How to get into Laser Racing?

Thread starter #1
Hey guys, I am relatively new to this forum. I graduated from college a year ago and have picked up sailing as a new sport, and I absolutely love it. Since I am no longer in college or able to be apart of any college team, I have had a hard time finding a young community of people interested in laser racing. Most of the people at my club In Georgia are older and interested in Thistles and other bigger dinghy boats. Being athletic I think a laser would be ideal for me. I am 5'4 and 125lbs so I am thinking of a radial. I wanted to see if anybody had any advice on how to start competing towards a national level for lasers. Every time I try to google different Reggatas and such I just get an overload of information.

Thanks,

Joy
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
#3
Yep. That's a good place to start. I'm the D12 class secretary. We have an active circuit and clubs host many open events that host laser fleets. LLSC has a laser fleet and Savannah YC has one as well. Augusta too. Where and when do you want to race? Also check out the SAYRA, (South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association) shows ALL club racing schedules in NC, SC and GA. So far this year D12 has had 6 events with 93 different skippers competing in full, radial and 4.7 rigs.

And yes, the radial is where you need to be!

Let me know what questions you have.
 
#4
I came in sailing around 1 year ago, and I advice you firstly stay on 4.7 2-3 months, and after if you'll feel that it's too easy for you change to Radial, if you of course have ability (f.e if you have to buy your own sail, go for Radial ) good luck with sailing! Have a good wind!
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#5
Yes, I second Nickolas' post. As a newbie at 125 lbs, you will be much more comfortable with a 4.7 rig (and not capsize quite as often).
 
#6
I don't know how ready you will be for bigger regattas but we have many here in south florida. The D13s are in Florida YC which is in Jacksonville. 2019 Laser District 13 Championships : The Florida Yacht Club here is the event website it should be somewhere around a 60ish boat regatta. Just poke around and you can probably find someone else to sail with. Train up and head south to test your skills at the big winter regattas.
 
#7
Lake Lanier sailing Club also has some female Laser sailors in the radials. Maybe Atlanta YC also. You could easily send out an email to the D12 group and I’m sure you would get connected quickly. Talk to Rob......
 

thieuster

Active Member
#8
Dutch Laser Class advises:

4.7: 115 - 132 lbs
Radial: 132 - 165 lbs
Standard: 165 - 189 lbs

So... weight-wise your best chance is the 4.7 at first. The Radial is achievable. But, given your weight and height, you must be prepared to invest in core strength! Gaining weight (muscles) is always good as well. A hiking bench for core strength comes in very handy and condition-wise, road cycling will help you to gain stamina.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
#10
Dutch Laser Class advises:

4.7: 115 - 132 lbs
Radial: 132 - 165 lbs
Standard: 165 - 189 lbs

So... weight-wise your best chance is the 4.7 at first. The Radial is achievable. But, given your weight and height, you must be prepared to invest in core strength! Gaining weight (muscles) is always good as well. A hiking bench for core strength comes in very handy and condition-wise, road cycling will help you to gain stamina.
I believe it takes 110lbs to right an overturned laser so I advise that as the starting point for the 4.7 for those who know how to sail.
Pump the standard weight limit up to 200+ for guys like me ;-)
 
Thread starter #11
Yep. That's a good place to start. I'm the D12 class secretary. We have an active circuit and clubs host many open events that host laser fleets. LLSC has a laser fleet and Savannah YC has one as well. Augusta too. Where and when do you want to race? Also check out the SAYRA, (South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association) shows ALL club racing schedules in NC, SC and GA. So far this year D12 has had 6 events with 93 different skippers competing in full, radial and 4.7 rigs.

And yes, the radial is where you need to be!

Let me know what questions you have.
Thanks for the response Rob, not sure why I didn’t get these notifications. Iv asked LLSC but they said the fleet isn’t very active either I will check out those other places tho thanks!
 
Thread starter #12
I don't know how ready you will be for bigger regattas but we have many here in south florida. The D13s are in Florida YC which is in Jacksonville. 2019 Laser District 13 Championships : The Florida Yacht Club here is the event website it should be somewhere around a 60ish boat regatta. Just poke around and you can probably find someone else to sail with. Train up and head south to test your skills at the big winter regattas.
Yeah that would be great thanks, I’ll check that out, that’s not too far from me.
 
Thread starter #13
Lake Lanier sailing Club also has some female Laser sailors in the radials. Maybe Atlanta YC also. You could easily send out an email to the D12 group and I’m sure you would get connected quickly. Talk to Rob......
I actually emailed Rob At LLSC if that’s Who you are referring to and have not heard back yet. I go to AYC and only know a few people who are racing them and they are mainly juniors. I’ll try emailing them tho!
 
