Comparisons between two Lasers

Now, Roy had a dig at me the other day about a comment I made regarding the R/c laser, as he felt i was attacking its design.
I made these points;

  1. A R/c laser was unlike the fullsize in that you had a choice of 3 different rigs for different conditions.
  2. R/c lases are keelboats, therefore you miss out on some of the aspects of sailing the fulsize dinghy, ie. roll tacking, ‘hiking up’ on the run, steering the boat by heeling etc…

Now today at the London boatshow I got to have a go at the sticks of a R/c laser. I found it to be very similar to a laser in looks underway, minus the helm of course and heeling a little more than you would expect to see on a well sailed fullsize boat. Handling wise it has definite laser traits- Very quick acceleration out of tacks, very ‘flicky’ in manovers, brilliant on a broad reach. I did miss not being able to roll tack and gybe-two things i enjoy doing on the fullsize boat, but the simpicity of the boat is its great advantage, it takes little time to learn to sail it and be able to whack it round a course. There was a couple of things that the model improves on the fullsize on; for instance when bearing away on the fullsize boat its pretty easy to stall out the relatively small rudder in a bit of breeze- no signs of this with the model no mater how hard I tried to make it, its a very forgiving little boat.

The model truly does convey the spirit of the fullsize in its simplicity and its ‘bangs per buck’ value. To be honest I’m more impressed than I thought I would be…

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

the RC Laser is (was) always a boat I want(ed) to get…so it’s good to hear nice things about her…
As I do have sometimes pretty strong wind here; it sounds nice…my Seawind cant really handle very strong wind…20mph over…very hard…25mph…almost impossible…did it once and I went swimming. The boom with the mainsail got stucked into the water and she made a 180 and stayed like this in the middle of the lake…of course it was cold that day…too bad I didnt have my camera that day…nice picture…an upside down rc boat in the middle of the lake…kind of intersting.
After reading your post; it makes me more confident of getting a Rc Laser…maybe time to order one…still need to think about…there’s a multihull in my sight as well[:D]

Thanks for the intersting post about the Laser


if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!

Edit starts here:

Something I really dont like about the Laser…hmmm not the Laser itself, the package to be honest…you have to get a full set …with TX RX servos aso…if only they would sell it without these…for sure I order one right now!!

I like the Laser. I maintain my dad’s boats, and his Laser is basically trouble-free. Taking the boat as an ‘as-supplied’ one-design, my only complaint is that the controls are what would be called (in the model airplane world) ‘unbalanced’. The winch is on the slow side while the rudder is lightning-quick.

They’re lots of fun to sail.

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Kenneth Graeme, Wind in the Willows.

A friend and I raced Lasers for a year culminating in me getting second in the first Florida State Championship. It is a fun boat! The only thing I didn’t like was the slow mainsheet winch but since it is a Strict One Design everybody has the same handicap. It is one of the great rc raceboats…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Well, I figured that I wouldn’t say anything if it wasn’t a positive, but I might as well balance this out[:-eyebrows]

The laser is one at just about the bottom of my list as a good RC sailor. I would advise the Soling 1M over the Laser for the conditions and $$ that wis has been mentioning. The Laser just did not do it for me. I found too many downfalls in it’s and it’s rig designs. There are several conditions that the combination just can deal with, and the boat fails to sail well at all. I have not seen a boat stall as mush as this Laser does. It is a wonderful kit, very well thought out as a boat that can get someone on the water sailing in an incredibly short time. Kudos to that! I find it to be very frustrating to sail, but again this is just me. It?s not that the servos are too fast or too slow. It?s that the rudder is just not right at all. I think that with a class certified replacement rudder, deeper and greater cord, that this boat would see a huge improvement in handling. It?s a very simple fix that I think would make it better. [:-paperbag]

Oh oh… Now another email needs to be sent to Jon and Bruce!!


A critque that says in “my personal view this boat’s not for me” is a very different thing from the prior “doesn’t sail like the real boat” comments.

As to Greg’s thoughts, some of his concerns may be addressed by the new larger, light air “A” rig; others I think are in the nature of the r/c laser design–the model is designed to handle like the full size boat and has to be sailed very differently from most other r/c keelboats. Frankly, I have never gotten the hang of the r/c laser and can fully understand why someone might prefer another type of boat.

