Best Handheld Anemometer Options

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You’ve no doubt seen these around the place… An anemometer is a wind speed measuring device that is commonly used by weather stations and individuals or institutions interested in measuring changes in the wind speed. To give the best reading, an anemometer is typically mounted on a pole positioned in an open space so that they are not obstructed by buildings or trees.

They often contain a set of three or four cup-like shapes that catch the breeze and spin at a speed proportional to the speed of the wind. Other smaller variations of these “weather-station” varieties include hand-held models that contain a fan or miniature propeller that works in a similar fashion.

In sailing, many yachts have wind instruments located at the top of the mast – clear of any obstructions. However, dinghies typically do not have the same equipment installed. An anemometer is not necessarily a requirement for laser sailing or dinghy sailing in general, but a hand-held version can be a handy piece of equipment. As these are not considered an expensive device, an anemometer may prove to assist you in selecting different sails or rigging based on the wind speed it measures. Or it can be just used for interest to see exactly how hard the breeze is blowing.

Whatever your use, there are quite a few handheld anemometers that work well and are very reasonably priced. Here is a closer look at selected portable models of anemometers that are available for purchase online:

HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer

This product is promoted as providing highly accurate and steady wind speed measurements. It will record wind speeds from 0.3 to 30 m/s to a maximum of 69 mph / 111 kmh / 60 knots. The accuracy is said to be within 0.1 dgts with quick measurements to assist in determining conditions at any given moment.

There are many different functions built into this wind gauge. In addition to reading wind speed, this handheld device provides temperature and wind chill readings. All data is shown on an LCD display. Wind speed can be read in m/s, km/h, ft/min, knots and mph measurements.

Extras include adjustments to read the temperature in either °F or °C and you can record and recall conditions. They include maximum, minimum, average and current temperatures. There is also a low battery indicator and a built-in screw hole permits attachment to a lanyard.


  • Comes with a warranty
  • One of the best anemometer models in the marketplace
  • Slick design with easy to read LCD display
  • Quick changing between functions makes this a very useful instrument


  • Some users felt the design made this unit appear to be cheaply made
  • Accuracy of the readings may be off when compared to other similar products

See It On Amazon

Extech 45118 Mini Anemometer

The dual LCD display on this handheld wind meter provides the reading of air velocity along with temperature and wind chill. Functions include average and maximum readings with a one-second display update. There’s also a hold function and after 20-minutes the unit with shut off.

The water and shock resistant housing is rugged and makes the Extech anemometer durable. The fold up, flip-style case acts as an extension handle and also protects the meter when flipped down for storage. This portable wind meter floats and has been drop tested to six feet.

The wind speed measurements can be displayed as ft/min, mph, m/s, km/h, knots or Beaufort Force. Also, the selectable averaging feature has settings of 5, 10 or 13-second intervals. The plastic wind vane is replaceable and temperature/wind chill can be recorded from 0° to 122°F, and wind speed from 1 knot up t54 knots.


  • Lightweight and handheld
  • Easy to use and flip top is a handy extension handle
  • Data is displayed quickly when needed


  • LCD display is not backlit
  • Temperature display is smaller than wind speed and cannot be reversed
  • Extension handle requires two hands to fully extend

See It On Amazon

ERAY Digital Anemometer

If you are one of those data nuts, this could be the best wind meter you will ever buy. It has several functions and can measure remote surface temperatures ranging from 0° to 536°F. The accuracy of this handheld anemometer is rated at 8:1 distance to spot ratio with a laser pointer.

There’s a low battery indicator and auto shut off function plus a dual function 4-digit LCD display screen. The measurements recorded will include maximum, minimum and average with each having relative timestamps for tracking. Readings are updated each second.

The readout will simultaneously display airflow (eg. Cubic feet/min) or air velocity (eg. Speed) and temperature.Wind speed can be displayed as m/s, km/h, ft/min, mph & knots. The temperature accuracy is rated at 4.0°F with 0.1° resolution, and the whole unit, including angled vane arms, weighs just 240 grams. The package comes complete with a case, 9-volt battery, and user manual.


  • Works well for the intended use
  • Easy to operate, lightweight
  • Display is large enough to read easily at 13mm in size
  • LCD display is backlit


  • Remote laser temperature readings are not as accurate as expected for some users
  • Does not capture data over time
  • Does not create graphs or visuals based on recorded data

See It On Amazon

Do You Need A Handheld Wind Speed Meter?

As stated above, these instruments are not mandatory for sailing. However, they can certainly come in handy, and it can be interesting to know exactly what the weather is doing. You can’t always trust the forecasts, so it’s good to be able to know what is going on wherever you are.

The digital anemometer options mentioned above are able to quickly and easily provide a wealth of information and are very reasonably priced. So check them out and add them to your kit.

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Sailing Holidays – Best Sailing Holiday Options

A laser sailing holiday is an adventure-filled activity that can be shared with the entire family. But before we explore several different holiday programs and packages available, let’s take a closer look at the different types of sailing holidays in general.

