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Max wind for light sailor


I weigh about 160 lbs and have been avoiding windy days because I do not want to be overpowered. I have recently started sailing my Laser again after a long break and it is great. I have been avoiding days with more than about 10 knots, but I am debating whether I am being overly cautious.

I know that I am light for the full rig Laser, but that is what I own and the wind where I sail is generally light. However there are very windy days as well and it would be fun to blast around on the windy days, high teens to low twenties, but I do not want to get hurt or stranded by being so overpowered that I cannot control the boat.

In the past I was frostbiting and a squall came through with 50 knots winds. I pitch poled and was thrown off of the boat several times while trying to get back to shore. I know 50 knots is not 20 knots, but too much wind is too much wind. I was also 50 lbs heavier and 25 years younger.



dn ǝpıs sıɥʇ
I weight about the same and sail a full rig. I would bump your max up to 12-15 knots, I enjoy the extra challenge and speed. At 15+ knots it will probably stop being fun sailing and more physical/technical, even if you are deliberately depowering the sail. You can always stay close to the dock and see how you feel about it.


Dont even know. I'm sailing radial, and I have about same weight with you (72-74kilos) and with radial I'm going out even in 20-25 knots, 10 it's already not enough. Sailing is addiction:rolleyes:


Active Member
I don't think it is so much about your weight and a "maximum" wind speed, but more a combination of factors such as your fitness, experience and technique, where you sail - on a sea or lake, and is there rescue cover available? etc.
If you are able to, try and build up your experience with other boats around and talk to other sailors about how they rig their Lasers for stronger winds. As a lighter sailor, you will need to utilise these settings at a lower wind range.
As suggested above, there are techniques for depowering your sail to make it easier in stronger winds.
At around 55 to 60kg I have sailed the full rig upto 30knots at sea. But you do need to build up to that with technique, boat handling, fitness and confidence. And I would never go out on my own in those conditions.
And don't forget, that if you do not have access to a radial rig, you can also reef the full rig. This is easily done by raising the sail and tightening the cunningham and then taking 2 or 3 turns of the mast to wrap the sail around it (you will need to remove the top batten for 3 or more turns) then attach the boom as normal - although you may need a longer outhaul line.
The Laser is a fun boat, just build up carefully to stronger conditions, dress according to the weather and stay safe and have fun.