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Old Laser help requested?

woodreau

New Member
I just picked up a 1973 Laser and was looking for some information.

It appears to be in good shape, but I'm not sure I know what I should be looking for to check for hidden damage that needs to be addressed before I put it in the water.
The hull appears to be intact. and the foils appear to be the original wooden foils. The spars appear to be good.

I just discovered that the hull may house an ant pile, so would I harm anything by opening the hull inspection port in the forward deck and then spraying down the inside of the hull with water? and then draining it all out the drain port in the stern?

I think I might want to get another sail and a set of replacement lines and maybe replace the block on the hull by the daggerboard slot.

what size lines should I be looking for and what lengths? The mainsheet appears to be 6-8 mm? what size lines the vang, cunningham, and traveller and outhaul lines?

I'm not looking to race it, just get back into sailing. It has been over 20 years since I last sailed a Laser, and I think I remembered just enough to rig it up, the youtube videos I looked at for Laser rigging were not any help as they all seem to have a lot more blocks and gadgets than I remember.

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ProATC

Member
I'm not sure I know what I should be looking for to check for hidden damage that needs to be addressed before I put it in the water.
Fill up the mast hole with water to see if it holds, if not, then have a look through the inspection port to see where it is leaking and how fast. If it leaks, then there are plenty of threads here on how to fix. Other than that, put it in the water and sail around for a bit, then pull the drain plug to see if any water ends up in the hull. There should be a lot of pics and threads on this site for boats of your vintage and rig set up. From what little the photos show, it doesn't look too bad at all.

would I harm anything by opening the hull inspection port in the forward deck and then spraying down the inside of the hull with water?
No, just make sure to let it air out and dry afterwards.

what size lines should I be looking for and what lengths?
The mainsheet looks like an 8mm from the photo, which will still get you sailing comfortably. Most people here recommend 6mm or 7mm you can find on most internet sites. If you are not going to upgrade the systems, and use what you have already, you should just replace the lines with the same length and diameter as what you have. As long as the cleat holds the line, doesn't matter the diameter. A new sail will be fun, a new cleat is cheap and will help. Looks like you will be sailing in no time, congrats on the new boat.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
You'll find a lot of the information you want in this recent thread: 70's Laser Value - Is this a fair price?

would I harm anything by opening the hull inspection port in the forward deck and then spraying down the inside of the hull with water? and then draining it all out the drain port in the stern?
In one word, no. But while doing that, you might as well leave some water inside for a while to test if the centreboard case, bailer. or transom plug leak.
As the boat has an inspection port on the foredeck (it's not original), it's likely that the mast step has been repaired. It would still be good, as ProATC suggested, to fill the step as well with water to see if it leaks.
The hull/deck seam is another potential leaking source; check it visually first, and if it looks bad, we'll give further instructions :D

what size lines should I be looking for and what lengths? The mainsheet appears to be 6-8 mm? what size lines the vang, cunningham, and traveller and outhaul lines?
The sheet should be 6 to 7 mm thick, about 13.5 metres long, rather stiff than soft (so it doesn't kink as easily), and not necessarily low-stretch. See also: mainsheet question
The cleating part of the vang for the original vang cleat has to be at least 5 mm (6 is better) and stiff so it releases more easily.
The cleating parts of the cunningham and outhaul are 4 or 5 mm.
The traveller is best with a 5 mm/3.5 m low-stretch (in practice, Dyneema core) line.
Vang, cunningham, and outhaul line lengths vary a lot depending on the purchase system you're using. They may also have a separate primary line, which is typically a 3 mm single-braid Dyneema. But we can talk about the options later.

the youtube videos I looked at for Laser rigging were not any help as they all seem to have a lot more blocks and gadgets than I remember.
You missed out on the big rule change of 2001 :D The good news for the vintage boat owner is that you can now build simple, working control systems without having to learn the "stupid rope tricks" of the past.

About the pictures:
The centreboard brake needs to be replaced. You'll get one from Vela Sailing Supply, which is The place in your region for all things Laser.
The swiveling sheet cleat is whole another matter.
The centreboard is missing a chunk from the bottom aft corner. Are you thinking of repairing this?
A longer tiller extension would make boat handling easier.