We have chosen to look at a total of nine basic types sailing holidays. Depending on where you live in the world and what individual operators offer, there may be subtle variations to several of them.

Types of Sailing Holidays

Bareboat Charter

The bareboat concept is where you hire a yacht minus the crew. In other words, you are renting a bare boat. It should include all equipment required and a bareboat charter is geared towards experienced and qualified sailors.

If you can handle a boat, trip planning and hold an ICC and RYA Day Skipper Certificate, you are set. An RYA Coastal Skipper Certificate would be better and depending on the vessel, you may require additional certifications. This can all be determined when you book the rental.

There are many great charter companies around. For example, check out that offers bareboat and skippered options.

Cabin Charter

This option is more geared towards the less experienced sailor. Essentially you are booking space for yourself or a party of individuals to occupy one or more berths in a multi-berth yacht.

Small vessels can generally sleep 5 and others can sleep 10 or more.Don’t expect a private cabin and be prepared to be in close quarters with someone else you may not know.

Crewed/Skippered Charter

This is another option that is designed to provide a sailing holiday to those who are not experienced or do not feel comfortable with a bareboat charter arrangement. As the name implies, you would be hiring a boat complete with a qualified skipper or complete crew.

Cultural/Cuisine Based Sailing Holiday

The name suggests the general theme of these sailing holidays. A cultural one includes an itinerary that features stops at various historic sites with sailing as the mode of transportation between locations.

A cuisine holiday features stops at different locations to taste different styles of food with sailing as the transportation between stops.

Family Dingy Regatta Week

This family-friendly holiday event is targeted at dinghy sailors and feature races for children and adults. For the less serious in your family, there are non-competitive variations. Social events are also including which can range from barbecues to evening discos.

There are also places where yacht and dinghy events are combined bringing together different racing and sailing experience levels.


This type of sailing is relaxed and allows sailors with some experience the opportunity to sail their own vessel by day and access to a group of experienced sailors nearby for support if something comes up.

There will be a pre-arranged itinerary which will include everything from scheduled overnight anchorages and a route that will be an easy pace to enjoy.

You can take your whole family on this adventure with each participant traveling at their own speed within their level of experience and still meet up together by the end of each day.

Sailing School Course

Think of this as a summer camp where you can holiday for a week and earn a RYA Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper certification at the end. There are sailing schools that focus on yachts with others aimed at dinghies.

These courses of varying length can be found all over the world, with many designed for children to introduce them to sailing. Others are for adults wishing to learn the sport of sailing as a hobby or for competitive pursuits.

Boy on Sailing Holiday

Shore Based Dinghy/Windsurf Holiday Clubs

Amateur sailors, ranging right up to the more experienced looking for a bit of fun on the water, are the perfect fit for these types of holidays.

Essentially you have access to all the equipment you need and assistance to get on the water. There are also training courses you can take with the selection available when you first book your holiday.

What makes these an attractive option is that if there are members of your family who do not sail or have no interest in it, being on shore allows them the ability to participate in other activities ranging from sightseeing and shopping to just soaking up the sun on the beach.

Yacht Regatta Events

This is specifically for the experienced yacht racer. You or a group can charter a vessel for your own use or you can get in on the action by becoming a crew member for someone else.

These race events are for the more serious and are not so much for the casual sailor. They can range from day sailing up to multi-day events.

Sailing Holiday Sites and Destinations

Whether you are after:

  • a laser sailing holiday,
  • a holiday windsurfing, kiteboarding or sailing on any other type of dinghy, catamaran or yacht, or
  • a holiday where you can simply enjoy spending time in or around the water…

there are many different options available around the world that can cater to your specific requirements.

Many of the examples below are in idyllic locations. Many also have packages with varying inclusions, meaning that you don’t have to worry about organizing accommodation, transfers, meals, flights, etc.

Whether you are a master sailor or a total beginner, there are different options available to suit all levels and requirements. And it’s not just for laser sailors – many destinations have a range of boats that you can try.

Have a look and you may just be inspired to add one of these destinations to your wish-list for your next holiday.

Here is a review of some of the better sailing holiday sites worth considering for your next sailing vacation:

Minorca Sailing

Varied and flexible are words used to describe the program design at Minorca Sailing. They have several options available for the entire family.

The sailing program is organized and structured starting with morning group tuition followed by continued afternoon instruction with daily racing opportunities.

Depending on the weather conditions your day may be filled with sailing, learning new skills or perfecting existing skills. Qualified instruction can result in RYA certification from Basic Skills level to Performance Sailing. Certificates and log books are an additional cost on top of the included tuition.

Sailing Programs

Minorca Sailing features learn to sail programs for beginners, improvers and advanced. You can also opt for something called The Gentle Option where you get to sail around with a qualified instructor doing all the hard work.

The dinghies available for use include:

  • Laser
  • RS Aero
  • Optimist
  • RS Tera
  • D-Zeros
  • Pico, plus others.

