Is a Laser Sailboat Faster Than a Sunfish?

Is a Laser Sailboat Faster Than a Sunfish? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Solo sailing for races requires a fast boat, with two models coming to mind. You might be wondering, is a Laser faster than a Sunfish?

Both of those sailboats provide an enjoyable ride, are fast, and have their positives. But which one is faster when it matters the most?

Laser sailboats are faster than Sunfishes and are easier to handle out of the two. Professional sailors often race with a Laser since its design allows it more speed for its size. As for Sunfishes, they are lightweight and fast, but they are more of a recreational boat.

If you were trying to purchase one of the two for everyday use, the Sunfish is a great option. But if you want an opportunity to win races with a similar boat size, then a Laser is your best bet.

According to experts in the industry, the Laser is by far the faster boat of the two. In fact, they use the Laser in Olympic races and continue to plan ahead with the schedule with that particular boat.

Table of contents

‍ Differences Between a Laser and Sunfish

A Laser and a Sunfish are not entirely different since they are made of the same materials and are about the same size. A Laser sailboat is great for newbies or even children wanting to learn how to sail. Out of the two, it is more nimble and has a better chance at going faster while sailing.

As for the Sunfish , it has similarities compared to a Laser. However, it is best reserved to be a recreational boat instead of a racer. While the Laser is easier to handle, the Sunfish is not that bad to handle either.

If you want speed, the Laser is by far the faster boat if the two were to go head to head. Assuming the person sailing both boats are professionals, the Laser handles upwind much better and will dominate in a head to head competition against a Sunfish.

Buy a Sunfish or a Laser?

There are a few factors that come into play for purchasing either a Sunfish or a Laser. It is completely understandable if you find a good deal on either one and decide to go for that option, but you must figure out your sailing goals.

Your sailing goals, whether it is to have a good time or to race, need to be addressed before you make a final decision. Both boats are designed for specific purposes, so it is important to know what you want and why.

Best for Newbies or Children

If you have a small child or someone that wants to learn how to sail, then the Laser is the best option. Lasers allow the perfect setting to get started with sailing since they are lightweight and easy to operate.

With the Sunfish, this boat is best for one person navigating the other just enjoying the ride. While not complicated to operate a Sunfish, the Laser is just easier. The Laser is slightly wider than a Sunfish by about five inches, so an extra person on board might be easier to handle here.

More Stability

While this should not be alarming for these types of sailboats, you are going to get wet. In fact, both these boats are considered “wet boats” since you are just inches away from the water and you have the chance of capsizing.

On a majority of boats, this is bad news. However, capsizing on a dinghy is part of the process when trying to learn how to race them.

If you do capsize, do not worry about your boat. They both have self-bailing systems in place to help remove water from the cockpit.

Lasers can be a bit touchy when trying to navigate since they respond with weight shifts in the boat. Even though they can be easier to navigate, you are likely to capsize more often in these than a Sunfish.

Sunfish boats are less likely to capsize since their design is meant to be recreational, whereas the Laser is a racer and is capable of this more often. If you want more time enjoying the sun while sailing, the Sunfish is better in this regard.

Overall Cost

Finding a good deal on either sailboat is part of the process and could make the biggest impact on your decision. Your sailing goals are a priority when making a decision about what works best for you, but the price is also important to consider.

A brand new Sunfish can range up to $5,500 for their performance package, while other models cost about $4,000. If you find a used one, these can range between $500 to $2,000 depending on condition and age.

A brand new Laser can range up to $5,800, with some packages offering around $5,100. A used one is likely the best for any budget, as these vary between $1,500 and $3,000 based on condition.

When looking at a used version of either boat, you want to make sure the hull is in good shape with very few imperfections. It needs to be firm, without any soft spots, or you risk it taking on water in the future.

While this will be difficult to potentially get an honest answer for a used version, you need to ask how the boat was stored when not in use. The best way to keep it in its condition is when it is dry and covered. If the boat has been in the water for some time in the elements, it could potentially gain weight and fall apart later after use.

You need to check the weight of the used boat you are purchasing too. Both the Sunfish and Laser have weights of about 130 pounds.

In addition, the condition of the sails needs to be considered before buying. New Laser sails can cost up to $700, while new sails on the Sunfish vary around $450.

As you can see, both sailboats can be afforded if your budget is in shape. They both cover the same areas in price, so it likely does not matter a lot when trying to buy one unless you find a good deal.

Ease of Use

Both sailboats are simple and easy to use, with some exceptions. Both have different amounts of sail controls to operate but are still easy to use.

The Sunfish is a straightforward operation with just a few controls to play with. This makes it one of the more popular boats to exist as a recreational dinghy.

For the Laser, it usually has around five different controls to mess with and can be overwhelming at first for a small child. However, it is easy to learn and anyone can catch on quickly.

No matter which one you choose, they both make it easy to operate. You just need to see which one fits your style of sailing.

Both the Sunfish and Laser are made out of fiberglass, so you do not have to worry about wood being the base of the boat. With that said, there are not really any differences to what each boat is made of.

The part that matters is the condition of the boat if you decide to buy one used. Fiberglass is easier to clean and maintain, but you need to know how to work on it if you find one that needs repairs.

Setup Times

Both boats are easy to set up in and out of the water. By just a few minutes, the Sunfish is slightly easier to get going versus the Laser.

It takes roughly 20 minutes to get everything going for the Laser, assuming you have a routine down. If you want to save a few minutes of time preparing for your sailing trip, the Sunfish is the slightly better option.

Related Articles

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

by this author

Most Recent

What Does "Sailing By The Lee" Mean? | Life of Sailing

What Does "Sailing By The Lee" Mean?

October 3, 2023

The Best Sailing Schools And Programs: Reviews & Ratings | Life of Sailing

The Best Sailing Schools And Programs: Reviews & Ratings

September 26, 2023

Important Legal Info is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Similar Posts

How To Choose The Right Sailing Instructor | Life of Sailing

How To Choose The Right Sailing Instructor

August 16, 2023

Cost To Sail Around The World | Life of Sailing

Cost To Sail Around The World

May 16, 2023

Small Sailboat Sizes: A Complete Guide | Life of Sailing

Small Sailboat Sizes: A Complete Guide

October 30, 2022

Popular Posts

Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats

December 28, 2023

Can a Novice Sail Around the World? | Life of Sailing

Can a Novice Sail Around the World?

Elizabeth O'Malley

June 15, 2022

Best Electric Outboard Motors | Life of Sailing

4 Best Electric Outboard Motors

How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England? | Life of Sailing

How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England?

10 Best Sailboat Brands | Life of Sailing

10 Best Sailboat Brands (And Why)

December 20, 2023

7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat | Life of Sailing

7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat

Get the best sailing content.

Top Rated Posts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. (866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing Email: [email protected] Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244 Disclaimer Privacy Policy

  • Email Newsletters
  • Best Marine Electronics & Technology
  • America’s Cup
  • St. Petersburg
  • Caribbean Championship
  • Boating Safety

Laser Vago XD: Review

  • By Chuck Allen
  • Updated: December 13, 2007


Jo Richards, a designer from England, who grew up with a penchant for sailing fast dinghies, likes drawing them now, and has achieved no small success in doing so. His designs, which include the rotomolded superstar the Pico, and a no-holds-barred canting-keeler named Full Pelt, have given him a well-earned reputation as a go-to guy for fast, small boats. Planing dinghies constructed by the rotomold method are durable, stiff, and inexpensive. When you combine these attributes with a design from Richards, you can see why the Laser Vago XD is a boat that keeps the fun in sailing. This boat is designed to be many things; singlehander, doublehander, fast trainer, and all-around fun, planing dinghy for whoever feels the need for speed in an inexpensive, durable design. Several key design features enable this 13’9” rocketship to get on a plane sooner than similar dinghies. The hard chine Richards designed into the hull combines with its rocker, which makes the boat handle like a dream during maneuvers. Its flared gunwales provide flotation and good righting moment. The XD version, which has 30 more square feet of sail area than the standard Vago, as well as a trapeze, is, quite simply, a ton of fun to sail. The Vago has plenty of versatility, allowing either one or two people to sail the boat with a variety of sail plans. The spacious cockpit enables you to tack and jibe with ease.The first thing you notice when stepping aboard the Vago is its stability, which comes as a result of its beam. Unlike some planing dinghies, which offer no room for respite, you’ll be able to relax on this boat when you have to stop to fix something, eat lunch, or take a break between races. I always like to get a feel for a boat before putting myself out on the trapeze, but I could tell right away the Vago was forgiving enough to hop right to it. I pre-set the jib, hooked in, and brought the mainsheet with me out on the wire. The boat was a dream to sail. I could find an easy groove upwind, bearing off a bit in the lulls to maintain the same angle of heel. I could feather a bit in the puffs until I began to lose speed, and then I’d crack off a touch. Tacking while on the wire is always a challenge the first time sailing a trapeze boat, but it wasn’t that big a deal with the Vago, as I found myself well in control. A self-tacking system would simplify tacks. Downwind was way too much fun. I simulated rounding a mark and setting the kite as fast as possible, again setting the jib in the most desirable position (I wanted to try it unfurled first) while concentrating on kite trim and driving. I was flying, and after getting used to the speed and angles before hitting the wire, popping over waves and sailing fast. I tried a few jibes and found no difficulties, and here, too, a self-tacking jib would help improve boathandling. A furled jib is the call, but when it’s howling, rolling the jib is the last thing you’re going to do. Sailing from the wire downwind was a bit trickier than upwind, but it was still a remarkably stable platform and only once did I find myself out of control. Overall, sailing the boat is a great experience mostly because of the speed. The Gnav Vang System (mounted atop the boom) really opens up the cockpit and helps the Vago separate itself from other small, traditional dinghies. Whether sailing the Vago with one or two you’ll find pulling off maneuvers to be simple. The Vago XD is priced at $8,200, including the dolly, and the fun factor makes it worth every dollar. It was a clear choice as our best one-design dinghy. This is the sort of boat that will surely get kids and adults-alone or together-out on the water more often.

For SW ‘s complete 2008 Boat of the Year coverage, click here

  • More: Sailboats
  • More Sailboats

Pogo Launches its Latest Coastal Rocket

A deeper dive into the storm 18, 2024 boat of the year best recreational racer: z24, 2024 boat of the year best dinghy: rs toura, how the worlds were won, suiting up with gill’s zentherm 2.0, the ultimate prize, fast track to the fifties.

  • Digital Edition
  • Customer Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Cruising World
  • Florida Travel + Life
  • Sailing World
  • Salt Water Sportsman
  • Sport Fishing
  • Wakeboarding

Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Sailing World may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.

Copyright © 2024 Sailing World. A Bonnier LLC Company . All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

  • New Sailboats
  • Sailboats 21-30ft
  • Sailboats 31-35ft
  • Sailboats 36-40ft
  • Sailboats Over 40ft
  • Sailboats Under 21feet
  • used_sailboats
  • Apps and Computer Programs
  • Communications
  • Fishfinders
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Plotters MFDS Rradar
  • Wind, Speed & Depth Instruments
  • Anchoring Mooring
  • Running Rigging
  • Sails Canvas
  • Standing Rigging
  • Diesel Engines
  • Off Grid Energy
  • Cleaning Waxing
  • DIY Projects
  • Repair, Tools & Materials
  • Spare Parts
  • Tools & Gadgets
  • Cabin Comfort
  • Ventilation
  • Footwear Apparel
  • Foul Weather Gear
  • Mailport & PS Advisor
  • Inside Practical Sailor Blog
  • Activate My Web Access
  • Reset Password
  • Pay My Bill
  • Customer Service

laser sailboat review

  • Free Newsletter
  • Give a Gift

laser sailboat review

Rhumb Lines: Show Highlights from Annapolis

laser sailboat review

Open Transom Pros and Cons

laser sailboat review

Mailport: Charley Morgan, Locker Safety, Fast Bottom Paint

laser sailboat review

Rebuilding a Cape Dory 36 Part V

laser sailboat review

Do-it-yourself Electrical System Survey and Inspection

laser sailboat review

Install a Standalone Sounder Without Drilling

laser sailboat review

The Tricked Out Tillerpilot

laser sailboat review

Resolving Common Steering Problems

laser sailboat review

The Everlasting Multihull Trampoline

laser sailboat review

In Search of the Snag-free Clew

laser sailboat review

The Cruising Sailor’s Argument for High-tech Fibers

laser sailboat review

SNADs: Snaps Without Screws

laser sailboat review

Rudder Mods for Low-speed Docking

laser sailboat review

Using Heat to Bend PVC Pipe

laser sailboat review

Powering Your Boat Through a Storm

laser sailboat review

Can We Trust Plastic Boat Parts?

laser sailboat review

Repairing Molded Plastics

laser sailboat review

Mailport: Marine plywood, fuel additives, through bolt options, winch handle holders

laser sailboat review

Random Orbit Sanders for Bottom Paint Prep

laser sailboat review

Choosing and Securing Seat Cushions

laser sailboat review

Cockpit Drains on Race Boats

laser sailboat review

Rhumb Lines: Livin’ the Wharf Rat Life

laser sailboat review

PS Advisor: Acid Cleaning Potable Water Systems

laser sailboat review

Resurrecting Slippery Boat Shoes

laser sailboat review

Shoe Goo’s Gift to Sailors

laser sailboat review

PS Advisor: Tank Monitor and Camera Mount Hacks

laser sailboat review

Rhumb Lines: Cold Weather Sailing

marine toilet test

Marine Toilet Maintenance Tips

laser sailboat review

Learning to Live with Plastic Boat Bits

laser sailboat review

The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Clear Plastic

laser sailboat review

Preventing Mildew in Marine Fabrics

laser sailboat review

Gearing Up for Winter Sailing

  • Sailboat Reviews

Practical Sailor Reviews Seven Performance-Sailing Dinghies

Agile, fun boats like the classic sunfish and new hobie bravo keep the smile in summer sailing..

laser sailboat review

Photos by Ralph Naranjo

Messing around in small boats is a global theme-one thats embraced by pond-bound pram sailors, river riders, lake voyagers, and all of us who call salt water home. The purpose of this sailing dinghy profile is to highlight seven very interesting little sailboats. Some are new designs, and others have stood the test of time, but all are currently being manufactured, and each drives home just how much fun sailing close to the water can be.