However, as a “ten minutes from box to water”,virtually unbreakable, very strict one design that emulates its “big boat” counterpart the r/c laser is very hard to beat.

greg; What youve found is very like what the real boat does when you fail to tack with speed, particually in strong winds. The fullsize answer to this is to roll tack and pump the boat round, but you can’t pull that trick on the model! However IMHO the model is better than the fullsize in that way, it seems to carry its way through tacks better.

I found the sheeting a bit slow too, also it would be nice if you could sheet the main out past the mast so you could sail by the lee downwind.

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

Roy - yes, I agree - I was just trying to give Greg a bit of a hard time. (Like he needs that!) :slight_smile:

Matthew, do you enjoy deathrolling?

Sheeting the main out past 90 degrees is the number one cause of death rolls in the laser class (and the laser class is at the top of the list for death rolls per capita).

In intercollegiate dighies, we would always rig the lasers with a sheet that was too long. The first thing you did when you jumped into a new boat (remember that collegiate dinghy racing uses a system where you rotate boats after every race) was to shorten the mainsheet with a temporary knot (and you would always take the knot out again after your race). A lot of newer guys would forget this and you could watch them crash downwind if the breeze was up.

A good death roll at planing speeds is spectacular - the skipper hits the water first as the boat comes over on top of him. The sail stays up in the air so the boat keeps driving even after the skipper fallls out. When the mast hits the water, there is a big splash and occasionally (if you are really lucky) the transom will be lifted out of the water and the boat will come to rest with the mast in the mud!

Good times indeed!

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Ahh but Will the trick is to get the boat on its ear downwind, sheeting a little past the mast hepls this. If you think a death roll is coming on you sheet in quick. Also when needed you can gybe onto stb and sail by the lee, call starboard on all the port tackers bunching for the mark. Always a great one for taking out a shedload of the mid fleet gang! [;D] I agree, death rolls are always brill to watch when it goes mental!

Luff 'em & leave 'em.

The only ‘problem’ I’ve seen with the RC Laser is that a newbie will buy one, lured by the ‘no-build’ ad, bring it to the pond and struggle with a truly twitchy, high-performance boat. We’ve got 2 newbies with Lasers - one couple had no sailing experience and the other guy didn’t have any RC experience. My dad, an experienced sailor (but who has trouble adapting to new stuff at age 72+) was ready to give up on the Laser until he was shown new techniques.

An RC Laser with an A rig will keep up with an EC12, but while the EC12 skipper is relaxed and gossiping with his buddies the Laser skipper will have a death-grip on the transmitter and be all concentration.

We give kudos for best endo, longest submerged run - and fastest reach. Fastest reach isn’t even considered until at least 2 skippers holler “Holy &%*)(&^!!! Look at the Laser go!!!”

All 3 rigs or at least an A- and B-rig (B-rig being the supplied one) are necessary for maximum fun. i just ‘built’ a C-rig for Dad’s boat out of house-wrap Tyvek. It ain’t legal for class racing but it’s fun - and I made sure, when cutting it, that the word ‘Tyvek’ is displayed in all its glory :slight_smile:

Fun is… :slight_smile:

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Kenneth Graeme, Wind in the Willows.

i had a try at a laser last year , and from my personal viev. i like it. it was fast and responsive. reading the above posts. show me that the boat is not a 3 minute set-up. each boat cn be set up differently. the boat i ran was fast and reponsive. but greg experience shows the his try as being wrong. and others say it is tough to sail. well we an all say that about our boats , wheater it be a IOM or a us imeter

I have Laser Madness!!!
I have all three sails, the folding stand and the carry bag.
I absolutely love this boat. You can take it anywhere…with all its gear.
Mine will not fit in the trunk of my car (Olds Aurora) in the carry bag. But it easily fits in the back seat and allows room for my Seawind and Nirvana with the keels removed.
I live in central Oklahoma where the wind blows hard every day. A light air day is 10mph and they are rare around here.The Laser can take everything Oklahoma can dish out. I’ve had my Laser out several times when the wind was above 30mph. I’ve done the death roll, the submarine thing, and even witnessed it planing on the lee.
You can’t sail a Laser for an hour or so and make a fair determination on its virtues.
Particularly if you are accustomed to a sloop.
Spend 20 or so hours learning how to sail a Laser and you’ll likely get hooked too.
Maybe thats why more than 3000 of them have been sold.