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Suitability of a Laser dinghy for learning
O hardly is a laser one of the fastest boats in the entire world. With a Portsmouth yardstick handicap of 91 it puts the laser in mid-range of small centerboard boats.
A hard-chined centerboard boat .... no friggin way - as these boats are extremely unstable when up to full planing speeds and you get hit from the side with an errant wave. Soft chined boats are ultimately more stable when up on a plane.
The laser is a very responsive little boat, one that will rapidly accelerate your learning curve and base expertise in sailing. Will you capsize one, sure ... but you can right it yourself. You WILL learn very quickly how to shape and set the sail to adjust for changing weather and sea-state conditions. It is a boat that is raced and tends to be on the ''unstable'' side, purposely designed tha way so that you get wonderful response and ability to correct. Fighter aircraft are purposely built ''unstable'' so that their response is optimized .... or would you rather have a boring 747 ... or a boringly slow hard-chined boat.
The laser has a huge international following so that you will be able to communicate (online) with laser sailors all over the world. Even if you find that this boat is ''too-much-for-you'' (which I doubt very much) because of its popularity you will probbly be able to sell it quickly and at nearly the same price you paid for it.
BTW .... the FATEST centerboard boat is probably still the A-class (38ft.) Scow (DPN @ 61). http://www.ussailing.org/portsmouth/tables04/tables04cb.htm
The laser is a NICE boat, one that will teach YOU a LOT.
Go for it.