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Laser Dolly Options and How to Assemble Them | Expert Advice

  Looking for a Laser dolly? Not sure which one is right for you and for that matter, how the heck do you assemble them? Well, have no fear, we’ve got two great options to choose from and we’ll get to the assembling part a little later. What are your dolly options? When it comes to One Design Dollies there are two main brands to choose from; the Seitech Laser Dolly and the Dynamic Laser Dolly.  Both are well constructed with lightweight […]

 

Looking for a Laser dolly? Not sure which one is right for you and for that matter, how the heck do you assemble them? Well, have no fear, we’ve got two great options to choose from and we’ll get to the assembling part a little later.

What are your dolly options?

When it comes to One Design Dollies there are two main brands to choose from; the Seitech Laser Dolly and the Dynamic Laser Dolly.  Both are well constructed with lightweight aluminum extrusions, solid polypropylene joints and rust free stainless steel hardware. Each easily breaks down into transportable pieces and reassembles in under a minute. Which brand you choose to go with really just comes down to your personal preferences on a few unique details.

What are the main differences between Dynamic Dollies and Seitech?

Availability?

Dynamic Dollies was founded in May of 2013 by a trio of Laser sailing enthusiasts and experienced entrepreneurs.  Among the founding members was Peter Seidenberg, who also founded and ran Seitech Marine Products until the sale of the company in the early 2000s. Marine retailers and sailors alike showed significant demand for Seidenberg’s previous product, but long lead times other availability issues from the current manufacturer brought the product line to a stand still by the end of the first decade of 2000.  Since 2013 Dynamic Dollies has filled the void and done everything Seitech did and more!  Super fast lead times, superb quality, and great customer support.  Seitech dollies are not readily available these days, but we still try and keep them in stock.

You will notice a difference between way in which the boat sits on the webbing strap.  Both offer a sling to cradle the aft of the dinghy, but the Seitech has the addition of upright stabilizing brackets. This allows some of the boat’s weight to rest on it’s gunwale rather than putting all of its weight on the hull during storage.
The Dynamic has molded tie down eyes for securing your boat to the dolly on each sling bracket and the bow, while the Seitech does not.
         
Dynamic Dollies offer a unique Trailer Hitch add-on option. This hitch isn’t meant for speeding your dinghy down the highway but it can certainly make things easier when you need to lug your Laser all over the marina, or down to the next club over.
Dynamic has another towing option – the bicycle adapter kit.  Two your boat with your bike and disconnect the kit from the dolly when you have to move the dolly by hand.
 
Last but not least, the most important difference between the two is that Seitech Dollies come with a Yellow Sling, and Dynamic Dollies come with a Red Sling! ..I’m only kidding, this is certainly not an important difference, but ooooh Red!
Dynamic Dollies Boxed Dolly

Assembly How To

The initial construction of ether dolly can be a bit daunting, and it may take some time, but we’re here to help you through it. Grab your Phillips head screwdriver (the only thing you’ll need for assembly).  Dollies have step by step instructions includes.  Watch our video and we will show you how it is done.

How to Make a Handle for Sailboat Control Lines | Expert Advice

Too hot to handle, too cold to hold. They called the Ghostbusters and they’re in control. Bobby Brown sure knew about lyrics, and handling business but I’m guessing he didn’t know much about making a control line handle for performance sailboats. Thankfully, I know a bit more about that subject, well, the control line subject that is.. Making a braided control line handle is easier than you may think and super useful for any control line that you want to grip quickly and […]

Too hot to handle, too cold to hold. They called the Ghostbusters and they’re in control. Bobby Brown sure knew about lyrics, and handling business but I’m guessing he didn’t know much about making a control line handle for performance sailboats.
Thankfully, I know a bit more about that subject, well, the control line subject that is..
control line handle

Making a braided control line handle is easier than you may think and super useful for any control line that you want to grip quickly and easily.  It also helps the line from getting tangled.

I’ve seen this braided method of finishing a Line used everywhere from the trip line on a big boat spin pole to a Laser Cunningham or Outhaul. Learn this easy method and you will be able to grip smaller diameter lines with confidence and rig and de-rig with ease.

