New here, refurbishing an old Laser

Thread starter #1
Hello all. Just bought an old Laser and am looking to get back into sailing. Used to race 110's, Dragons and Flying Fifteens in the 70's and 80's with my dad (salt water). Then life got in the way. Kids off to college now and i'm looking forward to getting back into it, albeit fresh water (lake) this time. Thanks to sailingforums I've been able to do a bit of research as I set about getting the boat ready after years of storage. I will start by ordering up fresh sheets and battens. My observations, and related questions (in italics) follow. Note that I am not looking to race nor spend a lot beyond necessary repairs (safety and "sailability" are more important than cosmetics). Any help is much appreciated.

Serial #: The serial number on the transom indicates a boat built circa '76. Sail # 36692. Performance Sailcraft-built.


Other than needing a good cleaning, the hull is in good shape (deck and bottom don't feel soft) other than a couple of areas where hull and deck need re-bonding. Question: what is the best epoxy to use to seal the gap? I have GFlex for my kayaks, would that work?


Mast/Mast Step:
Mast step seem to be solid except for a bit of missing material between 1 and 5 o'clock in this picture. Note that this boat doesn't have an inspection port to my knowledge. Question: what would be best way to fix this? Epoxy the bottom and put a teflon plate (or Pringle can cover) down there?


Mast step hole seems to have some play (e.g. fore-aft gap between mast and step hole). Question: is this normal?

Mast has some wear on the finish from the mast step hole. Question: any cause for concern?


Rudder: has a crack in it. I'd like to epoxy it and/or insert a thin screw to keep it from further separating, but I'm not sure what material the rudder of a Laser of this vintage is made of. Wood? Fiberglass? Question: any advice on how best to repair?


Swivel Block: Seem to be some stress cracks where the block is attached to the deck. There are also two holes nearby. Questions: What are these holes for and should I be concerned about the cracks under the swivel block?


I am sure I'll have a few more questions down the road, but any help on these to start with are much appreciated! I hope to contribute to this forum myself over time!

-Greg
 

LaLi

Active Member
#2
The serial number on the transom indicates a boat built circa '76. Sail # 36692. Performance Sailcraft-built.
Looks like April 1976. The rudder fittings were changed to plastic not long after that.

Mast step hole seems to have some play (e.g. fore-aft gap between mast and step hole). Question: is this normal?
It would be abnormal if did not have that play! That's how each and every laser is.

Mast has some wear on the finish from the mast step hole. Question: any cause for concern?
Probably not, but it depends on how thin the wall has become at that point. I have the same problem with my old Standard mast; I applied this stuff to stop further deterioration.

Rudder: has a crack in it. I'd like to epoxy it and/or insert a thin screw to keep it from further separating, but I'm not sure what material the rudder of a Laser of this vintage is made of. Wood? Fiberglass? Question: any advice on how best to repair?
The "Crompton" foils were made of closed-cell polyurethane foam with a steel-rod "skeleton" inside and nothing but white paint on the outside. No glass or wood. However, repairing them usually involves fibreglass - I'd sand away some of the foam around the crack, apply some glass mat + resin, and sand level. Repainting would be a little pointless as that part is invisible inside the rudder head.

Swivel Block: Seem to be some stress cracks where the block is attached to the deck. There are also two holes nearby. Questions: What are these holes for and should I be concerned about the cracks under the swivel block?
1. Get rid of the swivel cleat. It simply doesn't work very well, and is nowadays illegal, too. Fill the four holes with gelcoat. 2. Get a ratchet block (and saddle and spring) and attach it with the same screws at the same location as the hiking strap. (We can talk about cleats later.) 3. The two "extra" holes are for the mandatory centreboard brake. Get one and attach it.

_
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#3
The swivel main sheet block with cleat is still legal. Virtually no one has used that arrangement in decades.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#4
The swivel main sheet block with cleat is still legal
I don't think it is! There's no mention of it in the current rules, and it was deleted from the measurement diagram in 2005 or so.

You can have a block with an integrated cleat, but it has to be attached like a cleatless block.

_
 
Thread starter #5
Thank you LaLi and everyone. Would the centerboard be made of the same material as the rudder? Here is a pic of the centerboard:
4E270858-6603-43A8-A8FC-50E0E5A5DC1A.jpeg
Was thinking of painting it just to freshen it up even though it’ll be underwater. Fish can be very judgy you know. Any particular paint to recommend?
 

