Class Politics Laser Portsmouth Handicap

Tom Pierson

New Member
I am looking to propose having two Portsmouth Numbers for the Laser. Pre 2000 boats with recreational rigging shouldn't be handicaped the same as race ready boats post 2000. The vang alone makes these boats very different.
The Sunfish Class has this type of handicaping.
Who and how do I pursue this effort?
Local Laser Fleet Captain
I'm not sure if that would work. In my experience the differences are VERY small and are dwarfed by the ability of the sailor. So in order to get meaningful numbers you need a lot of data to warrant a different rating. Taking into account most of the olds boats that race (at least here in NL for example) have been upgraded with the new style vang (both class legal and knockoff), there's not much data to go by....
Forget it. It's one and the same class, under the same rules. If you want to split it you need another set of rules, which would be bound to be arbitrary and unfair. Policing would be very hard. There is actually no clear-cut line between pre- and post-2001 equipment; I always tell people with old boats to not spend too much on new fittings, but to ”mix and match” as the current rules allow nearly everything that the older ones did.

And as Jaap said, these kind of differences in performance are so small that they drown in the noise, so to speak. Something like different vangs don’t give a measurable edge. Think about the fact that in the 2004 Olympics both gold and bronze, and in 2008 a silver went to sailors using the original vang cleat block!