How to Install Laser Deck Hardware | Expert Advice

Learning how to install Laser deck hardware is a breeze. Just grab you Marine Silicone, your deck hardware of choice like the ones found in this Laser Cunningham/Outhaul Power Pack Kit and you’ll be back on the water sailing in no time. When you get a brand new baby Laser dinghy, you will find that the Cam Cleat and Plate deck hardware has not yet been installed. These parts are included with your rigging package along with the screws needed for installation. If you’re upgrading […]

Learning how to install Laser deck hardware is a breeze. Just grab you Marine Silicone, your deck hardware of choice like the ones found in this Laser Cunningham/Outhaul Power Pack Kit and you’ll be back on the water sailing in no time.

When you get a brand new baby Laser dinghy, you will find that the Cam Cleat and Plate deck hardware has not yet been installed. These parts are included with your rigging package along with the screws needed for installation.

If you’re upgrading your Laser to the control system that was first made class legal in 2001, you’ll need to install the block plate and cleat plate. If your boat is older and has the traditional Cunningham bullseye and clam cleat, you’ll need to remove these two pieces by simply backing out the self-tapping screws. You can then use these same screws to install your new hardware.

Here’s what you’ll to install Laser deck hardware:
– 3M Marine Grade Silicone Sealant
– Phillips Head Screwdriver
– 4 #8 Screws (1-1/2″)

How to Apply Laser Sail Numbers | Expert Advice

Laser Sail Number Placement: The Do’s and Don’ts and what you need to know. You may or may not know this but when it comes to laser sail numbering there are a handful of specific rules you need to follow for your Laser Sail to be considered class legal. In order for your sail to be class legal for any international event the sail number will need to be the right colors, in the right color order, the right size, […]

Laser Sail Number Placement: The Do’s and Don’ts and what you need to know.

You may or may not know this but when it comes to laser sail numbering there are a handful of specific rules you need to follow for your Laser Sail to be considered class legal.

In order for your sail to be class legal for any international event the sail number will need to be the right colors, in the right color order, the right size, the right spacing, and well, you get the idea. Thankfully, you found this post and we are here to guide you along the way, every last millimeter of it..

First off, find yourself a class legal sail and class legal sail numbers. Done? Ok good, on to the next part.

Use this custom crafted APS Instructions for Applying Sail Number PDF for a detailed step by step guide for applying Laser, Laser Radial, and Laser 4.7 sail numbers.

There are no fancy tools needed, but a yard stick, a pen or pencil, and a 1 ft. ruler will come in handy.

Watch the video below featuring our Boat Sail Function Owner, John Maloney, to grab some extra tips, and to see the process in action from start to finish.

Two notes: we kind of apologize for the tape gun that keeps going off during the video. We filmed this right next to our Shipping Department and these gosh darn youngsters have no respect for folks trying to film a video for a moderately viewed niche blog. “We have to get customer’s orders out!”, they cried. Oh well, we tried…

Also, around the 4:20 mark, Jarrett starts moaning in the background like a choking walrus to throw John off his game — John has none of it. He’s a pro… you hear me? Pro.

New Laser Blades First Look: Slicker Than a Pig Dipped in Teflon feature image

Laser GRB Rudder and Daggerboard Blades | Expert Review

I’m sure many of the Laser sailors out there have heard about the new Laser blades being made. A while back the Laser class had approved these new glass blades and I know I’ve heard rumors of people in the US getting blades from Australia. Well the wait is finally over, we will now have proper GRP Laser Daggerboard Blades and GRP Laser Rudder Blades available to everyone in the US. I have to say I was really impressed with […]

I’m sure many of the Laser sailors out there have heard about the new Laser blades being made. A while back the Laser class had approved these new glass blades and I know I’ve heard rumors of people in the US getting blades from Australia. Well the wait is finally over, we will now have proper GRP Laser Daggerboard Blades and GRP Laser Rudder Blades available to everyone in the US.

I have to say I was really impressed with the blades when I saw them. They’re super smooth and glossy, definitely a vast improvement over the previous generation.

