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dndrich 08-13-2008 12:55 AM

Laser for me?
OK, starting a new thread. I have an earlier post about a Force 5. I am looking for a small boat to play in and sail. I am 48, and weigh 170 pounds. I currently sail an FJ, but I am going to sell it because it is too hard for one person to set up and sail. I have been interested in something small such as a Zuma, Pico, Hobie Holder etc. But these boats rarely are for sale used in my area. There are always Lasers for sail, so I wonder how this boat would be. I would typically sail it myself in local lakes, and also in Tomales Bay. I don't mind getting wet, but I would like it to be casual at times. I would also like to be able to take a kid with me on it, or perhaps a smaller adult. Is there room on this boat? Is it too high performance? I appreciate your thoughts.

poltergeist 08-13-2008 06:34 AM

Laser for you
At 170, you're about ideal race weight for a Laser, if I remember correctly, and going solo, you'll have a great, wet time. Taking along another adult, or even a child, will get VERY cozy, though. At my club, there is a teenage couple that sails a Laser together regularly, but I think they use the experience more as an opportunity to be physically close than to have what older adults would consider a pleasant sail. The Force 5 is marginally more accomodating for two.


blt2ski 08-13-2008 09:58 AM

Personally, the positive that would sway me to a laser over the F5, is the ability to 1D race it. The slightly less room for two folks not withstanding. In Jr high I took a class on some of the original hull #'s in the upper hundreds, and sailed with 2 of us onboard, it was not that bad! Then again the passenger in my case was curvacious cute!

Either in the end would be fine. Another to add, finding replacement parts etc is easier with a laser than an F5. Yes there will be performance differences, but in the end, really not enough to say that one is better overall to me for just going out and daysailing for fun. You will have fun with either! Both will serve what I believe you wanting in a boat.


dndrich 08-13-2008 06:15 PM

Just spoke to a local sail maker. He felt that despite my weight, given my age, that I might do better with a Laser Radial. These are apparently the same boat, but with a shorter mast and smaller sail. I never see these for sale, but I suspect I could find a laser hull, and simply add a rig for not a huge amount of money. The mast and spar set from Laserperformance is $660, and the sail is $500. If the rest of the boat is OK, that might work too.

tonybinTX 08-13-2008 06:42 PM

dndrich - I may regret asking this, but..."how old is too old for a laser"? :)

dndrich 08-13-2008 08:13 PM

Well, you got me. I might be too old for it at this point given what I want to do with it. On the laser class website they have a whole bunch of different classes, including an over 65 group sailing lasers. Obviously, it has to do with conditions. If the wind is howling, I don't think an older person in a laser is such a good idea!

blt2ski 08-13-2008 08:25 PM

It may have to do with reflex's, ie as we age, I am mid to late 40's, we do not respond to wind shifts/gusts as quick, so over we go vs being able to hike/make our upper body fall back enough to not go over!

I remember in JrH trying to race the std lasers, radial were not out/invoguq if you will. ANY gust would tip the thing over with my 110 lbs driping wet body with clothes on! It was tough!

At about that time too, some folks would have "high wind sails" made, which I believe were the impitous(sp?) if you will for the radial and smaller sail versions for smaller folks!

So yes, you could get a std laser with std BIG sail, then get the radial version to race, or be by yourself in heavier wind days, and use the BIG sail with another person, or really light days by yourself. What would be considered light vs heavy wind days.......You would have to figure that out for yourself, as what I might consider the upper end of light wind, you might be on the heavier side. No different than my dad vs myself golfing. I need a 6 iron to hit 135 yds, he uses a 7 iron. I do not hit as hard etc as he does!


fullkeel7 08-13-2008 10:52 PM

Dndrich, I'm not sure if you CAN be casual in a Laser or share a sail with a child or small adult. Especially in a lake setting with all the wind shifts. The Laser will let you know in a NY second if your not attentive to puffs/shifts of wind and I found I needed all the room I could get to maneuver/hike out or avoiding the boom. Things do happen rather quickly, so I wouldn't recommend a pax. in all but mundane conditions....and that sort of defeats the purpose of having a Laser!:rolleyes:

That said, I had a blast with the Laser....although I had both sets of mast/sails, I almost always use the larger sail. At 6'2 and 210lbs. I needed it! I usually sailed on the Intracoastal and occasionally slightly offshore south of Port Canaveral, so I had fairly constant and stable winds. I found the ability to rig the boat in the prevailing wind speed by myself determined if I was able to sail that day, so I don't think you have to worry too much about the age thing in high wind conditions. If you can rig the boat, you can go sailing! ;)

You can't beat a small racer for keeping in shape! I don't think, since 40 years of age, I could do more than 10 sit-ups. Must have been the surroundings or the salt water, but I could stay hiked out for 5 hours(depending on how many trawlers out there I could shame) pushing the boat and myself to the limits. I've lost prescription glasses, shoes, too numerous hats and two teeth sailing the darned things and wouldn't trade those days for anything. Most outrageous fun one can go for it!:D BTW...back then I was closer to 50 yoa than you are now.


CalebD 08-14-2008 01:03 PM

Lasers are great boats. Lots of fun and great exercise. I hope you are a capable swimmer though. If your reflexes are good you wont need to go into the water much.
An advanced Laser trick is to sail it while standing on the windward side holding the tiller in one hand and the main sheet in the other. You can then 'hike' your body out as needed without a harness. This is a little like windsurfing.

bubb2 08-14-2008 01:06 PM

Being over 50 the Last time I sailed a Laser, I soon found out I no longer fold like I use to!

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