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70's Laser Value - Is this a fair price?

kevink16

New Member
Hi everyone, this is my first post here. I'm a recreational laser sailor that has been sailing on my local club's boats for club regattas and casual sailing over the last three years. I've been looking to pick up my own boat for some time now primarily to sail on Clear Lake in northern CA. A 1974 Laser, hull PSL176810874, came up on craigslist which appears to be in great condition for the age, well cared for by the owner, always garage stored, and never had any repair work done. The boat has the original wooden rudder, glass daggerboard (though they claim wooden, could it be painted?), original sail, and is still setup for original controls. I'd plan to update the controls relatively soon to the new style as this is what I'm used to sailing with and the winds can get quite strong on the lake sometimes. I don't plan to ever race this boat so as long as the sail is in fair condition that's fine for me.

I'm going to look at the boat this weekend and I've already negotiated the seller's $1000 asking price down to $700 assuming the boat checks out to be in as good of shape as it looks in the photos, doesn't have a soft deck, and isn't heavy as a tank. Given the condition and the fact that I'll need to invest in the upgrades do you guys think this is a fair price, too high, or too low for a boat of this age? The used laser market in NorCal is pretty sparse and this will be my first boat purchase. Thanks for the help.

Boat 1.jpgboat 2.jpgtiller and daggerboard.jpgrudder.jpgsail.jpg
 

ProATC

Member
I have been wanting to sail on Clear Lake, how is it up there? Looks like it would be fantastic! Is the water as green as all of the pics on internet Maps? I actually looked at this clean looking boat on C/L and initially thought $1K without a trailer was too much for me, but I was thinking about the money for upgrades to go competitive racing. Glad to hear it was dropped to $700, which makes it very reasonable for a recreational sailing boat. From the pics, doubt the keel is painted wood, it seems there is a wear spot between the tiller and the extension. Good luck and post an update if you look/buy it.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Probably very good price. Looks amazingly clean for its age; I'd just get a longer tiller extension, a swivel for the vang, tape the traveller blocks, and go sailing.

The centreboard is most likely painted wood, but it could be a later foam upgrade. A magnet will tell if it's the latter ;) (Also, I think that the "grooves" along the top edge that make a "handle" go all the way to the edge in the wooden boards.)

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kevink16

New Member
Thanks for the feedback guys. The lack of a dolly is definitely a bummer but I have a longbed pickup I plan to use to transport the boat to the lake house; once there it only needs to go 25 yards from the garage to the beach for launch. I'll probably do a DIY budget dolly build using PVC pipe and harbor freight wheelbarrow tires.

ProATC, Clear Lake is a great lake! My family has had a vacation house on the lake since I was a kid and I've always loved it up there. The lake is shallow which makes it warm and therefore it does get green from algae during during the hotter summer months. Mid-July through the end of August are the worst months but still swimmable. Certain areas of the lake are also worse than others if they don't get much current. It's not windy every day but when it does pickup it can blow pretty good holding ~10 kts with gusts in the upper teens. I used to be able to kiteboard on the lake when I was into the sport as a teenager and have a Coronado 15 up there as well. I just hardly get the C-15 out anymore due to setup time, having to launch from a ramp, and typically sailing solo.

I'll post some more photos after getting the boat on Sunday.
 

torrid

Just sailing
If sails, has all the parts, and doesn't leak, I'd say yes $700 is a very good price.
 

kevink16

New Member
Well I picked up the boat yesterday. The boat itself is a "10 footer"; has expected scratches and nicks in the bottom gel coat and some wear on the deck but overall good condition for a 50 year old boat. The centerboard is painted wood and the entire bottom edge of it has worm through the paint and is exposing bare wood which wasn't shown in the pictures. I'm thinking I'll likely sand it down, stain, and varnish it to bring it back to original condition and match the rudder.

The primary mainsheet block is quite different from anything I've ever seen on a laser. It's a freewheel only block with a cleat in one unit that swivels on top of a plate mount which goes over the hiking strap and secures to the deck with 4 screws. I don't know if this is original or added by the old owner. I don't have a good photo of it now but will upload one once I can take it. I definitely think I'll be upgrading this to a ratchet block and ditching the cleat. I may need to macgyver a mount for a new block to work. All of the lines are in good shape for a classic setup and were replaced with a recreational kit from APS in 2009 (the owner kept all receipts).

The spars and sail are in good shape. The boom does have the old style 70s vang plate on it, not the current slotted vang plate. Does anyone know if there is any issue trying to use this style with a modern 15:1 vang? I'm also assuming this means the boom doesn't have the reinforcing sleeve inside of it. From what I can tell searching around no distributors can get the sleeve from LP anymore so I'm likely stuck making my own sleeve if I want to reinforce the boom.

The biggest disappointment with the boat is that the deck is soft for the majority of the deck area. Being stored upside down and only supported by two beams in the hot garage rafters for several decades did a toll on the hull and it seems that most of the deck has delaminated from the foam core. While I'm bummed about this I didn't think it was worth walking away from the deal for since I only ever intend to use this boat recreationally. If I wanted to race it I would've passed. The bottom of the hull still feels quite solid at least and the mast step and centerboard slot also appear solid.