This isn’t a shootout among anorexic speedsters or a report on the best tender that doubles as a sailing dinghy. Its a look at perennials like the Optimist, Sunfish, and Laser-legendary competitors that have helped spawn some of the best sailors in the world. But its also a look at three of the newest entries in the dinghy-sailing circle: Bics Open, Hobies Bravo, and Laser Performances Bug. These agile, new sailing dinghies are chock full of fun and boat-handling features to inspire kids of all ages to go sailing.

Well also take a look at Chesapeake Light Crafts kit approach to getting started-one that offers meaningful lessons and tangible rewards well before the boat ever hits the water.

Scale down an Open 60, add sail technology long favored by windsurfers, and put it into play in a tough thermo-formed hull, and you have the makings for a new kind of watercraft. The result is a very interesting blend of performance and reliability that targets adolescent interest. When all is said and done, Bics boat is more akin to a sit-down windsurfer than a traditional Blue Jay. And like all good boats, its vying for attention not just based on performance, construction quality, and style, but just as importantly, on the price tag stuck to the hull.

The Open Bics light weight and wide, flat stern section means that even small chop can be surfed; and bursts of planing on a reach add a zing factor to dinghy sailing. The Open Bic is already an International Sailing Federation (ISAF)-sanctioned class, and fleets are developing around the US. Another bonus: Its an easily portable boat that can be carried like a windsurfer, adding excitement to a Sunday picnic at the beach.

The thermo-formed polyethylene hull is a modified hard-chine design with lots of beam aft. Sailed flat, the boat is agile enough to surf wavelets, and with a shape thats ergonomically friendly to hiking, the ensuing heel on the upwind leg puts just the right amount of chine into the water. In light air, careful control of heel can significantly reduce wetted surface.

The design team that developed the Open Bic saw it as a transition bridge from Optimist sailing to a more performance-oriented dinghy. An interesting innovation is that the Open Bic can be sailed with an Optimists rig and blades. This buy the hull only approach can be a significant incentive for parents with children outgrowing their Opti as fast as their boat shoes. However it wont be long before the kids want the fully turbo-charged feel delivered with the Open Bics well-shaped 4.5-square-meters rig, sail, and nicely foiled blades.

Bottom line: The Open Bic is fast, agile, and buckets of fun for kids uninspired by sailing in the slow lane.

Just when you think that Hobie Cat Co. has covered whats possible in beach-cat innovation, their design/engineering crew comes up with a new twist that reinvents the wheel. The Hobie Bravo is a good case in point.

In a recent visit to Backyard Boats ( ) in Annapolis, Md., we got a good look at the Bravo. Nearly as narrow as a monohull but still quite stable, this quick-to-launch beach cat packs plenty of get-up-and-go. Its a simple to sail, entry-level boat that fast tracks learning the steer, sheet, and hike trilogy. The boat features a single, midline rudder and roto-molded hulls. The shape of the hulls provides enough lateral plane to allow a crew to make headway to windward.

The narrow (4 feet), 12-foot Bravo uses crew weight and hiking straps to add to the righting moment once the breeze is up. Whats done with webbing on larger cats has been converted to a shallow, rigid deck well on the Bravo. It does raise the weight of the boat to 195 pounds, but it offers comfortable seating plus room for cushions and a cooler. Kids or grown ups can have a Tom Sawyer-Huck Finn type of adventure aboard this fun little sailing machine. Or the family on a beach picnic can set it up and take turns speed reaching along a sandy shoreline.

The furling mast supports a roachy sail with slightly slanted vertical battens, helping to shape the boomless mainsail. The result is convenient sail handling, decent performance, and superior safety. Theres no boom to clobber the crew, and the roller-furled sail and mast are easily stepped in the tripod-like receiver. This interesting set of struts raises the top bearing point of the mast step and spreads rig loads out to the hulls. The furling mainsail offers the ability to reef, a big plus in a building breeze or when teaching children to sail.

Like all of the boats in the Hobie lineup, theres a wide range of specialty parts and fittings that make the boats fast to rig and easy to handle. The kick-up rudder is hung on gudgeons mounted in the center of stern, and just as rig loads have been effectively spread via the tripod step, the energy radiating from the large rudder is spread athwartships via a contoured deck element.

Bottom line: The boat is quick to rig, easy to launch, and responsive to beginners-more experienced sailors will have just as much fun power reaching when the breeze is up.

The Bug

A pocket-sized club trainer, the Bug is an evolution of the kids trainer/club racer that leverages lessons learned in Optis, Dyers, and Sabots. It pulls together the logic of a stable hull shape and simple-to-sail rig, and puts it all in a cost-effective package.

Lending to its success is designer Jo Richardss ergonomic, roto-molded hull, a fabrication that is as close to zero maintenance as a boat can get. The straight out-of-the-mold polyethylene skin gets a few decals, and theres no wood to refinish or gelcoat to wax. These tough, abrasion-resistant hulls have a bumper boat tolerance thats a big plus when it comes to kids learning to sail. Best of all, owners can start with a learn-to-sail rig and upgrade to a more performance-oriented mast and sail package (41 or 56 square feet) that kicks performance into the fast lane.

Oars and an outboard motor bracket can be added to turn the little sailboat into a dual-purpose dinghy. Even the bow painters means of attachment makes sense-no projecting hardware ready to knick the topsides of unintended contacts. Instead, theres a recessed hole in the stem allowing a line to be lead through and a knot used to keep the painter in place.

Bottom line: Aimed at club programs and families look for boats that can be transported on the car top, the Bug is easy to rig and definitely kid friendly. The fact that its manufacturer, Laser Performance, is an international interest and a major player in the performance dinghy industry means that this boat and its parts will be around for a while.

Hobie Bravo

Photo courtesy of Hobie Cat Co.

Eastport Pram

Chesapeake Light Craft expedites boatbuilding for do-it-yourselfers looking to take their garage-built boats for a sail. The company pre-cuts parts, packs kits with all the materials, epoxy, and paint youll need, and leads homebuilders through a thoroughly detailed stitch-and-glue approach to assembly. Kits are available in various stages of completeness, ranging from plans only to the full package, including sail, hardware, running rigging, and paint.

The Eastport Pram is just shy of 8 feet, and the marine plywood and epoxy construction delivers a boat that weighs in, sans sailing rig, at just 62 pounds. Lighter than the comparatively sized Bug, this stiff, durable dinghy, rows like a real boat and sails comfortably with one or two aboard. In keeping with other good tender attributes, the Pram behaves under tow and is equally amicable when propelled by a small outboard or tacked up an estuary under sail.

Kit boatbuilding continues to have a niche following. Theres also an added-value feature worth noting: On one hand, the builder receives a box of pieces and the result of his or her endeavor leads to an aesthetic and utilitarian dinghy. In addition, the DIY skills the builder develops will be useful in other epoxy bonding, brightwork, or mono-urethane application projects. Such talents will benefit many other boat maintenance endeavors.

Whats hard to quantify is the sense of accomplishment derived from sailing a boat that you have built yourself. When the project is tackled in tandem with a child, spouse, or friend, the memories and the boat will last.

Bottom line: With neither sidedecks or a sealed hull, this is not a boat thats easy to recover from a capsize. So once the kids favor on-the-edge sailing in a building breeze, a non swamping, easier-righting boat is probably a better option. The Pram can then be put to use by their appreciative parents or grandparents.

Never in their wildest dreams did Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce imagine that the Weekender (the Lasers original name) was destined to become an Olympic class sailboat and one of the most popular springboards for top-tier sailors in the world today. Originally envisioned as a car-topper for weekend campers, the cat-rigged, low freeboard sailing dinghy morphed from its original roots into a boat favored by college competitors and revered by generations of agile sailors of all ages. Even frostbiting winter sailors have locked onto the Laser.

Chesapeake Light Craft

Designed in 1969, the Lasers first few years were anything but smooth sailing. Popularity grew quickly, but along with the limelight came plenty of consternation. Dubbed a surfboard not a sailboat by a growing cross-section of the yachting elite-many parents warned junior sailors to steer as clear of Lasers as they did sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. The campaign failed, and junior sailors in yacht club programs around the country fell into the grip of the new one-design dinghy-discovering the sailboats proclivity to plane.

one-design Laser

Dyer Dhows languished in boat sheds across the country as a new theme in sailing took hold. Dubbed fast is fun by sailor/engineer Bill Lee, the young Merlin of Santa Cruz, Calif., took the theme to big-boat sailing, merging California culture with the Laser logic of light displacement and planing hull shapes.

Best of all, the Laser embraced the ideal of a tightly controlled one-design class that put people on the water in identical boats and left winning and losing races up to sailing skill and tactics rather than a boats performance edge. For decades, the boat has been the single-handed sailors choice among junior sailing programs, and with the addition of the Radial, 4.7 and M rigs, smaller competitors have also found the boat to be a great sailing platform. Today, theres some lawyer saber-rattling over the sale of the design rights, but the boat remains more popular than ever.

The sleeved sail, two-part spar, daggerboard, and kick-up rudder make the boat a quick-to-rig and fast-to-get underway dinghy. Light-air efficiency is good for a one-design sailboat, but this means that as the breeze builds, the non-reefable sail can become a handful in a hurry. In fact, the boats Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde demeanor is what builds talent among Laser practitioners. The big boys block the mainsail and blast off for the layline, while lighter sailors heavy-weather tactics include more nuanced de-powering and feathering. In light air, the tables turn, and the winner is often the sailor who planes quickest on the reaches. The old guards surfboard slam may have held some credence after all.

Bottom line: The Laser is a timeless classic thats easily transported and is built for performance. Its well suited to adrenaline-seeking teens as well as the more fit adult crowd.

Designed in 1947 by Floridian Clark Mills, the utilitarian Optimist could be made out of two sheets of plywood-and from its inception, the Optimist was meant to link kids with the water. Slipping into obscurity in the U.S., the little pram found fertile ground to grow in northern Europe. With just a few tweaks, the Scandinavians took Millss lines and parlayed them into whats become the favored junior sailing trainer for kids from Detroit to Timbuktu. Statistics show that there are about 30 builders worldwide putting out approximately 4,000 boats each year. With about 130,000 boats class registered and an estimated 300,000 total hulls built (amateur and pro), theres plenty of reasons to get excited about an Opti.

Performance boats

The example weve chosen is the USA-built McLaughlin boat, both a demonstration of high-quality FRP construction and modern manufacturing techniques. Its also a boat that can be purchased in a range of performance-inducing iterations-upgrades designated as club, intermediate, advanced, and professional versions. Like all performance sailboats, stiffness and strength-to-weight ratio is important. But class rules include a minimum weight, so the most competitive hulls meet the mandatory lower limit but use good engineering and building technique to reinforce the daggerboard slot and mast step and produce overall stiffness.


The low mast height and high aspect ratio sprit sail is very versatile, affording young (and small, 65 to 130 pounds) sailors a wide window of decent performance. The flat bottom, slab-sided hull is responsive to crew weight-driven trim changes, and the better the sailor, the more agile they become. Light-air performance is all about minimizing wetted surface and maximizing sail area projection. When the breeze starts to kick up, the sailor becomes the ballast, and the art of hiking, sheet handling, and tiller wiggling come into play.

Under careful adult supervision, two 6- to 8-year-olds can double-hand the friendly little dinghy, or one more-confident child can solo sail it. In fact, introducing kids to sailing with similar proportioned small prams has been a right of passage around for decades. A set of oarlock gudgeons can turn the pram into a functional dinghy thats also adaptable to the smaller Torqeedo outboard (

McLaughlin also markets a Roto-molded polyethylene version of the Opti and sells DIY kits for those who want to create their own wood version.

Bottom line: The Opti is like a first bicycle without the need for training wheels. The fact that at the last Olympics, over 80 percent of the winning sailors had gotten their start in an Optimist speaks well to the value of messing around in this particular dinghy.

Open Bic

Designed in 1951 by ice boaters Alexander Bryan and Cortland Heyniger, the hard chine Sunfish was the prototype board boat. In 1959, it made the transition into fiberglass, and over the following half-century, more than a quarter-million hulls would hit the water. Simplicity and decent sailing attributes combined with an attractive price to make the Sunfish the most popular one-design dinghy ever raced.

Far more than a platform for racers, these boats are an excellent training tool for sailors of all ages. Also built by Laser Performance, they reflect the fun of summer and put sailors in close contact with the water on which they sail. Its no surprise that the larger fleets coincide with warm water and many see going for a swim to be part and parcel of the low-freeboard experience.

The lateen rig is in keeping with the overall design concept and simplifies rigging. A short stub of a mast is stepped and a single halyard hoists the sail along with tilting V-shaped upper and lower booms.

