What is the Laser 4.7?
The Laser 4.7 is just a standard Laser with 2 changes. All you need to do to change any Laser into a Laser 4.7 is to rig the boat with the 4.7 bottom mast & sail. It is that easy to change any Laser into a safe and exciting boat for children & smaller adults.
The Laser 4.7 uses a short pre-bent lower mast to maintain a balanced helm and a sail area that is 35% smaller than the Laser Standard. It is ideal for learning to sail or for the lighter weight sailor graduating from Optimist. The International Laser Association recommend's the 4.7 for crew weights between 35 to 55 kg. In New Zealand we have found that crew weights of 45 to 65 kg are more appropriate for our conditions. The photo's below show the 4.7's sailing next to an Optimist and Standard Rig Laser.
Why Sail a Laser 4.7?
The 4.7 has many advantages for sailors and their parents. It is so simple and inexpensive to get started in the Laser 4.7 that we hope that New Zealand with have many more children & teenagers sailing. Like its bigger brothers the 4.7 is fast and exciting to sail and gets on the plane easily. We have found that even though Starling & Splash have larger sail areas of 5.5 square metres the 4.7 is faster around a race course than both and only in very light conditions is the Splash marginally faster.
Advantages for Sailors & Parents
1 Strict One Design. The Laser and its strict one design is the most popular sailing dingy in the world. This gives sailors & parent's confidence that it is the sailor that wins a regatta and not the boat and how much money has been spent on it.
2 Low costs to get sailing in a 4.7. There are around 4,500 Lasers in New Zealand. Any of these can be turned into a 4.7 by the simple addition of the short pre-bent lower mast & 4.7 square metre sail. Older second hand Lasers can be purchased cheaply and the lower mast and sail can be bought from Boat Bits for $795 & if you want to save that official sail for Regatta, training & club sails can purchased from nzsailing.net for $389 and we also have a selection of 2nd hand Laser 4.7 sails and lower masts for sale
3 Fast & Easy to Handle. The 4.7 is extremely exciting to sail and in winds over 15 knots goes around a race course at a similar speed to that of the Standard Laser. If you do capsize the boat is very easy to right (given its relatively small sail area) and like all Lasers it comes up dry and you are ready to go again. Recently, at a Manly Twilight, the winds were forecast 35 to 45 knots from the East. Many of the Standard and Radial sailors did not go out. Most of the 4.7 fleet went out and had a ball! One the 4.7 sailors had only just completed their Level 2 YNZ learn to sail course! They all came back to beach at the end of the three races buzzing!
4 Easy to Rig. Like its bigger brothers the 4.7 is simple to rig and get out on the water and start having fun!
5 One boat purchase is all that is needed. Once you have a 4.7 you don't need to purchase any other boats. As you grow bigger you simply buy a Laser Radial bottom section and sail to get a Laser Radial. The Laser Radial is the Women's Single Handed Olympic Dingy and the ISAF Youth Dingy. If you keep, growing just buy a Standard bottom section & Sail and you have the Men's Single Handed Olympic Dingy. Parents will really appreciate this aspect of the 4.7.
6 Low maintenance. The 4.7 does not need painting and maintaining like other classes. For the last 30 years the Laser has grown into the most popular dingy in the world because owning one is all about enjoying sailing and not about maintenance. Parents will also appreciate this!
7 Fully Supported by NZ Laser Association. The 4.7 already enjoys the support of the well established NZ Laser Association which has many benefits including Nationals & North Island Regatta where the 4.7 sailors are sailing on the same course and in the same boats as their Olympic heroes. It is a fantastic opportunity for the 4.7 sailors to be out on the water and talk to Sailors like Jo Aleh and Andrew Murdoch.
8 Annual Coaching Camps with New Zealand's Best Dingy Sailors. Part of the support from the NZ Laser Association mentioned above, includes New Zealand's top Dingy sailors like Jo Aleh, Miranda Powrie, Andrew Murdoch & Michael Bullot will be providing annual coaching camps for 4.7 sailors.
9 International Competition. The 4.7 has a very large following worldwide and international competitions are hotly contested with Male & Female World Championships. At the 2006 Worlds in France there were 237 entries in the Male event and 88 in the Female.
10 Top NZ 4.7 Sailor gets a free trip to the World Championships. Each year the winner of the NZ National 4.7 Championships will get their airfare paid for them to travel and compete in the World Championships. Travis Dow is the first winner of this prize and will travel to South Africa to compete. In 2008 the best 4.7 sailor in NZ will be travelling to Croatia.
So what are you waiting for go out and have some fun!!