Buying a laser dinghy can be a challenging task for a beginner. Learn what to watch out for when buying so you get your money’s worth.
The Laser is considered to be one of the most accepted single-handed dinghies in the world. A lot of sailing aficionados love this sprightly little boat. If you are one of those thinking of buying your own laser sailing boat, there are certain things you need to consider in order to make the right choice. No one sailboat has it all or does it all for that matter, but knowing exactly what you are looking for will make the choice a lot easier.
For a lot of sailors, the dilemma is often about stability or speed. A fast boat usually means less stability. In choosing your boat, you need to assess your need for excitement, speed, work involved, competition and price.
Which size laser dinghy?
A laser is designed with the size of the sailor in mind. Different kinds of laser dinghies cater to different weight categories of its users. For instance, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 are recommended for smaller sailors while a Laser Standard is good for sailors 80kgs and above.
Take into account the body of water on which you plan to sail on. Generally, all dinghies are suitable for use in small lakes and harbors. However, some dinghies work best on inland lakes while others are more able to handle more open waters.
When you have finally decided what kind of laser dinghy to want the next step would naturally be to buy it. There are several companies all over the world that sell laser new dinghies, and of course there are always 2nd hand lasers available. Be sure to know the things that you need to look out for to make sure that what you are buying is an authentic laser dinghy.
What to look out for in a laser dinghy
Firstly, check out the sailboat number either on the deck or at the back of the cockpit. Newer dinghies have their serial numbers at the back of the cockpit while the older ones have their numbers etched on the deck. This is valuable information to help you determine the quality and the age of the boat.
Secondly, check the condition of the hull and the deck. Watch out for deep scratches or cracks because they are telltale signs of damage and leaking. Check the boat for stiffness to assess if it had a lot of use already. A new boat is nice and firm. A boat’s stiffness decreases with time and use and so could tell a lot about the boat’s overall quality. The softer the boat is the higher is the probability of leaks.
Thirdly, check the integrity of the mast step and watch out for cracks, leaks, and wear. The mast step bears most of the pressure from the mast and the sail hence it is extremely important that its condition is excellent.
Lastly, inspect all other parts of the laser such as the dagger board and rudder, the tiller and tiller extension, the mast and boom for straightness, and the sail and ropes for wear and tear. Appraise the general appearance. You will know if the boat has been well taken care of by the way it looks.
Don’t forget to check the laser dinghy trailer
If the sailboat comes with a trailer and / or launching trolley, you will also need to check the general condition of these also, including rust, wheels and tyres, and whether the trailer is roadworthy and registered for road use.
Sailing a laser can be so much fun especially if you are confident that your boat is sturdy and safe. Buying a substandard boat just because it is cheaper might turn out to be more expensive in the long run considering the expenses for repairs you need to do every so often.
The tips above are just some points that you need to be aware of when buying your laser. It is also best if you seek the advice of a trusted expert or a seasoned sailor. There are things that only an experienced eye can see, so getting the help of a laser dinghy sailor is always a good idea.