The total sail area is nearly the same as the Laser, but the halyard hoist versatility of the lateen rig make it a handy beach boat and a little less daunting when the wind begins to build. The clean sail shape on one tack and deformation caused by the mast on the other tack are a slight drawback. The Laser rig is more efficient, but when caught out in a squall, its nice to be able to ease the halyard and dump the sail. Its also handy to be able to leave the boat tethered to a mooring, and the doused sail and short mast make it possible.

Multiple generations of sailors are often found sailing Sunfish, and the boat represents one of the best bargains to be found in the used boat market. When considering a pre owned boat, the potential buyer needs to take a close look at the daggerboard-to-hull junction and mast step, points where previous damage can create hard-to-fix leaks.

Bottom line: The Sunfish is a great beach boat that can turn a hot afternoon into a fun-filled water experience.

There were no losers in this group, and picking winners and runners-up proved a difficult task. The outcome had to be based on assumptions about how these boats would be used. For example, parents with a competitive 9-year-old who swims like a fish, always sprints for the head of the lunch line, and likes to steal bases in Little League probably have an Opti racer in the making. Less competitive junior sailors-future cruisers in the making-will do better learning aboard a Bug. Many newly formed sailing clubs target the boat as their trainer of choice.

The Bravo holds plenty of appeal for those with a lakeside cottage or a favored campground destination. Whether its a solo sail just before sunset or a fun race on Sunday, the quick to set up and put away features are a plus, and for those who feel that two hulls are better-the Bravo will hold plenty of appeal.

Serious competitors can campaign a Laser for life, and whether youre headed for a local district regatta or getting ready for the Olympic trials, the hull, rig, and sail remains identical-sort of like the Monaco Grand Prix being raced in a street legal Mustang.

Bic Opens new little speedster tickled our fancy, and as a trainer/performance boat crossover, it drew a strong nod of approval. Watching the junior sailors smiles as they sailed their Open Bics endorsed our opinion.

And if there is any boat that defines the essence of summer, the Sunfish takes the prize.

  • The Art of Building with Thermal-setting Plastics

Practical Sailor Reviews Seven Performance-Sailing Dinghies

  • Youth Safety Gear Top Picks
  • Chesapeake Light Craft
  • Hobie Cat Co.
  • Las er Performance
  • McLaughlin Boat Works


Leave a reply cancel reply.

Log in to leave a comment

  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell My Personal Information
  • Online Account Activation
  • Privacy Manager

Sailing on the Salish Sea

Laser vs Aero vs Melges? That’s Not the Question


Ever since the RS Aero first appeared, everyone seems focused on the question “Which is the better boat, the Aero or the Laser?” As the Melges 14 gains steam, the question will be which is best of the three. That’s not the important question. At all. Both the new boats are surely better than the Laser. They’re 40 years newer and have the advantage of current materials and construction techniques. If they’re not better, RS and Melges have really screwed up. Which they have not. Both companies are clearly committed to making a great product.

No, the real question is, what’s the future of the Laser class? Most of the 210,000 boats built are still around. There are active fleets worldwide and an extremely well-established class association. And you know what? It’s still a great sailing boat. Thanks Bruce, Bruce and Hans.

My LTR with the Laser and Fleet Demise

For me personally, it’s painful. I pined for the boat when it was new and I was too small. I fussed over my first used lime green Laser to no end as a teenager. Since then I’ve sailed a succession of Lasers, dragged them all over the Midwest and Northwest to regattas I would never win. I’ve been beaten up by the boat more often than I can remember. Many times my extremities have required hours to get back proper circulation and my muscles days to relieve soreness. I’ve been sunburned and bruised to the extreme.

Yet, I love her so.

Last year's District 22 Championship in Belligham

The Seattle Laser Fleet (SLF) is giving all appearances of dying. As ground zero for the RS Aero movement in North America, the new boat has lured away most SLF stalwarts. And through attrition and lack of promotion recently, the fleet has dwindled. To make things interesting in our weekly racing, we (~5 Lasers) start on the (~7) Aero’s preparatory signal (one minute ahead on a three minute sequence) and try to hold them off to the finish. It’s not as satisfying as, say, 12 boats of the same kind.

Admittedly, I’m an SLF evangelist. I’m also currently the District 22 secretary. Many of my strongest friendships can trace their source to Laser sailing.

So, yes, it’s painful to watch the dwindling fleets. And I’ve gotten a bit grumpy about it.

But sailors have voted with their booties and have either quit sailing or made the move to the younger, sexier Aero.

Maybe it’s even time for the Laser and SLF to die.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s not time for the Laser or my dear SLF to die, but to adapt.

A Quick Word about the Quick Aero

The Aero is certainly a very good boat. I’ve only sailed one for about 30 seconds, but I’ve watched them sail past me and better sailors than I think they’re great. Its rigging is far superior to a Laser’s. It’s a planing machine and has a beautiful carbon rig. Oh yeah, and it’s way lighter, which makes a managing on shore a lot easier. With the “9” rig it’s just plain fast in light air. There have been some teething problems, but not many and RS is very responsive.

Talia Toland winning the Leiter Cup this year on Lake Washington. Jan Anderson photo.

Best of all, the RS Aero appears to be drawing sailors who, for one reason or another, aren’t interested in sailing a Laser. A couple weeks ago, champion sailor Libby McKee and my mini transat friend Craig, came out in loaner RS Aeros and both are thinking about jumping back into the singlehanded dinghy world. With the Aero’s “9” rigs, sailing in light air, they ended up first and second and appeared to enjoy themselves enormously.

When the RS Aero first came out, I recognized it as a viable Laser replacement, giving the local Aero (and Laser!) dealer George Yioulos ( West Coast Sailing ) a forum for promoting the boat in the post Laser Killer? way back in June 2014. I’ve referred plenty of people to the Aero fleet here.

I don’t know much about the Melges, but I know the family and they’ll make a great boat and provide superlative support to fleet building.

The future of high-end, simple singlehanded sailing is probably in good hands with either the Aero or the Melges. May the best boat win.

Laser Problems

The Laser has always had its problems. So, for all you haters out there, here’s my list of top Laser “issues,” to which I’m sure you can add.

LaserPerformance continues to do its best to kill the class. When Dave Reed of Sailing World points out that a potential advertiser is screwing up so badly, then it’s common knowledge.

So, here goes with the bad:

  • Crappy builder support, including parts availability
  • Poor construction currently (including spars)
  • Stupidly silly high cost for new models of such an ancient boat
  • Painful to sail
  • Difficult to sail well – with the result of widely spread fleets
  • Limited competitive life of the equipment (hulls get soft and spars break)
  • Questions in play about future of brand due to the Kirby lawsuit
  • Ancient technology

Top 10 Laser Strengths

One of my Laser sailing friends, who’s been near the top of the Laser fleet nationally for several years, asked rhetorically, “If it’s not an Olympic boat, why would you sail a Laser?” He’s about done with the boat, and after the thousands of hours he’s put into it, I can’t blame him.

But I do see plenty of reasons to sail a Laser even if you’re not dreaming of the Olympics:

  • The great feel
  • Can sail in virtually any wind
  • Great competition, especially internationally
  • It develops fitness and toughness
  • They’re ubiquitous (arguably the best regatta in the world is Laser Masters Worlds)
  • They’re near indestructible for casual sailing/racing
  • Cheap for used boats, good for kids coming up
  • Best teaching boat ever
  • The full, Radial and 4.7 rigs make the Laser a very flexible and effective platform for wide variety of sailors
  • They’re just flat out good looking.

So Where Should the Laser Point?

Masters action

Many classes have been “out-designed” and live happily on. The Star, Opti, 505, Thistle, Snipe, Daysailer, and Shields are some that come to mind. Several of these have a development aspect that keeps sailors engaged. Others are so ubiquitous and accessible that they just keep going. When the pressure of super-competitors has moved to other classes, some have even thrived more.

I hope that as some wealthier and more “serious” singlehanders move to the Melges or Aeros, and the Laser starts to get supplanted as “the” boat, profits will go down and LaserPerformance will sell the product line into more committed hands. And hopefully the class will lose its Olympic status. Everybody talks about Olympic status as a great thing. I’m not sure it is. I was sailing Lasers long before it was an Olympic class and it was just as fun and popular, if not more.

It is an experience to sail with those Olympic guys, maybe even round the first weather mark alongside them (if I go the right way and they go the wrong way). But otherwise, their presence doesn’t really mean much to my sailing. I’m more interested in beating my friends (you Scott and you Joe and you Carlos), who, like me, can’t keep up with the pros.

At the same time, the Laser Class will have to take a good hard look at itself and decide whether it wants to improve the boat or protect the fleet. IMHO, now that there is finally a new sail, the mast is the area of greatest need. A carbon top section (or entire set of spars) has been discussed ad infinitum. Creating a lighter, safer and more importantly, longer-lasting set of spars would make the boat so much better. If the Laser is no longer “the” boat, maybe it will be easier to get that done.

There are a lot of us of all ages who just like sailing the boat, and we’re going to be around for a long time to come. I’m guessing that with a shift in builder and Olympic status, Laser sailing could become more energized. While sometimes we take breaks from sailing, a lot of us tend to come back to Lasers. In my experience, we love to help newbies get to know the Laser’s quirks quickly and don’t mind it too much when we’re surpassed. We’ll still enjoy great racing and still have those awesome international events to attend.

Leiter Cup racing on Lake Washington. Jan Anderson photo.

The class could then refocus on getting young sailors into the boat. Basically, at the national and local levels we can reach out to high school sailors and others who can’t spend a lot of money on the new RS or Melges, but who would get just as much fun out of sailing a Laser. If it’s not an Olympic class, gone are the coach’s boats and the intimidation factor.

And maybe the broader thinkers among the Aero and Melges proponents will see that it will do them little good to decry the Laser as a has-been to potential sailors. Lasers have started many thousands of sailors down a path that ends up with them buying a lot of different boats.

In other words, don’t kill the Laser, it can still do the sport (and those builders) a lot of good by introducing folks to dinghy sailing. Just as it’s done for decades.

Basically, I see the Laser returning to its humble, non-ultra-competitive roots. I believe it can live happily there coexisting with the new boats while providing a good option for a lot of sailors, especially the crop of great high school sailors coming up.

Me enjoying Thursday night Corinthian YC sailing off Shilshole

Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. Currently he is a broker at Swiftsure Yachts. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He’s married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.

Share this:

  • ← Dale Jepsen One Design Regatta – Bellingham Bay Sends Dinghies Scurrying Home Saturday, Delivers Perfect Conditions Sunday
  • Northwest J/24s at the Worlds in Japan →

11 thoughts on “ Laser vs Aero vs Melges? That’s Not the Question ”

' src=

Great collection of thoughts Kurt. Thanks.

Pingback: Future of Singlehanded Dinghy Racing – Scuttlebutt Sailing News | SFO

' src=

I think you will find the Australian built Lasers are in a different league compared to the UK built Lasers.

' src=

Yes, the top competitors here brought in Aussie boats, and then UK boats, US boats often came with problems. My understanding is there is no such thing as a US built Laser any more.

' src=

Great article on this issue. Of course the mighty Sunfish has survived nicely over the years. Having spent many years racing the laser I now find the VX Evo to be comfortable, fun and fast. Key to me is the comfort piece where I am not hobbling after a big breeze day. The laser is a fantastic boat with great people to race with. I guess I am not willing to sacrifice my knees and comfort now that I have tried a better single handed boat for me. Not to mention you do not bring up body size. At 6’2″ and 205lbs the laser was great for me when it blew hard but a bit more of a struggle in the light stuff against lighter sailors. It is now a great feeling to be in a boat that is more accommodating to various sailor sizes with 3 size sails that all work for me. I would never sail a radial or 4.7 but I have used the A, B and C sail in differing wind strengths on the Evo. It can keep more sailors out racing in broader conditions. When you go to the effort of traveling to a regatta being able to sail in the broadest range of conditions matters. I am sure the Aero does this as well. I will say that if you have not tried a single hander with a kite, the Evo adds a lot of tactical dimensions to the run! So I guess I agree that more single handed choices are better for all of us.

Hopefully someday I’ll get to try an Evo, looks cool.

' src=

Thank you for your insight, optimism and excellent narrative!

' src=

Wow… I just got back from Shileshole and I counted 12 Aero’s on the i-14 docks, one more in the dry storage lot and one was on the roof of a truck heading out of the marina. It’s nice seeing new boat actually growing in numbers in our area.

' src=

In my view the Laser has another strenght. The seating position downwind is much better than the modern designs. The sailor can sit firmly on the flat deck and not crawling around on their knees as in the Melges 14. It is so important to get the legs tucked underneath to stable the body.

Hello Steffen, Good point. I have only sailed the Laser and Aero, so I can’t speak to the Melges or Devoti. But certainly most of us have spent some quality time on the Laser’s back deck! Any other readers have an original observation?

' src=

I teach in a college sailing club, which has just acquired a fleet of RS Zests. Many problems with shedding tillers and rudders, poor construction of outhaul, securing rolled-up sail. That’s in one truncated season of use.

For the Aero, I see that there are a bunch of user-created rig re-design details, extra-cost Harken replacement parts. I think the class needs some use to settle down.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

laser sailboat review

Guide to Laser Pico’s and Dinghy Sailboats

  • Home / Category / Active

8 dinghy sailboats on the water with different coloured sails

  • March 25, 2022
  • Author: Robert Puharich

The laser boats were first produced at the beginning of the 1970s and attained the Olympic sailing category in 1996. Since then, these boats have become the most competitive sailing boats designed in history.

For this reason, all laser boats are constructed with similar specifications, including their sails, equipment, and hulls. The laser Pico and Dinghy Sailboats are among the common types of laser boats you can use to test your skill as a sailor and advance in this hobby.

