Which upgrade is better?

Which upgrade is better?

  • Keep the old vang, but add new deck cleats, cunny, and outhaul

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Keep old outhaul (thimbled, 3:1), keep old cunny, buy new vang system

    Votes: 4 7.4%
  • Add some blocks to the old outhaul and cunny, and buy a new vang system

    Votes: 23 42.6%
  • Add blocks to the old vang and buy the new outhaul/cunny system with deck cleats

    Votes: 26 48.1%

  • Total voters


"What about you...?? your pretty young right.? "

Yeah, I am. I am 15. With two semi-wonderful sisters. 18 and 9. Talk about being caught in the middle. I go to Lawrence Park CI and I am in the french immersion program. My parents are old . 42 and 48 and are getting seperated. My dad grew up in Lockport NY and moved to Lindsay ON after high school to take OAC(grade 13). He then went to the University of Toronto and now works for Imperial Oil(Majority shareholder is Exxon-Mobile). My mom is a Lawyer, but taking theology course at Trinty(Part of UofT). She will be an Anglican priest in about a year and a half. My mom learned to sail where I learned at YMCA camp Kitchi in Georgian Bay(Muskoka). She doesnt sail anymore. And my dad crewed on somes guys boat for 3 summers or something. I plan on going to Queens University in Kingston ON(BIG SAILING PROGRAM). Then I will probably enter politics. Which party, I am not sure. I am really intrested in a small party called the 'Canadian Action Party'. http://www.canadianactionparty.ca/Main.asp?Language=English.
But if I want to be Prime Minister I will either have to make this party better know, or join a different party.



Good news, the Party is in talks with other small 'Pro-Canadian' parties and are talking about a 'HUGE' merger to make them more powerfull. When the next election rolls around I think I am going to go to the office of the Canadian Action Party in my constituency and offer my 'expertise' ;)!!

After being out of the class for several years because of my frustration over the new rules changes, I find it interesting that spars are failing, this was the argument that many of us made against the new control system. But since Vanguards profit margins are the real driving force behind any change in the boat we have a $199 system that has become the standard for competitive sailing. Now we're going to get carbon spars SWEET!!! Lets make laser sailing MORE expensive!!!! Instead of changing the rules to lengthen the competitive lifespan of the sails we have this kind of logic which can only bring smiles of joy to Chip Johns and Vanguard. Poorly cut dacron sails strech and need lots of vang/cunningham tension on the leech and luff->we need new control systems so that we can put lots of tension on the sails-> More bent/broken spars-> $CARBON SPARS$. Whats next, changing the rudder and gudgions to carbon to deal with the increased loads because people can power up the boat with their new control systems and carbon spars?!?

The control system WAS flawed and outdated, it made life difficult for those who were not big/strong enough to hold the boat down and make adjustments. My argument was that Vanguard and the rest of the builders lobbied long and hard to make the rule change ballots open ended so that they could shove a $200 system down our throats. In my opinion the changes could have been made for under $75 by simply allowing blocks instead of thimbles and changing the cunningham cleat to a swivel cleat.

For all the class execs(and everyone else) who incessently spouted the Vanguard party line or "you don't have to upgrade" and called us obsticles to growth of the class I have 3 questions to ask. 1. Are any of the Olympic contenders using the old control line system? 2. Has the class expirenced a GIGANTIC surge in growth due to the changes in the control systems? and finally 3. Is a boat that is using the old system competitive vs. one that has the new set up?

I will offer up my answers which are NO, NO, and NO

So I have to wonder what was the REAL reason for the $200 change???
Why do you have to look at it in such a negative way? First of all, the new rigging was not created to bring in the $$$. I believe it was created partialy because the old system was such a hassel and nearly everyone has a different setup so they decided to make one, simple, setup that is better than the old one. And partialy to bring a new spark to the class and to the competition. Secondly, no, it has not created a huge surge in class growth because it wasn't meant to. It was created for the reasons above. And thirdly, yes a boat with old rigging is compettitive with one with the new rigging. This is because it is the sailor who wins the race not the boat. The rigging is simply control lines which has its own strategyto put you ahead. It is not going to make you sail faster, but easier to adjust.

