Laser Bahia

Thread starter #1

I am considering to buy a Laser Bahia.

Main drivers to choose the Laser Bahia are:
- Day sailor with wife and daughter (2.5 years old)
- Need an engine to go from the backyard through a bridge before going sailing (5 minutes)
- Needs to be stable but also sporty (Vago is to sporty)
- No keel as I want to store it on a dry dock in the backyard
- Must be able to sail singlehanded (75% of the times I will sail alone)

I tried out the Laser Bahia and I found it relatively stable (considering the size and that there is not keel), so I believe it is the right choice for the purpose, but I am also very intersted in some feedback.

I already have a Lase XD which I use for the evening matches.

I read some feedback on the sailing capabilities, but most of it dated a few years back. Anyone with some more feedback whether this is the right choice or alternatives.


I've tried it out too. Definitely a cool boat to sail by yourself or with three other people. The trapeeze kit I bet would be alot of fun for all skill levels since the boat is very stable.

Really windy days, I would consider levaing the motor behind if possible, unless it can be fully submerged after a capsize and still run with now problems :D.
I own a Bahia and enjoy sailing it with my wife and small children. For a summer day of sailing the boat off the beach on Lake Michigan, its a dream. Throwing up the kite in the right conditions is a blast too (when the kids are playing on the beach).

The boat is stable for what it is, but I have capsized mine a number of times. If I had a motor on my boat (never tried it) I would be more selective about conditions.

Happy to answer any other questions -
Thread starter #4

Thanks for the great replies.

The engine worries me slightly and I am considering to add the rowing option (it looks a bit silly), it's just a few minutes rowing until I went through the bridge and then I can start sailing.

I ordered the Bahia today and I pick it up in 2 weeks (Netherlands).

I will post some sailing experiences ones I tried it in some different weather conditions


Congrats on your Bahia purchase! I'm also looking at either a Vago or Bahia. I'm leaning towards a Bahia since it's a little more conducive to taking my (non sailor) girlfriend out & leisurely sailing around Lake Ontario. I'm having troubles making up my mind.

I also like the fact that it has a trapeze for when I do want to have some fun. Does anyone know if there is a "sport" version of this boat with larger sails/different rigging?

It's odd, because there doesn't seem to be a lot of information on the net from Bahia owners. Does this mean this boat will be discontinued at some point soon and parts will be a hassle? I certainly hope not.

Let us know how it goes with your new boat! Looking forward to your feedback.
Thread starter #6

I also looked at the Vago and although I believe it is an excellent fun boat, it is absolutely not a fit for me. I need something slightly more stable and engine support.

I found several weblogs with some feedback on Laser easily discontinuing a model, so there is always that risk.

However I understood from the dealer that the Bahia sells quiet well and that around 1500 have been sold. I am sure a large chunk of this will be rentals and sailing schools, but it is still not a bad number.

I also found it hard to find something comparable. I looked at the RS Vision and the Topper Omega and I believe those are the only similar boats in a similar price range.

Given those competitors, I found only the RS the real competitor and given the region I am in, that is an easy real active RS dealer.

On the other side, the Laser dealer over here is very active and has a great name (I already have a 'normal' laser).

Ones I got it and tried it out, I will post some experiences.

Thread starter #7

I've sailed the Bahia a couple of times now in various conditions (bought the Bahia recently)

Here are my findings:
- The engine support is a bit flimsy. I need it so it is there, but initially the bracket kept coming loose, so I glued the bolt in there. It is still shaking and looks cheap but it works. I have a 2.5 HP suzuki on it and it limits the rudder and the suzuki is shaking while sailing......but it does work! Ideally you take the engine off when sailing
- I sail the boat most of the time alone and sometimes with my wife and 2.5 year old daughter. Sailing with the family is great. The boat is relatively stable and there is plenty of space to move around. Overall, excellent boat for this. For sailing alone I am even more impressed. Even using the gennaker while sailing alone is very do-able and easy. I pull out the gennaker whenever possible. The boat is relatively quick and a lot of fun to handle. The one line reefing system is excellent. Sailing wise, absolutely great
- I have the boat in the back of my backyard where I can push it in the water. It only takes minutes to make the boat ready. I also have a cover over the jib, so I get out even quicker. The boat is moored next to a 37 feet cruiser, laser classic and a sea pro.
- The boat gets dirty easy. So it is important to not leave the boat in the water when not in use and always clean the boat after use. I have a cover over it when I know I am not going to use the boat for a couple of days
- I tipped over with the boat two times, both when sailing alone and when making a mistake (one time with the gennaker out). This was still do-able to bring the boat back up.
- The Bahia is very easy to sail however it is not the fastest boat. It does need a fair amount of wind for it to perform
- The working area if very comfortable. Nothing sharp, plenty of space, even for me being 40 and a little bit less flexible :)

Overall I would certainly advice the boat as I see not many similar boats in the market for this price.