Compared to my old blades these new GRP blades are as smooth as a pig dipped in Teflon (thanks to former Stern Scoop writer Chris for that witty comparison). The tips of the blades definitely feel like they would hold up better over time. Hopefully this means repairing a daggerboard tip with epoxy and some paper clips will become a dead art form.

What Laser Performance has this to say about them:

The new blades are made with the most sophisticated composite manufacturing process available for this type of component… Our new blades are class approved and are designed for increased durability. Since they are fiberglass construction with a foam core, the trailing edges and tips are far more durable than the old blades where breakage in this area was common. The finish is excellent…

GRP Laser Daggerboard BladeYou can see at the right that the new blades have a totally different style to the top as well as a new stopper with a fancy Laser Performance logo on it. I can’t unscrew the stopper, at least not without damaging it, so at least we know these babies will stay put. However, should you somehow manage to damage it and  need a replacement, we’ve got you covered with a Daggerboard Stop Set.

Check out our follow up post for more details on the New GRP Laser BLades

Laser Daggerboard Rigging Upgrades Installation | Expert Advice

One of the great things about Laser sailing is that even the most Gucci of upgrades is only going to set you back less than a dinghy boat unit (a mere Ben Franklin rather than a big boat grand). This year we’re offering a couple different new Laser rigging options that will make your life easier and help keep your head out of the boat. One of the upgrades we’re offering is the Laser® Pro Clew Inhauler. It attaches to […]

One of the great things about Laser sailing is that even the most Gucci of upgrades is only going to set you back less than a dinghy boat unit (a mere Ben Franklin rather than a big boat grand). This year we’re offering a couple different new Laser rigging options that will make your life easier and help keep your head out of the boat.

Laser Pro Clew Inhauler

One of the upgrades we’re offering is the Laser® Pro Clew Inhauler. It attaches to the old outhaul cleat on the boom and hooks on to your clew to pull the sail forward when you ease the outhaul coming around the mark.

It’s super easy to install – you just fold it in half and luggage tag the middle of the shock cord to the cleat. Then just cross the shock cord under the boom and hook it onto your clew strap or through the grommet. You can leave the shock cord on the boom when you’re not racing making it super easy to hook up when you’re rigging.

Laser Pro Daggerboard Downhaul Kit

The other upgrade is the Laser® Pro Daggerboard Downhaul Kit. It’s an upgrade for the daggerboard shock cord that comes with the boat. It mounts to the eyes aft of the mast and attaches to the daggerboard with a tiny snap shackle. This provides a lot of downward tension on the board and helps hold it down tighter in the trunk.Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad

Combine thing with the new Daggerboard Friction Pad and you’ll have the ultimate system to keep the board down upwind.

 

If you haven’t checked it out we also have a section devoted to mainsheet options for the Laser®.

Here’s a short instructional video by yours truly on how to install the Daggerboard Downhaul Kit.

Laser Parts Upgrade: The Daggerboard Friction Pad Mk2

Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad Mk2 | Expert Review

We finally got our first shipment of the new laser parts upgrade, the Daggerboard Friction Pad here at last and all the Laser sailors on the staff are excited to get their hands on them. Without even opening the package I can already see that this friction pad will offer a big improvement over the old W daggerboard brake (really anything would be an improvement). Check out below for more pictures of this must have Laser Parts upgrade. The blue shown […]

We finally got our first shipment of the new laser parts upgrade, the Daggerboard Friction Pad here at last and all the Laser sailors on the staff are excited to get their hands on them. Without even opening the package I can already see that this friction pad will offer a big improvement over the old W daggerboard brake (really anything would be an improvement). Check out below for more pictures of this must have Laser Parts upgrade.

The blue shown is a hard plastic while the white is a more rubbery feeling material. It angles aft from top to bottom – fitting with the shape of the daggerboard. The mounting holes are oval shaped to allow you to move the friction pad fore and aft to increase/decrease the friction created. The idea is that this allows you to fine tune the friction for your particular daggerboard and setup.

Hopefully this will help eliminate the need to kick the board down between tacks as well as reducing the side to side movement when sailing in chop. Aaron in customer service is sailing a Thanksgiving Day Regatta tomorrow so look for some user feedback here on the Stern Scoop early next week. The Annapolis Laser fleet takes this Sunday off from frostbiting so I won”t use it for the first time for another week and a half.

