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 rig.
     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.  
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