RC Laser Sailboat Review

used laser dingy for sale

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…

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQxvL6rT6Jw

 

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.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z29Bsdy5WxA

 

For More Information Visit These Websites

UK

http://rclaser.org.uk/ contains information on news, events, and clubs around the UK, as well as other general RC Laser information.

Canada

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.

USA

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

Australia

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 http://radiosail.com.au/.

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.

used laser dingy for sale

4 Comments

  1. Peter O'Grady on May 9, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    What a great site! The RC Laser is certainly the best value for anyone looking to get into radio controlled boats. There are cheaper models but the longevity of the RC Laser puts it out in front. It is easy to sail but a real challenge to race. Great fun.

    • Admin on May 10, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Hi Peter
      Thanks for your message and comments. I think what you said “easy to sail but a real challenge to race” is what makes it so popular amongst so many people, and is similar to what makes the full-sized laser dinghy such a popular option also. I think it’s good to have something that you are not able to master in 2 seconds, but rather something that challenges you and you grow and learn in the process.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Brendan

  2. Bob Azbell on July 1, 2017 at 9:16 am

    When sailing down wind the bow starts to going under water. Is there anything I can do to stop this?

    • Admin on July 1, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Hi Bob.
      Thanks for your question.
      Due to the forces acting on the boat, this is to be expected to some extent. When sailing downwind, you have the sail pushing forward, and the drag of the boat moving through the water pushing in the other direction. This creates a turning moment, which can tend to push the bow down. In full sized dinghies and yachts, you can obviously counteract this by moving your weight back, but unfortunately you can’t really do this well with RC sailboats.
      A couple of things that you may be able to do include trying to avoid running into the back of waves (as this slows the boat down, and increases the turining moment which pushes the bow down). Another issue may be that you are overpowered, so you may want to try a smaller rig.
      Also, please have a look at this article which explains nosediving in more detail. Although it does not specifically talk about RC Lasers (it focuses on the International One Meter class, or IOM), the principles are the same.
      There may be other RC laser sailing experts out there that have some other ideas, so I would be interested to know their thoughts.
      Hope this helps a little.
      Cheers
      Brendan

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