Hull ID number means what?


Active Member
Well, 1019 actually does "fit the list", because the drLaser list isn't comprehensive by any means. I understand it represents, for each year, the smallest and largest numbers known to its compiler. As some years have only a single number, it indicates that the list is based on a fairly small data set. Boats number 719 - 2099 were certainly built, either in 1971 or 72, and it's likely that Ian Bruce built more than a thousand boats before the end of that first production year.

(By the way, looking now at the drLaser list, it explains the version of the traditional list with the crazy numbers for 1971 - 76: someone tried to complete the traditional list with the drLaser numbers and got them screwed up.)
laser serial no..jpg
"SLI" for "Sunfish Laser Inc." is correct.

Then, it seems to me, there are some mistakes in the Hull Identification Number you quote above:

"I" would mean "18" (if "A" would be "10" , "B" = "12" etc. ) as the first left digits of the sailnumber.
This means : "I" = 18 and with "8718" it would mean the sailnumber is 188718. This would be a boat of 2006!! I guess, there is a mistake in your quotation of the HIN.

"E" means the month in that the hull was built - according to Sunfish/Laser Inc.: A=Aug, B=Sept, C=Oct, D=Nov, E=Dec, F=Jan ...

The third last digit indicates the year the boat was built (not model year!), followed by a 2 number model year.
297" would mean: built in Dec 1992 for model year 1997 (the final two digits of the HIN).

So, there definitely is another mistake in your quotation of the HIN. (1992 is not realistic)

From all I know, in 1997 boats with sailnumbers between the following limits have been built (sold first) : "1613xx" to "1643xx". Try to prove if there is a mistake in the HIN you quote above" .

Here is a real weird HIN it is on a boat i just purchased... i would like to know where it was made...

laser serial no..jpg
I know the year of the boat is 97-98 from the decal in the cockpit 164005

I'd say it's a Chilean boat, built for the 1997 Standard and Masters Worlds in Algarrobo.
This makes total sense the second owner I purchased the boat from brought the boat up to Vancouver Canada from Chile... it has Aero Cóndor decals on the sail and hulls.
Thanks so much... Didn't know they made Lasers in South America. Thought it might be from California...



Active Member
You're all welcome! The "PRX" stands for Primex S.A., who used to build Lasers in Santiago de Chile.
Didn't know they made Lasers in South America. Thought it might be from California...
Production in Brazil started as early as 1974; no idea when it was moved to Chile. Primex was still listed as a manufacturer on the ILCA website about ten years ago, but not anymore. Their territory was South America minus Brazil (PSE) and Venezuela (Vanguard).

Laser building in California ended sometime in the early 1980s, probably with the breakup of the original Performance Sailcraft company.
It's probably a 1975 hull.

The Old Dr. Laser FAQ (drLaser's FAQ) has helpful info for this although it is North America centric:

"How do I determine my sail number and boat year?
On the transom is the serial number of the Laser. EG: PFS 80000 L879
In North Amarica, the first 3 characters usually form the builder's ID. (See for updates.) The rest of the numbers identify the hull. For hulls manufactured in New Zealand, for instance, it is know however that no manufacturer identification code letters may exist.
In North America, these first 3 characters may be:

  • PFS = Performance Sailcraft (1971-1974) (Montreal, Québec, Canada: still manufacturing outside of the Americas.)
  • ZFS = Performance Sailcraft (1974 [as per hulls 16950-51626]-1985) (Point Claire, Québec)
  • PSC = Performance Sailcraft (19??-19??)
  • PSL = Performance Sailcraft USA (Owner Don Trask, San Rafael CA, 1973 to early '80s?)
  • PSI = Performace Sailcraft International (South Africa, until 1989)
  • ZID = Laser International (Ontario 1984-1991) Reincarnation of original Laser builder. (Also known as Performance Sailcraft Canada.)
  • PSB = Pearson Small Boats (1989-1991) (RI) Any PSBs with '92 ?
  • SLI = Sunfish Laser Inc (1991 [or 1992 ?] to March 1997) New manufacturing facility.
  • OQT = Vanguard Sailboats Inc., RI (March 1997 to present) Initials stand for Quarter Moon Inc. Production continued in SLI facility which Vanguard purchased. Personnel the same.
  • Does your Hull number help fill out this list?
Next 5 digits are the sail number. If the sail number is great than 99,999, then the first digit is a character, where A=10, B=11, C=12 etc. (i.e. a letter followed by 5 digits).

Last 4 characters indicate when the boat was built and the model year. Usually 1 letter followed by 3 numbers. The letter indicates the month of manufacture (according to Sunfish/Laser Inc.):
A=Aug, B=Sept, C=Oct, D=Nov, E=Dec, F=Jan, G=Feb, H=Mar, I=April, J=May, K=June, L=July.

The next number indicates the year the boat was built (not model year!), followed by a 2 number model year. Eg.
D494 = Built Nov (D) 1994 (4) for 1994 model year (94).
F697 = Built Jan (F) 1996 for 1997 model year (97)

For example:
SLI F1234 F494 = Sunfish Laser Inc, Sail number 151234, Built in January 1994 for Model Year 1994.

