why so strict?


Ross B

why is the laser so strict about rigging? why should it matter it a guy has a 40:1 purchase on his vang, or where he gets his blocks from?

Why cant the hull, spars, and sail, and blades be the only controlled factor?

we should be able to rig any way we want, you cant generate a speed advantage because of your downhaul, or outhaul, or mainsheet!

whats the big deal?

Finns, Naples Sabots, 2.4 meters, Santana 20's, tones of boats have controlled hulls, spars, blades and such, but are free reign on rigging, and they seem to be doing great!


New Member
Because people will figure out ways to make stuff faster, or at least people will think it's faster and they will waste loads of money on getting it.

Anyway, the finns are not doing great, they're doing quite badly because they are so expencive.

Ross B

Being a Finn class member, I know Finns are doing great

membership has increased 4 fold in the last couple of years
Some of us like a strict one-design and we sail Lasers. Some others like less stringent rules and they race Finns. Some like even more freedom to build a boat within general guidelines and they race Moths. You can choose which sort of sailor you are and sail the boat that suits your preference.

We'd love you to join us -- but please don't try and change us.

Rob B

Active Member
I raced in the Santana NA's in 2000. There were like 30 boats. Laser NA's twice in 93 and 2005 and both times we had over 80 boats. It's hard to argue the success of over 180,000 boats built and the numbers that turn out for the events. Finn's, Santana's, 2.4's can't touch these numbers. That's not to say we can't improve. I agree the sails are too expensive for what you get, but to open it up to any sail maker would cause an arms race. Having owned a J24 and J22 and Flying Scott I know all about the different sailmaker game. I'd lke to see rule 42 opened up for at least testing and I like the preventer idea and loops on the hiking strap and the mast sleeve. Our class moves slow and diliberate on these kinds of issues. I'm ok w/that.

Ross B

success is always relative, its hard to compare other classes to the laser, cuz not that many are as big lol

at least someone else understands about the sails, but I fail to understand how if you had say 5 sailmakers produce the EXACT same sail EXACTLY to class specs, that it would produce an arms race, i just dont get that, what should happen if you just bought them from the sailmaker, they should be cheaper, and since other makers are making them they should be cheaper because Hyde and North no longer have a monoply
I think all the new control lines are a big help. Sailing at 95 pounds all last year on a full rig a still stayed competetive against kids weighing up to 140 in a breeze. They let you depower the sail and still maintain good boat speed.

Rob B

Active Member
It would be hard to control. You fit the sail in a template drawn on the ground at a class measure in. This "ground template" does not reveal draft, cloth weight or if the seams are all in the same place. It would cost the class a lot of money to send representatives to all the different lofts for QC inspections and so on. I think now they only worry about 2 lofts. I use the $200.00 Intensity sail for club racing and practice and save my nice class sail for sanctioned events.


Just sailing
I believe "my way or the highway" attitude of strict one-design has hurt the class in the past. I know several sailors who were turned off to the class due to the "stupid Laser tricks" rigging. The new rigging rules have vastly improved this situation.

On the other hand, I think classes like the 470 or Finn with multiple manufacturers of hulls, spars, sails, blades, etc. is a little too far in the other direction. Getting the right combination of these can lead to hardware wars costing thousands of dollars.

I think a happy medium is to strictly control those things which really affect boat speed - hulls and such - but to allow wide flexibility in running the control lines. You can only spend so much on lines and blocks, so there is a limit to the hardware war aspect. Different controls won't necessarily make the boat go faster, but personally tailored controls can help you sail better. It just requires an investment in time to find what does or doesn't work for you.

I think the Laser class has evolved fairly close to this type of one-design.
It is amazing how many laser sailors blame their boat (even brand new boats) when they do not sail very well. It is completely nonsense to blame your boat, because all boats are equal (although older boats might have lost their stififness and older sails might have lost some of their speed). I think that to sail on equal boats is the beauty of laser-sailing. It is really a match between the sailors not between their wallets.
In my humble opinion the state of our sport is not very good. Less and less people buy boats. And the boats that are sold are more and more expensive carbon racing machines, that are tricked out to (and often over) the limit of what is allowed. Money makes a boat pretty fast, but takes the fun out of sailing, at least for me. I have crewed for wealthy snobs who think that the fact that they have spend a ton of money on their boat entitles them to yell at their crew while they themselves screw up, call their crew to come sand the keel, or do some other nasty job, without ever saying "thank you."
In a Laser you get as close to one-design as one ever gets. Yes, I do not like the price of sails, and yes changes come slow, but be aware that any change might be a step towards the racing-machine that is very expensive. The sails do blow out quickly, but at the club-level it does not make a difference since everyone sails with the same old sails. If your use your new sail only at the major regatta's you will still find that the really good sailors with the same sail, boat and hardware, or way faster than you could ever dream.
It will be interesting to see how the sails of Rooster hold up. If they last longer, the class could perhaps consider to adopt their idea of using a less stretchy material for the leach.

I love the fact that laser rules are so strict, it's what made the class as strong as it is today, it's what drives resale values to be as strong as they are.

I'm not sure of any other class where i can buy an old boat and still be fiercely competitive. I don't have the new rigging, I "cheaped out" and stuck a couple of harken blocks in the vang and outhaul and it works fine.

I don't want carbon wing masts, or harken blocks on my mainsheet or mylar sails (which delaminate faster if they're not fully battened) or any other stuff being touted about recently. If you want them, sail something else.

The Laser is simple, strict, pure one design. Whoever wins is pretty much the better sailor. Sure, a new sail gives you an edge but it won't help if you have no tactical ability.

I sympathize with those who claim that parts are so expensive, I totally agree with you, but it's out of necessity. We need a well funded class association and I don't think we should start scrimping these guys out of money. I also find it funny that even with the stringent rules we have on sails, people are still willing to pay more for hyde sails and European top sections.... go figure....

I choose to sail lasers because of the rules, not in spite of them. If you don't want to be restricted, you really should sail something else although then you wouldn't get the huge fleet support demonstrated at Laser events thus proving that the current formula works... Don't you see where this will end up if you remove the restrictions?

Rob B

Active Member
Totally agree w/toms. Salsa, I checked out your blog spot. You're new to the boat and class. Give it some time and learn how to turn the wheel before claiming the tire is flat.

Ross B

ive got 7 years and 2 boats under my belt of laser sailing, hardly 30 years of laser sailing, but i have bloody good idea how it all works, and its all old hat to me

Rob B

Active Member
ok. Based on your first race report and new posts here I thought you were a newbie, (not that there's anything wrond w/that). Are you new to the full rig? 7 years ago puts you starting around age 13 right? Figured that would be some radial experience.

Ross B

yea i had a great deal of radial experience, 1 time at CORK, 3 times at Orange Bowl, and 3 times at CISA, i know what im doing

i just re-did my rigging this weekend, i try to replace it every 2 years, and ive been having wrist problems the past 9 months, thats why i had to drop out, i might need surgery

but i have been racing fulls on and off for that last 7, but full time for the last 2
the clock's still ticking! I've not adopted it, nor do I intend to until I see it makes a clear performance differential. To date I haven't seen it make people any faster, sure, it makes life easier for some smaller sailors but when I used it, I decided it was over-rated given how much it costs...
Im sailing my 1970 laser thnx to the strict one design rule i can still sail it against bran new boats and she is just as fast as all the others. heck i havnt even put any of the new rigging on it. all the rigging is original scince the laser first cnae out, call me old school or what. but it works great.