US Sailing handicap for Laser vs. Laser Radial


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Here's a question from a female Great Grand Master (65 years old and up) Laser sailor. I just found out today that that's what my age group is called.

Could someone tell me the US Sailing handicap for the two types of Lasers? I used to use the full sail, which I recall as being 76 square feet, but on one of the pages on this website it says it's 80 square feet. I thought my radial sail was 64 square feet, but in the same location, it says 62 square feet.

As I recall, the Laser with a standard sail has a similar handicap to a Flying Scot in some types of air, but my memory might not be accurate, or things may have changed over the years.

Today, was the first day of the Cave Run Sailing Association Grand Annual Regatta. Cave Run Lake is in Kentucky, about halfway between Lexington and Ashland. The wind looked heavier than the weather prediction, so I quickly substituted the shorter mast section and Laser Radial sail for the standard rig.

It's certainly fortunate that I did so, because the wind was at least 10 mph and gusting to 15. That might not sound like much to you, but I'm a female who is 70 now, so my primary goal became to not capsize. A National One Design did capsize and another small boat's mast and sail became disconnected from the hull. Both were helped out by the Coast Guard Auxiliary: they and their boats are OK. We had three starts, getting the Catalinas and handicapped cruisers out of the way first and then the handicapped daysailers had their start.

I fought like crazy to handle my boat, convinced that I'd capsize before our start. I wanted at least a DNF instead of a DNS. I was toward the back of the pack during the first race, having to luff a lot when the gusts came roaring through and when the winds were shifty - which they always are on our lake. It wasn't until halfway through the first race that I noticed I hadn't attached the traveler. Wow -did that make a difference. I still had at least 3-4 accidental gybes today and I got the mainsheet wrapped around the aft corner 3 or 4 times and no one would have pointed to me as the best sailor - but I got a bunch of praise afterward for managing to not capsize and for just being out on the water.

The race committee was a bit frustrated by the number of boats that hadn't pre-registered, so it took them quite a while to look up the handicaps for all boats and compile the scores. I glanced at my name in the computer spreadsheet and I might be wrong, but it looked like they might have used 91.4 as my handicap. That looks awfully close to what I remember as the handicap for the standard Laser sail. I have absolutely no chance of taking home a trophy tomorrow, but I'd like to see how my Laser radial score compares with the boats I raced against today.

Kaye Arnold


Just sailing
This says 91.1 for Laser full, 96.7 for Laser radial.

Portsmouth Yardstick - Wikipedia

There can be lots of differences in the number used for handicap - different sources, some have wind conditions, etc. Still, it looks to me as if they did use the wrong handicap number for you.

That being said, handicap numbers are extremely unreliable and subjective.
Handicaps as per the Laser Class Association:
  •  Apprentice: add 3 points

  •  Master: add 2 points

  •  Grand Master: add 1 point

  •  Great Grand Master: add 0 points