There are also asymmetrics including:

  • RS Vareo
  • RS 200
  • RS 400
  • RS 500
  • RS 800s
  • Laser 2000
  • 29er, plus others.

Your programs include instruction plus video training.


You’ll be staying in self-catering villas or apartments or in the Hotel Port Fornells which is a bed and breakfast location. All sites are conveniently located near restaurants, shopping, and moorings. You can dine out or stay in with many villas containing built-in BBQs for your use.

Different packages are available depending on your preference but can include all tuition, accommodation, flights, and transfers. Prices fluctuate depending on the time of year.

For more information on Minorca Sailing, click here.


SailLaser Lake Garda

SailLaser Lake Garda features dinghies you can hire or charter for events or regattas along with courses and camps. Dinghies available include the Optimist SailQube, Club420, Laser Pico, Laser Bahia, Laser Vago, Laser (4.7, Radial, and Standard).

SailLaser is a great place to holiday to participate in a sailing course or camp. It is also a great option if you are looking to participate in a regatta and use a boat that is not your own.


The Lasers used here are all 2015 hulls with XD spec rigging. You can charter anything on the site in order to participate in any scheduled event. Special arrangements can be made for events not already on the SailLaser calendar.

Charter rates are quoted at €85 per day including VAT.

Sailing Programs, Coaching and Courses

Children between the ages of 8 and 15 years will find SailLaser has a comprehensive selection of youth sailing courses and camps. They typically run between two and five days in duration and include a well-balanced mix of on and off water activities to keep participants interested and engaged.

The courses in the curriculum compose of four stages with all of them costing €280 each. Each stage comprises of a 2 day of sailing course, with theory lessons, and double water session (morning and afternoon), with wetsuit, boots, spray top and lifejacket included:

  • Stage 1 is a basic beginner course where launching, recovery, steering, basic boat part knowledge, and basic sailing are taught.
  • Stage 2 is designed as a follow-up course.Basic sailing skills, rope work, and collision avoidance make up the additional layers of this course level.
  • Stage 3 moves into being able to launch and sail a dinghy on a triangle course in moderate conditions.
  • Stage 4 adds launching and returning and sailing with a crew in a triangle.

On top of this, they will soon have available foiling courses for the new F101. So make sure that you keep an eye out for that!

SailLaser will organize adult sailing courses with any type of boat in their fleet. They will also organize Laser coaching, a special sailing training for specific regatta preparation.

As you can see, they want to provide you with the best experience possible. Just ask for more information.


SailLaser is based out of 2 locations…  Torbole sul Garda and Campione del Garda, They are mainly based in Torbole, but can also organize activities in Campione del Garda.

Torbole does not have any accommodation but is a well-known sailing club in Italy. It is located at the northern end of Lake Guarda.

Based in Campione del Garda, Univela hostel is known as the Olympic training center for the Italian Sailing Federation. It is designed and built for sailing and includes on-site accommodation, classrooms, changing rooms, a drying room and a restaurant. Individuals and groups welcome.

As mentioned above, the boats used on-site include but are not limited to Optimist SailQube, Club420 and a variety of Laser dinghies.

SailLaser features all inclusive holiday packages ranging from dinghy sailing to regatta event participation to rentals for leisure. Rates are available upon request. For more information on SailLaser Lake Garda, click here.


SailLaser Lake Garda


The network of locations you can access through Neilson is very impressive. You can book a wide range of holidays at one of nine different beach clubs in Sardinia, Croatia, and Greece. Some of these facilities are also RYA training centers featuring courses for all sailing levels.

Sailing Programs

With regards to dinghy sailing, the beach club holiday centers offer inclusive tuitions on various sailing course levels including Beginner, Intermediate and Sailing Clinics, and Racing. Windsurfing is also featured at one of the beach club locations.

Children eight and younger can participate with a parent or guardian while those nine and older can join adult courses.

The Hot Shots program is designed specifically for young sailors and is an add-on costing £195 for one week and £390 for two weeks. The progressive course structure builds upon each previous level making learning to sail fun and interesting with in and out water elements.


In addition to sail and stay style holidays, you can book flotillas, skippered flotillas as well as bareboat holidays. The beach clubs offer beachfront locations close to nearby villages where shopping and dining are available to enhance your sailing holiday.

Vessels used include Hartley (10, 12, Supernova and Wayfarer), Laser (1, 2000, Bahia, Dart 16, Pico, SB3 and Vago), RS (16 Catamaran, 100, 200, 500, 800 and Feva) and Topper (Argo, Omega, Topaz 14CX, Topaz 16CX and Vibes).


Neilson features regular inclusive package ‘deals’ on their beach club sites. They are based on occupancy by 2 adults and range from

You can also enter the dates of your stay for a quote.

For more information on Neilson, click here.



Greece and Mauritius are the destinations offered for sailing holidays through this company. With over 30 years experience in the sailing holiday industry, Wildwind is considered one of the top choices of experienced sailors around the world.