Most starters may ask, how do these boats operate? How many people can they hold? Are they expensive? And what’s the difference between the two? If these are your concerns, you’re at the correct place.

This article provides everything there is to know about laser Pico’s and dinghy laser boats to help you know which is the most suitable one for your sailing hobby.   

The Laser Pico

Developed primarily for fun, the Laser Pico has constantly remained the prevalent sailboat of all times and abilities. The boat is easy to use and rig and facilitates a speedy learning curve, making it easier for a single sailor to utilize it comfortably.

The boat was first designed by an Olympic medallist known as Jo Richards and was built in 1998 by LaserPerformance . Current Pico models use the latest manufacturing process to ensure it offers nothing but the best experience while on water.

The Laser Pico is the best option for both novice and savvy sailors. The boat alienates the pressure of newcomers having to spend hours learning how to use it. The modern Pico is very simple to rig and sail that a beginner can master how it works in a day.   

It’s rare to find a boat with the combination of features and qualities found in Laser Pico’s. For beginners, this laser sailboat is vice free, simple, and stable enough that almost anyone can easily use it. However, pro users will delight in its brisk performance and highly responsive nature.

Pico is true to its size and rides with a smooth motion regardless of its flat underwater outline and flared bow sections. It doesn’t require great intricacy when steering or trimming due to its well-built rig and enormous rudder.

The boat has positive and well-balanced steering that offers precise feedback for the sailor, and is made to quickly notice forces that are out of balance. Its hiking straps are suitable even for bare feet, while the curved decks work well for people with different leg lengths.

The Laser Dinghy

A dinghy refers to a small open boat often towed or carried on larger ships and used as a tender or lifesaving boat. Other dinghies are usually designed for sailing, and the best example is the Laser Dinghy sailboat.

The Laser Dinghy, also known as the Laser Standard or the Laser One, was first designed in 1970 by Bruce Kirby, with more emphasis on performance and simplicity. The boat is in the international class and used by sailors in more than 120 countries.

Its popularity and wide acceptance come from its simplicity to rig, sailing ease, and robust construction. Its numerous features and great association controls make it a competitive sailing boat.

Usually, most people use the word ”Laser” to describe the Laser Standard, the largest plan rigs you can find for the Laser hulls.

But there are other types of Laser Standard sail plan rigs and many Laser-branded boats with entirely dissimilar hull designs, such as the Laser Pico and Laser 2. The Laser Class Association only offers three kinds of Laser boats: the Laser Standard, Laser 4.7, and Laser Radial.

All Laser boats are constructed with similar specifications and are usually light enough to be carried on top of car racks. However, they are suitable for people of different sizes and ages.

For instance, the Laser Standard is best for fit, muscular, and agile sailors weighing over 80kgs. On the other hand, Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial sailboats are good for small sailors with less weight.

Features to Look for When Purchasing a Sailboat

With many manufacturers producing dinghies today, you’d want to ensure the one you purchase is the best the market offers. For a starter, it’s easy to buy a second-rate or poorly constructed sailing boat if you aren’t careful.

Some of the essential features to check are:

1. Sailboat Number

Most dinghies have sailboat numbers on their cockpit’s back or the deck. These numbers usually help to identify the age and quality of the sailboats. The newer ones tend to have the numbers etched on their cockpit’s backs, while the older dinghies have these numbers written on their decks.

2. The Deck and Hull Condition

It’s important to ensure that the deck and hull of the sailboat you purchase are in good condition. It would be better to watch out for any deep scratches and cracks as they’re the primary tell-tale indications of leaking and damages on the boat.

Usually, this number includes three letters followed by a series of numbers and letters. The first three letters are normally the production date, while the remaining five are the sail serial number.

3. Stiffness

Stiffness is used in boats to indicate their ability to withstand heeling forces. A stiff is boat is usually more stable and responds rapidly to wave profile. However, the stiffness usually diminishes with use and time; hence could tell you the sailboat’s overall quality. Softer ones are more likely to leak.

4. Mast Step

The mast step takes the highest pressure from the sail and mast. A mast’s primary purpose is carrying the soars, derricks, sails, and offering the required height for a lookout position, signal lamp, navigation light, and radio aerial. Therefore, it’s important that the mast step of the boat you buy is in good condition.

5. Other Parts of the Boat

Besides the parts mentioned above, it’s always best to make sure other parts of the laser sailboat you buy are in excellent condition. Examples of these parts are the rudder, daggerboard, mast and boom, and tiller and tiller extension. You should check them for straightness and inspect the ropes and sails for wear and tear.

Why Pico Sailing Is an Extremely Fun Hobby

Laser Pico is the most exciting and capable boat you can ever sail with. It features a:

  • Robust dacron sail
  • Simple reefing system
  • A reefing mainsail and removable jib
  • Stable and stiff roto-molded hull, and more
  • Four-padded toe straps

These features, plus the boats superb design, high durability, and stiffness, make it a great choice for beginners and experienced sailors. Anyone can rig and sail it easily, and most first-time users are normally in charge of them after several days of use.

It’s surprisingly fast and accelerates briskly on the water with a good amount of breeze. Pico’s daggerboard fits easily and can clear the kicking strap and boom even when raised fully, allowing simple lee shore launching and preventing any foul-ups when gybing .

The Laser rudder system utilizes the famous swing-down-and-lock-with-the-tiller arrangement, fastened with a bungee cord you can replace easily. Its hull is produced using the latest process for higher stiffness and durability to ensure safety and longevity.

Therefore, you can expect to have a lot of fun and memorable sailing moments with your Laser Pico for years to come. Its high-capacity allowance and cockpit size are sufficient enough for you and your youngster to go sailing together and teach them more about this fun hobby.

Although the hull of this boat is slightly heavier, its durability and numerous essential features still make it a world-class sailboat. It’s fun, exciting, simple to use, modestly priced, and simple to maintain.

What’s The Best Beginner Laser Sailboat?

The laser boats come in different sizes and types. However, these boats have similar specifications since they’re built to be competitive sailboats to gauge sailors’ skills. Several factors determine the best Laser boat for you, including your age, weight, and experience level.

The Laser sailboats come in three main types; the Laser Standard, 4.7, and Radial. There are also two other types not formally recognized as the Laser class. The main types are designed for sailors with different weight capacities. Below is more comprehensive detail about them:

1. Laser Standard

This Laser bought is the one discussed above, also called the Laser Dinghy. It’s built for sailors weighing 70-84kgs.

2. Laser Radial

Laser radial is slightly smaller than Laser Standard. It’s the one utilized during the 2008’s Women singlehanded Dinghy Olympics and is suitable for people weighing 55-72kgs.

3. Laser 4.7

Laser 4.7 is smaller than the Laser Dinghy, and its shape differs from Laser Radial. It’s built for sailors with a weight of 50-55 kgs.

Two Other Types of Laser Sailboats Include:

Laser M is the rare Laser sailboat model with a smaller hull designed for smaller sailors. Its mast is short, making it a bit challenging to use and depower, particularly with stronger winds.

2. Rooster 8.1

This type of Laser is produced in the UK, and it features a larger hull meant for larger sailors. It’s constructed with varying mast length options.

The first three rigs differ in size, with the Standard measuring 76 sqft, the Radial being 62 sqft, and the 4.7 is 51 sqft. All these boats are suitable for different people. Usually, the Laser Standard is good for advanced sailors, the Radial is ideal for intermediate sailors, and the 4.7 is best for young sailors getting started with the hobby.

What’s The Weight of a Laser Sailboat?

The optimal weight for laser boats differs with each type. Generally, a standard Laser boat should weigh between 55-72kg.

Laser Vs. Laser 2- What’s The Difference?

The main difference between a Laser and Laser 2 is that the latter has a double-handed design while the first one is single-handed. Also, the laser 2 should be sailed with a jib, or else there will be excess weather helm, and it may fail to move.

The Laser 2 is also bigger than the standard Laser, and it can run a jib, main, and spinnaker. Its cockpit is larger and can accommodate even two adults; however, sailing it alone is tricky.

Winding-Up Laser Pico’s and Dinghy Sailboats

The laser boats are excellent options for anyone wanting to hone or learn their sailing skills and enjoy the hobby more. They’re highly responsive, well-built, simple to use, move briskly, the right size, and fun to sail in moderate and light winds, even for beginners.

However, you need to select the right type to be safe and have the utmost fun. Usually, you need to consider your age, weight, and skill set before purchasing one. Have fun sailing!

Search this website

Latest articles.

Old caucasian man in a wheelchair playing hobby basketball with an able bodied young black male

Is Basketball a Hobby?

A vector of person kicking a ball over a teqball table

What is Teqball? Your Guide to a New Sport

Caucasian male and mixed female playing chess

29 Problem Solving Hobbies to Keep Your Mind Busy

Cartoon version of two players playing tchoukball. One is jumping to throw the ball at the net

How to Play Tchoukball | A Beginners Guide

man squatting to do a deadlift at the gym working out as a hobby

Is Working Out a Hobby? Find Out Here

Senior man carving wood

25 Best Hobbies for Men Over 60

Young women exotic pole dancing while wearing a grey one piece outfit

Exotic Pole Dancing: A Creative, Athletic Hobby

Well dressed caucasian man leaning on a poll listening to music and a well dressed caucasion woman leaning on the same poll listening to music

Is Listening to Music a Hobby? Consider this…

two people in white suits fencing with swords as one handed hobbies

25 One Handed Hobbies to Try

Share this article:      , keep up with new hobbies.

  • America’s Cup Updates
  • Events & Races
  • Club of the Year
  • British Yachting Awards
  • Print Subscription
  • Digital Subscription
  • Single Issues

Your special offer

laser sailboat review

Laser Bahia Review

laser sailboat review

Jeremy Evans goes for a ‘family sail’ on Laser’s newest and biggest budget-priced rotomoulded dinghy – The Laser Bahia

Laser Bahia review

Bahia means ‘beach’ if you live in South America (it is a coastal state of Brazil) and is pronounced ‘ba-hee-ya’. Since Laser now has a ready-made market for its range in North America, thanks to the acquisition of Vanguard Sailboats, a Latin American name should prove popular for its newest family boat.

Laser put the Bahia into production last year and have sold more than 400 boats in the first 12 months. With markets on both sides of the Atlantic, they hope to sell Bahias by the thousand over the coming years.

The magic ingredient is rotomoulded polyethylene plastic, which allows large-scale manufacturers to invest heavily in order to produce dinghy hulls at the lowest possible cost.

The Laser price list says it all: would you prefer a ready-to-sail glassfibre Stratos at £8,290, or a ready-to-sail polyethylene Bahia (albeit with a slightly smaller hull) at £5,350? That’s a 35 per cent markdown for a boat which hits pretty much all the same family sailing buttons.

Family market

For this test, we travelled down to Laser’s dedicated sailing school based at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. Bryce (9), Tudor (11) and their mum Paula — three of Sail Laser’s Easter holiday clients — volunteered to try the Bahia in pure family mode, with instructor Ben standing in as their ‘dad’ for the day. Portland Harbour provided a magnificent sailing area, which even extended to landing the Bahia on a deserted beach.

There’s a distinct family likeness between the 4.2m Vago and 4.6m Bahia. Both are built with Laser’s rotomoulded sandwich hull and deck construction, both have distinct hips at the wide point and both were designed by Jo Richards.

But while the Vago is promoted as a multi-role dinghy, with double and singlehanded options and two distinct choices of rig, the Bahia appears more clearly aimed as a single role family boat and in my view is the better for it.


From our Techniques section:

How to sail faster: changing gears on the race course

How to sail faster: handling gusts

Making the perfect start


So what does ‘family’ mean? First and foremost that the boat feels comfortable, safe and secure with two adults plus two or three kids. EU regs allow a maximum load of five adults on board the Bahia, which is no doubt possible but in real life you would never want to sail any dinghy with five big blokes on board!

The second role of a ‘family’ dinghy is to provide safe, fun sailing for individual family members. In the case of the Bahia, that could be mum and dad escaping the family to sail as a couple; either parent sailing with one or more children who may take the tiller; or children taking the boat out on their own, which in the Bahia’s case would be no problem for a couple or even a gaggle of reasonably competent teenagers.

Aside from that, a family boat must be able to provide the right level of on-water fun, accompanied by minimum expense and hassle. Sailing performance should be good enough to bring a smile to your face and possibly enjoy some light hearted racing, though if you’re halfway interested in competition we would recommed that you start looking at more dedicated racing designs.

At the same time, the perfect family dinghy should satisfy any lust for a Swallows & Amazons lifestyle, transporting the family to farflung beaches and hidden coves, with sail power enhanced by oar power, or even an outboard motor gently pushing at the stern.


Read all Y&Y’s Event and Regatta updates here

Rigging and launching

Laser Bahia review

The first potentially scary bit for nervous parents might be putting up (or taking down) the mast, but that is made as easy as possible by using a tabernacle. Lay the mast on top of the hull, attach the mast base to the aluminium beam which spreads the load, connect the shrouds on either side, and then use the forestay to pull the mast up hand-over-hand. In a light or moderate breeze, there should be no difficulties managing this singlehanded.

The Bahia offers a simple rig choice between Dacron or Mylar mainsail, both of which are the same shape and size. I don’t see much point in going for the Mylar option.

One perceived advantage is that laminate mainsails look a lot more stylish than boring white Dacron, but that evaporates when Hyde produce Dacron mainsails for the Bahia in a distinctly smart shade of grey, enhanced by red trimmings (those distinctive dark grey circles near the luff are reinforcement patches to protect the sail from rubbing against the spreaders in full size and reefed mode).