LaLi

Active Member
#6
Would the centerboard be made of the same material as the rudder?
Same stuff. You can see how the foam has turned brown where the paint is gone; if you sand it even lightly, you'll expose the original yellow colour. (And then you can apply new paint on top of that.)

Another fun thing to do with old Laser foils is to map the internal reinforcements with a magnet ;)

_
 
#7
If it was my boat (considering its age) I'd install an inspection port near the mast hole (and off center) and reinforce the connection of the mast tube with the hull. If you search this forum you'll find lots of info about that and descriptions of the catastrophe you will avoid by doing so. This work isn't hard, and if it looks bad like my work did, no one will see it anyway! Also check that the mast tube holds water - doesn't leak out of a worn place at the bottom.

I have some wear on the mast like you show in the photos (my hull is number 555) and I used material similar to what LaLi suggested. Later I removed it as it became imbedded with sand and accelerated wear on the mast hole. I suppose if you don't sail near sand this may not happen.
 
Thread starter #8
If it was my boat (considering its age) I'd install an inspection port near the mast hole (and off center) and reinforce the connection of the mast tube with the hull. If you search this forum you'll find lots of info about that and descriptions of the catastrophe you will avoid by doing so. This work isn't hard, and if it looks bad like my work did, no one will see it anyway! Also check that the mast tube holds water - doesn't leak out of a worn place at the bottom.

I have some wear on the mast like you show in the photos (my hull is number 555) and I used material similar to what LaLi suggested. Later I removed it as it became imbedded with sand and accelerated wear on the mast hole. I suppose if you don't sail near sand this may not happen.
Thanks Rob. I will give the step repair some thought by researching what’s required. From what I’ve seen so far it is a fair amount of Effort. The boat has only seen flat/fresh water use over the years. Our lake doesn’t permit power boats and is relatively small (300 acres) so propensity for salt/wave impact is nil, so hopefully the step/tube have held up ok. The inspection port is a good idea so I may do that to at least see what condition it’s in. Btw 555 was the registration number of our 110 when I was growing up. I’d love to get a picture of Laser # 110555. ;-)
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#9
I don't think it is! There's no mention of it in the current rules, and it was deleted from the measurement diagram in 2005 or so.

You can have a block with an integrated cleat, but it has to be attached like a cleatless block.

_
I don't want to disrupt the thread. But I don't understand how you are differentiating between them. Your standard Harken/Ronstan cleat has swivel, I.e. The pin that you shackle onto rotates in the base of the block.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#10
Alan, Icebiker's swivel cleat is the RWO R195L (now R1955). That exact fitting was the only other cleating option to side-deck cleats for a long time. The difference to other, now legal integrated-cleat blocks is the fastening method with the four "extra" screws (which have caused Icebiker's deck to crack). That layout was pictured in the deck measurement diagram until 2005-ish, but not anymore. As the current rules don't specifically allow it, I take it's illegal.

But the bottom line is, that fitting doesn't work very well: it doesn't ratchet, the lead from the boom is very unfair at most angles, and the cleating angle is awkward on most points of sail no matter how you adjust the cleat arm. Better to change it to the standard sheeting system even from a practical point of view.

_
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#11
Interesting .....

I'm just flicking through same of the handbooks (1993-2017) and the wording hasn't changed in all that time other than deleting the phase "cockpit centre" at the start of the paragraph between 2000 and 2002.
1993: The cockpit centre mainsheet block.... -1993 Section 13(a)
2017: The mainsheet block..... - Section 3(c)iii.

The picture of this style of fitting location disappeared in 2006, the change is not indicated in the preamble and probably due to so few using it to justify the cluttering of the measurement diagrams.

More recently the wording has changed in the diagram section to indicate
2005: "Location for ratchet block or mainsheet pulley"/"Location for swivel cam"
2006: "Mainsheet block to be attached to eyestrap over friction pad..."
2009: "Mainsheet block shall be attached to eyestrap in position A".

I would have sent the picture off to the World Measurer for clarification including referencing the old measurement books, IMO the set up would be illegal until notified otherwise, only because of the wording change in the measurement diagrams and not the lack of no longer having the diagram. However, if I had the authority I'm undecided whether I would permit as it was legal at one stage, at one level someone turning up with an old boat with old style fittings or sail you would let through, but the radial bottom section was shorted by 50mm and all the existing sections had to be cut down.

