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Help: How to fix this old Laser & tools recommended


New Member
Hey everyone, on Saturday (31 July) I will start a larger project trying to refurbish a very old Laser (pictures attached) - Biggest issue is the damaged bow but I also need to fix the hull/deck joint and do some gelcoat repairs on the deck.

For the bow, the plan is to sand off the gel and recess the glass fibre to create a big fringe around the bow damage (ca. 8 cm wide) so that the glass fibre can adhere to it. My plan is to take a cardboard mold from a friend's Laser, place it behind the bow to form the new shape so that the glass fibre has something to form against whilst it's curing. Not sure how this will plan out in practice. Does anyone else have any suggestions or recommendations?


Rob Hair

Active Member
The second photo shows why I'm not a fan of painting a Laser. Anything you put on the boat now will not stay unless you get the peeling paint off, a daunting task for the entire boat.

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Wow... nice damage to the bow, I'm not gonna ask how that happened, lol. Of course, the previous owner did it... but there's a story behind it, I'm sure. Your plan to use a cardboard form is as good as any, might wanna wrap the cardboard in plastic or wax paper first (use tape to secure it). That exposed rollover joint right at the bow poses a problem: if that crack is too large (and it looks large), your catalyzed resin will simply drain through the crack and into the hull. Some thickened epoxy would solve that problem, maybe some of that Thixo stuff that others use... once you seal that crack, you can start rebuilding the glass without worrying about your expensive catalyzed resin draining off. And yes, you'll want to fair out the gelcoat and topmost glass a bit around the damaged area, so your new glass adheres properly. Not too big of a task, I've seen worse, but you wanna do it right. :rolleyes:

Those spider cracks can simply be sanded and refilled with catalyzed resin, with primer & paint going on top afterward. Don't sweat the sanding, use 60 grit to take that crappy old paint down and off... looks like some will come off with a scraper. You DO have a power sander, I presume? If not, buy one, it'll save you plenty of elbow grease, and they're not that expensive at the Depot. Get your sandpaper there while you're at it: 60 & 100 grit for sure, those will let you get the boat to where you want it prior to painting. Use 2-part LP or Linear Polyurethane primer & paint after all your prep work is done... as with most boat work, the prepping is all-important and often the most difficult task involved. Meh, no worries, with a power sander you can make things right, and once ya start using LP products life becomes easier. Good products, those LP primers & paints, and you have many choices when it comes to topcoat colors. Moi, I like choices, lol. :cool:

Take it from someone who pulled many overhauls on a '72 Laser (#2069), it's worth the time and effort to make things right, because you'll have a sweet little boat once you're done with the work. Scraping & sanding can be done anytime, just be ready for the mess. Priming & painting should be done around 0900, give or take a bit, so the morning humidity is gone but the wind hasn't risen yet... less bugs and dust that way. If you have an indoor area with controlled climate, no worries, otherwise you want to do your glasswork when the temp is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, that's a good curing temp for resin and glass. Oh, yeah, forgot to mention this: if you don't have a good rasp, buy one, sometimes I take it for granted that others have the same tools I do. My favorite rasp over decades of prep & glasswork has been my trusty old rasp, roughly 8" or 9" in length, flat on one side and slightly convex on the other... a rasp like that will be perfect for helping you to prep that damaged bow. ;)

Good luck to ya, the boat should be fun once you've finished the repair work. Some folks don't like the older Lasers, but I do... any boat that is seaworthy and can get you out on the water is good to go in my book, lol. She may not turn out to be a racer, but you can always have heller party voyages aboard her, lol. My old Laser was not a bad boat, she performed well and hardly ever let me down, EXCEPT when the mast step cracked, lol, but I was still able to fall off and run downwind to make an emergency landing through the surf on the Silver Strand. Less force on the cracked mast step with the boat running downwind, you understand. Meh, no big deal, the boat's overall track record of party & island voyages was impressive... not many sailors can say they sailed out to Los Coronados, landed and spent the night on numerous occasions, lol. Bad@ss wildlife sanctuaries off the northern end of Baja, you can see a few island pics in the following spam-free link. I miss those islands, but nowadays one probably couldn't do what I once did, without risking boat confiscation and jail time in Tijuana, lol. :eek:

Random outdoor adventure shots...

There are cool island pics on both pages of that old thread... just scroll past the intervening text to see the pics pronto. Two sets of photos per page, with some trucking shots thrown in for good measure... might be some climbing shots too, and at least one old skateboarding shot, lol. If I tried skating that overhang now, it'd finish me off, lol. Look, I actually had "long hair" in that skate photo, lol... about as long as it ever was, I reckon... now it's the 'Sturm Und Drang' Waffen SS cut, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! WTF, it's cooler in the summertime, lol. CHEERS!!! :D

Edit: I dug up an old video for you to play while you're sitting in the Tijuana Jail, lol... you and whoever else lands on the islands and gets caught by 'La Armada de Mexico!!!' Gotta go in stealth mode when ya make those island voyages nowadays... :confused:

Kingston Trio, 1959
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Active Member
I have recently done a sunfish bow with the rounded edges.

You can approach this 2 ways.

First is to keep the the deck and hull separate and epoxy them together after building. Probably more difficult then you need.

Or just build it all up as one piece of glass.

How close do you it to look correct?

The easy way is to use tubing as a form underneath. Just clamp it up around. Wrap it with plastic wrap or use glass mold release (PVA).

You could just coat you friends bow area with PVA and put a couple of layers of glass down to make a form. This goes real easy. I have done it a couple of times.

You will have troubles getting the glass to lay down nice around the front. It will want to buckle so you are going to have to make cuts to keep it from buckling.

I used tubing underneath and lay up a bunch of glass to build up the bow on a Sunfish for my club. It came out visually pleasing.


Arlington, TX
I had an older one that had a chewed up bow. I'm sure everone on this post will start beating their keyboards, but I used the epoxy that comes in a tube and you mix it like silly putty. Sanded the S out of it until it looked decent. It lasted a few sails (boat was for my kids), and I sold the boat. It seemed rock solid. I did a youtube series on the boat...
This is the one where I started filling in the holes. Good luck with it.

I would also recommend you taking this post to the Laser specific forum. You will get a lot more Laser eyes on it.