The Mylar mainsail should have the advantage of stretching less than Dacron and may last longer if you treat it with extra special care.

But the Bahia is a family dinghy, not a race machine, and apart from being a fraction cheaper Dacron has the massive advantage of being reefable for the simple reason that it’s bad news to put creases in a laminate sail.

A single line slab-reefing system allows you to reduce the size of the Dacron mainsail and keep power low down, where it’s easiest to control. This is a major plus for family sailing, particularly when the Bahia showed it can sail quite nicely with the jib furled, under mainsail alone.


Did you agree with penalty decision against Great Britain SailGP team?

Back on land, once rigged it’s time to launch. Rotomoulded hulls have one thing in common — none of them can claim to be ‘light’. The Bahia certainly felt quite heavy on the slip at WPNSA. Not outrageously heavy and easy enough to handle on a smooth slipway with a shallow angle, but likely to become a burden if you’re pulling up a steep, rough or slippery surface, or worst of all dragging the boat across sinking sand. It’s just a matter of ensuring you launch and land in the right location and at the right state of the tide.

There was a time when polyethylene boats looked like plastic bathtubs. Rapid development has ensured that the latest generation of rotomoulded hulls appear sleek, shiny and stylish.

Our brand new Bahia certainly looked attractive, with off-white hull and cockpit complemented by a scarlet moulding in the forepeak which provides a spinnaker chute and Bahia graphics on the bows. Going afloat in full family mode, our Bahia also had a splash of scarlet at the stern, thanks to the neat storage box.

The box is a separate polyethylene moulding which can be lifted from the boot of your car and dropped into the stern of your Bahia, where it locks into place. Inside, there’s enough space to stow a load of stuff which might include oars and a small outboard motor, held securely in place.

Duchess of Cambridge helms Great Britain SailGP boat

At the end of the day, you lift out the box and drop it into the boot of your car, where it may provide the ideal container for a load of wet clothing. It’s potentially a very useful extra, at the expense of piling extra weight onto the stern which is most noticeable with the boat on its trolley.

Other neat details include a spring-loaded painter which pulls straight out of the bows — perfect for quickly lashing the bow to the trolley handles or securing the boat to a dock.


Video: Nacra 15 FCS boat test with Chris Rashley and Chloe Collenette


The Bahia also has a gnav (upside-down vang), which inverts the kicking strap on top of the boom. This frees up the front of the cockpit and allows a lower boom with the advantage of lower centre of effort in the sail, as well as much-reduced potential for garrotting children. An enormous hoop in the middle of the cockpit is used to hold the falls of the mainsheet out of harm’s way.

Laser Bahia review

Our family crew had their fun, taking turns to helm the boat, hanging on the wire to prove it’s easy for youngsters to trapeze off the Bahia’s stable hull and even landing on a deserted beach at Castle Cove. Mainly light winds for the test session gave plenty of opportunity to fly the asymmetric scarlet kite which looks surprisingly big for this ‘family’ boat and could be a handful in fresh winds.

Any rotomoulded boat is bound to be a bit ponderous in stronger winds due to its weight and flex, which will not translate into effortless acceleration with every gust. If conditions get challenging, my guess is that many Bahia families will opt to stay upright by keeping that big spinnaker in its chute, enjoying enough performance from a reefed main and jib instead of loading up the rig to the max.

One criticism of rotomouled boats is that they can feel a bit ‘dead’. This will certainly be true compared to a super-light, super-stiff epoxy laminate flyer, for which you will pay a price premium. But in light winds the Bahia felt very nice to sail. It was well balanced and responsive with good ergonomics and loads of room for two adult crew.

It’s easy for the helm to tack the boat cleanly with lots of space to flip the tiller extension behind the hoop. The Bahia felt pleasantly precise when driving upwind, while offwind the big scarlet kite provided a welcome boost.

I know the wind was light, but it did feel particularly well mannered to gybe — stable and predictable with the advantage of that nice, high boom. I noticed while standing up to gybe that that the sole flexed under my feet.

I’m no heavyweight, but Laser assure me it’s normal for the material and no cause for concern — so just regard the Bahia as your flexible friend. Upside down… If you do capsize, there should be no great problems. We flipped the Bahia with its kite hoisted, then left Tudor and Bryce to sort things out unaided.

Having dragged the kite back into its chute, Tudor swam round and pulled himself up on the centreboard to flip the Bahia upright fairly effortlessly with his own light weight.


Crewing to win by Saskia Clark


For sure, it would be more difficult in a stronger wind, but several things impressed. First, the Bahia has a superbly neat masthead float which prevents the boat inverting; my only criticism is that the float should be included as part of the standard package.

Second, a discreet handhold is moulded in the front of each rubbing strake underneath the hull, which makes it so much easier to pull yourself up onto the centreboard without slipping and sliding.

Thirdly, the Bahia has ready-to-use righting lines under the gunwales which means you can get weight right back on the centreboard, without trying to hang onto a sheet.

Fourth, it’s easy to clamber in over the transom, or even over the side which is fairly low and stable when there is someone on board to counteract your weight.

Laser Bahia Review: Verdict

If you’re happy to accept the advantages of rotomoulding (very low cost and great durability) and don’t mind the disadvantages (extra weight and flex) the Bahia is great value and fits the bill perfectly as a family boat.



Onboard with the RC 44s

laser sailboat review

Irish sailor Pam Lee looks forward to first Transat Jacques Vabres on ENGIE – DFDS – BRITTANY FERRIES

laser sailboat review

RS21: Rupert Homes tests RS’ latest keelboat

Yachts and Yachting cover

Yachts & Yachting is the leading performance sailing magazine, covering every aspect of the racing scene, from dinghies to keelboats. Our insightful features and stunning photography bring you the inside track on the world’s most exciting regattas together with advice and inspiration from the very best sailors, coaches and industry experts.

  • News & Events
  • Sailing Techniques
  • Event Spotlight

Yachts and Yachting Logo


Chelsea Magazine Company logo

© 2024 The Chelsea Magazine Company , part of the Telegraph Media Group . Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy

Laser Sailing Tips

At over 1m / 3ft long and 2m / 6ft from the tip of the mast to the bottom of the keel, this is the biggest RC sail boat on our list. This is a scaled-down version of the hugely-popular Laser dinghy.

The following in the RC laser has grown recently, with clubs holding regular RC sailboat races and regattas due to its one-design making it very competitive in nature.

The class actually has 4 rigs, so can be rigged depending on the conditions for maximum control and speed.

Make sure that you have a look at this post for an in-depth review and more information on the RC laser sailboat.

Compass 650mm RG65 RC Sailing Boat

Compass 650mm RG65 RC Sailing Boat

Built strong and durable with an ABS molded hull, this radio-controlled sailboat is spectacular. It has a 950mm / 37.4-inch tall mast and is 650mm / 25.6 inches overall in length (135mm / 5.3-inch beam). Servos are pre-installed and it operates on 8 AA batteries with a 2.4 GHz 4-channel radio system.

It requires a small amount of assembly, but after that, it is ready to sail, race, or display.

This radio-controlled sailboat is very lightweight at just 1.35kg / 2.9 pounds and responsive as it will operate in even a gentle breeze.

It is definitely one of the best-looking RC yachts on the market.

Amazon Button

PLAYSTEAM Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

PLAYSTEAM Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

This RC sailboat comes pre-assembled, so you don’t have to worry about anything as it’s ready to go.

It requires 4 AA batteries for the controller and comes with a rechargeable LiPo battery on the boat that controls the sails, rudder, and RC receiver.

The sailboat is 26.5in from keel bottom to mast top, and 15.75in long.

VOLANTEXRC Hurricane 1-Meter RC Sailboat

VOLANTEXRC Hurricane RC Sailboat

This is a large, lightweight entry made with a strong and durable ABS molded hull and featuring a 2.4 GHz 2-channel radio system.

This RC sail boat weighs just over 1.3kg / 2.98lb. It measures 1m / 39 inches in length, 2.13m / 7 ft tall, and 220mm / 9 inches wide.

It comes complete with a molded plastic boat stand and an instruction manual. It does require some assembly but is easy to put together.

This is an attractive model sailboat that can be operated quickly and easily.

Kyosho Seawind 1-Meter RC Sailboat Racing Yacht

Kyosho SEAWIND Racing RC Sailboat

A very popular model that has sold in the thousands over the years, this RC yacht features a strong aluminum mast and boom and can be disassembled for easy transportation and storage.

Measuring 39 inches long by 73 inches tall and 9 inches wide, this product weighs approx. 7 pounds and operates on the 2.4 GHz radio spectrum.

The ABS molded one-piece hull gives it strength and durability. It will take a couple of hours to assemble and contains a lot of rigging pieces. Once completely put together, this impressive, tall yacht is ready for racing and is a simple one to operate.

Expert Tips for RC Sailboat Enthusiasts

Maintenance and care guidelines for rc sailboats.

  • Cleaning : Regularly clean your RC sailboat after each sailing session. Use fresh water to rinse off any saltwater or debris that may have accumulated on the boat and sails. Avoid using harsh chemicals that could damage the materials.
  • Drying : After cleaning, ensure the sailboat is thoroughly dried before storage. Moisture trapped inside the boat, spars, or on sails can lead to mold and deterioration over time.
  • Storage : Store your RC sailboat in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. You might want to use a boat stand to support the hull and prevent warping.
  • Battery Care : Take care of the boat’s battery by following the manufacturer’s charging and storage guidelines. Avoid overcharging, and if the boat won’t be used for an extended period, ensure the battery is stored partially charged.
  • Lubrication : Check the moving parts, such as the rudder and winch mechanisms, and apply appropriate lubrication to ensure smooth operation.
  • Hull Inspection : Periodically inspect the hull for any cracks, chips, or damage. Repair any issues promptly to prevent water from entering the hull.
  • Sail Inspection : Examine the sails for tears or fraying along the edges. Small tears can be repaired with sail tape, while larger damage may require professional sail repairs.

Sailing Tips for Better Performance and Enjoyment

  • Wind Awareness: Pay close attention to the wind direction and strength. Learn to read the water’s surface for wind patterns, and adjust your sailing technique accordingly.
  • Tacking and Jibing : Practice tacking (turning the bow through the wind) and jibing (turning the stern through the wind) to efficiently navigate the sailboat and maintain good speed.
  • Sail Trim : Properly adjust the sail’s angle and tension to maximize its efficiency. Experiment with different sail settings to find the optimal trim for various wind conditions.
  • Nosediving : If your RC boat is nosediving when sailing downwind , you may be overpowered. If you have a smaller rig, then you may want to change it so that you can better control your boat.
  • Avoid Obstacles : Be mindful of obstacles such as rocks, buoys, wharves, and other boats while sailing to prevent collisions that could damage your sailboat.
  • Learn from Others : Engage with the RC sailboat community, either in person or online, to learn from experienced sailors and exchange valuable tips and tricks.

Troubleshooting Common Issues and How to Address Them

  • Unresponsive Controls : If your sailboat’s controls become unresponsive, check the batteries in both the boat and the remote control. Ensure they are properly charged and installed.
  • Drifting Off Course : If your sailboat constantly drifts off course, check the rudder alignment and make sure it moves freely. Adjust the rudder angle as needed for better control.
  • Sails Not Catching Wind : If the sails are not catching wind effectively, check for any obstructions or entanglements. Adjust the sail trim and position to optimize wind capture.
  • Water Leakage : If you notice water inside the hull, inspect for cracks or loose fittings. Apply waterproof sealant to potential entry points to prevent further leakage.
  • Low Battery Warning : Pay attention to low battery warnings from your sailboat’s remote control system. Avoid pushing the battery to its limits and return to shore promptly if the battery is running low.

RC Sailboat FAQs

What should i do if my rc sailboat stops responding to the remote control.

If your RC sailboat stops responding to the remote control, follow these steps: ·        Check the batteries in both the boat and the remote control. Ensure they are properly charged and installed. ·        Verify that the remote control is within the recommended range of the sailboat. ·        Check for any obstructions or interference between the remote control and the sailboat. ·        If the issue persists, try re-pairing the remote control with the sailboat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. ·        If none of these steps resolve the problem, consult the user manual or contact the manufacturer’s customer support for further assistance.

How can I improve the speed and performance of my RC sailboat?

To enhance the speed and performance of your RC sailboat: ·        Ensure the sail is correctly trimmed to catch the most wind efficiently. ·        If you have different-sized rigs, make sure you are using the optimum rig for the conditions. ·        Optimize the weight distribution on the boat to maintain proper balance. ·        Keep the hull and sail clean and free from debris to minimize drag. ·        Practice sailing techniques such as tacking and jibing to improve maneuverability and speed.

Are there any specific tips for sailing my RC sailboat in different weather conditions, such as high winds or calm waters?

In high winds, consider using a smaller sail or adjusting the sail trim to reduce the sailboat’s speed and maintain better control. In calm waters, maximize the sail area and trim the sail for optimal performance with the little wind available. Practice tacking and jibing to efficiently navigate in various wind conditions.

What type of battery is best for my RC sailboat?

It is best to use rechargeable and high-capacity batteries with the appropriate voltage and capacity as recommended by the sailboat’s manufacturer. Lithium-ion batteries are often preferred due to their lightweight and high energy density, providing longer sailing times.

How do I troubleshoot water leakage issues in my RC sailboat’s hull?

To troubleshoot water leakage: ·        Check for cracks, chips, or damage on the hull and repair them with waterproof sealant. ·        Ensure that all access hatches and covers are tightly sealed to prevent water from entering. ·        Inspect the hull’s internal compartments for any loose fittings or openings that may allow water to seep in. ·        Dry the sailboat thoroughly after each sailing session to prevent water accumulation inside the hull.

