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blob

New Member
I was recently given an old Laser for free by my neighbor whose son abandoned it. I cleaned it up and it's actually very very nice! Clearly was a serious race machine in its heyday, what with a carbon fiber filler and fancy blocks and such.

I was going to try a couple of regattas later this summer if the Covid thing passes -- I gather they call my age group "Grand Master" -- I am an empty-nester and getting steady crew would be a huge pain so a single-handed boat is clearly the way to go. As a teen I used to campaign a Laser. Then later on, I was a good J24 racer and got up to an occasional podium finish. But I haven't raced at all for two decades so I'm not sure if I even remember the fine points. Anyhow, couple of questions:

1. To sail in actual Laser regattas, I assume I need to rejoin US Sailing. (I remember not liking USSA years ago, and I can't recall why.) Anyway, is there also some Class association that I also need to join?

2. The boat came with a couple of sails, and they are in great shape. They do have numbers. But they aren't stamped so they appear to be just training sails. Am I disallowed from competing in actual Laser regattas without the approved sail? I have no particular wish to spend $600 just to get back out there and see if I still have any decent moves up my sleeve. That being said, I don't want to be perceived as a cheater in any way; perhaps the training sails are a different cut or something?

3. Does the boat itself need to be certified? I remember that in J24s I had to get the boat weighed and measured and it was a pretty big ordeal; then the measurement certificate was kept onboard at all times. Do you have to get a Laser examined by a class official?
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
  1. For many Laser regattas, one should be a member of ILCA. For Club level racing, no one cares, at least in the club that I am a member of. I don't think that membership of US Sailing is required to compete in most Masters events.
  2. To compete in other than club level racing, a 'legal' sail is required. If the sail has a (red) button showing that a fee was paid, it's legal.
  3. Lasers don't need to be measured except at the highest level of racing. At that level, they are inspected for adherence to class rules.
PS: I am only familiar with the North American scene
 
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LaLi

Well-Known Member
Wavedancer already gave some good answers, but I'll add mine, too....

1. This varies with country and region. In my area, you need to be a member of the national class association to participate in national championship regattas and to get listed in the national rankings. This automatically makes you a member of ILCA as well. You also have to be a member of a recognized club, which also makes you a member of the national sailing authority. But only some or none of this may apply in your country!

Bottom line: contact your district to find out what is required.

2. Laser sails don't have actual stamps (except from regattas) because they're not measured. The red patch near the tack (where the sailmaker's mark is located on other classes' sails) is the "stamp" of approval. Its content varies with sail size and age; if yours are Standard MkIs (crosscut) made in the late 1980s or later, it says "New numbers 3.8". In the early '90s, a plastic button was added as a "tax stamp". It's orange in the Standard MkIIs and red in all others.

The sail, just like all equipment, has to be legal in all racing, and despite what many will tell you, this does include club racing. Whether that's actually enforced at all is another matter.

My impression is that the vast majority of the so-called "training" sails are rather slavish copies of the originals, just made with cheaper materials and labour.

3. Lasers don't have measurement certificates, and the only time they're "measured" is a quick equipment check at international championship regattas.

How old is that boat? What's the number on the cockpit plaque, or the embossed number under the bow eye, or the code on the transom? Do the sails' numbers match? (Pictures please!)

_
 

blob

New Member
I have no idea how old it is, the sail number is 176xxx (I forget the last three digits). I cleaned it up and it seems like it will be a really nice little machine.

One minor question: I ordered a new bailer online because the old one was missing the door. Installed it with some 4200 that I had lying around. Now I see, reading the fine print, that it's only a _practice_ bailer; it's a Nautos brand and was a little over $20. Looks exactly identical to the old one that was on there. Is this thing in fact not class legal? For heaven's sakes, on my first 5-minute project I appear to have already made the boat non-compliant.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
the sail number is 176xxx
If it's the same number on the cockpit sticker, then it's a 2003 boat. If it's Vanguard-built, you can find out the building month from the code on the transom.

I have to say it's kind of suspicious if you get a boat that new for free...

Is this thing in fact not class legal?
Good question. It's hard to keep up with the (il)legality of all the various parts (and believe me, I am trying :confused: ), because the manufacturers, sellers and even the builders simply don't seem to care. "Nautos" may be a swear word in this context, but not all of their stuff is illegal, either. The last time I bought a new bailer (many years ago now) I made sure to get it from an official dealer, and that the package had the Laser trademark on it. Guess what it turned out to say on the thing itself :rolleyes:

So, if you've already mounted that bailer, keep it there and forget it. There's no guarantee that the "fine print" is correct, even.

_
 

blob

New Member
In coastal MA.

The number on the sails disagrees with the number of the hull though. It has a silver perma-sticker on the aft wall of the cockpit, which says 161-something. Which one governs?

Anyhow I replaced the bailer, fixed up a couple of tiny whoopses in the gelcoat, washed the deck, and polished up the bottom over the weekend. Whole thing looks killer! Will take it out for a test spin as soon as I get trailer for it (just has a dolly).

Question: the boat doesn't have an inspection port. My understanding is that for older boats that live in salt water, they need to be hosed out pretty well each time after sailing to avoid salt buildup. Would it make sense to put one in? Or just leave well enough alone?
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
The cockpit sticker number is the real number, and the sails are from some newer boat. 161xxx was built in 1997.

I don’t have inspection ports on my boat, either, and never needed one. And I’ve never heard about salt accumulation inside the hull being a problem.

Please post pictures!

_
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
I agree with LaLi that you don't need a port unless you see a problem cropping up.
Some will argue that a mast step reinforcement is a smart preventive move for older boats.
 

Riv

Member
One of the Laser books recommended a batch at each end to allow the boat to dry out. Picture showed them off when cartooning so air gets forced through.
 
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