Sailing Program

RYA certified instructors provide the course training that is designed for all skill levels ranging from novice to advanced sailors. The programs include a well-balanced approach mixing in water and out water instruction to build and enhance your sailing skills.


Hotel style accommodations are located either on or near the beach which provides instant access to sailing instruction and practice time. There are also several social activities incorporated into the holiday ranging from beach BBQs to music filling cocktail evening activities.

The sailing fleet is comprehensive and extensive. Wildwind states they have over 70 boats waiting on shore for you to use and they include Catamarans (Hobies, Tornado), Dinghies (RSs, Lasers, 29er, 49er) and Keel Boats (Laser SB3). You are sure to find the right boat for your experience level each day.


Prices differ depending on the time of year. For Wildwind sailing packages, prices (based on 2 people sharing a room) range from:

  • £845 for 7 nights /£1075 for 14 nights, to
  • £1275 for 7 nights / £1725 for 14 nights.

There are additional offers available and can be discussed at the time of booking. There are also several add-ons.

For more information on Wildwind, click here.


Key Lime Sailing Club

This sailing club provides rentals, sailboat use for in-house guests (at no additional charge) and cottages for stay and sail style vacations. You don’t even have to be a sailor to enjoy social activities and sightseeing on board a skippered vessel touring the region.

Sailing Program

The sailing club is home to the American Sailing Academy which is staffed by qualified instructors. Courses include basic, intermediate and advanced levels where you will learn all the skills required to confidently operate a boat safely on your own.


There are several cottages and a house on site with nightly rentals ranging from $175 to $375 USD. The cottages are different sizes with sleeping space ranging between 2 and 8 people. There are also various package deals available with special rates.

The vessels available for use include a custom 40-foot Catamaran with a built-in water slide and 22-foot Catalinas so you should be able to find exactly what you need. In-house guests get to use the sailboats for free, otherwise, they can be hired out for $250/day.

For more information on Key Lime Sailing Club, click here.


Bitter End Yacht Club

The Bitter End Yacht Club is located in the picture-perfect location of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. With average temperatures from between 26°C / 79°F to 31°C / 87°F, it’s an ideal climate for hitting the water at any time of year.

The club fleet numbers over 100 vessels and you have access to them when you book a 7-night stay.

In addition to sailing, this venue includes a number of activities to keep everyone in your family or group entertained. Walking, hiking, snorkeling, sailing course, sunset cruises and parties are all on the program.

Sailing Program

Qualified instructors provide the training required in an Introduction to Sailing Course. The goal is to prepare novices to experienced sailors with the knowledge they need to safely sail in and around this Caribbean getaway holiday destination.

There are also many other programs and certifications on offer, including Basic Keelboat Certification, and intermediate and advanced programs. For more information on the different options, click here.


Duplex cottages are divided into 3 types of rooms – Reef, Horizon, and Garden Rooms. Different sizes come at different rates with rates available at the time of booking. Many have spectacular views.

As mentioned, the facility has over 100 boats available, including Lasers, Hobies, Optimist Dinghies, Kayaks, stand-up Paddle Boards and racing Yachts.

For more information on Bitter End Yacht Club, click here.


Where To For Your Next Laser Sailing Holiday?

Laser Sailing Holidays

As you can see, there are a number of ways to enjoy your sailing hobby while on holiday with these sailing destinations. You will find they are flexible enough to accommodate everyone, even the non-sailor in your family or group. Remember to clarify what is and is not included when you book your dates.

An easy and sensible way to keep on track with you laser sailing holidays is to have a checklist handy with questions you can ask when making arrangements. This way you will remove a lot of the guess work and you can fill in the details not found on the websites.

For many people (myself included) that enjoy sailing, we have been on holidays and been disappointed in the options available when wanting to go out for a casual sail. Quite often the boats at beachfront locations are:

  • really poor quality,
  • in such demand that you can’t have a good go,
  • so limited in range (often they just have 2 or 3 catamarans for the whole resort)
  • so expensive to hire and cost a fortune on top of your already high prices that you have already paid.

Holiday destinations have come a long way, and these options listed above are some good examples of how the resorts are trying hard to turn things around and cater well for the tourists. It’s good to see that some places have a wide range of boats that you can use.

There are many more great destinations out there. A lot of people don’t realize that some resorts and clubs have facilities like this. So I urge you to look into these destinations above, as well as look further abroad to make sure that wherever you stay next has some good sailing equipment for you to use.

Whether or not you are a laser sailor, there are some great packages and destinations available. So if you are keen to experience something different, or just to get away and spend some time relaxing on the water, why not consider a sailing holiday for your next getaway.

Have you been on a sailing holiday? Was your holiday specifically booked with sailing in mind? Where did you go? How was it? Please share in the comments section below…

Cool Sailing Quotes

Just thought I’d share with you my picks of some of the best sailing quotes that I have seen going around.

There are some pretty cool quotes from a mix of some world class sailors right through to those with just a more basic love for the water.

