The Laser is by far the most popular and numerous single-handed boat in the world. At 4.23 metres (13 feet 10 1/2 inches) in length, with a sail area of 7.06 sq metres (76 square feet) and a weight of only 59kg (130 lbs), it is suitable for men and women to race competitively and to handle ashore. There are smaller sail versions for lighter sailors to use in stronger winds. Boats are readily available across the country at a wide range of ages and prices and the popularity of the class means that they can always be sold quickly and with very little depreciation. The class at Tamesis provides a warm welcome to new owners and coaching (if required) to ensure that they are able to become competitive as soon as possible. A busy social programme ensures that newcomers are rapidly integrated into the club.
The Laser is an Olympic singled-handed dinghy that was designed by Bruce Kirby in 1970 and first introduced in Canada in 1971. There are now more than 196,000 Lasers throughout the world. It is a strict one-design although the rules permit certain variations in the rigging of the kicker and boom outhaul, and the tiller. The Laser Radial, which has a smaller sail area of 5.76 square metres, was chosen as the women’s single-handed class for the 2008 Olympics.
There are 25 Lasers at Tamesis. Current turnouts range from five to 10, with 16 for the annual open meeting in October 2004, 14 in 2005 and 2006, 18 in 2007, 15 in 2008, 18 in 2009, 16 in 2011, 16 in 2012 and 14 in 2013.