Laser (dinghy)

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(Redirected from Laser (sailboat))

The Laser (often called Laser Standard to avoid confusion with the laser variants) is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. It is a singlehanded boat, meaning that it is sailed by one person. The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes simplicity and performance.

The Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. In fall 2004, the number of boats ever produced exceeded 180 000. A commonly cited reason for its popularity is that it is simple to rig and sail, but has some of the performance characteristics of more-complex racing dinghies.



The prototype of the boat was originally named the "Weekender" but it was officially unveiled as the Laser at the New York Boat Show in 1971. The Laser became a men's Olympic-class boat in 1996, and a special Olympic edition of the boat was released that year in commemoration. The Laser Radial (see below) will be a women's Olympic-class boat beginning in 2008.


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As a one-design class of sailboat, all Lasers are built to the same specifications. The Laser is 4.23 metres long (13 ft 10.5 in) long, with a waterline length of 3.81 m (12.5 ft). The hull weight is 56.7 kg (125 lb), to facilitate car-topping. Many enthusiasts have even devised methods of mounting the boat on top of a car single-handedly. Lasers are cat-rigged; they have only a main sail. The standard sail is 7.06 m² (76 ft²) and, especially in higher winds, is best sailed by a person weighing more than 77 kg (170 lb).

The Laser series

There are two popular variants on the standard Laser that use the same hull but a smaller rig to make them more easily sailed by beginners and lighter-weight people. The Laser 4.7 is the smallest of these, with a 4.7 m² (50 ft²) sail and a substantially shorter mast than the standard Laser. Slightly larger is the Laser Radial, with a 5.76 m² (62 ft²) sail, whose panels are cut so that they radiate out from the clew of the sail. One good thing is that when you change to a smaller or larger sail, you only need to replace the lower mast and the sail, keeping the same topmast and boom with all rigs.

A third and lesser-known variant is the Laser M Rig. This sail was the first attempt at making a smaller rig for smaller sailors. It employed the same stiff lower mast section, but a shorter top section. The design failed. The M Rig was often more difficult to handle upwind than a standard rig, due largely to the very stiff mast sections, which prevented the effective depowering of the sail.

In Europe the smaller Radial has surpassed the original Laser Standard in popularity.

The Laser Radial has supplanted the Europe Dinghy as the Women's Singlehanded Dinghy for the 2008 Olympics.

External links

Template:Laser Boats Template:International Dinghies Template:Sailing Dinghies and Skiffsde:Laser (Bootsklasse) pl:Laser (żeglarstwo) sv:Laser (båttyp)


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