If you have a favorite quote, whether it be a famous one, something you made up or one you heard down at the club, make sure that you share it in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


“I’m not sure why I am so competitive, but I always have been. Whether it’s playing table tennis, cards or Olympic sailing I just have to win.”

— Tom Slingsby – Laser World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist

cool laser sailing quotes

“I’ve been sailing from the age of 2, and apparently, when I was 4, I told my dad, ‘I know how to do this; you don’t have to come with me anymore.”

— Nathan Outteridge – 420, 49er and Moth World Champion, and Olympic Gold Medalist


 “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

— Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows


“You haven’t won the race, if in winning the race you have lost the respect of your competitors.”

— Paul Elvstrøm – Winner of 4 Olympic Gold medals


“You can no longer just be a good sailor. You have to be an incredible athlete as well. Having said that, you can be a great athlete, the strongest guy in the world, but if you can’t anticipate and make decisions under stress and exhaustion and think ahead, then you won’t be able to cut it, either.”

— Jimmy Spithill – youngest ever winner of the America’s Cup


“The sea will grant each man new hope. The sleep brings dreams of home.”

— Christopher Columbus


“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

— William Arthur Ward – Author, educator, and motivational speaker


“A bad day sailing is better than a good day at work.”

— unknown


“Start first and increase your lead.”

— Buddy Melges – Olympic Gold & Bronze Medalist


“Big boats get the glory, but the dingy makes the sailor.”

— From the movie “Wind”


“Life’s a reach until you gibe.”

— Book by Sean Downey


“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

— Bertha Calloway – Activist and historian


“It’s the next step for someone like me who has come from small boats to try to make it into the America’s Cup. It’s the pinnacle of big boat sailing really.”

— Sir Ben Ainslie – Laser and Finn World Champion


“Sailing – The fine art of slowly going nowhere at great expense while being cold, wet and miserable.”

— Irv Heller


“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

— John A. Shedd – Salt from My Attic, 1928


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

— Marcel Proust – French novelist


“I am really fighting for every spot, even if I am back in the pack tomorrow I’ll be fighting for every point come the end of the regatta.”

— Tom Slingsby – Laser World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist


“I come from the 49er, where there is a high error rate in the sailing but the best sailor still wins, and that’s why I’m attracted to these kind of boats.”

— Nathan Outteridge – 420, 49er and Moth World Champion, and Olympic Gold Medalist


“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca – Roman philosopher


“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.”

— George William Curtis – American writer and public speaker


“Sailed this day nineteen leagues, and determined to count less than the true number, that the crew might not be dismayed if the voyage should prove long.”

— Christopher Columbus


“In typical sailing races a long time ago, you’d come in and go out, and the first thing you’d do is probably have a cold beer. The first thing we do now is have a protein shake and our recovery drink.”

— Jimmy Spithill – youngest ever winner of the America’s Cup


 “I’d love to have a proper sailing boat and go around the world.”

— Jonathan Powell


“The effect of sailing is produced by a judicious arrangement of the sails to the direction of the wind.”

— William Falconer – Scottish poet


“The sooner we learn to be jointly responsible, the easier the sailing will be.”

— Ella Maillart – Swiss adventurer and sportswoman


“Sailing a boat calls for quick action, a blending of feeling with the wind and water as well as with the very heart and soul of the boat itself. Sailing teaches alertness and courage, and gives in return a joyousness and peace that but few sports afford.”

— George Matthew Adams – American newspaper columnist


“Sailing is such a variable sport. There could be no wind, or there could be 25 knots. You never know what you’re going to get.”

— Hannah Mills – 420 and 470 World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist


“Sailing is the closest I can get to nature – it’s adrenaline, fear, a constant challenge and learning experience, an adventure into the unknown. And of course there is nothing better than wearing the same T-shirt for days and not brushing my hair for weeks.”

— Daria Werbowy – Ukrainian-Canadian model


“Capsizes kind of go hand in hand with 49er racing. I’ve had four to five capsizes in races and still won the event. It’s just the nature of this type of sailing.”

— Nathan Outteridge – 420, 49er and Moth World Champion, and Olympic Gold Medalist


“There is no trophy for the team that sails the most.”

— Jimmy Spithill – youngest ever winner of the America’s Cup


 “Sailing became one of the mainstreams of my life. I suppose my father was an influence. I remember seeing a photo of him at home sailing a big boat to Bermuda in his 20s. I still have it.”

— David Crosby – American singer


“It is always hard when people say you are a dead cert to win; you try to tell them that is not the case, but they don’t listen. I started sailing in Cornwall as an 8-year-old in a duffle coat and wellies (British Wellington boots) and now I’m standing here. You never know what can happen.”

— Sir Ben Ainslie – Laser and Finn World Champion


 “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

— Christopher Columbus


 “When I’m not surfing or sailing, I am to be found at the harbour working on my boat.”

— Laura Dekker – Dutch sailor, completed World solo circumnavigation at age 16


“Sailing unties the knots in my mind.”