I just borrowed an electric engine, so next I will try if that works a bit better. Otherwise there are always the oars.....

It has been some time since you posted these comments. Please note me if you can how sharp upwind can bahia go? Do you need two people to mount must or one can do the job? My goal is to have a boat I can take to a lake on a trailer and rig it myself, sale for few days and unrig it and take it home.

Thread starter #9
Yes, so I have used the Bahia now for about a year. Upwind it is a pretty fast boat and it can go very sharp upwind. I sail about 75% of the time alone. This is very do-able, however when it gets to 18 knots of wind or higher it is a lot of work that might include some swimming. Sailing alone with gennaker is absolutely a lot of fun. When the boat tips over it is easy to right it alone. Only issue I have, I have the storage box and the outboard engine mounted to the back....and there is no way to get back in the boat. I resolved this my putting a piece of rope in a loop on both sides around the beam. I can pull that into the water and step back into the boat. The outboard construction is not great and when you tip over, gas drips out of it and it is also not good for the engine. I also tried an electric engine, but that did not do it for me either. Best is to not have an engine.

It did take me some time to learn how to use the downhaul. The downhaul is really important to get the boat to sail fast.

I think the boat is a bit heavy, but that is related to the material it is build of. My boat lays outside on the dock year round (Dutch climate, ranging from sun to snow) and I have not seen anything change color. I do have the top cover on when I do not use the boat for longer then a month or so. I also made some steps to make sure the boat is not lying on the hull, but it is on two steps, like it is done with the official trailer (needed to keep the warranty)

Bottom line, a very good boat, easy to sail alone or with a family. I sometimes sail in it with the wife and a 3 year old daughter and it is perfect for that also. If you want something very sporty, there are better choices, but this is a good blend of sport, stable and fast
I am also considering a Laser Bahia and my use will be similar to some of the comments here - mostly single handed. Trailer and set up myself. Take my wife out for a gentle day sail from time to time. Maybe get my kids interested in some racing, but probably not.

One difference here in Florida is sometimes light wind. Someone said it needs some wind to perform. Does it get around okay in light wind?

I may also sail it on small inland lakes in shifty winds. Never ideal for any sailboat, but I was thinking that a stable boat like this might do reasonably well in shifty winds.

Any thoughts would be welcome.
I am Bahia owner! One full season, he he... But can easily say that Bahia is best boat I have ever tried. I am sailing on river on daily basis and had few weekends on some lakes here. I am from Serbia, Belgrade. Do not worry about low winds anything above 4 knots is sailable. Actually I am more used to m/s readings so 3 m/s in any direction is more than enough to sail against river current. What has struck me to answer to your post is that sailing on city river just 300ft wide on some places goes with shifty winds because of buildings and bridges, boat performs awesome and this just makes ride more fun. If you can buy used boat because you can save lots of money and boat is very sturdy, not like plexy boats.

Tipping is child's play. Since I got must float, it is even easier. few weeks ago I tipped over the boat when I was alone and I had enough time to uncleat all ropes(main and flock), climbed over, started tipping it back and jumped in, without wetting my t-shirt! I have outboard motor bracket but never used it and have box, it is useful and does not get in a way at all.

My name is Miodrag Milovancevic and since I did not have anyone to ask anything when I was buying my boat, please feel free to ask me anything, and I can even show you some pictures from sailing. My email is but I am going to be on vacation from 8. of Sep until 29.

Best regards
Thread starter #12
Hi John

I have the Laser Bahia now for a few years and I really think it is a great boat.