I fully agree that centre cleating doesn't work on a Laser. Hell, I hate side cleats as well.
 
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Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#12
Hey, Icebiker, nobody has addressed that split rollover joint on the rail between deck & hull, which falls into the "Ugly" category on "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" scale, aye??? Left as it is, it'll surely give ya grief, so ya need to repair that pronto... one way is to clean out the trash, fill it with epoxy resin and clamp it in multiple locations. Another way is to REALLY clean it out, do a bit of linear glasswork and THEN clamp it, maybe even add some pop rivets or recessed stainless bolts, washers & nylon locknuts to the equation, the shallow recessed boltheads being on the rail. For drastic rail repair, a thin & narrow aluminum stringer can be added to the hull side of the the rollover joint, but that's kinda pushing it with regard to these nautical heroes... moi, I say do whatever it takes to make the craft seaworthy again, MARINE SAFETY under heller conditions is always my greatest concern, rather than racing or misguided purist bull$h!t. :confused:

That mast step looks cheesy at the lower joint between step tube and hull, I'd bet good money there's a crack there worthy of a leak... I used epoxy resin to fix such a problem before, and I also put a stiff flat rubber donut down there to ease wear & tear from the spar as it rotated, but you'll wanna keep an eye on the joint and possibly glass the step from inside the hull (or inspection hatch) to wrap the problem area and seal it up better, as well as reinforce it. Kinda weird, that wear on your mast, almost as if the step hole is worn to such a degree that the spar rattles around a bit... you can wrap the spar or pad the hole to fix that problem, as long as the spar can still rotate freely in the step. You'll figure that one out, it ain't rocket science. I once snapped a lower mast section (above the step) and wound up using aluminum tubing inside & out, thin aluminum sheets & epoxy to repair the break... worked like a charm for many years, but added weight to the spar, LOL. :eek:

What else? Oh, yeah, that rudder... I would drill a hole or two for screw placement, maybe countersink 'em slightly, then epoxy the crack and drive those screws home to hold the repair in place. Drive the stainless screws down directly from the edge, not from either side where they might interfere with the smooth action of the rudder as it swings on the bolt. Clean it up afterward, maybe add more epoxy here and there, then get the rudderhead back on there and get on with your business. At least the crack isn't in a critical location---could be worse, right where the goddam bolt and stress are located, LOL. You can make this repair ugly as long as ya make it strong, nobody will see it anyway under the rudderhead if ya do it right AYE??? Except perhaps some ambitious narco detective who thinks you're smuggling hashish or cocaine aboard your boat, LOL... damn. Anyway, I'll let you figure out what to do about the main block, I like big ol' Harken ratchet blocks myself... but that's just moi, you can fill those other holes once ya figure out what ya want. :rolleyes:

KUDOS TO YA FOR BRINGING AN OLD LASER BACK TO LIFE... AND FOR BEING A GOOD PARENT, AYE??? NOT ALL ARE THAT WAY... ;)

P.S. Now that I look at the photos again, it appears that somebody tried to fill that crack in the rollover joint with some material, you'll wanna scrape that $h!t outta there before ya make the repair, aye??? See the width of the rollover joint or rail further forward or aft of the open crack??? THAT is the width you want for your repair, or the end result of your repair, give or take a few millimeters. No worries, I have confidence in you, you can and will make that rail & rollover joint right again... WAHOO!!! Time for some more beers & entertainment on the 65" curved screen, CHEERS!!! :D
 
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Thread starter #13
Thanks much Ghost Rider! Indeed I was looking for guidance on the rollover Joint. And, as for the mast step: I did the water test. Poured about 8 oz in and all but the last 1 1/2 “ drained in to the hull, so there is definitely a crack somewhere. Interestingly I found a prior owner inserted a tennis ball down there, presumably to slow down the wear. But that must have raised the mast and created leverage against the tube sufficient to crack it further up. That’s my theory anyway as to why the step holds water but only at the very bottom.

