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Laser I, Laser II, or something else?

RTBJR

New Member
OK. I am also looking at a Laser. The posts here are great!
If I am looking to sail with my wife or young teen in a large inland lake in Michigan to begin (then out to the Great Lakes), it appears that the Laser 2 makes more sense. If there are other types or boats that you can/would recommed it would be appreciated
 

David

New Member
I'd recomend a 420. You can pick them up for pretty cheap (my club just bought three 1993's for $500 each last year). Their decent boats for people just learning, they have spinnikar, and trapeze, however they are fairly heavy and have a 1 peice mast, making them tough to transport. In my experiece, it's quite easy to teach people to sail in a 420, so it may be ideal for you and your family.


Happy sailing.
 

RTBJR

New Member
David,
Thanks for the tip. Transport is not a real big issue as I would keep it at my lake house. I'll look into a 420. By the way, who is the manufacturer?
I have sailed a sunfish quite extensively as well as windsurfed (if that makes any diff)
 

David

New Member
I haven't had any experience with a Vanguard 15, nor do I know anybody who has. I've never seen one around here, and I haven't seen anything about them lately.

I would lean towards a 420, the two boats in question look somewhat similar, but a V15 a much newer boat, so I'm sure there have been some improvements made from 420s. On the other hand, since it is a newer boat, it will likely be harder to find one for sale at a decent price, unlesss you're buying new (I'll go on the assumption that you don't want to spend too much money.)


Does your wife or teenager have any sailing experience?
 
The Vanguard 15 is basically a cross between a daysailor and a 420. It has lots of sail area and goes pretty fast, but the cockpit is more suited to a lazy sail along the shore. They aren't raced, and almost none of them are for sale used.

Club 420's are what most of the junior sailing programs around the country use, and are easy to learn on (these are the other boats I race besides my laser). They have trapeze and spinnaker, but are simple enough and easy enough to control (and tough enough) to survive many a summer at a local club. They are also one of the most-raced boats in the world for juniors, rivaling that of the Optimist.

I would go with a club 420, as if your teenager picks up an interest in racing, all he has to do is find a regatta.

The laser 2 is a light, fast, responsive boat that is harder to control and not exactly great for learning on for the same reasons that laser 1's aren't.

Also, if you were looking for a catamaran, you could look at the Hobie 16. They are also raced on all levels but easy to learn on. They can also hold more than 2 people, and one can be picked up for under $1000.
 

Old Geezer

Member
computeroman2 said:
The Vanguard 15 is basically a cross between a daysailor and a 420. It has lots of sail area and goes pretty fast, but the cockpit is more suited to a lazy sail along the shore. They aren't raced, and almost none of them are for sale used.
Don't know where you got the idea that Vanguard 15's aren't raced. Check out http://www.v15.org/. Seems like there are many active racing fleets and a national schedule. And there are boats for sale used on the message board on that site too.
 

RTBJR

New Member
thanks again for the input!
David, The wife and kid would qualify as novice at best. Appears that I may need 2 boats. 1 for me and 1 for the family.
 

RTBJR

New Member
Now I am getting dangerous! How does the 420/V15 compare to a Tasar?
The Laser is now out of the picture as I understand it is really a one person boat.
Again, I really appreciate all the input.
 

Merrily

Administrator
Another thought for you, is there a yacht club on your lake or nearby? If so, go see what fleets they have, and consider getting one of those fleet boats. Part of the fun in sailing is racing and socializing, and you can do that with any fleet boat.

Merrily
 

rtdanforth

New Member
I've owned a Vanguard 15 for about 5 years, and I just bought a Laser this year. The Vanguard 15 is a great boat for both racing and recreational sailing with your family. It's simple to rig and sail (no trapeze, no spinnaker) , and its hull shape is similar to the Laser's, so it handles similarly. It planes easily. I would highly recommend it. I never known anyone to regret buying one.
 

Flying Monkey

New Member
I would advise against the Laser 2 or V15. Neither are very comfortable, and not really fast. The only advantage is you can have a light crew, but on the flip side a heavy crew is out. A 420 is a good boat, they have been made by many different manufacturers over the years. Vanguard right now makes the most popular 'club' 420 which is a 420 but it's heavier and more robust (good for schools).

If you're looking for a good family boat take a look at the wayfarer or CL 16 (almost identical boats CL 16 is a bit slower) They are pretty roomy, you can stay dry, and a case of beer will fit in the storage compartment, they are also faster then a laser 2 but not hard to handle and easily fit 3 adults. They aren't a very popular racing boat, but then again the laser 2 isn't anymore either.

good luck
 

Old Geezer

Member
Flying Monkey said:
I would advise against the Laser 2 or V15. Neither are very comfortable
Comfortable? Since when was "comfortable" a major factor in selecting a racing dinghy?

Exciting, challenging, fast, popular, scary, durable..... sure. But "comfortable"?

If you want comfortable buy a big soft couch and a 60" flat screen TV and a satellite subscription and a case of Bud light and spend all your weekends watching college football or Fox News or Oprah or some other pap.

