The centerboard or daggerboard or fin is used primarily to minimize sideways slippage through the water.
Since the wind is coming from one side of the boat most of the time, you want to minimize sideways movement and maximize forward movement, and the fin helps to accomplish this.
It is also used to help right the boat after capsize, by giving you something to stand on when the boat is on its side.
The centerboard can be raised or lowered through the centerboard case in the center of the boat. There is an elastic retaining strap running from the centerboard to an eyelet in the bow, which when attached, causes pressure to be exerted between the fin and case, stopping the fin from falling out when the boat is completely upside down.
Righting a capsized Laser without a fin can prove very difficult, so make sure that the elastic strap is in good condition and is connected.
Click here for a closer look at the laser centerboard.
The Laser rudder is used to steer the boat and is able to be raised and lowered by rotating the rudder blade withing the ridder head (see the “Rudder attached” image below).
The rudder head slots into 2 eyelets on the stern of the dinghy hull. The rudder head locks in, so that if you completely capsize, your rudder won’t fall out.
Ensure that the rudder is in the fully down position while sailing, otherwise, steering can be very difficult.