I will start my “Laserrection” project by installing a 5” inspection port 11” off center from the step hole and seeing what’s going on. I’ve never worked with fiberglass before so have found about 1,034 videos and pics to guide me. Have also found a local sailor who does fiberglass repair and will have him help me evaluate the work necessary. I’m not looking to spend a ton on this project. But it would be great to get the old boat back on the water. I’ve also found that the tang on the boom that carries the upper vang block has two broken rivets so that will need to be fixed too.
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#14
You should be able to repair the split rollover joint simply by using epoxy resin and clamps, maybe a little glasswork once ya clean out that filler cr@p somebody used. The idea is to bond the glass layers back together again, and a few good clamps will help you do that. If you need to put an aluminum backing strip under the rail, you can find one at any decent metal shop or yard, the strip will look like an aluminum batten---you can even round the ends with a bench grinder prior to installing it. That's a last resort, to be employed only if you can't get the split joint to bond well... I'd go with stainless bolts and other hardware if you must, a row of 'em spaced evenly down that strip will permanently solve the problem, without adding too much weight. I actually used thicker aluminum strips to reinforce a deck one time, and they worked great, though they looked like something out of the original "MAD MAX" or "THE ROAD WARRIOR"---some passengers commented favorably upon them, which tells ya something about my social life, LOL. :eek:

Meh, I ran into purist flak when I modded out my monkeybike, but the fact was that my FrankenBike with its 140cc motor could run circles around the stockers and even the big bore kits, LOL. Being a purist ain't always the fastest way to go, aye? I'm much more interested in marine safety & performance, but then again, I'm not tied to any class rules or specs... and it sounds like you aren't either, like you just wanna get out there and have some fun aboard the boat. Moi, I'm all about having fun on the water, as long as one adheres to principles of marine safety, starting with the "Rules of the Road"---which many novice sailors and powerboat operators do NOT understand. Never assume the other guy has the first clue about the "Rules of the Road"---most sailboat racers will, but not all recreational sailors, some of those tards may have just rented a boat for the first time in their lives. Ya gotta be careful out there, especially in an area with heaps of marine traffic... I used to avoid sailing on major holiday weekends in Dago: too many clueless operators, too many drunks, and not the good kinda drunks who had a clue despite their inebriation, LOL. ;)

But I digress... you're spot on about that mast step, the tennis ball surely contributed to unwanted stress on that step tube. You ever see one of those cardboard Pillsbury biscuit tubes split open, the product still inside? THAT is what your step tube problem resembles, though the crack(s) may not be as drastic. A sure way to fix that is to pull some glass work through the inspection hatch, you'll have to pre-cut pieces of cloth and set a pot (or plastic tub) of resin in the hull, using a cheap Chinese brush to coat the step tube (inside the hull) prior to wrapping the cloth sections around the tube. Disposable gloves are recommended, have the box handy so you can tear off & replace gloves as necessary. You'll wanna be sure those cloth sections wrap around the tube correctly, and use the gloves to smooth the cloth sections and eliminate air bubbles (the bane of all glassworkers, those air bubbles create weak spots). If ya do it right, you'll wrap the step tube in multiple layers of cloth---you don't have to do all the layers at once, you understand. Use plenty of resin too, ya wanna make sure the cloth is fully saturated. Don't sweat the ugliness, it'll all be hidden under deck, LOL. :rolleyes:

You can also reinforce the joints by introducing strips of cloth to bolster the compound curve... you can ask your friend the glassworker about that technique. Another option is to wet each joint, place woven glass rope around it, and saturate the heck out of it... you can only work on one joint at a time, to do the upper joint (where step tube meets deck) you'll have to flip the hull topside down on some sawhorses or whatever. You want gravity to help you as you work on each joint, save the upper joint for last because you'll be working blind under the flipped hull. However, by that time you should have some idea of what needs to be done, and you can still do the job by feel if your materials are handy and you understand your mission. All of this work should be done with the hull completely dry and the work area as clean as you can get it, so the resin & glass cloth adhere properly. You may not need to tackle the joints IF you wrap the step tube well enough, but WTF, I figure if you're already in there, why NOT beef up the step a bit? Your call... but I recommend wrapping the step tube, that'll go a long way toward sealing up that leak and preventing it from happening again anytime soon. :D