— Al Noble


“Sailing is just the bottom line, like adding up the score in bridge. My real interest is in the tremendous game of life.”

— Dennis Conner – 4 times America’s Cup winner


“To win a medal here you have to be a complete sailor, you have to be able to sail in a wide range of conditions.”

— Robert Scheidt – Laser World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist


Have you got a better sailing quote? What’s your favorite? Please share in the comments section below…


How Does Boating Affect The Environment?

I have been fortunate enough to have done a lot of travel over the years, and have visited some truly beautiful and amazing places. For me, the most beautiful places were the often the ones most untouched by humans – in pristine condition.

But on taking a closer look, even these locations are often not as pristine as you may think. Walking along a secluded beach on the mid north coast of NSW the other day, the water was crystal clear and beautiful. But along the high-tide mark were the odd bits of plastic and other rubbish that had been washed up overnight. It’s disturbing seeing this spoiling the natural beauty of these places.

These small bits of plastic may seem innocuous enough, but fish, birds, and turtles often mistake these for food and ingest them. This does not break down in the stomach, and the animals can end up suffering a painful death.

Check out this short video to see what I mean:


Then there is the other end of the spectrum. I have also been to some of the most populated cities in the world. Walking along the canals and waterfronts is a real eye-opener. The stench can be overwhelming, and plastic and goodness-knows-what-else seen floating along.

And that’s just what’s on the surface. What’s unseen (the chemicals leeching into the river bed, as well as the rubbish that has sunk to the bottom) often go unnoticed.

Environment pollution in our waterways

Pollution in our waterways

Now, of course, not all this pollution is from boaters, but anyone on or around waterways has to take care not to contribute to this problem.

After traveling, especially around the big cities, I find it so concerning how we treat our waterways like a dumping ground. I am unsure of the reasons, maybe it’s:

  • out of mind, out of site
  • it’s only a drop in the ocean
  • everyone else is doing it
  • it will decompose in the salt water.

Whatever the reason, if we continue doing what we are doing, the beautiful waterways that we love to spend time on sailing, fishing, and boating of any kind won’t be the same in years to come.

Environmental Effects Of Tourism

The effects of tourism on the environment are also a major concern nowadays. With the global population becoming larger and richer, and new areas being opened up to tourism all the time, the impact of tourism on the environment is a growing problem.

Now of course not all tourism is on or near the water, but I am sure quite a high percentage of holidays involve being near the beach, river, lake or tropical island (I know for me they do 😉 ).

According to The World Bank, for international tourism, the number of arrivals (which is the number of tourists that travel to another country, other than their home country) has jumped from 677 million in 2000 to 1.2 billion in 2015 and is rapidly increasing (see the chart here, or below). And this doesn’t count domestic tourism!

All these people produce pollution and waste whilst traveling from their home to their holiday spot, while on holidays, and on their way back. Many of these holiday locations are in beautiful locations, so extra care needs to be taken to preserve the natural beauty of these areas from pollution, habitat loss, erosion, etc.

How Does A Boater Show Responsibility To The Environment

Fortunately, much of the damage that can be caused by boating and by spending time in, on or around the water does not apply to Laser sailing to the same extent as other boating, but that does not mean that care shouldn’t be taken. We should always work to protect our environment, as it is fragile and precious.

When on the water, care should always be taken to minimize the impact on the environment. As a boat owner or someone who enjoys spending time on the water, some things to keep in mind include:

  • Don’t litter – eg. Bottles, cans, plastic, tape, cigarette butts, etc
  • Launching sites, for dinghies and windsurfers – ie. Be careful of erosion, vegetation damage
  • Sewerage – should not be allowed to enter waterways
  • Soap, detergent and other cleaning products
  • Antifouling
  • Refueling and fuel/oil leaks
  • Foreshore erosion from the wake of boats
  • Dragging anchors – damaging weed beds and reefs, and stirring up mud and silt
  • Noise pollution – both above and below the water
  • Air pollution (exhaust)
  • Introduction of foreign species (plants and animals can be transported between different waterways and introduced)
  • While not always practical or applicable (especially for sailing a laser dinghy), consider your engine (2-stroke vs 4-stroke vs diesel vs electric) and the environmental impact your engine has.

And for more tips on how you can help the environment and about living sustainably, have a look at the Blue Planet Custodians website.

So although we all want to spend time on the water, it comes with an important responsibility. We have to take care and not treat our waterways as a dumping ground and abuse them.

Next time you are on the water, whether you are out sailing your laser, doing a spot of fishing, or just walking along the beach, have fun and enjoy your day out, but do your part. Minimize the effect you have on the environment.

So, please, do the right thing and look after our waterways.

Blackburn’s Bass Strait Laser Sailing Record

In the world of Laser sailing, Australian Michael Blackburn is a leader and champion. He won an Olympic Bronze medal during the 2000 Summer Games in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. In March 2005 his world ranking was 3rd in the Laser, the world’s most popular sailboat.