By the way, what's the sail/hull number? You'll find it on the transom or under the bow fitting.

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kevink16

New Member
Welcome to the old boat club! I just picked up the '74 laser from the thread linked above and found myself asking a lot of the same questions as you in this past week.

If you want to replace all of your lines, you could check out this kit from West Coast Sailing Laser Line Kit *Recreational* which has all the lines needed for the classic rigging. There's also a How-To video on their page for how to rig the classic laser controls like our boats have. As previously mentioned, there are numerous rigging hacks that have been done by others over the years to add more purchase to your control lines. If you plan to do any of these, then sourcing your own line from a local marine shop or buying online by the ft would be a better option then going for the kit as you'll need more line than the classic rigging required.

My wooden foils are in similar shape as yours. I'm planning to sand them down, restain them, and varnish them. Some people also suggest applying a coat or two of penetrating epoxy prior to varnishing but my boat won't get much use so I don't think it's necessary for me.

Since you're never planning to race, you're free to use "practice" parts (aka aftermarket brands) for anything you want to replace/upgrade and can save yourself some money. From what I've seen shopping around, Intensity Sails has the best prices on replacement parts in the US. They do a terrible job of identifying Class legal parts from practice parts though which I think is why I've seen some people talk badly about them online.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Ah, we have a small mystery here, worthy of the great Sherlock Holmes himself... or not. My old Laser #2069 was built in '72, so that sail shown in your pics may have once belonged to an older boat... your '73 would have a number higher than my old boat. Of course, there may be some other reason for the #640 on your sail, but if it's original, then it belonged to an older boat. However, if the sail was stored properly, it may still be serviceable, you'll want to inspect it closely and look for any signs of wear, dry rot or weakness. If it's sketchy, swap it out, think of it as a marine safety issue... :rolleyes:

Same goes for the lines, hard to tell from pics how good they are... and line is only as strong as its weakest point. Damn, that almost looks like the old Samson Yacht Braid for that mainsheet, I always liked the feel of that line, LOL. Far too thick by today's standards, I suppose, but very comfortable back in the day. As another hand or two pointed out, since you're not racing you can rig that boat any way you damned well please... for starters, I'd flip that vang around and tie a loop at the bitter end of the line, so it hangs down under the boom and is easier to reach while you're under way. Clew tie-down recommended as well... :D

Considering her age, the boat doesn't look too bad, just the usual wear & tear from previous owners. Looks like the very same tiller extension I first had with Laser #2069, though it didn't last long as I upgraded in short order. Don't sweat any problems you may discover with your boat, there are plenty of experienced hands here who can help you make things right... and there are numerous threads on repairs for common problem areas. Moi, I'd lose that ugly red color and paint the hull purple or blue, but that's just my opinion, LOL, and not a top priority. ;)

ANYWAY, LOOKS LIKE A DECENT SCORE FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES, DON'T HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP HERE... CHEERS!!! :cool:
 

woodreau

New Member
Thank you very much for the replies about where to look for leaks.

I just ordered the recreational line kit from West Coast sailing - I found that site right after I posted my original post.
When I was looking for used lasers in my area, I had found a boat that had everything except the foils, and that owner pointed me to Intensity Sails to get replacements if I bought his boat (which I passed on.)

The previous owner of this boat said it was last sailed over two years ago, and when I found the boat in his driveway, the all of the lines were still rigged on the spars and hull... so they've been out exposed to the weather for two years then. So new lines all around.

I have been wondering about what the proper sail number is for this boat. I found for this era boat I'm supposed to look under the boweye. But when I look under the boweye, it is blank. Googling led me to this site: Wayback Machine

I do agree that the sail does not agree with the boat. The only identifying mark I have found on the boat is on the transom under the lower rudder mount point - PFS074720573 which put its manufacture in Montreal - from the 1971 to 1974 timeframe. The rudderhead has a stamp "Made in Canada" So I suspect the sail number should be 7472 ? and not 640. The sail is made by Elvstrom Sails in Ontario and looks like it's been repaired a few times and still looks serviceable. but i probably am looking to replace it as well after I get back out sailing a few times.