How can I adjust the sail trim to optimize my RC sailboat’s performance under different wind conditions?

Loosening the sail and increasing the angle to the wind is suitable for light winds, while tightening the sail and reducing the angle is ideal for stronger winds. Experiment with different sail settings to find the optimal trim for various wind conditions and points of sail.

What safety precautions should I take while operating my RC sailboat near other boats or in public waterways?

Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid sailing close to other boats or crowded areas. Respect local waterway rules and regulations. Maintain control over your sailboat and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary. Consider using a brightly colored hull or sail to improve visibility.

Are there any local or online communities for RC sailboat enthusiasts where I can connect with other owners and share experiences?

Yes, there are various local sailing clubs and online forums or social media groups dedicated to RC sailboat enthusiasts. Joining these communities can provide you with valuable insights, tips, and opportunities to connect with other owners who share your passion.

Can I use my RC sailboat in saltwater, or is it better suited for freshwater sailing?

Most RC sailboats are designed for both freshwater and saltwater use. However, it is essential to rinse the sailboat thoroughly with fresh water after sailing in saltwater to prevent corrosion and damage to the components.

What is the typical lifespan of an RC sailboat?

The lifespan of an RC sailboat can vary depending on factors such as build quality, maintenance, and frequency of use. With proper care and maintenance, a well-built RC sailboat can last several years or even longer.

Are there any specific techniques or strategies for racing my RC sailboat competitively against other sailors?

Competitive RC sailboat racing requires skill, tactics, and a good understanding of sailing principles. Practice regularly to improve your sailing techniques, learn to read wind patterns, and strategize to gain a competitive edge. Joining local racing events and connecting with experienced racers can also provide valuable insights and experience.

The Choice of the Best RC Sailboat is Yours

Radio-controlled sailing boats are far from toys as they are built to be authentic miniatures (from 1/4 to 1/40 scale) of normal-sized racing boats. These smaller toy sailboat versions are popular with collectors and sailing enthusiasts but have in recent years become the focus of regular RC sailboat racing events held at an increasing number of clubs around the country. These races take place in lakes, ponds, and harbors, and can be just for fun or as competitive as the full-sized racing already is.

Unfortunately, not all of these products are available on Amazon, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find them elsewhere… so have a look around and you might find one.

The quality construction of remote-controlled sailboats makes them strong and durable which means that a good quality small-scale boat will give you years of racing enjoyment. With the many varieties and styles already available, you can rest assured that you will be able to find something that you’re your style and budget. And with the growing popularity of the sport, who knows… maybe RC sailboat racing will one day become an Olympic-caliber sport.

More From My Site

' src=

About Brendan

Brendan has over 30 years experience sailing dinghies, yachts, and windsurfers, but has recently started Laser sailing. "I found it difficult to find all the information that I needed when I started sailing my Laser, and I am sure that others have had the same problem. So I combined all the information I could into this website to help other Laser sailors get the most out of this sport. If you have any questions or comments, let me know... I will get back to you as soon as I can."

' src=

Are there anywhere rc sailboats of j class? Like endeavour and similar ones? Thank you

' src=

Hi Ioannis Thanks for your question. Sorry but I am not aware of any, but other readers may know where you can race J Class RC sailboats. Let us know if you find somewhere where you can race your RC sailboat. cheers

' src=

Jclass hulls, Nottingham, England, nylet sails, these two can sought you out with J class boats. Obviously, you’ll have to find a club that races them, but you can sail without racing

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply


The best things in life have only one thing in common:

They are unique…


laser sailboat review


laser sailboat review


Eu target: 32% reduction.

laser sailboat review


Eu target: 40% reduction, sailing news, sunfish quality report 2023, mediterranean games, sunfish worlds.

laser sailboat review

  • Parts & Accessories

Privacy Overview



Sailing Chandlery

  • Gelcoat Fillers
  • Dry Lubricants
  • Adhesive Glues
  • Hooks & Clips
  • Catamaran Launching Trollies
  • Jockey Wheels
  • Hitch Locks
  • Lighting Board
  • Breakaway Cables
  • Clew Straps
  • Upper Masts
  • Lower Masts
  • Rope Thimbles
  • Wind Indicators & Burgees
  • Parrel Beads
  • Whipping Twine
  • Sailmakers Palm
  • Digital Compasses
  • Laser Products
  • Numbers & Letters
  • Dinghy Covers
  • Under Covers
  • Catamaran Covers
  • Single Handed
  • Double Handed
  • 18 Foot Skiff
  • Exocet Moth
  • Musto Skiff
  • Dart 15/ Sprint 15
  • Hurricane 5.9
  • Laser Bahia
  • Laser Cascais
  • Laser Funboat
  • Laser Stratos

Your Cart is Empty

  • £0.00 Subtotal

Tax included and shipping calculated at checkout

Order before midday Monday to Friday and we will ship your order the same day.

  • 01268 222912
  • Accessories
  • Sails & Covers
  • Rope Lengths
  • Parts By Boat
  • Boat Care & Cleaning
  • Splicing Tools
  • Boat Covers
  • Dinghy Rope Lengths
  • Laser Rope Lengths
  • RS Rope Lenghts
  • Catamaran Rope Lengths
  • Laser Performance
  • Topper Sailboats
  • Other Boats

laser sailboat review

  • Mens Sailing Clothing
  • Womens Sailing Clothing
  • Repair Kits
  • Skiff Suits
  • Life Jackets
  • Trapeze Harnesses
  • Buoyancy Aids
  • Hiking Pads & Pants
  • Hiking / Toe Straps

laser sailboat review

Zhik Superwarm

  • 100m Rope Reel
  • Polyester Ropes
  • Control Lines
  • Double Braids
  • Braid On Braid
  • Anchor Lines & Ropes
  • Spools & Reels
  • Windsurfing

laser sailboat review

Mini Spools

  • Single Block
  • Double Block
  • Triple Block
  • Soft Attach
  • Split Rings & Pins
  • Inspection Hatches & Covers
  • Bungs & Sockets
  • Rudder & Tiller Parts
  • Bushes & Fairleads
  • Marine Screws
  • Penny Washers
  • VHF Aerials & Antennas
  • Marine Tapes
  • Traveller Systems And Parts
  • Traveller Blocks
  • Pico Hull & Deck Fittings
  • Hull & Deck Fittings
  • Laser Boats
  • Laser Sails
  • Laser Sail Packages
  • Laser Spars
  • Laser Rig Packages
  • Laser Foils
  • Laser Hull & Deck Fittings
  • Laser Ropes
  • Laser Dinghy Covers

laser sailboat review

Brand New Laser Boats

  • Devoti ILCA Boats
  • ILCA Sail Packages
  • ILCA Rig Package
  • Devoti KDK Boats

Trade in or Part Exchange your existing boat for a brand new Devoti ILCA

Part Exchange Your Boat

Search our chandlery

🚚 Fast Dispatch and a 5 Star Rated Service You Can Count On ✅

Laser Cascais Sailing Dinghy

The New Laser Cascais is Coming

July 23, 2021 1 min read

The New Laser Cascais Sailing Dinghy is Coming

It's been a little while coming and ever since we heard about this new boat being created by Laser Performance we've been excited about the arrival of the Laser Cascais .

Designed by Bill Tripp the Cascais is named with a nod to fun sailing, beach and sea. The old north French cai or “sand bank” – quay in English – and cais in Portuguese – also pays homage to the Portuguese coastal resort town of Cascais , which is renowned as a world-class sailing venue and host of numerous international sailing events and races. LaserPerformance is proud that the  Cascais is the first of several boats developed and built in Portugal.

Laser Cascais Key Features

  • Three different rig or set up choices
  • Simple reefing system
  • Bio hull option
  • Removable jib
  • Tough durable 3 layered polyethylene hull
  • Spacious self draining cockpit
  • Car roof toppable
  • Hull weight - 70kg
  • Length - 3.7m
  • Width - 1.56m
  • Draft with daggerboard - 0.84m
  • Capacity - 1 to 4 people
  • Skill level - Beginner to Advanced

Laser Cascais

  • Main sail - 5.58m2
  • Jib - 1.62m2
  • Gennaker - 6.3m2
  • Main sail - 6.97m2
  • Main sail - 5.96m2
  • Jib - 1.77m2
  • Gennaker - 8.69m2

Laser Cascais Video

Laser Cascais Brochure

Download the Laser Cascais Brochure to find out more about the options available and the different rigs.

Interested in a New Laser Cascais Dinghy?

Get in touch with the Sailing Chandlery team today.

Recent Articles

  • RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show 2024 Deals
  • New Devoti ILCA Pricing
  • New From ZhIk in 2024 at Sailing Chandlery
  • Dinghy Rope Buying Guide
  • The New Zhik Elite and Deck Gloves
  • The Most Frequently Asked Laser /ILCA Questions
  • Why Harken Marine Grip Is The Best Grip For Sailors
  • Sailing Chandlery Boat Covers And The Material They Are Made From
  • Laser/ ILCA Dinghy Protection Package
  • ILCA Vang Quick Release Package

Let customers speak for us

Thanks they look great but I haven’t put them on yet!

Part delivered on time

We were delighted to receive 12 vouchers from Sailing Chandlery for their sponsorship of our Club Open events during 2024. The first of these prizes were awarded at our ITCA (Topper) open on 10th Feb, and our prize winners were very happy with the flexibility such prizes offer. The whole process from offer to delivery has been easy, and we are happy to promote Sailing Chandlery for the support they’ve given us. Allison Blakeway. Vice Commodore, Trimpley Sailing Club.

The right size and arrived very quickly. Great quality

Exactly what we needed the outhaul on our Oppie was too thick and didn’t run free. This rope has no noticeable stretch and the outhaul runs perfectly free, much easier to sail! Great colour too

Bonds well and doesnt fray. Seems like good quality so far.

A good discount made this strong, heavy duty boat cover a good buy. It has enough space under it to store my masts and boom and the straps are tough and well attached keeping it secure. I am pleased with this purchase.

Very pleased with the boots. Good quality and fit.

Easy to install, look forward to using it once the boat goes back in the water!

Delivery on time and package as expected. Thank you

Nice looking sail and good quality, looking forward to trying it out on the water

Easy purchase, fast delivery x

Thanks for fast , accurate despatch. As always. P&P for a tiny bung was excessive though imo !

Product delivered very quickly and as described. Also no ridiculous delivery charge just because I live in the Scottish Highlands unlike many companies.

Excellent choice from Chandlery for a colleague’s leaving present. The vouchers gives the flexibility to purchase exactly what the individual wants, quick & easy, emailed on to my colleague who was very happy with his gift !


Save up to 40% on your next order.

Shoreline Sailboats

  • O’pen Skiff Purchase Page
  • ILCA – Element 6
  • RS Sailboats
  • Sunfish – Recreational
  • Sunfish – Race Version
  • Sunfish Sails
  • LaserPerformance Sunfish Parts Price List
  • 420 – Zim Sailing
  • Finding the Right Laser Rig: Formula
  • Racks by Dynamic Dollies and Racks
  • Load Rite Trailers
  • Load Rite Sunfish Trailer
  • **NEW** LoadRite for Sailboats
  • Sunfish Dolly by Dynamic
  • Optimist Dolly by Dynamic
  • How to Apply Laser Sail Numbers
  • Applying Laser Sail Numbers
  • North Sails for LaserPerformance Dinghies
  • About/Contact

Laser Pico – Biggest Small Sailboat

Ben ainsle Pico

Although a child could master sailing the Pico in a day, to say it is just a beginner’s boat is a serious underestimate of this fun, durable, and confidence inspiring single-hander from Laser Performance. This roto-moulded sailboat that can be sailed by everyone, is quite simply the most versatile and most fun sailboat in it’s class.

[button link=”” size=”large” icon=”truck”]View Pricing[/button]

Adults will find it has a big-boat feel and gets up and goes in a slight breeze. While easy to rig and impervious to beginner bang-ups, this is by no means a beginners-only boat. Experienced sailors will find the Pico responsive, with well-balanced steering. Olympic and America’s Cup veteran Ben Ainslie commented on the Pico, “During a Laser 5000 regatta, racing was ‘blown off’ – so we spent the day match racing Laser Picos! I loved every minute.”

Reviews of Pico:

From  Laser Pico – We Love Her   (The Daily Sail is a leading site for original sailing content.) From Pico – The Indestructible Import From Steve Maguire’s Blog – Laser Pico Review – A Delightful Dinghy Sailboat

How easy is the rig? Watch this:

Is it fast?

Built for family fun.

With its simple reefing system, spacious cockpit, and high boom the Pico continues to be a popular sailboat for all ages and abilities. A roto-molded hull provides a strong, buoyant structure that is superbly stiff and stable. Both the jib and reefing mainsail are removable. The high boom provides ample head room and highlights its spacious, self-draining cockpit. Easy to handle, a snap to rig, the Pico provides a rapid learning curve for single-handed sailing.


 Contact Shoreline Sailboats with any Pico questions:

Share this:

  • Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
  • Click to print (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)

laser sailboat review


THE ROCKET! Built in the USA


Recent Posts

The Sol by Sero Innovation

Hours & Info

Search products.

laser sailboat review

Contact us:

Any questions about the sailboats we sell, or the services we provide? We’re always eager to talk sailing and would enjoy helping you with any of your sailing needs. Contact Us

laser sailboat review

Designed by WPZOOM

laser sailboat review

  • Destination

Here’s All About The Laser Sailboat: Detailed Review

' src=

As the name suggests, the Laser sailboat is renowned for its zippiness and the thrill of speed. While one can categorize it as a dinghy, it is usually bigger and longer than a traditional one. With almost a quarter of a million boats produced globally since the 1970s, the Laser sailboat is easily one of the most popular types of sailboats, second only to the Sunfish.

