buy any of the excellent books on the subject. They really help.
I second the idea of adding a hatch. Just repaired a 47000 laser where the wood holding the fairlead at the foot of the mast had just rotted out. When I cut the hatch to repair it. The boat was really hot and damp inside. Not soprising the wood rotted. I've left the hatch off.
How does the hull look? I agree with everyone above. I would only paint unless absolutely necessary. You may want to see if you can get the red paint off. It looks to be a very cool orange underneath. I've painted a deck, and can turn out nice, but nick and such will eventually come to pass.

Here is a very pedestrian video series of me fixing the old craft up. I ended up selling it shortly after I did it due to child lack of use.

Good luck.
Hello Kodiak,
Welcome to the joy of bringing a wonderful old laser back to excellent condition.
First step, if you plant to paint the boat. Epoxy resin is ok to use. If you plan to spend days matching gelcoat, you must use polyester or vinylester. Polyester is cheaper than epoxy but not as hard. Reason for this is gelcoat (polyester) won't stick to epoxy, but epoxy will stick to polyester.

Paints, I would recommend staying away from the epoxy paints. They don't hold up to any touches to the boat. A good two part polyurethane like interlux is a good start and Jamestown distributors used to carry some mats one part hull paints. You can roll it and and sand it smooth like a gelcoat. Which is more work but helps to create that prefect finish. I've spend several days trying to match gel coat to laser colors, with little to no success. If this is the route you take, try heading to your local house paint store and finding a color patch close to the hull color you want. Then ask them for the recipe, noting what the base color is (white or neutral). The formula should be scalable in color with gelcoat coloring kits. There is a place in California (marine coat one) that will match your color in gelcoat, you just need to send in a sample about a half dollar size.

Deck paint, I agree painting that painting the non-skid is not so easy. One trick if you do need to fix the laser built in pattern. Paste wax (car paste wax will do) an area that is in good shape, press some candle wax about 1/4" thick into the area to take the print up. Then you can press the wax into the repair and leave the deck non-skin in your polyester or epoxy.
However I think it's completely ok to use a two part urethane or like paints on the edge around the outside of the laser and in the cockpit. Best paints are hard and do not scratch easily. I do recommend a primer to fiberglass before painting as well. I used the tip and roll method and it came out looking smooth.

Cockpit rails, remove the surface oxidation and you may find good wood under. If so I would recommend you put a coat of epoxy clearer epoxy over them (lasts longer in weather than varnish) West system epoxy is pretty good stuff. If you want the shine- you can put a coat of varnish over the epoxy. If you plan to leave it outside uncovered, put two coats of varnish. Should give you five years+ no issue on the wood.

Boards, you are missing a good chunk of the dagger board. Three ways I can think to fix it. 1. Buy a new one. 2. Buy some sandable marine foam block and then drill a hole into the old foam and new foam block- insert a bolt without head and epoxy them together. This should add the core strength and attach it rudder foam. Them cover with a sheet of 1708 glass follow by 3/4oz non-woven fiberglass mat. 3. Fill in the space where the foam chunk is missing with extra light filler and polyester. You will still have to cover with atleast a couple layers of 3/4ox non-woven mat in order to gain the strength need to hold it all in place.
Tip: Save you sanding dust. It works great to mix back into polyester or epoxy to create fillers for scratches or low spots.

As far as your tiller goes- I broke all my wood tillers trying to hike out as far as possible. I recommend the aluminum ones from west coast or intensity sails. I've got a modded aluminum intensity sails tiller set up on my laser 2 right now.

Hope this is helpful.
Looks like a wood daggerboard to me, not foam. You could probable either cut the damage to be a 90 degree angle and epoxy in new wood which you’d then need to shape properly. You might also be able to use this method, which was designed for foam boards
Good afternoon everyone!

Thank you for the incredible replies.

Here are some photos of my recent progress

I have taken all hardware off and have focused on restoring it all first. For the cockpit rails and tiller, I have removed all oxidation, filled cracks with 24 hour epoxy, and sanded all excess off. I then did 3 coats of penetrating beeswax oil until the wood stopped accepting it. It is now hydrophobic and I will reapply every few months.