Thread starter #14
I believe it takes 110lbs to right an overturned laser so I advise that as the starting point for the 4.7 for those who know how to sail.
Pump the standard weight limit up to 200+ for guys like me ;-)
Hmmm ok, I just thought the radial could be better to practice in since we have low wind often 3-5 knots.
 
Thread starter #15
Yep. That's a good place to start. I'm the D12 class secretary. We have an active circuit and clubs host many open events that host laser fleets. LLSC has a laser fleet and Savannah YC has one as well. Augusta too. Where and when do you want to race? Also check out the SAYRA, (South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association) shows ALL club racing schedules in NC, SC and GA. So far this year D12 has had 6 events with 93 different skippers competing in full, radial and 4.7 rigs.

And yes, the radial is where you need to be!

Let me know what questions you have.
Do you think the radial would be best for competing over the 4.7, I see that many people are saying I should start with a 4.7?
 
#16
I actually emailed Rob At LLSC if that’s Who you are referring to and have not heard back yet. I go to AYC and only know a few people who are racing them and they are mainly juniors. I’ll try emailing them tho!
I was referring to Rob B the district 12 secretary
(not at LLSC). He can easily put you on contact with people in Georgia. I would talk with Martine at LLSC. Her daughter sails a radial. Many are juniors but others are not. In Charleston there are a couple of ladies out of college who sail the radial in local regattas. Don’t waste your time with the 4.7. Just my opinion. Join the laser class and get on the D12 email list.
 
Thread starter #17
I was referring to Rob B the district 12 secretary
(not at LLSC). He can easily put you on contact with people in Georgia. I would talk with Martine at LLSC. Her daughter sails a radial. Many are juniors but others are not. In Charleston there are a couple of ladies out of college who sail the radial in local regattas. Don’t waste your time with the 4.7. Just my opinion. Join the laser class and get on the D12 email list.
Thanks Jason! When you say don’t waste your time with a 4.7 do you think a radial as well? One of the other reasons I wanted the radial is because the mast on a normal laser is so heavy I don’t think I can put it up myself, and I want to start sailing during the week and practicing by myself.
 
Thread starter #19
Our fleet in Augusta is growing! Would love for you to come join us. We just added our 8th Laser to the fleet today and hope to continue to grow.
Actually my sister lives in Augusta, and I would love to come down sometime, I’m working on trying to get a trailer soon... do you guys have a page on FB or anything that I could join?
 
#20
Actually my sister lives in Augusta, and I would love to come down sometime, I’m working on trying to get a trailer soon... do you guys have a page on FB or anything that I could join?
We do! There is an Augusta Sailing Club Facebook site. We have a regatta here next weekend and one on October 12-13. We then travel to Columbia the first weekend of November for their regatta.
 
#21
Thanks Jason! When you say don’t waste your time with a 4.7 do you think a radial as well? One of the other reasons I wanted the radial is because the mast on a normal laser is so heavy I don’t think I can put it up myself, and I want to start sailing during the week and practicing by myself.
I say go with the radial. As others have said, most of your inland sailing will be light to moderate wind. The 4.7 hasn’t really caught on around the southeast. I see an occasional 14 year old sailing one at regattas. On the other hand the radial has a large following of older juniors and adult females. Augusta is an awesome place to go. Their regattas are a blast! You can also camp onsite. The regatta in Columbia is also a must do and you can camp as well.
Event Info : Halloween Regatta 2019
Event Info : 2019 60th Annual Midlands Regatta
If you are willing to travel around the southeast you will have more opportunities than you can take advantage of.
Welcome aboard!
 
Thread starter #23
We do! There is an Augusta Sailing Club Facebook site. We have a regatta here next weekend and one on October 12-13. We then travel to Columbia the first weekend of November for their regatta.
Oh awesome! I think I can come to the October one, I’ll definitely reach out for that, I’ll also be down there on the 7th if y’all are doing anything then.
 
Thread starter #24
I say go with the radial. As others have said, most of your inland sailing will be light to moderate wind. The 4.7 hasn’t really caught on around the southeast. I see an occasional 14 year old sailing one at regattas. On the other hand the radial has a large following of older juniors and adult females. Augusta is an awesome place to go. Their regattas are a blast! You can also camp onsite. The regatta in Columbia is also a must do and you can camp as well.
Event Info : Halloween Regatta 2019
Event Info : 2019 60th Annual Midlands Regatta
If you are willing to travel around the southeast you will have more opportunities than you can take advantage of.
Welcome aboard!
Thanks!!! Yeah I’m definitely down to travel and will try to make those for sure. Time to start marking my calendar haha. Also this is probably a stupid question but can laser radials compete with regular lasers?
 