I'll have to look at the centerboard again. When I looked at the centerboard, it looked like there was nothing missing and no damage to it other than the wear on the leading edge. and the trailing edge of the board was intact.

We did put the boat in the water yesterday, we didn't sail it, mainly to look to see if the hull leaks. After floating about for about 45 minutes, we pulled the transom plug and water did drain out for about 30 seconds. For now I'm thinking its probably the transom plug that leaked? I’ll have to take the suggestion to fill it a little and see where it leaks out...

There are some hairline cracks in the cockpit, and am wondering if I should address those. I guess drill out the ends of the cracks and then patch?

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LaLi

Well-Known Member
I just ordered the recreational line kit from West Coast sailing
Kits of all kinds are a bit problematic. They most often include stuff that you don't need, and still lack something you do. They're rarely a perfect solution, although they're always marketed as such. "Recreational" in this context doesn't necessarily mean it's the best, or even simplest, choice for your needs. Anyway, I'll check and comment on that WCS kit later.

I had found a boat that had everything except the foils, and that owner pointed me to Intensity Sails to get replacements if I bought his boat
I could include here a long rant about Intensity, but I'll just strongly recommend your local supplier Vela Sailing Supply near Dallas, and if they don't have what you want, go to West Coast Sailing.

The only identifying mark I have found on the boat is on the transom under the lower rudder mount point - PFS074720573 which put its manufacture in Montreal - from the 1971 to 1974 timeframe. The rudderhead has a stamp "Made in Canada" So I suspect the sail number should be 7472 ? and not 640. The sail is made by Elvstrom Sails in Ontario and looks like it's been repaired a few times and still looks serviceable. but i probably am looking to replace it as well after I get back out sailing a few times.
It's number 7472, built in May 1973 in Montreal. The sail may very well be from 640, which is (was?) a 1971 build. The lack of a window (which was a very early addition) definitely suggests that.
If you're going to get a new sail, I strongly suggest the second-hand market. Can give contacts later if you want.

I'll have to look at the centerboard again. When I looked at the centerboard, it looked like there was nothing missing and no damage to it other than the wear on the leading edge. and the trailing edge of the board was intact.
In the picture it looks like there is a triangular piece missing from the corner. The trailing edge should be straight all the way to the bottom edge.

We did put the boat in the water yesterday, we didn't sail it, mainly to look to see if the hull leaks. After floating about for about 45 minutes, we pulled the transom plug and water did drain out for about 30 seconds. For now I'm thinking its probably the transom plug that leaked? I’ll have to take the suggestion to fill it a little and see where it leaks out...
The hole is above the waterline. It's not the plug if the boat stood still, level and no one in it. It's the bailer or the centreboard case.

There are some hairline cracks in the cockpit, and am wondering if I should address those. I guess drill out the ends of the cracks and then patch?
You might mark (some) of the ends of those and see if they increase in length over time. If not, it's a cosmetic issue, to which I wouldn't bother to do anything.
But is the cockpit floor soft (common problem)? When you knock on it, does it make a different sound in different places?

_
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
OP, you need to inspect that daggerboard well (or trunk) for cracks where it meets the hull, that's a common problem area, and the amount of water shipped during your 'float test' is consistent with such a leak. Check the gudgeons too, particularly the lower one, sometimes it'll work loose and if the holes for fasteners go clear through the hull then a leak can develop there. Barring any obvious damage to the hull itself, there are only so many places where leaks can develop... and that includes the rollover joint between hull & deck, though that doesn't sound like the problem, the way you described your test. Wouldn't hurt to inspect it anyway, and repair any cracked or sketchy areas before you go sailing... sometimes all it takes is a bit of catalyzed resin, filler, or 2-part epoxy glue. :cool:

Edit: I was just looking at another Laser thread, and it's interesting to note how hull production ramped up so quickly as the Laser gained popularity... the numbers tell the story. :rolleyes:
 
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Eddie_E

Active Member
I use to dremel and gel coat the tub cracks. That works but it's expensive and sometimes fails with repeated flexing. Paint has the odd issue of following the small cracks. My new method works much better. I tape 3" up from the bottom of the tub all the way around the perimeter. Remove the bailer and insert a wine cork and spray the whole bottom of the tub with Flex Seal spray. Peel the tape after 15 minutes and reinstall the bailer stopper. This leaves a fully sealed cockpit that is flexible and non-skid.
 

