Laser Fleet News
Introducing the Laser
The Laser is a single-handed sailboat originally designed in 1970 by Bruce Kirby, a Canadian. With an overall length of 4.2 metres and a lightweight hull made of glass-reinforced plastic, everything about the Laser is conceived for simplicity and transportability.
Yet this fundamentally simple boat has been used as the official Men’s Olympic singlehander since 1996, and the Women’s singlehander since 2008. Over 200,000 boats have now been built, most of which are still in use across 115 different countries.
One of the characteristics that makes the Laser so popular is the fact that, by applying strict building standards, every Laser should be virtually identical. This means that the only variable is the experience and ability of the man, woman, boy or girl at the helm!
Winsford Flash Sailing Club has always sustained a thriving Laser fleet, and this season we even expect to see an ‘ILCA’ joining us! For those unfamiliar with the legal wrangling that has been going on over official builders, Class-legal boats and rights over use of the Laser trademark, suffice it to say that Winsford welcomes all class-legal Lasers, whoever they have been built by, and all ILCA’s (same boat as the Laser, apart from the name) built by any of the new class-approved builders, for example Ovington, Nautivela or Devoti. But for simplicity, we will continue to refer to the boat as a Laser.
In addition to some 20 member-owned boats (that’s 0.01% of the world Laser population, by the way), WFSC also has one Laser that is owned by the Club, which is available for people to borrow for racing or general sailing (a very modest fee applies), and there is a choice of 4.7, Radial or Standard rigs available so the boat can be handled by a very broad range of sailors and abilities.
Lasers at Winsford have the option of launching from one of the jetties, or from the beach, and it is with great delight that we can announce that the beach is being extended so that up to 6 single-handers will soon be able to launch or recover at the same time.
Every year Winsford Flash S.C. hosts an Open meeting as part of the Laser Northern Area Grand Prix series, where sailors from a wide range of local and not-so-local clubs come and show us how a Laser really should be sailed. For 2021, the Grand Prix meeting is scheduled for Saturday 18th September. The programme is for five races of 30-40 minutes’ duration run back-to-back, with 2 taking place before lunch and 3 after.
All of us who sail Lasers think it’s the best boat around, so why not pop down to the Club and see why Laser sailors always come off the water with a big grin on their faces!