Older lasers: Last four digits of sail number may be missing or belong to an unknown code (e.g. ZFS 33426 0376 = march '76?). Boat manufacturing codes seem to conform to some industry norm - an Alden Ocean (rowing) shell hull number has a similar format.
1971 to 1973 Hulls: Sail number is only found on deck, under the bow eye. It is also reported that following the Laser prototypes, the first mass-manufactured Laser was numbered 101.
European Lasers
UK manufacturer has commonly etched the sail number only under the bow eye, with no additional stamping on the transom. In cases where the etching under the bow eye has special codes (such as "GHN067"), there is also an aluminium sticker riveted into the back wall of the cockpit, and the sail number is etched on the sticker. (Confirmed examples include UK-made hulls with the numbers 10423, 30648, and 67225.)
NZ Lasers
Until early 1990s, Performance Sailcraft in New Zealand also manufactured hulls with the sail number stamped on the transom, without any manufacturer codes or manufacturing year identification. NZ hull number 132524 is such a hull. Later, a manufacturer's ID was used: number 156749 had both a manufacturer ID stamped on the transom as well as the sail number.
based on Neil Berman's FAQ1"

The table for sail number vs year is at drLaser's FAQ:

How do I determine the age of the boat from the sail number?
When was a boat with sail number XXXXXX built? If you do know the full hull serial number engraved on the hull, then the hull number reveals the year the boat was manufactured. (See the related FAQ item.) If you don't know the full hull serial number - as in many cases where a hull appears in a "FOR SALE" ad or as in many Laser Mailing List posts where sailors sign their posts also with their sail numbers, then the following table contains sail number ranges and the year they were issued. This table is a work-in-progress, is based on the best verifiable information currently available, and should be used as a rough guide only. Sorry, No Laser II numbers in the table.







2000 166843-168261 1990 138878 1980 80467-90547
1999 166098-166145 1989 130211-136849 1979 69547-79977
1998 164394-165011 1988 134145-134953 1978 52604-60996
1997 160976-162136 1987 129199-129368 1977 51221-51626
1996 158005-159878 1986 121539-128447 1976 33426-44847
1995 153020-158000 1985 117982-120978 1975 23926-32167
1994 152196-153019 1984 114372-117859 1974 15430-22496
1993 148878 1983 109837-112339 1973 3230-14305
1992 147273-148395 1982 104258 1972 2100-2205
1991 144077 1981 95129-100630 1971 95-718

drLaser has contacted the Laser Builders and Bruce Kirby, the designer of the Laser, to obtain any additional information they could provide. Kirby notes: "If you have been having difficulty getting this type of information from the builders it may be because they consider it proprietary, or it is more likely that they simply found it a very time-consuming task." However, Kirby was able to provide the approximate sail numbers issued each year from March to March since 1989 when he was charged with keeping track of the hull numbers after the manufacturer Performace Sailcraft International, PSI (South Africa) went broke in 1989.
The sail number - issue year pairs provided by Bruce Kirby are only "approximate" statistics because sail numbers are not likely to be requested at the same time every month, and of course, the below pairs have to do with when the numbers are ordered and not when the boats are built! Japan, for example, might order 50 numbers for a whole year, whereas PSE may order numbers for, and build, about 150 boats a month.
PeriodHull Numbers
March 1989 to March 1990 136,951 to 140,824
March 1990 to March 1991 140,825 to 144,160
March 1991 to March 1992 144,161 to 146,718
March 1992 to March 1993 146,719 to 150,201
March 1993 to March 1994 150,202 to 154,287
March 1994 to March 1995 154,288 to 156,338
March 1995 to March 1996 156,339 to 159,459
March 1996 to March 1997 159,460 to 161,735
March 1997 to March 1998 161,736 to 165,814
March 1998 to March 2000 165,815 to 169,724
March 2000 to March 2001 169,725 to 172,425
Note that the only definitive information you can derive from the above table is the following:

    • a boat with sail number X could not have been manufactured before the March of a year Y if X is less than the smallest sail number issued for the period starting with the March of that year Y.
* Some history:
J. Price wrote:"I have one of the original hulls shown at the NYC boat show, I think in '72. John Bertram and I were at MIT in the ocean engineering dept doing graduate work. He said he had a friend in Canada making these neat boats and I might want to buy one. Went to the boat show and made arrangements to pick one up in Canada after the show. Drove up in one hell of a snow storm and tied it on the top of the car. About 10 years ago, I needed a hull number for CA registration, and, after talking to Canada, was told to use # 99 since they started formally numbering them at 100, and this was earlier. We named her 'radish' from the hull color and she's still afloat today at Smith Mtn Lake in SW Virginia."
Some data based on Neil Berman FAQ1
Re "1976 33426-44847" on one or more tables in your post. Just checked my hull: ZFS 33339 02 76, so <33426. Plus a label with "Laser A quality product from Performance Sailcraft Pointe-Claire Canada". Still with original sail. Given to us yesterday by our good neighbours from the beach next door. Got a chuckle after googling "33339 laser"...turns out 33339 is the zip code, in Ft Lauderdale Florida of "Laser Hair Removal".
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Hi All!

My hull number doesn't appear to conform exactly to the above codes.
It reads: ZFS62173M78H

Boat is orange with cream top. I've owned it since 1999.

Any idea why the 62173 is so high for what appears to be a 78? Also what does the H mean?

I have photos and the boat was registered years ago. Would the registration have more info? Also a flagship marine (new Jersey) sticker on the back but I can't find anything about it. (Closed I guess)
Any help would be greatly appreciated!