ProATC

Member
spray the whole bottom of the tub with Flex Seal spray.
I like this option Ah. LOT. ;) I wonder how much weight this will add? I realize it is not a consideration for the recreation sailboat, just curious, and great suggestion.
 

woodreau

New Member
Took the boat for a sail today. basic skills came back a little at time. Took a little while to knock off the rust, kept turning the wrong way. definitely need more hiking practice. Totally forgot to rig the cunningham and the tiller got tangled up in the traveller because i set it up wrong - got that rectified quickly. All in all good fun.

I sailed with my son, but previously I've always sailed alone. have no idea how to sail with two crewmembers. So as I'm teaching him how to sail, do I sit forward at the forward edge of the cockpit right next to the mainsheet block and him right next to me immediately aft ? and if he's got the tiller and mainsheet does he stay aft of me? (I'm 200# and he's 95-100#)

That centerboard, now I know the notch was deliberate, one of the previous owners just cut a notch in the aft corner of the foil so that they could get the centerboard out. I have no idea why they felt the need to do this. Im not planning on fixing this.

The cockpit deck is solid, no soft spots.

Definitely do not like the mainsheet block/cleat combo. the mainsheet kept getting tangled in the whole contraption and it's worse than a cleat when i need to let out the sheet. I might have to replace it, the centerboard brake and the hiking strap as well.

I have a rattling in the boom as i tilt it left and right. like something came loose on the inside. Can I disassemble a boom?

So now that I can remember how to sail, i'll need to soap up the boat to find those leaks as you guys suggest. The deck/hull joint doesn't seem compromised.

New lines are on the way, Looks like other than leak repairs, i'm wanting a "newer" sail, new mainsheet block, centerboard brake, and hiking strap as the one currently installed is fraying. figure out the rattle in the boom plus refinish the wooded foils. I think that's about all i want to put into the boat for now.

Also when i pull the plug for the cockpit drain- there is nothing behind it other than open air/water. is that normal? - is it missing the bailer?
 
The rattling inside the boom is probably just the leftover bits of old rivets that someone replaced when they mended the various fittings on the boom, not a problem.

Your boat does not need an autobailer for recreational sailing, the rubber plug alone works fine.

I would recommend getting a basic Harken dinghy mainsheet ratchet block for reliability and value, and if you want cleats you can screw them into the deck next to the forward edges of the cockpit. Personally, I do not use any mainsheet cleats because they are not fun to sit on.

The wood blades are fine, and it sucks that someone cut the edge off of the CB. Unless you start to notice yourself sliding sideways frequently, then do something. If not, enjoy the boat and have fun!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
as I'm teaching him how to sail, do I sit forward at the forward edge of the cockpit right next to the mainsheet block and him right next to me immediately aft ? and if he's got the tiller and mainsheet does he stay aft of me?
I'd say whoever holds the tiller sits aft of the one who doesn't. But you can switch both tiller and sheet any way that's pedagogically relevant... until it's time to tack :D Downwind and in light air you have to sit on opposite sides anyway.

I have a rattling in the boom as i tilt it left and right. like something came loose on the inside. Can I disassemble a boom?
As bclark said, it's most likely the "inside" part of an old, replaced rivet. It causes (and is a sign of) no harm whatsoever, but if it's annoying, you can hold the boom vertical with the forward end down and try to "bounce" it out with quick, upward movements - it will eventually come out through the gooseneck hole. Definitely not worth taking either plug out!

when i pull the plug for the cockpit drain- there is nothing behind it other than open air/water. is that normal? - is it missing the bailer?
No bailer apparently. I have no experience how a bailerless cockpit drains, but if it's problematic, then get one. It's been standard equipment on all boats for most of Laser history.