When the rule changes were being debated Vanguard told the laser class that we were losing sailors because the boat was simply too difficult to sail in heavy air because the outdated control setup. This is true, the laser is EXTREMELY difficult to sail if you have trouble powering down the boat and the "stupid rope tricks" setup that was the norm gave a HUGE advantage to guys who were six feet tall and 180-190lbs. Ever had a chance to look at Robert Schiedt? Theres a reason he's won 5 worlds, in addition to being a good sailor, he's a fantastic athlete. While he's an extreme case, in heavy breeze it wasn't the better sailors that win it was the BIGGER guys who were winning. The INTENT of the rule change was to level the playing field so that women and lighter guys had a chance.
We were told that prospective laser sailors were choosing to sail Bytes, Vanguard 15's, 420's, 29ers etc because the Laser was just to damn hard to sail and thus not as fun as some of the other boats I mentioned. I have to ask the question, where are those sailors now?? Since we've made the change has there been a gigantic change in the population of laser sailors? I would argue that there has not been. Why? I think its the price aspect. The laser class was founded on the principle that there wouldn't be an equipment arms race and that would keep costs down. Thats why it was set up as a monopoly for the builders, provided that the builders operated on good faith that they would hold costs to a minimum, laser sailing would be the least expensive class to sail because all parts would be identical and there would be no need to go out and get the newest fastest gadgets because everyone else had the same stuff.
Now in comes Vanguard sailboats, possibly the most destructive force to laser sailing that has EVER occured. Vanguard really doesn't care what you sail because they own the rights to every single other class that the Laser competes with, instead, they care about making LOTS of money. So what do they do? They hijack a VERY legitimate concern in the laser class(like I said above, the control structure was outdated and needed to be changed) and got the class exectutives to write rule change ballots that were RIDICULOUSLY open ended. They then used the virutal blank check that they recived to come up with a system that would maximize their ability to gouge the most loyal class of sailors in North America. Like I said earlier, the vang that they designed almost ASSURES bent lower sections and the cunningham and outhaul will lead to an earlier demise for sails because of the HUGE loads that now can be placed on the rig. Not to mention that YOU HAVE to buy the update if you want to remain competitive! Don't give me the garbage about how "you can keep your old setup" Nonsense, lets go out in 25+ and find out just how much of an advantage that you have over me because you can de-power better. Or just for kicks, how about going sailing on a puffy, wavy 10-15 knot day. The ease that some one can now adjust the cunningham and vang and even the outhaul means that they have the ability to easily change sail shape to keep the boat moving through the lulls and the puffs. IF YOU WANT TO BE COMPETITIVE YOU NEED TO BUY THE $200 UPGRADE!!!!
But gouging Laser sailors wasn't enough, Vanguard had to make sure that they could control the class apparatus as well. So out went Allan and Jocelyne Broadribb, Fred Schroth and Lainie Parday, and in come the pawns of Vanguard Sailboats, Ryan Minth and Tracy Usher. Suddenly we have a WHOLE new governing structure! Surprise, our executive secratary is James Appel who SURPRISE!!! worked as director of marketing for SURPRISE AGAIN.....VANGUARD SAILBOATS!!! Never mind that Mr. Appel has LIMITED experience sailing lasers and working with our fleets, he's a vanguard guy and that makes him a SUPER fit to run the most important possition in the Laser class. Then we get to the mesurer issue where we have a guy who has NEVER BEEN elected to the possition being apointed by the Vanguard Junta to head up the department that is assigned to police the class. I can bet Vanguard will start brining a trailer full of merchendise to regattas where the messurers will be. Oh gee, your sail numbers are 1" off of where they should be, you need a new sail! Tough break, but that spar is bent because of our new vang, you need a new lower section. And on and on.
Sorry for the profond negativity, but I feel like I went on vacation and came back to find my house has been burnt to the ground. I love laser sailing. I have competed at some of the highest levels, and have attended many regattas with fellow laser sailors. It is the best class in the world and I can't stand whats happening to it. We will survive on the sheer strength of our membership's love for the class, but I worry that our class will become simply a shell in Vanguards larger game to control all forms of sailing in North America.
get all the upgrades

I am short (5' 6") and not all that heavy (165lbs.) but would rec' to anyone to purchase both/entire upgrade kits. It is hard enough for me to keep my boat upright, never mind trying to reach in (with my short arms) and make adjustments but with the upgrades I am able to get inboard, grab the correct control line and make adjustments very quickly and easily.

The outhaul is efficient and again easy to do. No more reaching for the outhaul on the boom and having very little adjustment.

I like both of the upgrades. If you can rig something that works as well and saves you some cash thats even better. But do something to improve this area.

ILC 152124
i agree with you guys completely. Vanguard is going for money right now. i weigh only 150 pounds and i sail a standard. many people i know who weigh that much sailing radial have bought the upgrade and, SUPRISE! guess what? The new laser sailors at my yacht club have not bought the upgrades!!!
but they aren't going for money! as laser animal pointed out, they wanted to level the playing field with the new rigging. i have sailed both rigs and i praise the new one because im so light that the old way was much harder. its the best posible thing for me and money is not an issue. if they wanted to make more, they would charge more for the boat. think about it.
I know you guys are all in NA but for my example I am going to take the UK scheme. The RYA (our national authority) has an extensive youth sailing program sponsered by Volvo, Musto and some public money etc. Both the radial and standard are boats used for this training and in the events that select our best sailors for regional, national and international teams. Ben Ainslie came out of this program. (Opti - Radial - Standard - Gold Medal - Finn - Wins Finn Worlds....) Kids have a choice when they leave the optimists of 420s, Lasers (or radials) or 29ers. Many don't want to sail the "old" 420 because it is "boring" and so want to race a 29er due to the speed. After struggling to find crew and funding for the expensive boat they decide that the laser was the best bet after all. It used to be the case that "intermediate" training in "stepping stone classes" was needed as many kids reached the 15yrs age limit on the opti and weren't heavy enough for the radial. The 4.7 was used but there is not much 4.7 racing around. However, with the new rigging, more kids can race a radial competitively so gain more confidence and so stay racing lasers. Surely this helps secure the future of our class? The builders do make more money but not out of the $200 upgrades. These are one off purchases and any spar failures are the sailors fault - they have installed inappropriate systems or pulled too hard so as people learn to sail with the new gear, the money to be made by PSE and Vanguard decreases. The juicy market is selling new boats to younger sailors. However, the class should be encouraging this as well because we don't want the laser to go the same way as lots of other classes - fizzle out due to no fresh blood.

