Laser drainage process

Thread starter #1
Hi all. I am a new owner of an old laser. I have sailed for many years on my friends Laser, but never really learned about how the boat works. Specifically I am looking to understand the how water flows that gets in the boat. I see the cockpit drain, and the starboard drain plug. My question is about the drain hole on the bottom of the hull. How Does that work? Does that get plugged when sailing? If I am correct, that is that where the water will exit that gets I to the cockpit?

Thanks for any help in understanding.
Jb
 
#2
The drain on the stern (back of the boat by the rudder) is plugged while sailing. Unless you have a leak, the inside of the hull should stay pretty dry.

The plug inside the cockpit is part of the autobailer, which is the black plastic piece on the bottom of the hull . When you need to drain the cockpit, you open the autobailer by pulling the rubber plug forward, this opens a small flap on the bottom of the boat and the water is drained out as you sail. When the water has drained you can close the autobailer flap by pushing the rubber plug back in. If you are moving forward the autobailer should only let water flow out, if you are stationary it may flow into the cockpit.

If you have the boat on a dolly/trailer, pull the cockpit plug and the rod it is attached to in and out and check under the boat to see if the autobailer flap is opening/closing. If the flap is not opening/closing you may need to replace the rubber o-rings that are inside the autobailer, although I would recommend upgrading to springs that do not need to be replaced if this is something you have to fix.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#4
Exactly as Rick described.
Just in case you need to replace the bailer, the process isn't difficult.
And I have seen seasoned sailors holding up the bow (on a soft surface) to almost vertical to drain their somewhat leaky hull.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#5
It's good idea to search for the leak. There's a small hole somewhere in the cockpit that's intended to let air out when the boat is heated up by the sun (air inside expands with the transom bung in place). Plug that 'expansion hole'

Then - a two men job- use something like a bicycle air pump to pressurise the air inside. Be careful: you don't need a lot of pressure! Ask someone else to spray a soapy solution on the hull while keeping the pressure on. Bubbles = air leak. Suspected spots: inside the mast step, around the inspection port and -when you flip the boat around- the seam where the deck meets the hull.

Good luck with the search
 
Thread starter #6
The drain on the stern (back of the boat by the rudder) is plugged while sailing. Unless you have a leak, the inside of the hull should stay pretty dry.

The plug inside the cockpit is part of the autobailer, which is the black plastic piece on the bottom of the hull . When you need to drain the cockpit, you open the autobailer by pulling the rubber plug forward, this opens a small flap on the bottom of the boat and the water is drained out as you sail. When the water has drained you can close the autobailer flap by pushing the rubber plug back in. If you are moving forward the autobailer should only let water flow out, if you are stationary it may flow into the cockpit.

If you have the boat on a dolly/trailer, pull the cockpit plug and the rod it is attached to in and out and check under the boat to see if the autobailer flap is opening/closing. If the flap is not opening/closing you may need to replace the rubber o-rings that are inside the autobailer, although I would recommend upgrading to springs that do not need to be replaced if this is something you have to fix.
It appears I have no auto bailer installed. So I could either buy and install one, or simply plug the cockpit drain hole correct? Thanks.
 

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thieuster

Active Member
#11
About the bailer: normally the 'hatch' is operated with two rubber elastic bands (... sounds strange, but you'll get it when you see it). Those bands are not really cutting edge technology and after a while, they won't work properly anymore. Enter... The Upgrade! two springs replace the rubber bands and all will work perfectly for years to come.

Just do a quick search on YT for 'Laser Bailer'.

However... I was under the impression that the INSIDE of your boat holds water as well, not only the cockpit. When you install the bailer, you have to attach the bailer to the hull with a phillips screw into the hull. Make sure you use some proper sealant for that as well, that prevents water leaking in as well. Then, on your pic I can see an old grey-ish 'cockpit bush' (I am not native in English, so perhaps there's a better word for it). Modern-day bushes are made from copper. Perhaps a good idea to replace that as well. USA-based dealer APS has all the goodies in store for that, I think.

Menno
 
#12
My Laser (ancient hull (#32xxx), 4 races old in my ownership) also has no self bailer. There's a rubber cork on a string tangling up in the back of the cockpit.
If I remember to out the cork in before launching, the cockpit stays dry until it fills from splashes.
If the cork is out, when the boat is not moving, the cockpit fills through the drain hole to about 30-50mm deep in the cockpit. No deeper. That's the water level outside the boat.
If the cork is out when the boat is planing (or just moving faster than a drift?) water sucks out down the drain hole.
My understanding is that the bailer just slows the in-flow down (but doesn't seal completely), and maybe helps suck the water out with a mild Venturi effect when moving.
I should get a bailer and install it, but at this stage, an inch of water in the cockpit isn't hurting my very mediocre performance.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
#13
My understanding is that the bailer just slows the in-flow down (but doesn't seal completely), and maybe helps suck the water out with a mild Venturi effect when moving.
My understanding is that as the Laser bailer (unlike the Andersen/Elvström kind) doesn't have a non-return flap, the inflow is similar to having no bailer at all. It should drain much faster, though, because of the wedge shape of the opening.

an inch of water in the cockpit isn't hurting my very mediocre performance.
The bottom line being, if you sail recreationally only, a bailer is nice but not absolutely necessary.

_
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#14
To summarize, the bailer is quite useful in heavy conditions when a lot of water gets into the footwell. In light weather, just keep the bailer closed (stopper in).
 
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