I want to get into sailing

Thread starter #1
I took sailing lessons through my park district 2 years ago. It was a blast! They have American 14.6 sailboats, and after 2 summers of sailing on those boats, i feel that i have outgrown them. They are not very fast, and just tip over when too much wind comes along because you cant get high on the side of the boat!

Anyways, after talking to a few sailors, they suggested i buy a laser. They said it will be alot more fun than the American boat.

I have watched a few youtube videos and looked at pictures, and it looks like some Lasers only have a main sail, and some also have a jib, and even spinnaker. I enjoyed sailing with a jib on the American 14.6. Do all Lasers have the correct hardware for running a jib? What about spinnaker?

Ive been looking on craigslist and just missed out on a laser for 500 bucks with a trailer. Right now there are a few for 1000 with a trailer. Is this the average price? Im a recent college graduate with low funds right now, but i want a sailboat!! I cant afford the 40 bucks in gas ever time I ride my jetski!
 
#2
Hi

You certainly do want to get into sailing - but beware, you wont be able to stop...

There are several variants of Laser boats.

The standard Laser (or Laser 1) is a single person, single sail boat.
The Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial are both the same hull as the standard Laser but with shorter masts and smaller sails.

There are a series of 2/3 sailed Lasers:
Laser Pico (training boat, fits one adult, 2 sails, reckoned to be faster with only the main though)
Laser Vago (one/two crew, optional faster race rig, single trapeze, official handicap numbers for each configuration)
Laser 2 (single trapeze, symmetric spinnaker)
Laser 2000 (no trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker)
Laser 3000 (single trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker)
Laser 4000 (single trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker, skiff-style)
Laser 5000 (double trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker, skiff)
Laser Bahia (Cruising dinghy which can be raced, optional trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker)
Laser Stratos (Cruising boat, with either keel or centreboard, optional trapeze, asymmetric spinnaker)
Generally the bigger the number, the bigger the boat. The Laser 2, 2000, 3000 and Stratos with centreboard are no longer in production, but there are plenty of boats still being sailed

All Lasers are one-design boats so older boats shouldn't be at a disadvantage to newer boats (In my experience this can mean that there are not many cheap boats or bits to buy though...)

This is a good post on what to look for when buying
http://www.laserforum.org/archive/index.php/t-3700.html

Lasers have a lot of quirks and tricks to be learnt, so don't loose heart if you can't keep up to start with, with practise you'll find yourself flying!
 
Thread starter #3
Thank you for the link, ill read that over so that I know what to look for. I doubt i will find one of those laser 2000s or any older model here in the Midwest. I live in IL, and the only lasers available are the standard rigs. I have a butterfly fleet as well as a Laser fleet near my house. I think i would much rather go with the laser. I think i would need the standard full rig laser because I weigh 185 lbs.
 
#4
I've sailed and owned a lot of sailboats over the years, from 8 feet to 42 feet.

I've kept my 19' Flying Scot the longest, about 20 years. But my Laser gets the most use.

It's just a ball to handle, easy to throw in the back of the truck, or just rig and sail for an hour when you can make time. It planes easily even with my 200 pounds plus.

Get one for $1000. You don't like it? Sell it for the same amount...

Research known issues before looking to make sure you don't get one that is too beat up.
 
#5
I dont know how prices are in the mid west but out here where it's warm year round Lasers hold their values very well. It's very very hard to find one under $1000 that isn't beat to hell, even harder to find one with a trailer at that price. I just bought one with trailer for 500, but the owner didn't know what she had and I only got it cause she listed it on craigslist mid week and none of the 10 other callers could get there at 10am the following morning.
 
#6
I took sailing lessons through my park district 2 years ago. It was a blast! They have American 14.6 sailboats, and after 2 summers of sailing on those boats, i feel that i have outgrown them. They are not very fast, and just tip over when too much wind comes along because you cant get high on the side of the boat!

Anyways, after talking to a few sailors, they suggested i buy a laser. They said it will be alot more fun than the American boat.

I have watched a few youtube videos and looked at pictures, and it looks like some Lasers only have a main sail, and some also have a jib, and even spinnaker. I enjoyed sailing with a jib on the American 14.6. Do all Lasers have the correct hardware for running a jib? What about spinnaker?

Ive been looking on craigslist and just missed out on a laser for 500 bucks with a trailer. Right now there are a few for 1000 with a trailer. Is this the average price? Im a recent college graduate with low funds right now, but i want a sailboat!! I cant afford the 40 bucks in gas ever time I ride my jetski!
Even though the laser std, radial and 4.7 only have a main, I gaurentee that you will have more fun with it. Pretty much all the guys that race in the fall and spring on lasers race big boats and I think we all agree that we can't wait to get back on the laser. You can sail the laser in pretty much any sailable conditions and its always fun.

I got my first laser hull for FREE as someone was going to take it to the dump at one of the local sailing clubs, it had a few leaks that we were able to fix mostly with silicon sealant and we were able to get a decent price on used laser rigging from the local laser dealer.

Ask around the local sailing clubs, and beaches, they will let you know if there are boats they're getting rid of, some sailing schools will sell relatively new boats for a good deal as well
 
#7
The great thing about the Laser is how quick it is to rig and get out there on the water. I can go from fully tied to the trailer to sailing away in about 15 minutes. The hassle factor of having to step the mast, hoist sails, tune rigging etc on my other boats means that I don't use them as often.

It's also nice to have a true singlehander boat that I can take out and sail by myself without being overpowered or over-busy with too many sail controls.


On to the purchase part: The primary thing I'd look for is a hull and deck that aren't too soft. Go look at a new boat and give the deck and a hull a good push in a few places to get an idea of how stiff it is supposed to be. (I'm sure there is a "buying guide" on here somewhere). There are a lot of old soft boats (like mine) that are perfectly sailable - but if you can start off with one that isn't too soft you'll be better off.

Whatever you get, unless it is very new, definitely plan to install an inspection port and check out the mast step (the tube that the mast sticks into between the deck and the hull). A lot of older boats will need some fiberglass reinforcement around this where it attaches to the hull. It's not that big a deal to do and there are many threads on here about what to look for and how to do it. At the very least, if you're familiar with the mast step issue you will be more able to check out boats that you're looking at.
One rough check of a mast step is to fill the tube up with water and see if any of it leaks out.
 
#8
Thank you for the link, ill read that over so that I know what to look for. I doubt i will find one of those laser 2000s or any older model here in the Midwest. I live in IL, and the only lasers available are the standard rigs. I have a butterfly fleet as well as a Laser fleet near my house. I think i would much rather go with the laser. I think i would need the standard full rig laser because I weigh 185 lbs.
I owned a Butterfly when I was a kid, and I know the current mfgr of them. Windward Boatworks, Good company and fun boat; however, no comparison to the Laser!

I currently own a Laser. It's a great boat!!! Like many have said, little squirley when the wind comes up, but that's part of what makes it so much fun!!!

If you want to get into racing, you also need to look at the activity of each fleet. Hang out witht he fleet members. I find that regardless of boat, you will radiate toward the fleet that has the people you like to hang out with the best.

Good luck on the search, and if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

Jack
 
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