Early in that month, Blackburn added to his achievements with a laser sailing record-setting crossing of Bass Strait in a Laser dinghy. His time on March 9th 2005 was recorded as 13-hours and 1-minute and was within his projected time for the attempt.

In an interview conducted days before the trip, Blackburn stated he required 14 to 25 knot winds from the southwest to south-southeast (so effectively sailing downwind and/or reaching for the entire journey). His strategy was to sail downwind only and even then he estimated the crossing would take 14 hours.

Bass Strait separates mainland Australia from Tasmania and is 140 nautical miles (252-kilometres) wide. As the waterway is described as shallow and has a tendency to be affected by weather patterns from the Arctic region, this makes any crossing challenging.

Tidal Beach in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia

Tidal Beach in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, Australia

It is also because of the ‘personality’ of the waterway that it is also believed to be a dangerous route and is normally navigated in vessels much larger in size than a Laser (the Laser has a single sail, measures only 4.2-metres in length. It is a single-person craft without a full cockpit or engine).

Blackburn had a support team and was joined by a mother ship along the route. The route itself was anything but simple. Blackburn launched from Stanley in Northern Tasmania at 3:30 am. He sailed 115 nautical miles to Tidal Beach in Wilsons Promontory, which is in Victoria, Australia, setting foot on land again at 4:31 pm.

Blackburn set sail with 7-square metres of sail and winds ranging from 15 to 20 knots. He described the time before dawn as “pretty hairy” without the visual of the moon or stars for guidance. He even filled the cockpit with water a few times as a result.

He was relieved when light arrived shortly after 6:00 am to reveal that the waves were not as big as he imagined they were in the dark. Blackburn described the entire event as exciting calling the Laser a fun sailing boat for downwind sailing and said the entire day “has just been a blast.”

The maximum speed recorded during the attempt was 19.7 knots as Blackburn sailed down the face of a huge rolling wave. The average speed for the entire journey was between 8 and 9 knots. The record time shaved off several hours from the previous one.


Blackburn’s time of 13 hrs and 1 minute is substantially less than the December 1998 record set by fellow Aussie Nick Moloney. Moloney’s funboard crossing was recorded as taking 21 hours and 49 minutes from start to finish.

Blackburn went on to win the 2006 Laser World Championships hosted in Korea. In 2012 he coached Australian sailor Tom Slingsby to an Olympic Gold Medal in the Laser class in London. He also coached Tom Burton to Olympic Gold in the Laser class in the 2016 Summer Games. In 2016 the Australian Institute of Sport Performance Awards named him Coach of the Year.

He continues to coach sailors but has other interests. Blackburn holds a Human Movement Studies Ph.D. and sells downloadable sports psychology products through the company he founded

You can see more in a YouTube video outlining the Bass Strait laser sailing record feat below:



RC Laser Sailboat Review

The RC (Remote Control) Laser sailboat is one of the easiest model yachts to assemble and operate. It is a scaled-down version of the real boat – the famous racing Laser dinghy, which is the most popular sailing class in the world. The RC version of this boat was intended to be simple so that those who are new to the sport would find it relatively easy to get into due to affordability and ease of use.

However, just because it is easy to learn doesn’t mean it is easy to master. And this is one thing that makes it so appealing to sailors of all different ages and abilities.

The full sized racing Laser dinghy was designed by Canadian sailor/yacht designer Bruce Kirby. Kirby has appeared in three Olympics and also designed two America’s Cup Defenders. The Laser is his most popular and best-known design. In fact, well over 200,000 of them have been built which makes the Laser the all-time most popular racing class.

RC Laser sailboat


The RC version of the Laser was created by RC yacht designer Jon Elmaleh who has been one of the top designers of remote-controlled boats since 1982. He has also earned well over 30 championships in national RC racing events. His technical design skills partnered with practical racing experience aided in the final RC Laser product.

RC Laser Specifications & Features

All RC Lasers have the same dimensions. Some of the Laser’s specs and features include:

Spec / FeatureDetails
Overall length105.4cm / 41.5in
Waterline length95.8cm / 37.7in
Beam33.3cm / 13.1in
Draft43.2cm / 17in
Weight4kg / 9lb
Overall height – A Rig216cm / 85in (from bottom of keel to top of mast)
Hull and deckOne piece molded polyethylene
MastTwo piece, tapered fiberglass and swivels as it is fitted into a non-captive deck step. There is no standing rigging.
SailsNon-woven polyester composite film, sleeved
BoomStainless outhaul sliders that are easy to adjust
GooseneckFixed to mast and rigid (no boom vang required)
Keel and rudderSnap together with no tools required
ElectronicsOn board, class-approved sail and steering servos
Radio compartmentEasy access with a snap-lid port
Radio2-channel AM system (for use with drum sail winch and steering servos)
BatteriesUses 8 or 12 AA batteries, alkaline or rechargeable (not included)
All PartsInexpensive to replace and designed to be completely interchangeable
OtherSaltwater safe, corrosion resistant

Different Kinds of Rigs

The Laser RC sailboat has a total of four different sails/rigs and each rig set up requires a slightly different mast and boom combination. As complicated as this may sound, it really isn’t and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be changing rigs quickly and with ease.

