SALTY DOGS IN SMALL BOATS: LASERS
The International Laser is perhaps the most popular and widely sailed
dinghy in the world. There are Laser Class Associations in almost every
state in the US with sailable water, and in almost every nation of the
world. There are tens of thousands of Lasers around the world. It
is the boat used in the Olympics for both the men's and the women's
single-handed class. For men, a "full-sized" main is used, while
for the women, who are generally a bit lighter, a smaller sail called
the "radial" is used. For younger sailors, there is a mainsail
designated the "4.7" (4.7 sq m. area) that is used for youth
local, regional, national, and international racing and
championships. With the possibility of using 3 different sails on
the same basic hull, the Laser is one of the more cost-effective boats
around for, for example, a family of different ages and different
weights. It can be cartopped by one person and is very easy to
The Laser is certainly a great learn-to-sail boat for a young person of
at least 100 pounds in light air. A smaller person cannot right
the boat from a capsize (a requirement for graduation from Camano
Sail's small boat course), and they don't have enough weight to keep
the boat under control in big winds.
Camano Sail and Power uses Lasers in its waterfront program at Camano
Island State Park ("CISP")in Washington State.
The following images are from the CORK World Championships in Kingston,
Ontario, courtesy of Geoff Webster, photoone@ihorizons..net
note especially the clothing being worn to protect against hypothermia
from cold water and wind. Camano Sail requires cold-water
clothing (e.g. wetsuits, watertight windbreakers,
insulated booties and gloves etc) for all small boat sailing at their
CISP waterfront facility. We have a limited assortment of wet
suits to rent for $25 for the duration of a course.
Alternatively, dive (scuba) shops sell their rental
equipment once or twice a year for very attractive prices.
Laser >> (Laser 2) Homeport