At $19.00 we finally have a Laser upgrade that won”t break the bank. While they were a little late in launching the final product (initial feedback said they were coming out over the summer) Laser Performance now says they have plenty in stock.

Stay tuned for more feedback as we put this new Laser Performance Daggerboard Friction Pad to the test.

Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad Mk2
Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad, back view
Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad, side view

Up Your Racing Game With Laser Wind Indicators: A Hands on Look

How to Choose a Laser Sailboat Wind Indicator | Expert Advice

Many believe that one of the great things about sailing a Laser is how simple it is. There”s very little you can change or tweak about the boat – you just get in and go racing. One of the few things you can add to aid your performance is a Laser Wind Indicator. Sure, adding a wind indicator won”t turn heads like a new Laser Sail, new Line, new blocks, or like Chris does when he goes out for a night on […]

Many believe that one of the great things about sailing a Laser is how simple it is. There”s very little you can change or tweak about the boat – you just get in and go racing. One of the few things you can add to aid your performance is a Laser Wind Indicator.

Sure, adding a wind indicator won”t turn heads like a new Laser Sail, new Line, new blocks, or like Chris does when he goes out for a night on the town dressed up as “Christine”. But, a wind indicator will alert you to deviations in the wind when they”re not always apparent and that can mean valuable points across the finish line.

With that in mind, I took a look at, and tested, the four most popular mast mounted wind indicators for the Laser to see how they stack up against each other. I also spoke with some local Laser gurus to get their tips on getting the most out of your wind indicator. I also spoke with Ryan Minth, creator of the C-Vane, about what sets his wind indicator apart from the others and how he uses it.

The wind indicators I looked at were, from the top of the picture to the bottom, the Davis Black Max, the C-Vane, the Kingfisher & the Little Hawk Mark II.

At first glance, all four of the wind indicators share some similarities. They all mount to the mast with a wrap around bracket and share a similar shape in terms of how the wind vane sticks out from the mast. The C-Vane does offer something new in terms of design with its dual arms – the other three have the same single L shaped arm.

For testing purposes I mounted them all to Aaron”s lower mast section and evaluated them in terms of responsiveness, weight, cost, mounting bracket construction and durability. Admittedly the last two were fairly subjective but I”ve tried to provide a lot of pictures so you can draw your own conclusions as well. As usual a disclaimer about the non-scientificness of our testing procedure applies here – I”ve done my best to evaluate these fairly but I”m only human so errors are possible and even likely. And so with that, on with the results….

Type Weight Cost Responsiveness
Rightside Up Upside Down
Kingfisher (no longer available) 1.5 oz $27.54 1st (6) 2nd (11)
Little Hawk MkII 1.0 oz $20.80 2nd (8) 3rd (12)
C-Vane 3.8 oz $35.00 3rd (12) 1st (4)
Davis Black Max 1.4 oz $33.99 4th (14) 4th (13)

As you see from our comparison, the Little Hawk MKII comes in as the lightest and the Black Max is the cheapest. Responsiveness was measured in two ways: with the wind indicator mounted right-side up (arm on the bottom) and right-side down (with the arm on top to protect the indicator from being flicked into the water by a passing mainsheet). Right-side up the Kingfisher and Little Hawk MKII faired well, but when they were upside down the C-Vane was clearly the favorite. The C-Vane was still right-side up though, as its design naturally sheds sheets, adding a little wrinkle to the results.

How We Tested (Warning Science “ish” Content)

To determine responsiveness I mounted all the wind indicators to the mast and tied it up inside the shop. Unfortunately, the purchase request I submitted for a wind tunnel with our Accounting Department was still “pending”, so we had to make do with a fan.

I turned on the fan and slowly walked towards the mast, noting which indicators began to respond first. I rotated their positions on the mast and performed the test over a total of 4 times. I then repeated the tests with the wind indicators mounted upside down – except for the C-Vane which I left right side up because, once again, it naturally protects the vane from outside sheets.

Rob “supervising” in the wind indicator testing lab.