Some characteristics I found out:
- For a boat with no keel it is a pretty stable boat. Great with kids to go fun sailing. The wife also likes it as it is a dray and easy sail (in moderate conditions).
- Very easy to set up however plenty of trimming possibilities
- I found it to take a bit of time to get the boat properly up to speed. I also use it for a neighbor for evening racing and it does take some learning and time to get proper speed out of the boat. However it is a lot of fun to learn what makes the boat go fast and there are plenty of trim options to get the max out of this boat
- Planning with Gennaker is a lot of fun and very easy. I even use the gennaker when sailing alone
- The boat can be sailed good alone. It's a shame the head sail is not easy to use when sailing alone, it's mounted to be operated by a second person. However I sail it alone up to 3 beaufort with no problems.
- The boat does not need a lot of wind to go fast but trim and position in the boat are critical to get proper speed out of the boat.
- Also very easy to launch. I have the boat moored on a dock in the backyard and it takes me minutes to get the boat sail ready
- The outboard bracket is cheap, flimsy and outdated.... However it works. The outboard is a pain to have on the back of the boat and if you tip over...well at least I am then swimming in leaking gasoline. I wrote Laser Performance an email suggesting to consider a solution that fits better the current technologies. Something like a build in electric engine system that is also used by the Hobby Cat Mirage kayaks. Laser just came back that I can put a standard electric engine on the back.....something I tried and is at least as miserable as the 2.5 HP suzuki engine I now use
- With my daughter, now 4.5 years old, I go sailing. She plays throughout the boat and often we beach the boat and go for some snacks. We also have a self made swim ladder to swim of the boat
- Boat quality is absolutely very good. I know polyethylene is not the prettiest material but given the material the boat looks pretty good.
- I have two mainsails. One for racing (mylar) and one for cruising. The mylar sail is looking very pretty and trims better then the dacron sail. It's a shame laser discontinued the mylar sail

Overall I would buy the boat right away again and it's being used a lot for different purposes.

Besides the Bahia I have a new Laser G-XD and a Dehler 29.

I have been reading all threads about Bahia sailing above - very interesting and informative. We are fairly new to the Bahia and have been having trouble with our rudder, not dropping down into water properly, ie we have trouble pulling it down to the vertical position. Has anyone experienced this and do you have any advice or a solution please?
Thread starter #14

I have only had issues with dropping or upping the blade when the rope from the blade got stuck between the blade and the rudder. I have had this maybe twice. Tightning the blade will resolve this. By tightening the blade, the rope cannot get stuck between anymore and the problem was solved.

Can you be more specific where you have an issue?
Ok here is what I think happened. Original rigging for rudder includes one rope going for lowering the rudder and also for lifting it. You should check bahia rigging manual and the way your rudder is rigged. I think that rope was not properly put trough the rudder and thus you can not lower rudder all the way down or hold it all the way up. You should have two cleats on your rudder, one is simpler and it is used to hold the rudder up. When you cleat the rope in upward position end of rudder should be above water. Other cleat has a mechanism used to ensure that you do not break rudder if it hits something in the water.

So before everything check rigging of rudder in rigging manual!
About the rope, there is one rope on new bahia, but end of this system used for lowering the rudder has a block in it in order to be able to pull on it harder.

Bahia is a terrific boat, this is my second season on it. I managed to use it without a motor, just rowing. On a river it is totally usable, even against river flow. Motor is going to give me the option to sail the portions of this river that is more distant than ones I am sailing right now. Boat is heavier than equivalent performance boat, but this is only to it's advantage since it is weather proof, very sturdy, "idiot proof".
When you get the hang of it, it is possible to rig it for under an hour single handed! You have my post describing capsizing, "child play"...

since my last posts I have tried trapezeing and this is so much fun even on the river, where you have to tack fairly often...

I am speaking from a point of view of a person that is not 100Kg bundle of muscles but a regular chubby guy weighing 85-90 Kg 176cm tall. I can use this boat in every aspect and handle it. Took it out in winds 12-16 m/s (ropes are whistling hanging in this wind) and also in breeze 2-3m/s with my wife, and it handles well in both situations. One rope reefing! One rope genaker...

I am not going to sell this boat any time soon! If anyone needs any help, just ask, also if you want to see some sailing gopro photos, I'll show it gladly...

P.s. there is a new version of this boat that does not have lower shrouds(my friend got one like that delivered) but I like mine better!

Thread starter #19

Great to hear you are enjoying the Bahia so much.

I am in my 3rd season with the Bahia and I agree with all you say. I also have the rowing option and the engine support. I use the engine to motor from my backyard to the lake (3 minutes but there is a bridge). It all works very well and comes across as very solid

I enjoy the club racing and the sailing alone and with the family. We tried the trapeze a few times and it is an absolute blast. The boat is a bit heavier then comparable polyester boats but I've had twice a collision with other boats during a club race and that is where it shows how durable it is.

Planing with the Bahia is a lot of fun and pretty doable

I did not know about the changes in the boat you mentioned, that is interesting to know. What I did notice is that the new boats have a smaller gennaker. I am not sure if you really want that, I like the gennaker as it is.

I have the two different main sails, mylar and dacron. The mylar sail seems to fit a bit better and it is supposed to be a little bit bigger. Unfortunately they stopped selling the mylar main sail

Enjoy the summer with the Bahia

Thankyou for your helpful comments about rudders! We are re rigging it today and hope to sail in Portland harbour this afternoon. I should say I am a complete novice and my husband Pete would have explained this all much better. Happy Sailing!