Introduction – Specs and About The Laser Dinghy

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The Laser was designed by Bruce Kirby and unveiled to the public at the 1971 New York Boat Show. Since then 200,000+ Lasers have been built to date and are sailed across 140+ countries, with its popularity being primarily due to its simplicity and performance.

Racing is very competitive due to the one-design restrictions, which means sailors are truly able to test their ability, rather than rely on differences in hull shape, sails, and other gear to gain an advantage.

Rigging is easy using a sleeved sail over a mast with no stays, and can be launched and sailed single-handedly with ease. Minimal parts mean minimal breakages and maintenance.

The Laser Dinghy – 3 Sailboats In 1

The Laser Dinghy - 3 sailboats in 1
The Laser Dinghy – 3 sailboats in 1

The 3 rigs – 4.7 / ILCA 4, Radial / ILCA 6, and Full/Standard / ILCA 7 Rigs – mean that sailors of just about any ability or age can enter the sport, and advance with minimal cost.

The Laser 4.7 / ILCA 4…

utilizes a smaller sail than the Standard rig (4.7m2 / 50.6 ft2 which is 33% smaller) and a shorter pre-bent lower mast section.  It is ideal for lighter sailors (up to 121lb / 55kg) and beginners.

The Laser Radial / ILCA 6…

uses a smaller sail than the Standard rig (5.76m2 / 62 ft2 which is 18% smaller) and a shorter more flexible lower mast section. It is suitable for sailors between about 121lb – 154lb / 55kg – 70kg. The Radial is the most popular class of Laser, as it is suitable for the largest amount of people, including youth, women, and masters. The radial sail can easily be identified by the sail cut in a radial pattern emanating out from the clew.

The Laser Standard / ILCA 7…

has a 7.06m2 / 76 ft2 sail, and is more suitable for sailors above about 143lb / 65kg. This rig is suited to the heavier sailors in windy conditions where weight, strength, and fitness are critical.

Laser standard rig
Laser standard rig
Laser radial rig
Laser radial rig
Laser 4-7 rig
Laser 4-7 rig

Summary of Key Laser Dinghy Specifications

Hull Specs:

  • Length overall (LOA): 4.23m / 13ft 10.5in
  • Length waterline (LWL): 3.81m / 12ft 6in
  • Beam: 1.42m / 4ft 8in
  • Hull Weight: 57kg / 125lb

Laser Sail Area Specs:

Laser Standard / ILCA 7 Rig

  • Sail area: 7.06m2 / 76 ft2
  • Luff: 5.13m
  • Leech: 5.57m
  • Foot: 2.74m

Laser Radial / ILCA 6 Rig

  • Sail area: 5.76m2 / 62 ft2
  • Luff: 4.56m
  • Leech: 5.01m
  • Foot: 2.74m

Laser 4.7 / ILCA 4 Rig

  • Sail area: 4.70m2 / 50.6 ft2
  • Luff: 4.09m
  • Leech: 4.54m
  • Foot: 2.48m
Laser sail dimensions measurement guide

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  1. Vincent on February 6, 2014 at 1:48 am


    I am switching my boat from sailing 470 to sailing a laser now. I intend to sail laser primarily to qualify for the Olympics.

    My question is if my height is good enough to sail laser standard. My height is 167 cm (5 ft, 6 inches) and weight is 68kgs.


    • admin on March 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Vincent. Thanks for your question.
      I would say that at 167 cm and 68kgs, you would be at the lighter/shorter end of the scale for sailing a full rig laser. You may be able to put on some bulk before the next Olympics to handle it a bit easier.
      I think everyone has different opinions on what is the ideal weight for a laser. A lot depends on the conditions and your skill.
      Just for your info, I did some research on stats for Australia’s gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics Tom Slingsby. He was reported to be 83kg & 186cm at the time.
      Good luck with it, and all the best.

  2. Norman on February 20, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    My Grand daughter would like to switch froom sail Terra to Laser. What is the minimum height for the class

    • Admin on February 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Norman
      Thanks for your question.
      I’m not sure that there is a minimum height. It’s more about the weight. For a Laser 4.7, the ideal weight is around 110-130 lbs (50-58 kg). Any lighter and she may have trouble keeping it flat in a breeze.

  3. Giles on November 1, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I am looking to buy a laser and am 5ft 10 (178cm) and around 68kg, I sail in a harbour so short chop is the worst condition, do you think I’m big enough for a standard?

    • Admin on November 1, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Hi Giles
      I don’t think it’s as much about the height as it is the weight. At 68kg, you might be a little on the light side for a full rig. But it depends on how windy it tends to get also. If it’s generally pretty windy, you might struggle, but if it’s often fairly light, you may be ok.
      This thread has a good discussion on the ideal weight for laser standard sailor.
      Hope that helps.

  4. Pete on April 24, 2017 at 12:11 am

    My sea scout troop has taken possession of a Laser 2. It lacks a suit of sails and a rudder. talking to others, no one is sure if the rudders are identical to Laser 1’s. Can you advise?