I'd love to get everything on the boat upgraded to the latest and greatest gear but given that the boat is going to a vacation house and will likely only see the water 5-10 days a year it's not financially worth it. Given this, how would you guys prioritize the following list of potential upgrades/repairs to the boat? Which are essential in your minds? Is there anything I've missed? I tried to order them in the priority that seems right to me

1. Boom vang swivel for classic vang (a must)
2. Mainsheet change to ratcheting block
3. 6:1 upgrade using classic vang
4. Reinforcing boom sleeve/new vang plate change
5. Changing rigging to get more purchase out of a classic setup (ie. outhoaul to mast loop, add blocks to cunningham but keep original clam cleats)
6. XD conversion for outhaul and cunningham (would use 'practice' parts to keep costs down)
7. Upgrade to modern 15:1 vang
8. Attempting to drill holes in the deck and inject epoxy in the sitting areas to firm up the soft deck

Sorry for the long post!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know how the wooden foils were shaped?
You mean what their shape is? I assume that they are for all practical purposes identical to the Crompton foils, as the latter were not very likely "improved", in order to stay more one-design. The only visible difference is, as I already mentioned, the top edge grooves that go all the way to said edge on the wooden centreboards.

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LaLi

Well-Known Member
The primary mainsheet block is quite different from anything I've ever seen on a laser. It's a freewheel only block with a cleat in one unit that swivels on top of a plate mount which goes over the hiking strap and secures to the deck with 4 screws. I don't know if this is original or added by the old owner.
Has anyone had one of these? :rolleyes:

The boom does have the old style 70s vang plate on it, not the current slotted vang plate. Does anyone know if there is any issue trying to use this style with a modern 15:1 vang?
Should be no problem except that the old fitting was designed for the "straight" vang key, so you should keep that even if you change the key block. (Practically everybody today uses the "bent" key that better fits the current key plate.)

I'm also assuming this means the boom doesn't have the reinforcing sleeve inside of it. From what I can tell searching around no distributors can get the sleeve from LP anymore so I'm likely stuck making my own sleeve if I want to reinforce the boom.
The firsr (shorter) reinforcement was introduced sometime in the 1980s. At least PSA has them: BOOM SLEEVE. (You better get a new gooseneck plug as well, as the old one may be impossible to get out in one piece.)

how would you guys prioritize the following list of potential upgrades/repairs to the boat? Which are essential in your minds? Is there anything I've missed?
My list would be:

1) Vang Swivel
2) Longer tiller extension
3) One or two added blocks to the vang and cunningham + new lines
4) Update other lines
5) If the Clamcleats are plastic, change to aluminium
6) Change swivel sheet cleat to ratchet block
+ tape the traveller blocks, and add a mast retaining line.

I wouldn't actually bother with the boom sleeve, or even taking the outhaul to the mast...

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kevink16

New Member
LaLi, yes that's exactly the swivel cleat that is on my boat. Based on the comments about it in the other thread it sounds like it's pretty terrible to use in heavy winds. I'll leave it for now and give it a shot but will likely upgrade to the ratchet block relatively soon.

Thanks for the feedback on the rest of the list. I had forgotten about the longer tiller extension. I agree that is a high priority.

For a mast retainer on a classically rigged boat, would you just tie a small line to through the cunningham fairlead on the deck? Would this interfere with the functionality of the cunningham line? I'm used to tying the retainer to the loops on the deck plate which mine doesn't have.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
I'd get the deck serviceable first. Then mainsheet block. Would not worry about any of the rest. That boat is equipped exactly as my first Laser that I bought in 1981. Back then you couldn't bend the boom with the original vang and there was no vang swivel. Somehow we all made it around the course. For what you're going to do I say keep it original.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
For a mast retainer on a classically rigged boat, would you just tie a small line to through the cunningham fairlead on the deck? Would this interfere with the functionality of the cunningham line?
First question: yes, that's the simplest solution. Second question: maybe, depending on what you make the retainer out of. It shouldn't get too crowded there if the line is not more than 3 mm thick, especially if it lies slack along the deck at the fairlead.

That boat is equipped exactly as my first Laser that I bought in 1981. Back then you couldn't bend the boom with the original vang and there was no vang swivel. Somehow we all made it around the course. For what you're going to do I say keep it original.
Well... the vang did swivel because the straight key did, sort of. "Back then" it was legal to attach the cleat block to the boom. There were several techniques how you'd get it just as tight as you wanted upwind, and if you only got hold on the tail, you were able to release it for downwind sailing. And yes, somehow... everybody seemed to be happy about it all, and new boats were built and sold at a multiple rate compared to today :confused:

However, while "keeping it original" may be a valid guideline for aesthetic matters, it doesn't make sense to refrain from using simple, useful and relatively cheap solutions only because they weren't yet invented or legal 46 years ago. I tried to make up my above list of things like that.

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