Thanks very much, only if it's not too much trouble.
The reason is a bit complicated, which is why I didn't mention it initially, but perhaps you can advise. My Dad's decided to give up sailing and has offered me his Laser, with both the standard and Radial rigs included. As a 70kg beginner I'm guessing I'd be using the Radial rig. The only trouble is that I have a back problem and he's worried that I won't manage lifting the rig onto the boat when rigging it. I realise it sounds odd that I want to sail a singlehanded Laser with a dodgy back, but I do a lot of strenuous sport and gym stuff (1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week), so I'm fairly sure I'll be fit and strong enough (I'm certainly a lot fitter and stronger than my Dad), it's just lifting that I struggle with.
I've just discovered that the sail on its own is 2kg, which is good news. For windsurfing my largest complete rig comes in at around 10kg for the sail, mast and boom all together, and the board is about the same. I can't carry both to the water together, as most people do, but I can carry each on their own with no issues at all.
Thanks. I guess I probably won't know till I try. If, for example, the mast and sail weigh 7kg, that's not an issue for me to lift, but holding that in outstretched arms whilst the sail's been buffeted by the wind and trying to slot it in might be challenging for my back. I'll try and give it a go.
As torrid said, you can count out the weight of the boom so you'll be lifting just the mast and the sail. Occasionally someone suggests rigging the boom first and then lifting up the whole rig, but I've never even seen anyone do that live, and don't recommend it.
What possibly hurts the back most is the twisting motion when bringing the mast from a horizontal to a vertical position. You might want to put the mast foot against something solid and then use the whole spar as a lever to bring it up. That'll also minimize the time you need to support the whole weight. In very windy and/or gusty conditions, ask for help.
A good rule of thumb is if you can't step the mast, it's too windy for you to go sailing.
If you are able to windsurf despite having a "dodgy" back, I don't think a Laser will be any trouble for you. Also, the people who DO step the mast/boom as a single unit (not very many) work the rig like a windsurf sail while doing so. Your windsurfing experience might give you a leg up if you choose to rig that way.
Thanks very much, I'm pretty confident I'll be fine having chatted to you, so thanks for your info. I saw a video online of a guy rigging entirely on the ground and then lifting the whole thing up, thus my original question. If the Radial sail's under 2kg and you don't normally lift it with the boom attached then I'm almost certain I'll be fine. As I said, my usual windsurfing sail is over 4kg and the whole rig weighs nearly 10kg all up, which is no issue.
Yes, windsurfing's never troubled me at all (even in high winds it's far less physical than the other sports I do), unless the wind is very light and I'm using a big rig, which can give me back pain. However, it's precisely those lighter wind days that attract me towards the Laser. When I have time to travel to the coast, windsurfing's fantastic in the steady 10-20 knot winds we get here and I'm very happy. However, at my local lake, which I windsurf at once a week, I frequently find myself out in 5-10 knots and windsurfing's not so much fun in those conditions; I struggle to stay upwind and therefore really sail anywhere, whereas I see other people out in Lasers sailing all over the place without an issue.
I'll probably take on the boat now and then book myself in on a course to learn to sail in the spring. I can always sell if it doesn't work out.
Rob, as soon as you actually step a Laser mast you will find that the weight of the rig is not the issue, as Torrid said earlier. If the mast is too heavy for you to lift you will never be able to lift one end of the boat to get it on or off of a trailer or dolly.
The real difficulty (and this can be difficult) is holding a long pole upright from the bottom with a sail on it in a breeze. And if the boat is off the ground, as it is with a boat on a trailer or dolly, this becomes quite a bit harder, as this forces you to hold it further down giving you less leverage. So the higher you are standing in relation to the mast hole, the higher up the mast you can hold it, which makes it much easier to handle. Stepping the mast with the boat on some kind of soft ground, then putting it on a trailer or dolly is much easier than stepping it with the boat already on the dolly.
It's also possible if all else fails to get the boat propped on its gunwale somehow (or with some assistance) and then insert the mast from a horizontal orientation. This can be done on a sand beach or even in the water. Finding a way to get the boat to stay up on its side without assistance may be a challenge. Be very careful to prevent any sand from getting into the mast hole. You might also try stepping the mast without the sail, then using the mast to pull the boat onto its gunwale so that the mast is horizontal. Then you could slide the sail onto the mast.
I think you can find a technique that will be successful for you, especially if you can handle a windsurfer rig. I find that it's my arms and shoulders rather than my back that is strained when stepping the Laser mast.