About the Laser Sailboat

Prima facie, the Laser sailboat looks a lot like the Sunfish. However, the mechanics of a Laser boat are designed towards more speed and control. Even the body is more aerodynamic thus being able to utilize the upwind and downwind better. It is no surprise then, that the Laser boat is one of the most common race sailboats that you will find on the water. In fact, since the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, the Laser has featured regularly in the sailboat racing event.

However, the Laser is not all about speed. While it is lightweight, it handles superbly and has a very sturdy hull. The ease of operability makes it ideal for boaters just starting out in this great American pastime. Let’s check out some of the key features that make the Laser sailboat eternally popular among newbies and veterans alike.

Features of the Laser Sailboat

  • Fiberglass hull for speed, durability and longevity
  • Aluminum spars that keep the weight low while ensure it can withstand strong winds
  • Fiberglass foils
  • Harken Race upgrade Cunningham/Outhaul kit (in select models)
  • Harken Race upgrade Boom Vang / Kicker (in select models)
  • Gorilla tiller and extension for more flexible steering and enhanced maneuverability
  • The official Laser Class legal Mark II sail
  • 60mm Harken ratchet block that offers a strong yet comfortable grip
  • Padded toe strap for the comfort and safety of the sailor
  • Line kit for operating the sail

Laser Sailboat Specifications

Here are some details regarding the boat’s dimensions and other vital specifications:

* Features and specification may vary for the different variants such as Laser 2, Laser Pico, Laser Radial, etc.

Other Notable Aspects of the Laser Sailboat

The Laser is a customizable dinghy and the hull can accommodate rigs that are interchangeable and sail areas that differ accordingly. This is one of the several features that make it an easy to operate boat across different water and wind conditions.

Furthermore, the Laser is light and portable. This makes it rather easy to stow away and move around in a trailer-rig. Racing enthusiasts all over the world can be seen driving around with their Lasers while gathering for events, adding to the charm and the charisma of the atmosphere.

Another reason for its massive popularity is that it is one of the most affordable boats that you can hope to buy. Being a slim, bare, and a no-fuss boat, the Laser does not have expensive components or parts that add to its cost. It is a one-person operated vessel that costs less than most other types of boats and is low on maintenance as well. Due to its wide presence, it can be easily serviced across any boatyard or service center at nominal costs and there is usually a high availability of spare parts as well.

In Summation

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, if you like simplicity and speed, then the Laser sailboat is made for you. Its bare-minimum elegance and compact design helps it stand out among the crowd on the water while its peppiness helps you leave the crowd behind in a jiffy.

Recommended For You

Best Bars in Prague

Explore About the Bars in Prague and the Best Bars –

laser sailboat review

Explore the magic of Germany: Federal states full of surprises

laser sailboat review

Beyond The Plate: The Multifaceted Benefits Of Restaurants In Aurora, Colorado

laser sailboat review

Smooth Cruising: Everything You Need to Know About Motor Yachts   

' src=

About the Author: Teresa Sabo

laser sailboat review

How Much Does A Laser Sailboat Cost? New vs Old

laser sailboat review

The cost of a laser sailboat can vary. It’s just like buying a car, you half to shop around for the best deal.

A Laser sailboat new will cost anywhere from $5000 to $6000. A used Laser sailboat will cost you between $2000 and $6000. The price of the boat will depend on the year it was built and the condition it is in.

Buying a laser is a fairly simple process. Since they are so small it is much easier to transport. A lot of them do come with trailers, but some do not. Just be sure you have a way to move it when needed. The laser is 14 feet long. To help compare to a truck, a long bed truck is usually 8 feet.

If you really want to save some money, you should look all over the country. I can find some good deals on laser sailboats right now, but they are about three states away. If you are willing to drive to the boat and pick it up, you could save a thousand bucks or two.

Purchasing A Laser Sailboat

If you have decided to get into laser sailing, you will need a boat. The question is do you buy used or new? That will depend on your budget and possibly, your intended use. The intended use will either be racing, recreational, or both. The good thing is, as long as the boat is well kept and In good condition, it will work for both options.

When it comes to buying a used laser, there are a few things you need to check.

The first thing to check is the hull. Make sure it is solid and has no holes or soft spots. The next thing to check is to see if it comes with everything you need. I once was given a laser boat, but it was just the hull and nothing else. I actually ended up selling it. It was not a project I wanted to take on. I wish I had it today though.

When purchasing a used laser, you may be asking how old it is.

How Old Is My Laser Sailboat? Complete List

The list above should help you identify the year of your laser sailboat. If the number is not on this list it must be much older.

The Parts Of A Laser Sailboat

The laser has a few different parts that you need to know about.

First, we have the mast. The mast is a two-part mast that can be adjusted depending on the size of the sail you are using. It gets set into the mast step, which is a hole in the hull where the mast goes.

Second, we have the sails. There are 3 different sizes of sails you can use on your laser. The size will depend on your weight. You need to have good balance for the laser sailboat and sail size will help accomplish this. The three sails are listed below:

3 Laser Sail Types

  • Standard Sail – sail size 7.06 meters, crew size 154lbs +
  • Radial Sail – sail size 5.76 meters, crew size 121-154lbs
  • 4.7 Sail (smallest) – sail size 4.7 meters, crew size 77-121lbs

You can also use the smaller sails for high winds. Each sail will also contain 3 battens.

Battens aren’t necessary, but they do help support the leech. To find out more about battens read the article Can You Sail Without Battens?

The third is the daggerboard. The daggerboard goes down through a slot in the hull. You put it all the way down for upwind, up for downwind, and middle for reaching. The daggerboard is a type of keel.

Fourth is the rudder. the rudder will be down when sailing and needs to be kept tight. If it kicks up on you, you will lose the ability to steer the boat.

The fifth part of the boat is the boom. You will not be able to use your sails without the boom. It is very similar looking to the mast. Just make sure when you purchase your boat, that you have both the mast and the boom.

The sixth and final part you need is the tiller. The tiller is what controls your rudder and allows you to steer the boat. You will also want a tiller extender. The extender will allow you to control the boat when leaning out over the high side for balance.

Those 6 parts are the most necessary components to check for when purchasing a laser sailboat. You will also need the lines for raising and lowering sails, but I’m sure you know about those.

My Final Thoughts About The Laser Sailboat

laser sailboat review

The laser sailboat is a lot of fun for beginners and experienced sailors. They are fairly cheap and easy to use. There is a part of balance required to use them, but it should come pretty easy with some practice. I would love to own a laser, but at this time I do not. They are great for racing as well. If you want to go fast and love competition, I highly recommend a laser sailboat. I hope this article helped answer some of your laser questions and if you have more, please reach out to us! Cheers!

laser sailboat review

Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

Recent Posts

Sailboat Racing - Rules & Regulations Explained

Sailboat racing, a blend of skill, strategy, and adherence to intricate rules and regulations, offers a thrilling and intellectually stimulating experience on the water. Navigating through the...

What is the best sailboat to live on? Complete Guide

Embarking on the journey of living aboard a sailboat requires careful consideration of your budget, desired amenities, and storage options. This guide offers a concise, step-by-step approach to...

  • Classifieds
  • Remember Me Forgot Password?
  •   Boats Sailboats Discussion RC Laser Sailboat

laser sailboat review

  • Electric Flight
  • Advertising
  • Our Sponsors
  • Review Policies
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Site History
  • Mark Forums Read
  • Member Search
  • Upcoming Articles
  • Do Not Sell My Data
  • Manage Consent
  • Back to Top

Image for Skull and Bones review

Skull and Bones review

Seafaring misanthropy, with crafting: skull and bones is a fun game about boats hamstrung by today's live service conventions., our verdict.

Combining moody and gratifying ship-on-ship combat with shallow live service trappings, Skull and Bones is great within the claustrophobic parameters of what market forces allow it to be.

PC Gamer's got your back Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.

What is it? A live service take on ship-on-ship combat, with origins in an old cherished Assassin's Creed game. Expect to pay: $60 Release date: Out now Developer: Ubisoft Singapore Publisher: Ubisoft Reviewed on : RTX 3060, Ryzen 5 5600H, 16GB RAM Steam Deck: Not playable Link : Official site 

The appeal of Skull and Bones is laser focused. It's about being on a boat. You have to want the fantasy of sailing big pirate boats and you need to not want much else for your time and money. You may come wanting to live the fantasy of being a ruthless waterborne pilferer, but to live that fantasy you first need to love sailing a boat in the direction of crafting materials. 

In Skull and Bones you're allowed to get off your boat, but only to interact with vendors, mission-givers, mayhaps a buried treasure chest. In the vast island-dotted expanse of the Indian Ocean there are two major pirate settlements where blacksmiths, carpenters, refiners, and most "contracts" (missions) are doled out, both for the main quest and its endgame component. 

There's also a great rash of outposts that are functionally identical, playing host to a handful of vendors, the odd treasure chest and some perfunctory loot. You can't whip your sword out and get all cutthroat. No, your violent desire to misappropriate various hot 17th century commodities is all done from behind the wheel. In many ways, you don't sail a boat: you are the boat.

After over a decade in development and with all the writing on the wall, I knew Skull and Bones would be Assassin's Creed: Black Flag by way of the waning full-price live service zeitgeist. I loved that older game. The boating around and the fighting with other boats lent a scale to the then-familiar Assassin's Creed format that seemed to blow salt up your nostrils and sand in your nether regions. It was richly atmospheric: you could smell it. Skull and Bones does recapture that atmosphere,  but marrying it with the banal rigmarole of modern live service graft results in something lesser than that ten-year-old game.

Rock the boat

The combat, when it's hairy, can be really tense and fun.

After the usual tutorial preamble I reach the island pirate haven of Saint Anne. During the opening hours I must prove myself to Scurlock, a grizzled pirate haven king with some hectic daddy issues. That involves sailing somewhere, blowing up some number of boats, plundering coastal settlements via the defence of a small pocket of water, and then reporting back to the boss, whose slow unfurling of oceanbound corporate and criminal conspiracy has the whiff of a compelling narrative about it. The Indian Ocean is ridden with competing French and Dutch colonists, but it's also ridden with other pirates and privateers (also other players in the 20-player server, but they can't attack you on sight). As a pirate it's your duty to stick it to them all.

Since I'm a boat I have four sides and space for a central launcher, though whether all slots can host weaponry depends on its class. Gradually, new weapons become available if I buy the blueprints for them. In combat, the weapons—whether canons, ballistas, rockets and more—trigger contextually, so that if I'm facing frontwards to an enemy boat, shooting will trigger that weapon, rather than the ones at my sides. Most of the challenge lies in proactively manoeuvring my boat so that the cooldowns of each weapon have run their course when it matters. For more gruelling battles, planning for where all boats will be in thirty seconds time is essential. This is often challenging because you're a massive boat, at the mercy of a massive boat's turning radius but also factors like wind, waves and the stamina of your crew.

One does not simply buy anything in Skull and Bones that matters: one embarks on a normally-mundane odyssey to make it.

The combat, when it's hairy, can be really tense and fun. In the early hours it can feel cumbersome, even horrible, until the logic of being a boat clicks. Ubisoft Singapore invented Black Flag's (and Assassin Creed 3's) boatfaring violence and they've hit upon a great thing. Duking it out in the always tumultuous Open Seas region at night during fierce electrical storms is thrilling, especially when a rogue wave threatens to take out not only me but also the French bastards on my tail. The manoeuvring and the combat is gratifying, so long as one has the patience to control that boat through an endless parade of MMO-style quests.


In the spirit of modern live service game design, Skull and Bones never lets me perform a simple action when that action can be exploded into three separate actions across vast expanses of water. One does not simply buy anything in Skull and Bones that matters: one embarks on a normally-mundane odyssey to make it.

Let me paint a picture of the mid-game: I want to buy another Basilisk II cannon, because I've been rewarded one gratis for reaching the Marauder infamy rank. It's marginally more powerful than my current cannons, and adds a marginal amount to my boat's overall power rank which, like Destiny, is determined by the level of the gear I have equipped on top of its base rank. I need to raise my boat's rank to tackle a main quest I'm struggling with.

So I set sail for the settlement where the Basilisk II cannon blueprint is held, because everything built in this game first requires a blueprint. I arrive some ten minutes later via conventional sailing rather than fast-travelling, because the latter costs silver depending on the distance, and I'm skint (who am I paying to fast travel me? Does God offer this service? Or Ubisoft?). I arrive to retrieve my longed-for Basilisk II blueprint only to find I need to be the next rank of Infamy, Corsair, to even buy it. I can already equip it! But I cannot buy the blueprint to make another. This came with no forewarning and so pisses me off. I was already dreading the resource grind needed to build the Basilisk II once I had the blueprint, but now I need to grind the rest of my infamy rank out to get it.

I'm in two minds about this: I dislike these delaying tactics that seem borrowed from certain crappy phone and free-to-play games. They're a stand-in for complexity, replacing depth with checkbox-style busywork. This isn't challenging, it's just a drain on that most precious and ephemeral of commodities: real life human time. From early to late game, Skull and Bones is pretty shallow and "winning" is mostly about time investment. I didn't really need to think too hard about what kind of weapons I had equipped—whether torpedos, cannons, balistas, or mortars—so long as I was able to output and absorb damage commensurate with my opponents. On the other hand, getting torpedoes, cannons, balistas, or mortars to equip in the first place, not to mention armor, is a practice in menial labour.