As for carbon spars. You will find that carbon is not really suitable for the lower section anyway since the laser has a distinct lack of support wires and it was only ever considered for the radial top section.

I would agree that the presence of Vanguard people at the top of your LCA is worrying. Why don't other regions and districts have this problem?


The new ratio's are great, and a delight to sail with. I've lasered for 30 years and have had 7 boats. I suggest you get better ratios whatever way is possible! It's the ratios that make adjustment and easing easier, not the cleat placement, so to save money add the blocks at the turns and use the old cleats.

My outhaul is 6:1, 2 blocks, plus a turn around the mast, cleats in the old (metal) jammer. Buy the Harken clew hook! $26.

My C-ham is 8:1, cascading, 2 blocks with beckets, and cleats in the old cleat. $15 My old compass base works too.

My Vang is 15:1, cascading as shown on Dr Laser site. Two cheeks on Jam block, and a double with becket. It's also UPSIDE DOWN, with the jammer/swivel on the boom, and can be adjusted from any angle! About $30-35. You can make a 9:1 vang for $9. by adding a sheave to the old key block's becket pin, and cascading it.

Ask old J or Lightening sailors is they have extras for sale, look on E Bay, etc. Do ANYTHING to get the new ratios, and forget the shiny toys from Harken at least until you have a nice sail, etc.

I know this will get many negative comments from people who love their Harken Vangs etc. My point is the ratios are what matters! and have made the new rules so universally loved, and accepted. I am a cheapskate, and love to fiddle with the boat(s) and I'm sick and tired of $50. bailers, etc.. This advice is for those who won't or can't have shiny new everythings. We want them out there too, building the class' future.


New Member
The only real reason you'd buy a new vang is how easy it is to adjust from any point of the boat because of the lower vang section
I've customised my old vang and cunningham with an extra block on each one, and that seems to be all of the extra purchase that I need. All I need now is a way of rigging the outhaul so that it cleats on the deck.
It's not that I don't want to spend the money, it's that I don't think it's necessary. Well maybe i'll buy the cunningham and outhaul upgrade kit just so that I can legally have the outhaul cleated onto the deck.
JacksonAUS said:
...Well maybe i'll buy the cunningham and outhaul upgrade kit just so that I can legally have the outhaul cleated onto the deck.
Hi Jackson,
I think you only need the both original basic-plates for the blocks and the currycleats. The other stuff in probably better conditions you buy cheaper at your prefered local-sailingmerchandizer, aft you´ve gone and visited drLaser-website at the Maintenance-area and followed Shevy´s hints for the Outhaul and Cunningham. (I did it in this way in spring)
Ok, you need these passwords etc. and for that, you should go and become an ILCA-membership, but you also need this membership for the official Laserraces you maybe are planning to go to, so it doesen´t matter if you join there yet or later. Or ask a friend who´s ILCA member, may he has a look for you at drLaser.
Good work + don´t forget the measurement diagramm´s for the plates that you can find at ILCA-homepage + don´t forget to prove the positions for the plates with the basic-plate for your Silva-compant if you have one...
The cost of the upgrades are outragious. Here in Canada the total cost for vang and cunningham is $525, yet if you buy a new laser and add the 'pro' option it only adds $325 to the price so Vanguard is screwing us.

While you could add blocks to make your own cunningham/ outhaul, you need at the very least to buy the deck plates and the one that takes the cake is the plastic base unit without cleats for $65!!! That is one expensive piece of plastic as ridiculous as the $68 bailer. Someone is getting rich on this cheap injected moulded plastic parts.

vtgent49 said:

My Vang is 15:1, cascading as shown on Dr Laser site. Two cheeks on Jam block, and a double with becket. It's also UPSIDE DOWN, with the jammer/swivel on the boom, and can be adjusted from any angle! About $30-35. You can make a 9:1 vang for $9. by adding a sheave to the old key block's becket pin, and cascading it.

Do you happen to remember if, for the cheek blocks, you used the kind that mount with a single hole (like the Harken 432) or the kind that mount with two holes (like the Harken 416 )?

Chris123 said:
Do you happen to remember if, for the cheek blocks, you used the kind that mount with a single hole (like the Harken 432) or the kind that mount with two holes (like the Harken 416 )?


I have two boats set up with 15/1. One set up is double hole cheeks and one is single hole. I don't think it matters really. The blocks I used are bullets, thus a little bigger, because they were leftovers from the J24. You may have to enlarge the holes in the micro to get a decent bolt thru it.

If you buy a new single with becket (to replace the laser original) I'd get a bullet that swivels. This mounts to the mast tang, so a little swiveling here helps.

Al Russell 66451