Buying a Laser Two

The two best sources of used Laser Twos are the Used Boats link at Vanguard's Laser 2 page, and the Laser class's classifieds. They are certainly not the only sources though. These are the issues you want to consider if you are going to buy a used Laser Two:

Hull & Rig Condition

You don't need to do much to take car of a Laser Two hull (and the rules are the same as for a Laser, so they are well known). But if you don't do it, you get a soft hull. Soft hulls cave in when they hit waves. This makes them unstable and harder to control, and it also slows you down a lot. Ask the owner how he stored it and transported it, and what he did to care for it.

All you are looking for for care is that he rinsed it off most of the time when he was finished sailing. Especially in salt water, leaving dirty water on the hull can, over time, weaken the laminate.

As for storage, you want to hear that either he always kept it upside down on some sort of blocks or rails (unlikely since you have to destep the mast), or that it was supported by the gunwale. Likewise, you want to hear that it was transported either upside down on a rack or platform, or that it was supported by the gunwale. The gunwale (pronounced "gunnel"). is the lip that sticks out at the edte where the hull and deck meet. It is the thickst part of the boat by a factor of at least two, so it's very stiff. It also doesn't touch the water much when you're sailing, so if it was soft, it wouldn't matter much. Laser specific trailers have no boards for anything to sit on. Instead, they have vertical supports at the edge that go under the gunwale, so the whole boat is suspended.

You definitely don't want to hear that it just sat on the ground. Not only does this put constant pressure on the hull, but the grand is wet as often as not, and dirty. So it's a constant source of moisture to work into the laminate and soften it.

To test for softness, just flip the boat on it's side or over, and pound all over the hull with the heel of your palm. There should be very few places where it doesn't hurt to do so, and likewise, few places where it caves in.

Most rigs are fine. You want to look at every opening in the mast, and make sure no hardware has ever been ripped out. There should be no distortions or tears, and any opening should be clean. If some are not, you want to figure out what it's going to take to repair it before making an offer or a decision.

Spinnaker Rigging

Some older boats do not have spinnaker rigging. All boats are spinnaker-rig ready, which just means the mast has holes in the right places so you can attach the hardware. It's not too hard to do, and we have a document that can help you. But the miscellaneous parts will cost around $200, the pole will cost about that as well, and the sail itself new is over $500. I fyou have a line on a used sail & pole, or if the boat is really solid and almost free, then this is worth considering. But it's probably easier to just get a boat that's already spinnaker rigged.

Note that some boats are not trapeze rigged either. This is very easy & cheap to add, probably less than $100 for the whole deal, so don't worry about that.

Spinnaker Launching System

This is a tricky one. Starting in '92, all boats have spinnaker launching tubes. These allow a single rope to act as both a halyard & retreival line, and they store the sail in a tube that's built into the foredeck. It is very clean, creates more room in the cockpit, and is very easy to learn - meaning it's pretty fool-proof. It also makes it feasible to fly the spinnaker while soloing. Some older boats have been retro-fit with tubes. This is an option, but is not cheap. The tube itself is over $500, and unless you want to cut your boat yourself, you'll have to pay someone to put it in.

The alternative is a turtle bag. It's much harder to learn how to use. It's much more prone to dunking the sail in the water, which is a huge mess. And even if you don't, it's prone to filling the cockpit with sail everywhere before you get efficient at putting it away as you bring it down. This is why it took me three years to learn how to use the spinnaker - although if I'd had someone experienced with this system, maybe that wouldn't have happened. But in any case, it's nearly impossible to do while soloing.

I have built a prototype deck-mounted spinnaker launching sock. It is functionally equivalent to the launch tube, and costs around $50 to build. It does not require any permanent changes to your boat. Some racers speculate that it disrupts airflow over the deck to the jib, making the boat slower. Others speculate that since it weighs less than the tube, it makes the boat faster. Your mileage may very. Nobody doubts that it makes the spinnaker easier to learn than the turtle bag.

I am currently experimenting with a third option - a spinnaker sock. This is a fabric "tube" that you lay on the deck, and attach to the bow. You use it like a tube, with a continuous halyard/retreival line. The hope is that it will work just as well as a built-in tube, and be way cheaper (like around $70). There is concern that the wind disruption on the deck will make it ineffective for racing, or that the spinnaker won't stow into it smoothly. Email me if you want to know how it's workign out.

Sail & Foil Conditoin

This is something that all racers worry about, but you don't have to. First, since this calss is targeted towards amatures, expect a lot of people to have old tired sails. Just make sure they aren't ripped, or so thread-bare that they're likely to tear soon. Note that most spinnakers have two grommets in the middle of the sail; these are for the retrieval line that comes out of the launch tube. If the boat doesn't have a tube, the sail may have only one, or zero grommets.

It's normal for the bottom front corner of the rudder to be scratched & gouged. It's also pretty common for the dagger board to have gouges in the upper middle of the trailing edge, this is from hitting rocks at speed. If the foil has this, it's worth flipping the boat & checking to make sure the bottom back of the dagger case isn't damaged; it's usually not, that part of the boat is very rugged.

Trailers & Dollies

You need to figure out where you'll be storing your boat, and how you'll be launching it. You need to figure out if a trailer is an asset or a liability. Marinas that cater to dinghies will prefer you store your boat on a dolly. This is like a minie "hand trailer." They've very light, small, and maneuverable. They are much easier to launch with if you can leave the boat where you sail it, and just store it on the dolly. If you have to drive the boat to where you sail, and if they have a car accessible ramp, then you might not benefit from a dolly.

Ideally a trailer should be the gunale supporting kind described earlier. If it is not, you need to *always* destep, and flip the boat over, to put the deck on the platform, instead of the hull.

Aluminum trailers are much lighter, and therefore easier to move around by hand. With a light-gradient launch ramp, you could launch by hand from an aluminum gunwale supporting traier. These cost about $700 new. A used galvanized standard (platform) trailer goes for about $150. Plan this into your priceing accordingly. Aluminum dollies go for around $350 new.


You'll need a harness ($100-$175) and life jackets ($50 each) if the boat doesn't come with them. Ask if they know if anything else is missing. Drain plugs, control lines, and battens are often missing.


Ok, this is the really variable part. It depends so much on what is included, which is different for every offer. This makes it hard to compre offers. Decide what your desired end result is (spinnaker? tube? dolly? trailer? incidentals?). Figure out what those things will cost you, even try finding leads on used ones before agreeing on a price, if you're considering a boat that is missing something. If you're going to come play with us, you should consider a spinnaker mandatory. You may not see it that way now, but after one day with us, you will.

So, you shouldn't have any trouble finding an old spinnaker rigged boat in moderately good shape for $1400-$1600. If it comes with a trailer and/or dolly, it might be around $1800-$2000. If it's not even spinnake rigged yet, you probably don't want to pay over $600. If you want a boat with a tube, they tend to be much newer. Because of thaty, they're usually in very good to excellent shape, and this all makes them more expensive. $2500-$3000 for a tube boat with a trailer is about right. You may see boats going for much more than that. Keep an eye on them, they'll probably come down.