Many RC sailors actually own all 4 rigs so that they are able to pick the best rig for the conditions on the day. This gives them the best chance of being competitive.

Essentially the wind speed will help you to determine which rig set up to run. There may also be times when you will be able to run a bigger rig for a longer period of time as your sailing/skipper skills improve.

Rig Config / SpecsA RigB RigC RigD Rig
Mast height1.7m / 5' 7"1.35m / 4' 5"1.35m / 4' 5"1.35m / 4' 5"
Sail area0.612 sqm /
949 sq in
0.458 sqm /
710 sq in
0.387 sqm /
600 sq in
0.193 sqm /
300 sq in
Approx. wind speed (knots)< 67-1617-22> 23
boom and mast combinationdedicated A mast and standard boomstandard mast and standard boomstandard mast and short boomstandard mast and short boom

What You Get/Assembly Details

remote control laser dinghy

Believe it or not, an RC Laser sailboat has just five parts and can be rigged and unrigged in less than 5 minutes after your first assembly. The shipping box it arrives in has all the parts and you can put them together without the assistance of any tools. The hull, keel, rudder, mast, and sail all fit together easily and are designed specifically to quickly launched, or so you can change rigging quickly to address different racing conditions.

Speaking of launching, all you need is a few feet of water and a gentle breeze. So, in other words, you can sail or race virtually anywhere there is some water. This includes a pond, lake, harbor and even in a swimming pool. Because of the efficient design, even a very light breeze can produce enough wind for your sailboat to work.

When it’s time to pack up and go, the RC Laser comes apart quickly and stows away in a padded boat bag that keeps everything in place and secure for any kind of travel. It is also compact and lightweight so you can carry your packed sailboat over your shoulder, in the trunk of a vehicle or as luggage on a plane. It is that easy to take your hobby with you wherever you go.

Have a look at the video below to see how quickly and easily you can rig your RC Laser…


Where To Purchase

Probably the best option when looking for an RC Laser for sale is to shop online. This is probably your best bet when you are trying to access everything from a used sailboat in good condition all the way to new ones. Plus, if you are in the market for accessories or replacement parts, you will be able to find whatever you need online. The electronics you can purchase in most hobby/electronics stores.

Another source for locating new or second-hand sailboats is at a local yacht club, by asking around or on the noticeboard. Depending on the size of the community and proximity to water, many cities and regional towns have RC Yacht Clubs as well. The sailors/skippers in these clubs may have contacts that can help you locate what you are after.

Another option, hobby shops are where you may be able to find an RC Laser sailboat for sale.

Popular And Affordable

As mentioned above, the RC Laser is very popular. The reasons vary but most of it has to do with the fact that there are clubs set up so that you can actually race against others with identical boats (similar to the actual full-sized laser world-class racing dinghy). Being remote control, it is easy to learn (but can be difficult to master) and people of all ages and fitness levels can race. The interest in racing also spans generational boundaries with parents, children and even grandparents racing each other on a family outing.

Laser RC sailboat


What has assisted in cementing the racing relationship of RC boats with real sailors is the formation of RC Yacht Clubs. Some are under the umbrella and share facilities with regular yacht clubs where others are stand-alone groups. The reasonable cost of RC Laser sailing is also what attracts people with a basic new starter kit running between $500 and $1,000.

One great way to connect with other RC sailboat owners is through social media and the internet. There are several pages on Facebook dedicated to the hobby as well as YouTube videos showing how they handle and how competitive racing these remote control model boats can be. See the video and links below for some good resources.


For More Information Visit These Websites

UK contains information on news, events, and clubs around the UK, as well as other general RC Laser information.


In Western Canada, the largest group is the NanaimoRC Laser Fleet 17 in British Columbia. Their website includes a schedule of upcoming racing events and has results from previous ones.


In the United States, there are quite a few clubs to check out. Have a look at for starters. It has a good list of clubs and events around the USA.


RC sailing is huge in Australia and one of the best sources for information on events, buying a boat and anything else you may need to know is at

Other RC Sailing information:

In addition to the above sites, other great places to find out more about RC sailing include –

Your Laser RC Sailboat Is Waiting

Remote controlled sailing is much more than just a hobby – it’s a sport that a complete world of competition has been built around. Included in that world is a lifestyle that brings families and friends together.

It can be as casual or as competitive as you desire and what makes RC sailing with a Laser RC boat most interesting is that it is fun for everyone.

Author note: Thanks to Graham, Steve and the other gents down at Dobroyd Aquatic Club for sharing their time and expertise with me. They were very welcoming and willing to give their time and explain things in detail, just as many of the other club members around Australia and the rest of the world would be to RC sailing newbies, I am sure.

So if you want to know more about RC Laser sailing, have a look at the links provided above, as well as drop down to your local club and have a look for yourself and chat to the locals.

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