After performing all the tests, I added up the scores for each wind indicator and determined rankings with the lowest total being ranked 1st. In parentheses next to the rankings on the chart above you can see the total score which gives you an idea how where they all compare to each. The C-Vane was clearly dominant in the upside down test with the rest sharing fairly similar results. Right side up both the C-Vane and the Black Max were a step behind the Hawk and Kingfisher.

The wind indicators started to move at around 0.5 knots of wind and all of them had responded by the time the wind speed was just 1.4 knots, so this wasn’t exactly a high wind velocity test. I expect that responsiveness becomes less relevant the windier it gets so if you often sail where it’s windy it may not be much of a consideration for you.

Laser Wind Indicator OptionsRight Side Up or Upside Down?

The argument about which way to mount your wind indicator is older than time itself (aka, Steve in Customer Service). Much like putting jam or butter on your toast, this is a matter of personal preference.

As evidenced by our tests, right side up gives you increased responsiveness – this makes a lot of sense because that’s how these wind indicators were built to operate. The loss of responsiveness when the indicator is upside down seems to directly correlate to the construction of the vane itself (discussed in greated detail with each indicator below) and you”ll need to decide whether decreased performance in light air is worth the decreased possession of the indicator itself. If you really are worried about losing your indicator, mounting it upside down is probably going to be a better, more cost effective option for you than just avoiding other boats and starting in the 3rd row. Then again, Chris likes to start 3rd row all the time, and he doesn”t sail with a wind indicator at all.

Anyways, here”s a closer look at each of the four wind indicators with some brief conclusions about each.

 

Little Hawk MKII for LaserLittle Hawk MKII Wind Indicated

Vane: The Little Hawk MKII vane mounts on a pin shaped bearing and is held on with a small black plastic bracket that snaps into the base of the vane. One downside of this system is that I expect it”s difficult to make these plastic pieces exact enough that the weight rests on the bearing and not the plastic bracket. Since I don’t have x-ray vision I can’t tell if it’s really resting on the pin bearing inside the vane or not so your guess is as good as mine.

Mounting Bracket: The Hawk mount has a plastic bracket with a loop of shock cord that wraps around the back of the mast and hooks onto the other side of the bracket. You can see in the pictures above the small orange plastic tab that hooks it together(the middle picture is the “locked” position). The two black tabs are there to prevent the tab from flipping off through accidental contact.

The Good: The Little Hawk MKII is the lightest wind indicator of the four at only 1.0 oz and it”s also fairly inexpensive. It”s also pretty responsive, finishing a close 2nd in our right side up test.

The Bad: I think the Hawk has the worst mounting bracket of the group – the elastic attachment is the least secure of all the brackets and the material of the bracket itself is made of a fairly lightweight plastic. Overall it does not feel as secure or as durable as the other indicators. It also has a lot of wobble on the mast because the bracket is fairly narrow – if you tap on the wind vane it will bounce up and down more than the others.

The Conclusions: The Little Hawk MKII is a very lightweight, low cost wind indicator that is pretty responsive. You pay a price for the weight savings (which honestly are negligible) in terms of durability though. Overall I think this is probably my least favorite of the group.

 

Black Max Wind IndicatorBlack Max Wind Indicator

Vane: The Davis Black Max vane spins on plastic bearings both above and below the vane. When right side up it sides on three small points for lower friction. This vane is the only one that comes already assembled and the top cap that holds it on feels very secure.

Mounting Bracket: The bracket on the Black Max is fairly sturdy plastic with some extra vertical tabs to keep it more secure on the mast. The shock cord clip hooks into a J-shaped loop in the bracket and the shock cord itself has an adjustable toggle. It allows you to tighten the shock cord to compensate for elongation with age or if you just want the bracket to be tighter.

The Good: The Black Max, the least expensive of the lot, has a solid, secure bracket that can be tightened down. The wind vane has a bearing on both the top and bottom making it nearly as effective upside down as it is right side up. The Black Max also comes assembled in a plastic tube that you can store the vane in to prevent damage from sitting in the pocket of a blade bag. According to Davis the tube is “unbreakable” – honestly, it says that on the package. While I think that’s perhaps an overstatement it is really useful.