If you want excitement and challenge, buy a Laser
 

yrless11

New Member
A JY15 or 420 would be good IMO. I agree that you should check out the local fleets where you plan to sail and see what they have. This will give you the option to race if you want to as well as plenty of resources to get parts/advice/etc. In west MI, Butterflies are also very popular. Interlakes seem to be popular here too. Just a couple of other options to look at.
 

tkjazzer

Member
u of m races and practices on 420s and has other boats. There are some good laser sailors in your area too. I believe sunfish racing is not too far away. I've had trouble finding good racing for V15s or JY15s in Michigan, but I personally would buy a V15 if there were a good team racing fleet around. JY15s aren't easy to roll tack and are pretty heavy.... still great fun in one design though. I would highly recommend getting a laser for yourself, even if you get an old one. The reason a Laser 2 does not make sense is there are no really active fleets in the US. Stick with a Laser or V15. 420s are great for high school age range because that is what they race on in high school. I think only 2 schools in the detroit area have teams though...

check it out. You are close to good sailors in many different fleet. send me an email if you want. If you get into racing 3 man centerboard boats, the lightning fleets are slowly starting to come back after they puttered out a while ago. There are even some Thistle fleets in detroit. Scows are big on torch and other lakes.

hope this helps
 

RTBJR

New Member
Thanks! Looks like I really need to visit some fleets in my area.
I am looking for a boat that can handle myself ( 6' 1" 225) and my wife (can't say but over lbs under 150) or myself and young teen son (120) with multiple rigging options (jib and/or spinnaker). Not necessarily a "dry" boat either.
 

Flying Monkey

New Member
Are you looking for a serious racing boat or a fun cottage boat? My impression was a cottage boat that you could sail with your family. Which is why I recommened more comfortable boats and less racing boats.

Old Geezer said:
Comfortable? Since when was "comfortable" a major factor in selecting a racing dinghy?
Comfort can be a major factor in selecting a racing boat. I know a few people who won't race lasers because they are really uncomfortable. They've chosen much more comfortable boats and in many ways more fun to sail despite a smaller fleet, like a 505, Y-Flyer and wayfarer.
 

RTBJR

New Member
Guess I was not real clear. Looking for more of a performance boat for up to two people for the cottage. It doe snot need to be a dry boat.

Is something live a Force 5 too small? I really would like to get something with multiple rigging configs. Not sure if that is a reality or not.

As you can probably tell, I am lacking in much knowledge in this area.

Perhaps, something for the "kids" and a used Laser for me.

After some additional sailing experience,I'd like to consider racing.

Again, I really appreciate your input.
If the group ever needs to know anything about electronic commerce...
I can help :rolleyes:
 

Old Geezer

Member
Flying Monkey said:
I know a few people who won't race lasers because they are really uncomfortable.
Geeze - well it's their loss.

Laser are not "really uncomfortable" any more than a pair of running shoes are "really uncomfortable". If you run 26 miles in any shoes you are going to have a few aches at the end of the day. If you race a Laser for 8 hours in 20 knots your muscles are going to know you've had a good workout too.

The Laser is a challenging, physically demanding boat - sure. Folks that find it uncomfortable would probably be more happy sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the nursing home with the other old ladies. Good luck to them.
 

Merrily

Administrator
Old Geezer said:
The Laser is a challenging, physically demanding boat - sure. Folks that find it uncomfortable would probably be more happy sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the nursing home with the other old ladies. Good luck to them.
Hey!!! Even us old ladies are enjoying our Lasers. Find another metaphor! :mad:

Merrily
 

Old Geezer

Member
Merrily said:
Hey!!! Even us old ladies are enjoying our Lasers. Find another metaphor! :mad:

Merrily
Sorry. No offence intended. There were 10 females at the US Laser Masters at SSA this year so it's clear that even old ladies can be comfortable on the Laser.

LASER GIRLS KICK ASS.
 
I would definitely go with a club 420. JY15's are a little slower and don't have a trapeze, but they're much roomier. A 420 isn't very comfortable, but is set up for racing. I think if you wanted to eventually race, a 420 is the way to go. Virtually every single junior sailor in the U.S. and many around the world have at least sailed in a 420 if not spent years in them. I myself learned on them, and they are a great boat to learn on.

The only drawbacks are that if your son ever wants to get really competitive, they don't teach things such as keeping the boat flat and playing downwind shifts very well.

Just an afterthought, a MegaByte (Made by P.S.)is a boat like a laser but with a bigger sail, so that you could take out your son or wife when it's windy or sail it yourself when it's light.
 

laser2_9804

New Member
Originally posted by Flying Monkey
The only advantage is you can have a light crew, but on the flip side a heavy crew is out.
Why is a heavy crew out for a L2? The maximum ideal crew weight for a Laser 2 is 170kgs. Besides, if you sail the way I do - the lightest person steering and the heaviest on the wire it gets the weight out of the boat - therefore you go faster and the skipper doesn't have to work so hard to keep the boat flat.

RTBJR - mate, this is the site for the International Laser 2 Class Association --> http://www.laser2sailing.org/ it has some useful info on the boat.

If you are looking for a performance boat I would think the Laser 2 is the way to go (but then I do admit to some bias as that is my boat of choice). However, I disagree with what someone previously said about it being difficult to learn in. I knew little more than the basics when I first bought mine and now I'm racing competatively in the same boat. I like it because you don't have to put the spinnaker up at first, or even use the wire if the wind is light and therefore you can give people a chance to get used to the boat. However, it provides some excitement and great rides once you learn how to sail it properly. I didn't want a boat that I would grow out of and the L2 was definatly the right choice in that respect.
 

David (UK)

New Member
Cant see how the 420 is going to meet your needs. (Fabulous boat, but not really a serious propostion for single handed sailing).

Don't know how easy it would be to get one in the US, but the Topaz (by Toppersailboats) sounds perfect. Can be sailed singlehanded (one sail), two handed (two sails) or with racing rig (including spinnaker and Trapeeze). Not really suitable for 3 up sailing, but then neither is the 420.

Disadvantages are that you are not going to get much choice second hand, and unlikely to find a fleet (at least here in the UK that is the position). But they are relatively inexpensive to buy new (again, here in the UK).
 
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