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Nice Shiny Bottoms.

Officially, what can I do (or not do) to the bottom of my laser and still remain class legal?

Some local boats are seriously scratched up and we want to restore them to a racing bottom, but how do we do that without making any "alterations to the gelcoat", as stated in the rules. Seems like a catch 22.

Good stuff. I know the process pretty well.

In the article it says "Remember that you are not attempting nor are you allowed to change the shape of your boat. This is a cosmetic repair, not a speed enhancement."

What if your cosmetic repair is also a speed enhancement?



Just sailing
Taking a perfectly good hull and doing something which would make it faster would be illegal. You are starting with a damaged hull and repairing it. Repairing it may make the boat faster than when damaged, but it would only be illegal if the repair made the boat faster than an normal, undamaged hull.

My 2 cents.


This is one of those areas where you can easily get stuck in "paralysis by analysis". It helps to realistically look at the purpose of the rule. No hull modifications. No "special coatings". Keep the hull as close to others as is possible, within the spirit of "one design". The overall goal is identical boats. You are using gelcoat, which is the same material as was originally used. You are repairing to the old lines. The spirit is intact.

Hell, for that matter, someone could argue that the scratches in the hull were done intentionally with a goal of inducing supercavitation. :rolleyes:


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
As long as the mould imperfections are still present and the hull is no lighter, then you're unlikely to cross the line. So if you try to fair the hull or try to remove more material than you put back on then you're breaking the rules. You are definitely crossing the line if you pop the deck and stiffen the hull up or remove the buoyancy. Remember that your intentions are to improve the cosmetic appearance by removing the scratches, nothing else.


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
When the laser molds are well cared for there are virtually no mold imperfections on a brand new laser.

The people who wrote the rules were not actually writing that which they wrote on purpose. A "mold imperfection" would be something like a lump on your hull because there was a chip in the mold. No one ever intended to cause sailors with a screwed up hull to be forced to leave the screw up sticking out of the hull.

The early Lasers tended to have horrible resin shrinkage in all the areas where the reinforcements were thicker than just the simple hull skin.

The rule was "intended" to prevent sailors from being forced to fair their entire hulls just to remove all the wiggly surface inperfections that would DEVELOP AFTER THE BOATS WERE REMOVED FROM THE MOLDS!!!!

The rule writers understood that Lasers were a little wiggly on their bottoms and that some speed gains were available by hiring an expert to do the amount of fairing work that would cost about $2000 in today's dollars.


We have always had a fleet of new boats at the very most important races. At the very highest level, nobody has any reason to fair a personal racing hull which will not be used anyway.

In the case of old scratched up lasers, their panel stiffness has long since been lost and as panel stiffness is the single most important factor in Laser hull speed, there is simply no way to make an old Laser faster than a new stiff laser by fairing , shining, and polishing its hull.

So, as no one who really is interested in sailing at the very highest level has any interest in spending $2000 to create a special personal cheater Laser...

And smooth shiny flexible hulls are slow.

The entire discussion about hull fairing has been moot since before it was first begun.