Oh, yeah, that rubber donut I mentioned? Well, it was really more of a "rubber washer" I found in some industrial warehouse, thing was about 5/16" thick and its diameter matched the inside diameter of the step tube perfectly, LOL. After I sealed one leak with epoxy resin, I used a baseball bat to push that rubber washer down into the step tube, seating it at the very bottom of the tube itself. The rubber washer had a central hole, just like other washers, which helped dry out the works once I was done rinsing the boat. The rubber compound was tough, not soft, so the mast rotated perfectly atop it, especially once a little seawater or spray slopped into the step. No more grinding of glass in the hole, and the rig itself was not elevated sufficiently to cause the kind of problem you mentioned in cracking the step tube. Just a thought, you can find some cool stuff in those industrial warehouses, LOL. I swear, I could build an entire boat from materials scavenged in one of those warehouses... kinda like those TV shows where contestants build cr@p from stuff found in a junkyard. Again, the boat would look like some post-apocalyptic nightmare, but as long as she screamed across the surface, no worries, LOL. :confused:

Anyway, good luck with your project, this is just the kind of project which appeals to me as a "high-performance cruiser"---my friends and I, we liked to PAR-TAY on the water back in Dago, but we liked to GO FAST & LOOK GOOD as we did it, LOL. That sort of action made a nautical statement, don'tcha know??? But there were also times when we steered clear of ALL MARINE TRAFFIC, carving out our own secluded stamping grounds somewhere on the surface of the ocean, with nobody else around so we could do whatever the heck we wanted. Those were the days, long before the misnamed "Patriot Act" and "Homeland Security" were cooked up by gubmint tools of globalist trash... WAY more freedom back in those days, yeah??? I'm not sure a hand could do what I did before, repeatedly sailing a Laser to Los Coronados and pulling "stealth voyages" with no repercussions... bad enough to get shaken down by American gubmint thugs nowadays, let alone "La Armada de Mexico" all keyed up to hassle American small craft sailors in Mexican waters. Good thing I went when I did, same way it's good that I sailed the length of the Salton Sea PRIOR to bailing from the Socialist Republik of KaliMexiFornia---don't plan on ever going back, that's for GODDAM SURE, LOL. :cool:

MEH, ENOUGH YAKKIN' FOR NOW, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK & POST SOME PICS OF YOUR PROGRESS, AYE??? IT'S BEER-THIRTY FOR THIS KID, CHEERS & HASTA LUEGO!!! :)
 
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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#15
No need to use metal strips etc on the deck/hull joint and yes resin will run out of it naturally, it really is what holds the two pieces together. Years of abuse will mean that the bog holding the joint together is fractured and it will continue to open up because it's weak. Maybe consider replacing the whole joint but do it in stages and not in one go.

  • Clamp the ends of the crack so it doesn't spread further whilst you work.
  • Clean out the easily assessable cracked bog with a chisel. 2cm/3/4" deep
  • Make up an epoxy resin/micro ballon mix, you want it to flow a little and pour / scrape that into the crack. If it's too thin it will just run into the hull cavity, to thick and it won't bond together anything deep inside the crack.
  • Use a couple more clamps to keep the crack even in thickness.
  • Once it's dry or you've worked fully around the boat, making tape up the area and pour straight epoxy resin into the remainder of the gap to bring it up to the height of glass and smooth out later on when it's dry.
 
Thread starter #17
Thanks again everyone for your input. Have taken in your advice, chatted with a local sailor and done a bit more research on this forum and others. Have decided to tackle the hull first, then once that's done and out of the way will work on foils, rigging and the older plastic bits. To get started, I'd appreciate your guidance on plan:

1) Cut out a 5" hole for inspection port, using use jigsaw with fine tooth blade suitable for metal. Correct?
2) Cut the hole 10" off center of mast tube hole, 10" center to center, not shortest distance edge-to-edge. Correct?
3) I was going to follow the guidance here for repairing the mast tube. Sound right?
http://schrothfiberglass.com/maststep.htm
4) After repairing mast step, install inspection port.
5) Use resin (and instructions above from y'all) to seal rollover joint.

Assuming I have the above right, can you provide some guidance on:

1) what resin product to use, and what size can for this sort of job? (32oz can?) I assume West system 105? APS also sells a Polyester Resin, is this to be used instead?

2) What hardener to use (fast/slow)? I assume slow since I'm new to this and may need time to do it carefully? Also, how much (quantity) do I need..Also 32oz, or do I use less hardener than resin (and thus can order the 7oz size)?

2) what fiberglass tape to use, and where to get it. Unless I'm not looking in the right place, APS doesn't carry it. West Marine does, but there are many choices: Fiberglass Cloth & Tape | West Marine. Which to use, and how much of it?

Thanks all for your advice and patience!
 
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