_
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
BClark has a good suggestion, lose that current setup and just slap a Harken ratchet block on there for the mainsheet... you can use low-profile 'Clamcleats' on deck to either side as an alternate plan, the double-sided cleats aren't bad as long as you install them in the right place, and not where you'll most often be sitting. :confused:

Ya gotta keep an eye on the Clamcleats, as they don't always hold as well as cam cleats, but the double-sided ones work well enough once you're used to 'em, and you can uncleat the mainsheet in one smooth motion of your hand. :rolleyes:

Oh, yeah, you can buy rubber plugs at your nearest hardware store, dirt cheap, I used one in the cockpit for decades on my old Laser... ;)

Your last post was humorous in a way, just know that those problems you mentioned can easily be solved, and you'll soon learn where skipper & passenger should sit to keep sail & ballast trim at optimal levels. :cool:

I say that because your 200 lbs. of live ballast will also affect sail trim if you're in the wrong location... and simple shifts in your position on deck will make a huge difference. With your 100-lb. son, the effects won't be quite as noticeable. :D

When you're at the tiller, sit amidships (to either side) or slightly aft toward the aft end of the cockpit, but leave enough room for the tiller to swing freely... your son can sit on deck to either side of the daggerboard well, or to either side of the forward end of the cockpit. That'll balance ya out well enough in a good breeze. :)

And the skipper should be the one to make slight shifts in position to accommodate gusts, brief lulls, etc. Park the passenger where he'll do the most good without having to move around so much, aye? The skipper will have better overall control that way... no circus act on deck, LOL. :eek:

Just my $.02, I carried passengers (and alternate skippers) aboard my Laser for DECADES, ranging from friends roughly my size & weight, hot dates who weighed considerably less, and kid relatives (nieces & nephews, sometimes two at a time---don't forget the PFDs). :rolleyes:

Actually, having two small kids aboard wasn't bad, I could adjust ballast trim more precisely with the weight split, LOL. Keeping 'em still on deck, well, that was another story... but you'll figure it all out, I have faith in ya. Good luck, and kudos to ya for being a good dad & family man... CHEERS!!! :cool:

P.S. If you need a bailer for your cockpit, just bring a tall plastic cup, or cut a few inches off the bottom of one of those 1/2-gallon plastic jugs with a handle (juice, milk, whatever), those make fine impromptu bailers... toss all contents down to leeward in any kind of breeze, LOL. ;)
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Just pulled a quick check here Cleats for 6-12mm (1/4-1/2") ropes, and the kind of low-profile cleats I mentioned are known as 'horizontal' or 'lateral' cleats... scroll down a bit and you'll see 'em on that page. I always used the horizontal cleats which would take a line to either side, just seemed easier that way, though I'm sure the lateral cleats work alright as well. You'll get the knack of pushing the line into the cleat a bit with your thumb or fingers to obtain better purchase... after awhile, it comes naturally, and the line will be less likely to pop out at an inopportune moment. :confused:

In my estimation, cam cleats will always have a better hold on line due to their design, but these horizontal or lateral Clamcleats offer a comfortable and generally reliable solution for recreational sailing, and you can install them in a way which makes them easy to reach, while their lower profile on deck doesn't hinder mobility or comfort, aye? Oh, yeah, I should add that I'm no shill for Clamcleats, some other outfit might make equally good or superior horizontal/lateral cleats, I just remember these because they're what I had on deck... :cool:
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Slow afternoon here, so I reckon I'll add a few tips... the more sailing you do with your son, the better both of you will become at coordinating movements on deck, not only during maneuvers but also during wind shifts, variations in wind strength, crossing large wakes, etc. :rolleyes:

For example, if the wind momentarily lessens in strength, you'll both learn to lean inboard a tad to compensate for that loss, same way you'll both learn to hike out when necessary during a powerful gust. It'll be a tandem operation, and it'll soon become second nature... ;)

That also goes for the 'wind shadow' created by large craft crossing your bow or passing to windward... you'll both learn to lean inboard as this happens, letting your boat ghost along until the offending vessel ceases to rob you of your wind. :confused:

Another example would be crossing wakes thrown out by large speeding power craft: rather than take those wakes head-on, you'll wanna momentarily fall off or alter course to take 'em at an angle, both slide aft a bit to lighten up the bow, then smoothly slide forward & resume your original course once you're safely across. :D

You might lose a few seconds doing this, but you'll recoup that time by taking advantage of the smooth water left directly astern of the powerboat. Learn to keep the boat in good trim and pump the mainsheet a few times as you cross that smooth section of wake, it'll give ya a surge in boat speed, LOL. :cool:

There's also the thrill of surfing the wake waves on the far side, something I used to love doing especially when the wake was huge. Again, there's a trick to this, your 'angle of attack' is critical and pumping the main at the right time helps, but you'll KNOW when you're surfing, I guarantee it, LOL. :)

Some of those warships back in Dago would throw out ginormous wakes as they steamed up or down the channel... the fast frigates & destroyers put out nice wakes for surfing. The carriers, not so much, as their skippers had to operate more carefully in restricted or confined waters. :eek:

ANYWAY, YOUR SKILLS WILL DEFINITELY IMPROVE OVER TIME, AND SAILING WITH YOUR SON IS A GOOD BONDING EXPERIENCE... CHEERS!!! :rolleyes:
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Meh, before I go watch a movie on the 65" curved screen, I reckon I'll add another helpful tip... I know you already have some sailing experience, but your son is just starting out, right? So here's my advice: keep tiller movements smooth & deliberate, since sudden hard or jerky tiller movements create rudder drag and kill boat speed. Learn to smoothly enter tacks & gybes, keeping speed up and minding sail & ballast trim. Try to make your boat "flow" like the Silver Surfer... smooth tiller movements will help you do this, and you'll enjoy greater overall boat speed. :cool:

Learn to do this, and you'll eventually stand out as a skipper, noted for smoothness & style while maneuvering... sure, the kid will make some mistakes as he learns, as we all do (or did), but the sooner he grasps this concept of smooth & deliberate tiller movements, the better he'll become as a skipper. Again, just my $.02, but I have a few years (i.e. decades) under my belt as a skipper, and particularly as a diehard Laser skipper who has done things no other Laser skipper has done off the coast of Baja... trust me on the smooth & deliberate tiller movements, LOL. :rolleyes:

WELL, TIME TO GRAB ANOTHER BEER AND GO WATCH SOME ENTERTAINMENT... ACTION FLICK OR WESTERN, NO DOUBT. CHEERS!!! ;)
 
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LaLi

Well-Known Member
Cactus C... while I do appreciate your historical/grassroots viewpoints, I have to say that Clamcleats for the sheet is not a good idea. (Why many thought otherwise in the 1970s, I don't quite understand.) I think we've discussed this in the Sunfish department, but might as well repeat here that Clamcleats are by their nature "sticky" and not very fast-releasing. That split-second difference may very well make the difference between sailing and swimming, recreational or not :rolleyes:

Using the "Lateral" model Clamcleats for their low profile is an interesting idea... until you realize that you have to pull the line sideways to release it. It's an awkward angle to begin with, and if the cleat opens aft, then you're sitting in the way. Forward-opening cleats in general are a disaster to begin with; I've tested those enough on Lightning jibsheets. (It's like trying to push a line instead of pulling :confused: )

_
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Grassroots... LOL. Surfing the Point in a Laser, now THAT is grassroots, but I'll take it as a compliment. Never had the problems you mention with the horizontal Clamcleats, but I ran a slightly fatter line for my mainsheet, so the tendency, if any, was for the mainsheet to pop out of the cleat if I didn't "tuck it in" far enough. Meh, no big deal, my suggestion was simply an alternate solution to the OPs current setup, which is DEFINITELY giving him trouble. Oh, yeah, I might add that as a "grassroots sailor" I was always more likely to tend the mainsheet by hand, and use cleats only when I had to deal with some unrelated task, such as donning or removing an article of clothing, grabbing a fresh beer out of my cooler, using my "bailer" as an impromptu p!ss jug, etc., etc. :cool:
 
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