Note: the information on this page is for the Standard Rig. We'll be producing pages for the Radial, 4.7 and Rooster 8.1 rigs as soon as possible.

About the Laser

Laser Class Emblem

One of the most popular dinghies in the world, with over 200,000 boats worldwide, the Laser is a competitive one-design for one person. Simple to rig and easy to sail (though not to sail well) there are fleets all over the world, with plenty of competitve racing thanks to the tight class rules which mean that there are virtually no differences between equipment from one sailor to the next.

Designed by Bruce Kirby and Ian Bruce, the hulls are constructed from GRP. They were designed to be car-top-able, and are easily transported on a roof-rack or road trailer. Their popularity, good performance and close racing led to them becoming an Olympic Class in 1996, an honour still held today. Many great sailors, past and present, have sailed within the class since it became popular in the 1970s.

The boat rewards good fitness, and can be challenging to sail, both upwind and downwind. It is also quick to plane, making it an exciting dinghy to sail.

The class also has Radial and 4.7 rigs for smaller sailors (as well as an unofficial 8.1 rig for bigger sailors), and is active through a range of age groups. There are championships for youth sailors, but also for 35  and over sailors - namely the Masters. With world championships for the 35 to 44 (Apprentice Master), 45 to 54 (Master), 55 to 64 Grand Master) and 65+ (Great Grand Master), this is a highly skilled and very competitive form of racing.

Videos for Laser Sailing

There are literally thousands of videos available, so this is just a selection of our favourites. If you are looking for particular skills to practice then click on our Categories page and choose the area you wish to improve. The chances are that there'll be a Laser video there.

Tom Slingsby, Olympic Gold medallist and America's Cup winner, has fun in a breeze:

The legendary Robert Scheidt (another Olympic Gold medallist) sailing upwind and downwind:

Paul Goodison, also an Olympic Gold medallist, shows how to rig the boat and be on the water in less than 10 minutes:

There are more hints and tips from Paul Goodison on YouTube here.

Ok, so we've had a lot of Olympic Gold medallists already, so we might as well get a few tips from Ben Ainslie as well. Here he is on starting:

There are lots more videos by Ben Ainslie here

Brendan Casey demonstrating and describing downwind sailing techniques:

Jon Emmett, author of Be Your Own Sailing Coach and multiple champion, demonstrates loads of key skills in the videos on his YouTube Channel

Books for Laser Sailing

Specific for Lasers

The Top 3

Paul Goodison's book is my favourite, being up-to-date and covering a lot of ground. Ben Ainslie's is, of course, well worth reading - the only draw back is some of the rigging information is slightly out of date. Tim Davison's book is a good all-rounder.

Other Great Class-Specific Books

I really love the Ben Tan book - Complete Introduction to Laser Racing because it covers so much ground and has a range of great comtributors. It's tough to get hold of it now, though, which is why it didn't make the Top 3. The Dick Tillman book is also an old favourite, but it is a little dated now, as is Glenn Bourke's famous and much loved classic.

General Books Useful for Laser Sailors

The Bestsellers

These three books will help any sailor improve in any class of boat.

Sailing Fitness

You need to be physically fit to do well - even just a little bit of all-round fitness can improve your results a lot. These books are all helpful in designing a program that works for you. My favourite is Sailing Fitness & Training by Michael Blackburn.


Getting your head right can be as important as getting your technique right. These books will all help with this area, and the Eric Twiname book, Sail, Race and Win is possibly my all-time favourite book on how to improve your sailing

Books for Self-Coaching by Olympic Coach Jon Emmett

Jon Emmett coached Lijia Xu to an Olympic Gold Medal,and is a multiple World Champion himself. These well written books share the secrets of how to coach yourself and improve your sailing.

Sailing Technique and Performance Books by Frank Bethwaite

Frank Bethwaite is a bit of a legend - relentless in his pursuit to understand high performance race craft. His two bigger books (High Performance Sailing and Higher Performance Sailing) can be quite dense to read while Fast Handling Techniques is lighter and easier to read. All are hugely important.

...and finally, Three Absolute Classics

These three books are nailed-on classics - books that have helped generations of sailors and are still relevant today. Start to Win is a good, relatively basic book that will help get you to the front of the fleet; Winning in One Designs is widely regarded as essential reading for one-design sailors; and Advanced Racing Tactics is more in-depth, is a tougher read, but will help with a lot of in-race strategy.

Other Great Things for Laser Sailors

Olympic Class Sailboat Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Links for Laser Sailors

Class Information

The International Class Association

Class Associations by country:

The ISAF microsite

Wikipedia page for the Laser

Boat Set-up, Boat Handling and Other Tips

Blogs and Blog Posts

Our favourite blogs:

Those are our favourite blogs, but there are loads more good ones out there. Here's a good selection in alphabetical order:

A Laser Forum on

The Vital Statistics

Suggested sailor weight range: 75kg-90kg (ideal weight range is 78kg-83kg)

  • Hull Material GRP (classic boats wood)
  • Year Designed: 1969
  • Hull Length 4.2 metres
  • Beam 1.39 metres
  • Mainsail Area 7.06 square metres
  • Hull Weight 58.97 kg

Who's Who in Lasers

Bruce Kirby - designer

Robert Scheidt - Class legend and multiple world and Olympic champion. Check out the Videos section to see him in action.

Ben Ainslie - Former class Olympic Gold Medallist, four time sailing Olympic Gold medallist and America's Cup winner. Check out the Books section for his book, and the Videos section to see him in action.

Tom Slingsby - reigning Olympic Gold Medallist and America's Cup winner. Check out the Videos section to see him in action - it's well worth a look.

Paul Goodison - 2008 Olympic Gold medallist. Check out the Books section to see his comprehensive, class specific book. Also have a look in the Videos section to see him in action.

John Bertrand

Michael Blackburn - Olympic medallist, Olympic coach, fitness guru and author of the wonderful Sailing Fitness and Training

Tom Burton

Rasmus Mygren

Diego Romero

Vasilij Zbogar

Andreas Geritzer

Peter Moberg

Nick Thompson - reigning World Champion (2015 & 2016)

Our Blog Posts Featuring Lasers

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