The Bad: The Black Max is not the most responsive wind vane we tested. It was the least responsive of the group in the right side up position and while it’s fairly comparable to the others upside down it still finished last in that test as well.

The Conclusions: The Black Max is a great value – it is pretty durable and it while it’s not very responsive it is about par with everything but the C-Vane if you mount it upside down. The storage tube is actually a very useful accessory since the indicators can be damaged in your blade bag if you’re not careful. All in all I think it’s a solid vane for a great price especially if you live in a windy area where the lack of responsiveness won”t matter as much.

 

C-Vane Wind IndicatorC-Vane Wind Indicator

Vane: The C-Vane is obviously unique in many respects. The vane itself rests between the two ends of the metal support. There is a black plastic clip that connects the top and bottom supports and keeps them at the right width. I spoke with C-Vane creator Ryan Minth and he said the proper position for the clip is just aft of the vane – that way it keeps the distance at the tip at the proper 2.36 mm. The vane then sits in the gap between the metal rods and it actually spins on a point that”s molded inside the plastic vane. Ryan says this creates a very low friction vane because there”s no need for a plastic clip or retaining device that adds friction. The vane itself is also individually replaceable.

The C-Vane bracket is noticeably more substantial than the other indicators in our group. The bracket is about twice as tall as the others and is held on with a Velcro strap. The bracket itself is made of a flexible rubber material that is an upgrade from the original C-Vane bracket material. I”ve spoken with several people who had the bracket break on the original design (it used to be made of stiffer plastic that was somewhat brittle) but the more flexible design now offered is much more durable. The Velcro strap is available as a replacement part.

The Good: The C-Vane is extremely durable – the bracket is very strong and the Velcro should hold up better than the shock cord on the other designs. The availability of replacement parts is also nice. The upside down responsiveness test shows that if you”re worried about mainsheets hooking your indicator the C-Vane is the clear choice. Ryan told me that in the next model they are looking to refine the balance of the vane and use a more durable vane material developed by golf tee manufacturers – I can”t hit a driver to save my life so I don”t see a lot of tees but it sounds like a promising improvement.

The Bad: The C-Vane is the most expensive wind indicator as well as the heaviest. The extra ounce or two is hardly worth crying over though since that”s probably worth a couple spoonfuls of water in the cockpit. This vane wasn”t the most responsive compared to the other wind indicators in the right side up test.

The Conclusions: The C-Vane is my recommendation for the best all around wind indicator. It”s only real downsides are being slightly less responsive and more expensive. The expense is mitigated by the availability of replacement parts and I think once there”s any real amount of wind the responsiveness isn”t as much of a factor. The real stand out quality of the C-Vane is it”s durability – the mounting bracket is far superior to the rest. Particularly if you sail in an area where it”s generally blowing more than 10 knots the C-Vane is definitely going to be the way to go. If you”re tired of buying new indicators because you keep losing them off the boat this is also probably a good way to go.

Ok, so once I get a wind indicator how do I use it?

I talked with local Laser sailor Luke who works for Farr Yacht Design so I figure he knows a thing or two about wind and making boats go fast (he also happens to be very fast in the Laser). I asked Luke about how he uses his wind indicator and he offered a couple useful suggestions.

Both Ryan Minth and Luke mount their wind indicators so that they”re right in the line of sight between you and the waves in front of the boat. This can enable you to trim your sail without having to look up so you can stay focused on working the waves.

Luke also suggested that one of the best uses of the wind indicator is downwind both to determine whether you are by the lee or not as well as keep track of small shifts. I find that it”s easy to miss out on a shift and be sailing 5-10 degrees to high or low of by the lee because the feel of the boat remains similar. Having a wind indicator can help you catch those shifts and react faster to them. It”s also useful in light conditions upwind when Luke says the tell tales don”t respond as quickly as the wind indicator does to small shifts.

What does this all mean?

I think having a wind indicator on the Laser is definitely a benefit and will help you improve your sailing if you don”t already have one. If you do have one inevitably it will need replacement and I think the C-Vane is a great choice particularly because of it”s durability. The Kingfisher is a solid choice as well if responsiveness is paramount to you, but really only if you mount it right side up.

As always if you have any comments, questions or suggestions leave us a comment or send us an email.