I have filled all cracks around the edge of the boat with epoxy and will be sanding it flush. I do not plan to paint the patterned sections, only the edge and cockpit that have fiberglass visible. If you could send me links for fiberglass primer's I'd appreciate it. I will look for a color match after I prime it.

Regarding the hull, would you say the original orange is thick enough for me to safely sand the red off? If not, how should I remove the added paint? I'd love to find a way to restore and protect the original color.

Next, the hatch people have been recommending - do you have an example of a hatch I could purchase and where in respect to the mast I should put it? I've attached a picture of the deck so you can pin point a location.

Lastly, I believe the daggerboard is some sort of rigid closed-cell foam. There is no noticible grain of any kind. If you have recommendations for foam to buy I will likely cut a 90 degree corner and sand the replacement foam to shape followed with a layer of fiber glass and resin.

I'll update when I have made more progress!




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The Rooster video in post #11 is good, but you don't even need the nails or clamps. Just bevel the edge of the space to be filled at least 15 mm in (unlike it's done from 0:30 to 1:00 in the video) and then do the cardboard and masking tape thing from both sides separately. You'll end up with a lot more material to sand, but a stronger seam. When sanding remember that the foam is softer than fibreglass (I wouldn't use electric tools here).

The trailing edge and the tip are so thin that adding any new foam would be pointless.

I had a Laser about the age of yours. After going through the process of getting it up and sailing, the floor of the cockpit cracks and had huge soft spots on the floor. It was more trouble that it was worth for me. And my son was getting full bore into racing Lasers on the youth circuit so I gave away my old hull.

Moral of the story check the cockpit floor for delamination.
Update time! I just finished up my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and have had a lot more time to work on the laser! The hull has been completely painted and the deck (I know some were suggesting I not for a risk of filling up the texture) has been painted and it turned out fantastically.

From photos on the internet, I found that the original boat had the laser logo in white on the bow and I replicated that using the same deck paint and a vinyl sticker for a stencil. The result was near perfect. I used this same technique for the name on the transom.

I did fiberglass work to strengthen the mast step (not pictured) and the result should prove to increase the longevity of the mast step.

Surprisingly enough the trailer required as much time as the boat. So much rust removal, painting, repeat. Got new tires and greased the hubs. put a hitch on my car and it tows great! Also put outdoor carpet on the rubber rollers to prevent the hull from being scratched (like the first photo).

About $1000 in rigging later we have a new hiking strap, lines, blocks etc. the cockpit has an inspection port with a bag to hold things and the front of the deck has a similar inspection port which I used to reinforce the mast step.

I got a new sail and I realize the sail numbers are in the wrong location (should be 100 mm from the leach of the sail and 60 mm apart. Will be removing the numbers and placing them in the proper location!

More to come! Suggestions welcome. Oh last thing! Tested it at my nearest boat ramp and all old leaks have been successfully fixed! Bone dry inside.



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Congratulations on your graduation :)
I got a new sail and I realize the sail numbers are in the wrong location (should be 100 mm from the leach of the sail and 60 mm apart. Will be removing the numbers and placing them in the proper location!
I'll comment (for now) only on this... because whoever did those numbers made all the common mistakes :oops: Besides the distance from the leech and one another, they are in the wrong order (starboard side should be above port), and regarding the colours, it's the last four digits that should be of the same colour, not the first two. With six-digit numbers that's of course the same, but that covers only 55 % of all Lasers ever built :rolleyes:

However, fundamentally none of this matters as the sail isn't class legal to begin with. If you don't race, you don't need any identification at all up there. (I actually find it quite curious that people bother to install class-legal numbers on non-class sails.) But if you find a plain white sail aesthetically displeasing, you can treat those seven square metres as a creative playground :)

Lali, old boats are legends, and you are proud of your old mate, its a showoff to show the number. Every time you beat a new boat, you have great fun, and every time you are defeated, you can always blame the age of your old mate.