At Maidenhead Sailing Club the Laser fleet is by far the largest fleet. We've over 40 members boats stored at the club and many of these are active participants in our racing calendar.
As a one-design class of sailboat, all Lasers are built to the same specifications. The hull is 4.19 metres (13 ft 10.5 in) long, with a waterline length of 3.81 m (12.5 ft). The hull weight is 56.7 kg (130 lb), which makes the boat light enough to lift onto a car-top rack. The various sizes of Laser are all Cat-rigged; they have only a main sail. The Laser uses a Portsmouth Yardstick of 1091 for racing involving other classes.
Fast and very competitive, the Laser is an incredibly versatile boat with 3 rig configurations which all use the same base boat.
In its full height rig Lasers have a 7.06m² sail. In a decent breeze sailors need to be weighing in at 80Kg or heavier to make the most of this powerful setup. Many race boats are equipped with some seriously heavy duty running rigging (kicker/downhaul/outhaul) to get the very best out of the sail and rig.
A slightly shorter mast gives a more forgiving sail area with the Radial it is such a great option it became the Olympic Ladies Single Handed boat of choice in 2008. It has a 5.7m² sail area which has a different cut of sail to that of the standard or 4.7. Optimal weight for this rig is 121 to 159 lb (55 to 72 kg).
This is the smallest rig for a laser. It really reduces the sail area to give smaller, often younger, sailors the chance to sail a Laser. It reduces sail area by 35% from the Standard with a shorter pre-bent bottom mast section. The same formula as the Radial is kept. The hull is the same as the Standard and Radial. Optimal weight for this rig is 110–120 lb (50–55 kg), thus becoming an ideal boat for young sailors moving from the Optimist/Topper fleets.