    • Admin on April 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Pete
      Thanks for your question.
      I am not very familiar with the Laser 2, so did some research. However, it was very hard to come up with information on the Laser 2 specs.
      From what I could tell, the rudders are different between the Laser & Laser 2, however, I was not able to find the actual specs on the Laser 2 rudder.
      For a measurement diagram for the Laser rudder, click here (click on the “Mast Top Section, Boom and Foils” tab).
      For an image of the Laser II rudder, check this out.
      As you can see, it looks slightly different to that of the standard Laser rudder.
      Sorry I can’t be of more help than that. Maybe some other readers can provide some more info.

  5. Alessandro Bassi on October 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I am 6 feet tall and weigh 53 pounds, what laser whould be good for me?

    • Admin on October 30, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Hi Alessandro
      Thanks for your question. I hope you mean 153lb, and not 53lb!!
      Opinions vary, and it depends on your fitness and ability. If you are just starting out, you may be best suited to a Radial Laser, but you are in the overlap zone between the Radial and Full rigs. So it depends a lot on your experience and fitness.
      It can also depend on where you live. If it tends to be quite windy on a regular basis, then you may opt for a smaller rig. Conversely, if it’s often quieter on the water, then a bigger rig may help.
      I’m a few lb/kg heavier than you, and I have a full-size / standard Laser rig. I find it’s great for the lighter days, but can be a bit overpowered on the heavier days. I don’t mind though, as it just makes it more exciting when you go around the top mark.

  6. Kaleb Buckland on January 24, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Hi I’ve just brought a laser with a radial sail but a Standard mast. I was gonna make a Radial mast out of the right alloy tube but I need the measurements. Would anyone know what is The length of a radial mast?


    • Admin on January 25, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Kaleb
      Here are the measurements for the different Laser masts for each of the top and bottom sections.

  7. Cliff Milner on August 9, 2021 at 10:43 am

    How tall is the mast on the “std” Laser? I had one once and it was fun getting it into the hole on the hull!

    • Admin on August 9, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Cliff
      Yes, it can take a bit of getting used to, when putting the mast into the mast step.
      Looking at this site, the total laser mast length should be approx.:
      – top section (including top plug) = 3600 – 305 = 3295mm
      – bottom section (including base plug) = 2865mm
      Overall laser standard mast length = 6160mm / 20.2 ft (approx.)
      Hope that helps!

  8. D on August 23, 2021 at 5:39 am

    I am 155 cm tall and weigh 49 kg. Am I suitable for sailing a laser 4.7 or should I sail a 420?

    • Admin on August 23, 2021 at 7:57 am

      Hi D
      I’m not an expert with the 420. For a laser 4.7, I think you would be a bit on the light side, but it also depends on how fit, strong, and experienced in sailing you are. It may also depend, to some extent, on where you live (some places are windier than others)… if you have a strong sea breeze every afternoon, then this may be too much.

  9. Defne on June 3, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    I’m a fairly experienced optimist sailor and I need to change my class due to my age. I am 157 cm tall and I weigh 46 kg. Would I be able sail a laser 4.7? The place I live can get very windy at times.
    Thank you

    • Admin on June 6, 2022 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Defne
      I think a 4.7 should be ok, but it would depend on your experience and level of fitness. Since you say that you are a fairly experienced optimist sailor, then that will definitely help. You might struggle a bit on the windy days though.
      If you can, ask around your local club and try to take a 4.7 out for a spin. Let us know how you go!
      All the best.

  10. Noah Baker on August 7, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    Hi I sail optimists and are looking into a laser as the next boat. I weigh 122 pounds and was wondering if I should get a radial or a 4.7 rig

    • Admin on August 8, 2022 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Noah
      Your situation is similar to the previous comment in June, so not sure if you saw that.
      It depends on a few things… including how experienced you are, how fit and strong you are, and what the typical conditions are like where you sail.
      At your current weight, you’re probably at the lower end of the ideal weight range for a radial. But if you are young and still growing, you might want to get the radial and grow into it over the next year or so. But you might struggle a bit at 1st on the windy days.
      See if you can take one of each out for a spin and give it a test for yourself.
      Best of luck with it!

  11. Russ on October 9, 2022 at 11:02 am

    Hello I have a Laser Radial sail with a “33” number above the boat sumber.
    the boat number is 177137 so its not an abbreviation of that …
    do you know what the 33 means? Thanks!

    • Admin on October 11, 2022 at 8:52 am

      Hi Russ
      I’m not sure what the “33” about the boat number would refer to. Maybe some other readers may be able to help?
      Sorry I can’t help more than that. All the best with it.

  12. Alexander Rohlf on January 26, 2023 at 2:51 am

    I am currently building an El Toro dinghy. I do not want to have to handle the full 14 foot one-piece mast. I read somewhere that you can retrofit a laser 4.7 mast and sail onto an El Toro hull. A Sabot boom is marginally cheaper than a laser 4.7 one, and I was wondering if a laser 4.7 mainsail would fit a sabot boom.

    • Admin on January 26, 2023 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Alexander
      I am not an expert on sabots, but from my research…
      The Laser 4.7 sail has a foot of 2.48m / 8.1ft.
      The sabot sail has a foot of 7ft and a boom of 7′ 3″.
      So the sabot boom looks too short for a Laser 4.7 sail.

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