The Laser Two is a fast boat, but it is not a lot of work to get it to
go fast. It planes easily on a reach, in as little as 10 knots. The
skipper's job is fairly easy because he's not on a trapeze, and only has
to deal with the mainsail and rudder. He rarely has to hike very hard
thanks to the crew on the trapeze. Correspondingly, there is no
particular need to be large or extremely muscular. You just sail, and
use the trapeze to offset the wind.
From the twin skipper/crew wide-track hiking straps, to the trapeze and spinnaker, there is plenty of ability to deal with the large sail area, and then make it tons more fun once you've mastered that.
As long as you know the difference between reaching, beating, and
running, and now to do each, you are ready for a Laser Two. It takes
about 5 minutes to learn how to use a jib if you've never done that
before. The jib is a great job for a crew who has never sailed before.
You can grow into all the other cool stuff later, and just start having
fun on day 1!
The list of challenges awaiting the eager Laser Two sailor goes on and
on. First the trapeze, then launching & trimming the spinnaker downwind.
Then reaching withe spinnaker in light air brings a new dynamic to the
experience. Then stepping up to medium air reaches with the spinnaker,
which brings breathtaking speed, as well as getting the crew driving the
spinnaker from the wire. The ambitious can move on to soloing in
light air, and then solowing from the wire in medium air. And those
whose thirst for excitment never tires can work their way up to
spinnaker reaching in heavy air.
With a much bigger cockpit, that has beveled edges, there is plenty of
room and comfort for two full sized adults to move around in a Laser 2.
It is even reasonable to go out with three medium sized adults, or an
adult and two kids, or three kids; these are all no problem.
The rig and sails are big enough that the Laser Two can move reasonably
well on all points of sail in 12 mph winds, and easily plane on a reach.
Yet the sails are just the right size that with a medium sized crew on
the trapeze, the boat is not overpowered in 25 knot winds. The more
experienced sailors love to tell of their adventures in 30 knots with
larger crews. The Two can be raced in as little as 8 knots; Recreational
sailing at that speed is a little dull, but throw in the dynamics of
having a competitor two feet ahead of you, and knowing that if you tune
and balance the boat just right you could catch them, and you'll have
plenty of fun even in the lighter air.
When it gets really windy, the Laser Two is the boat the people are walking towards when they are walking away from all the other boats!
A full sized adult who is a competent sailor can experiment with
single-handing this boat in < 12 knots almost immediately. After maybe
10-20 hrs of practice, he can step up to 15 knots and start learning to
drive from the wire. With experience, he can confidently solo in up to
20 knots. Some Laser Two sailors have even leanred to drive the boat and
trim the spinnaker, solo from the wire! These people are insane.
However, all really good sailors are as well.
As long as you are a decent skipper, you can bring anyone with you as
crew. The trapeze is very easy to teach once you know how to do it
yourself. Absolutely everyone I've taken sailing since I knew how to
trap has been on the wire in the first 5 minutes if there was enough
wind. Whether or not the trap is in use, the crew's only necessary job
is to uncleat the jib at the start of a tack, switch sides, and re-cleat
it on the other side at the end of the tack. If they've never sailed
before, that's probably enough to keep them occupied and feeling like
they are a part of the game, and not just luggage. The competent skipper
can take care of everything else that goes on up to 20 knots with a
completely novice crew. Everybody loves the wire, newbies come off the
water incredulous. And if you have experienced crew, the kite will keep
them engaged and make sure they have fun.
Laser Two's have been around since 1980. Thanks to the history as a
strong youth trainer, and more importantly thanks to the fact that this
is no longer the case, used Laser Twos are plentiful, and in low demand.
Older boats can frequently be found for as little as $600 in decent
shape. Boats in excellent shape, under 10 years old, can often be found
for $2500-$3500 (though very new boats will be more), and will have a
spinnaker launch tube. Typically you can get into a full
spinnaker/trapeze boat with a dolly and a trailer for around $2000, or
around $1400 for just the boat. If you get an older boat without a
launch tube, that will make it much harder to learn the spinnaker; for
this, we have developed a deck mounted launching sock, which you can
build yourself for under $50. It works just as well as the tube,
although it's a little uglier. It is race-legal in the US, and we are
working on extending this to Canada.
While some older boats do not have spinnakers or trapezes, these are fairly straight-forwward to add.
One person can easily move around a boat on a trailer, and virtually
anyone can launch one from a dolly alone. It is relatively easy to step
and destep the mast alone, and an absolute cinch with an extra hand. The
boat on a trailer takes up no more space than a car. With a properly
equipped roof-rack, it is also easy and comfortable to car-top, and can
be lifted onto the roof of a car by two adults or 3-4 teenagers.