This live service rhythm defines Skull and Bones even before it hits the endgame. It's basically impossible to just buy enough ammo with silver except in small quantities at outposts. No, to get enough to feel well-equipped I must craft it enmasse, which requires a grind for materials (granted, I didn't start to run out of ammo regularly until late in the game, and small portions can be looted). Small mercy for the cash rich: If you want to just fast travel everywhere and unlock stuff quicker, in-game currency is available for real world cash.

Still, as time went by I didn't mind how languid Skull and Bones' pace is. Call it Stockholm Syndrome, but I came to like the vibe of Skull and Bones enough to make peace with the banality of its systems. I mean, millions of people have made peace with Destiny 2 and The Division 2, and they don't even have boats. I begrudgingly made peace with Skull and Bones' egregious delaying tactics because at its core, what it offers is really appealing to me and its heights are brilliant. I can often smell the salt in this game. I love its atmosphere, even if I almost always shushed my crew's incessant shanties.

Grand theft boat

After I've won Scurlock's respect I move onto the second pirate hub, Telok Penjarah, to do the bidding of pirate kingpin and former admiral Rahma, who has a very big bone to pick with the Dutch. Skull and Bones' early criminal misanthropy gives way to a narrative about resistance to extractive colonialism, but aside from Rahma's occasional soliloquy, the tone shift has no effect on what I do on a moment-to-moment basis: set sail, sail a lot, and blow up other ships. It's during this second-half of the game where Skull and Bones' lack of on-foot conflict starts to feel discordant.

Before the endgame, few are the baddies who will attack on sight because the various factions and colonial organisations don't remember who I am after I've lost their scent after any given skirmish. It's basically akin to the GTA wanted level model. Scurlock is always saying in the early game that I'm building a reputation among these French and Dutch water cops. He foreshadows a tense allegiance-based roleplay that never materialises, because there is actually no such thing as a "reputation" in Skull and Bones unless tied to certain late game narrative beats. No matter how many dozen or so lowly Compagnie I slaughter a little off shore of one of their settlements, I'm newly an innocent ol' pirate boat once I've sailed out of sight around a distant foreshore. 

It's disappointing that my actions don't affect the world or my standing in it. It makes the world feel like a playground for resource extraction—quite the thematic disjunct!—rather than a risky and remote expanse. The whole game amounts to doing a bunch of busywork to get bigger and steal more stuff. Maybe this is a kind of documentarian depiction of the workaday graft of piracy; maybe it's meant to be demystifying.

The endgame

The Black Market is introduced early on as a side hustle in robbing contraband, moving contraband around with thieves in pursuit, and creating rum and opium from pillaged ingredients. But it re-emerges as the central theme of the endgame, introducing both PvP and PvPvE encounters that if completed successfully, help build a network of "Manufactories" that generate a certain amount of Skull and Bones' endgame currency—Point of Eights—on an hourly basis. 

Each of these Manufactories need to be funded with silver every in-game hour, and each pay-off of Point of Eights needs to be manually retrieved and brought back to a pirate haven, which is dangerous because by late game there are more attack-on-sight pirates lurking. This in itself is time consuming, especially when I've captured a handful of hard-earned Manufactories, but the chillness of the main game is supplanted with a constant sense of anxiety that some will appreciate. All Manufactories and attendant leaderboards reset when the next season starts. There's a lot here for those who want to stick around.

I don't think Skull and Bones is the disaster many were expecting.

PvP is often hilarious in a good way, especially in the PvPvE situations where there can be upwards of ten boats in a small body of water and the action is relentless. The campaign is a good time for boat enthusiasts but for anyone after something more challenging than the sourcing of materials on the high seas, this is where the game gets good. It's naturally still tethered to a grind—those Points of Eight don't come easy—but it's more varied and comedic, and requires more thought given to the optimisation of a boat's weaponry. If anything, it offers a decent bedrock for further updates and tweaks to the formula.

Doing this in a co-op crew is obviously more fun than doing it alone; the same can be said for any game. But teaming up ad-hoc with randoms with vastly different ideas about what should be done across a big stretch of water means that it's rarely worth it, because no matter how close or far I am from those presumed collaborators, the strength of enemy ships is greater. It rarely makes the higher loot payoff worth it. Bring a friend who'll stick around and not wander off, and the cooperative experience is worth it, so long as you like the friend.

I don't think Skull and Bones is the disaster many were expecting. If The Division 2 or Suicide Squad can find enthusiasts, I feel like this boating game will live a marginal life among a boat-enthusiast niche, in the same way For Honor did. It transplants a busywork genre obsessed with engagement and live service trappings into a seafaring context. If anything, I respect its single mindedness. It ran well on my RTX 3060 gaming laptop, only occasionally dropping frames in the busier on-foot pirate enclaves or when there were many, many boats fighting on screen with all attendant smoke. 

I like Skull and Bones but I also resent it. It has the makings of a great pirate game but it's hamstrung by live service orthodoxy. It doesn't compare favourably with the ten-year old game that inspired it, unless one's measure of a good game is the amount of hours it can occupy in one's life. Still, to expect a blockbuster game about sailing big clumsy boats to be anything else in 2024 is foolhardy. This will do. Don't hate the player, hate the game. There's no way Skull and Bones could exist right now in any other form.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day. 

From Helldivers 2 to Last Epoch, 2024 is already the year of server issues

From Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag to Sea of Thieves, there are plenty of pirate games better than Skull and Bones

Yet another great-looking Final Fantasy game has come out before we even have a PC release date for the last big Final Fantasy game

Most Popular

By Jacob Ridley 15 February 2024

By James Bentley 15 February 2024

By Kerry Brunskill 14 February 2024

By Reece Bithrey 14 February 2024

By Katie Wickens 14 February 2024

By Kerry Brunskill 13 February 2024

By Andy Edser 13 February 2024

By Nick Evanson 13 February 2024


  1. Laser Sailboat| Laser XD and Race Packages for Sale

    laser sailboat review

  2. Laser Sailboat| Laser XD and Race Packages for Sale

    laser sailboat review

  3. RC Laser Sailboat Laser RC Review Beginners Guide

    laser sailboat review

  4. Sail Faster

    laser sailboat review

  5. Laser Sailboat| Laser XD and Race Packages for Sale

    laser sailboat review

  6. International Class Laser Sailboat South Regina, Regina

    laser sailboat review


  1. Laser Restoration Part 5


  3. intensity on .MPG

  4. Laser Sailboat Maintenance

  5. laser sailboat repair

  6. Laser Sailing


  1. Laser SB3: Review

    The absolute simplicity of this boat is amazing. Upwind it locks into a groove, which in most boats you have to fight to maintain. Downwind is a dream; the SB3 is an incredibly stable platform...

  2. Is a Laser Sailboat Faster Than a Sunfish?

    August 30, 2022 Solo sailing for races requires a fast boat, with two models coming to mind. You might be wondering, is a Laser faster than a Sunfish? Both of those sailboats provide an enjoyable ride, are fast, and have their positives. But which one is faster when it matters the most?

  3. Laser Vago XD: Review

    Downwind was way too much fun. I simulated rounding a mark and setting the kite as fast as possible, again setting the jib in the most desirable position (I wanted to try it unfurled first) while...

  4. Laser SB3

    It looks like a fun three person boat, and time will tell if the class catches on here as much as it has across the pond. For more information, please visit LaserPerformance. The SB3 (stands for sportboat for three people), hugely popular in Europe, made its American debut at the Annapolis sailboat show earlier this month.

  5. Practical Sailor Reviews Seven Performance-Sailing Dinghies

    0 Photos by Ralph Naranjo Messing around in small boats is a global theme-one thats embraced by pond-bound pram sailors, river riders, lake voyagers, and all of us who call salt water home. The purpose of this sailing dinghy profile is to highlight seven very interesting little sailboats.

  6. Laser vs Aero vs Melges? That's Not the Question

    As the Melges 14 gains steam, the question will be which is best of the three. That's not the important question. At all. Both the new boats are surely better than the Laser. They're 40 years newer and have the advantage of current materials and construction techniques. If they're not better, RS and Melges have really screwed up.

  7. RC Laser Sailboat

    RC Laser Sailboat Review By Brendan | 15 Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Brendan Contents [ show] The RC (Remote Control) Laser sailboat is one of the easiest model yachts to assemble and operate. It is a scaled-down (1/4 size) version of the real boat - the famous racing Laser dinghy, which is the most popular sailing class in the world.

  8. Laser

    Laser sails were identical due to modern laser cutting thus setting a standard for future racing classes. Today this timeless design is by far the most popular adult and youth racing boat worldwide. It is raced by many of the world's top sailors and has been an Olympic class since 1996.

  9. Guide to Laser Pico's and Dinghy Sailboats

    1. Sailboat Number. Most dinghies have sailboat numbers on their cockpit's back or the deck. These numbers usually help to identify the age and quality of the sailboats. The newer ones tend to have the numbers etched on their cockpit's backs, while the older dinghies have these numbers written on their decks. 2.

  10. Laser Bahia Review

    Laser Bahia Review By Toby Heppell - June 1, 2012 Jeremy Evans goes for a 'family sail' on Laser's newest and biggest budget-priced rotomoulded dinghy - The Laser Bahia Image courtesy of Bahia means 'beach' if you live in South America (it is a coastal state of Brazil) and is pronounced 'ba-hee-ya'.

  11. Best RC Sailboats for 2023

    The class actually has 4 rigs, so can be rigged depending on the conditions for maximum control and speed. Make sure that you have a look at this post for an in-depth review and more information on the RC laser sailboat. 2020 RC Laser National Championship hosted by CCMYC, WSC ,CCYC Watch on Compass 650mm RG65 RC Sailing Boat

  12. Laser Pico Review

    Laser Pico Review The Laser Pico a winning option for new sailors By Peter Bentley August 25, 2000 Truly new developments in the world of sailing are rare. Those that do emerge usually result from developments in materials technology.

  13. Homepage

    Sunfish Quality Report 2023 Building racing sailboats in bulk while following tight weight tolerances, keeping rejections to a minimum and making sure there are no invisible defects is no… Read More 17/08/2022 in Sailing News Mediterranean Games


    It takes into consideration "reported" sail area, displacement and length at waterline. The higher the number the faster speed prediction for the boat. A cat with a number 0.6 is likely to sail 6kts in 10kts wind, a cat with a number of 0.7 is likely to sail at 7kts in 10kts wind. KSP = (Lwl*SA÷D)^0.5*0.5

  15. Guide to Laser Class Sailing with Olympic Gold Medallist Tom ...

    Subscribe to Gillette World Sport: Sport joins 2016 Laser Sailing Olympic Champion, Tom Burton on the water as we find out what it...

  16. The New Laser Cascais is Coming

    The New Laser Cascais Sailing Dinghy is Coming. It's been a little while coming and ever since we heard about this new boat being created by Laser Performance we've been excited about the arrival of the Laser Cascais. Designed by Bill Tripp the Cascais is named with a nod to fun sailing, beach and sea. The old north French cai or "sand bank ...

  17. Laser Pico

    Reviews of Pico: From Laser Pico - We Love Her (The Daily Sail is a leading site for original sailing content.) From Pico - The Indestructible Import From Steve Maguire's Blog - Laser Pico Review - A Delightful Dinghy Sailboat How easy is the rig? Watch this: Laser Pico Aufbau Is it fun?

  18. Here's All About The Laser Sailboat: Detailed Review

    With almost a quarter of a million boats produced globally since the 1970s, the Laser sailboat is easily one of the most popular types of sailboats, second only to the Sunfish. About the Laser Sailboat. Prima facie, the Laser sailboat looks a lot like the Sunfish. However, the mechanics of a Laser boat are designed towards more speed and control.

  19. Laser Pico: Indestructible Import

    Designed by Olympic medalist Jo Richards, it combines ease of rigging, phenomenal durability and surprising performance. The Pico will doubtless be as popular among U.S. sailing school and rental operations as it has been in Europe. The boat is completely "tourist proof."

  20. How Much Does A Laser Sailboat Cost? New vs Old

    New vs Old. The cost of a laser sailboat can vary. It's just like buying a car, you half to shop around for the best deal. A Laser sailboat new will cost anywhere from $5000 to $6000. A used Laser sailboat will cost you between $2000 and $6000. The price of the boat will depend on the year it was built and the condition it is in.

  21. Laser vs Laser 2

    #1 · Jul 15, 2011 Hey guys So I've just recently started my third year sailing (second year racing), and I've kind of been thinking it's about time my girlfriend and I moved up to our own boat (s).

  22. RC Laser Sailboat

    RC Laser Sailboat. Hey guys! I just picked up a 42" RC laser Sailboat for my sailing pleasures! There is a great deal for a RTR with 2.4ghz radio for 299.00 + shipping on ebay / intensity sails dot com. I went ahead and purchased one last week with the stand and the bag, just to keep it all nice and tidy. I received it on tuesday of this week ...

  23. Skull and Bones review

    The appeal of Skull and Bones is laser focused. It's about being on a boat. You have to want the fantasy of sailing big pirate boats and you need to not want much else for your time and money.

  24. LASER 2

    The LASER 2 has a convoluted history. There was the LASER II FUN, and the LASER II REGATTA, a LASER FUN NEW WAVE, (which added an assym. spinnaker). ... 1997), states that a boat with a BN of less than 1.3 will be slow in light winds. A boat with a BN of 1.6 or greater is a boat that will be reefed often in offshore cruising. Derek Harvey ...