Thread starter #25
We do! There is an Augusta Sailing Club Facebook site. We have a regatta here next weekend and one on October 12-13. We then travel to Columbia the first weekend of November for their regatta.
We are having one on Labor Day as well at AYC if anyone from Augusta would want to come.
 
#26
Thanks!!! Yeah I’m definitely down to travel and will try to make those for sure. Time to start marking my calendar haha. Also this is probably a stupid question but can laser radials compete with regular lasers?
No stupid questions:) it is not uncommon at local regattas for the radials to start with the full rigs. However, they are scored separately. But if the radials have enough boats (like 5 usually) then they will be started separately as their own fleet.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
#27
Thanks Jason! When you say don’t waste your time with a 4.7 do you think a radial as well? One of the other reasons I wanted the radial is because the mast on a normal laser is so heavy I don’t think I can put it up myself, and I want to start sailing during the week and practicing by myself.
Main problem with the 4.7 rig is there are none sailing. We might get 1 or 2 boats show up at an event.

The 4.7 might not be a bad idea for practice in breeze over 10 knots for you. However, at your weight you should be able to handle the radial in anything under 10. What is your sailing experience? If you have a decent amount of experience, but are new to the boat you should be ok. However, if you are new to the boat AND to sailing then I highly recommend your first few sails be with someone who is a decent laser sailor. They will be able to give you great advice. These boats can be humbling in anything over 10 knots of air for the first time boater and have been known to scare people off.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#28
I agree with Rob B comment above. The 4.7 is great if you are still struggling with your skill level, once you have the skills, step up to the Radial. When I used to largely run the Sydney based university laser scene (5 different University Clubs), getting people to start in one rig smaller than they should be in helped them gain the skills without spending the day upside down and getting discouraged, even if it's only a few months.
 
Thread starter #29
Main problem with the 4.7 rig is there are none sailing. We might get 1 or 2 boats show up at an event.

The 4.7 might not be a bad idea for practice in breeze over 10 knots for you. However, at your weight you should be able to handle the radial in anything under 10. What is your sailing experience? If you have a decent amount of experience, but are new to the boat you should be ok. However, if you are new to the boat AND to sailing then I highly recommend your first few sails be with someone who is a decent laser sailor. They will be able to give you great advice. These boats can be humbling in anything over 10 knots of air for the first time boater and have been known to scare people off.
Well iv only been sailing for about 2/3 months now. Iv been sailing 3-4 times a week though since I started pretty rigorously. I have experience on a snipe, thistle, y-flyer, 420, and sunfish. That’s a good idea. I don’t scare easily haha!
 
Thread starter #30
I agree with Rob B comment above. The 4.7 is great if you are still struggling with your skill level, once you have the skills, step up to the Radial. When I used to largely run the Sydney based university laser scene (5 different University Clubs), getting people to start in one rig smaller than they should be in helped them gain the skills without spending the day upside down and getting discouraged, even if it's only a few months.
Hmmm yeah that’s true, we have a club laser that’s a radial which is more convenient not sure if anyone at my club even has a 4.7. I just don’t want to buy something and then not be able to compete with it.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#31
May be approach the club to purchase a 4.7 rig for the club, even if it is second hand or a copy rig, but to convince them you might need to do the work to find one. I know when the 4.7 was introduced, both the district association and at least one boat dealer purchased 4.7 rigs for people to try out for a couple of months at a time to encourage people into the class.
 
Thread starter #32
May be approach the club to purchase a 4.7 rig for the club, even if it is second hand or a copy rig, but to convince them you might need to do the work to find one. I know when the 4.7 was introduced, both the district association and at least one boat dealer purchased 4.7 rigs for people to try out for a couple of months at a time to encourage people into the class.
hahaha that would be amazing if they'd do that!
 
Thread starter #34
Ask. What is there to lose?
Well, I'v only been there since June haha so I don't want to overstep. The people at the club are pretty old fashioned and traditional too, they probably would have to have a "meeting", then another "voting meeting" ect... everything is a long process haha
 
#36
There are probably over 60 lasers at the club (member-owned) and only a few get used, its sad!
Then I advise you first time to stay with club's boats if you of course have possibility to, and only after some time(may be 1-2 seasons) start looking for your own. I know how sad is to crush/scratch/damage your own one. So first of all get some experience, get used to boat, and then start looking for your own.
 
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