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Laser vs ILCA

A Guide to the New Landscape of ILCAs and Lasers

A passion for Laser sailing and supporting fellow Laser sailors has been core to the identity of West Coast Sailing since our founding in 2005.  We’re here to help you understand recent changes with the racing class and the supply chain of new boats, parts, and sails. Below are answers to common questions and practical insight from our team. Additional updates will be made to this page as new information is learned from class leaders and builders.

Updated September 1st, 2020

 

What is an ILCA?
The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) is the primary entity that organizes Laser racing around the world. In 2019, ILCA began a process of authorizing new boat manufacturers to build boats that could be raced in ILCA events. Due to trademark considerations, this new boat, which shares all one design characteristics of the Laser, is known as the ILCA.


Further Reading: 'Past, Present, and Future of Laser Class' by Scuttlebutt Sailing News

 

What about Lasers and LaserPerformance?
LaserPerformance (LP) is continuing to build Lasers.  As LP is no longer an authorized builder for the ILCA racing class, new Lasers will not have World-Sailing issued ILCA plaques (stickers) in the cockpit, which allow them to be raced in events such as ILCA’s North American Championship.  LP launched a new class association called The Laser Class (TLC) and Lasers will be eligible for TLC events.  The frequency and geographic distribution of TLC events is still to be determined.

 

Should I buy a Laser or an ILCA?
If you aren’t going to race your boat, a lower-priced LaserPerformance Laser is a great choice.  We’re expecting our next shipment of new Lasers in early 2021.  If you are going to race or if you’d like to have the option to eventually sell your boat to a racer, then you should consider an ILCA.  We very carefully selected Ovington Boats of the UK as the ILCA manufacturer we will work with.  Our first shipment of Ovington ILCAs will arrive in late 2020.

 

Are old Lasers and Laser components ILCA Class-Legal?
All existing Lasers with ISAF or World Sailing plaques and all existing Laser components that were class-legal for ILCA before these recent changes will be grandfathered into the ILCA class as class-legal.

 

How do I shop for ILCA class-legal parts and sails?
Simply check the product descriptions on our website to see if an item is 'class-legal.'  Some items, such as tillers and tiller extensions, are not regulated by the class - reach out to us if you have questions.

 

What if I race with my local fleet, but not in major regattas?
Check with your local fleet organizer to determine whether it’s an issue to race with boats, parts, or sails that aren’t ILCA class-legal.

 

What if I own a Laser and need parts, but do not race?
Recreational Laser sailors can use the full range of Laser and ILCA parts, as well as replica/practice fittings, on their boats. New ILCA parts are compatible with existing Laser sailboats and may be more readily available. Price and availability of these products may vary, so we encourage you to buy whatever works for you so that you can get out on the water and enjoy your boat.

 

Glossary

Laser Term ILCA Term Details
Laser 4.7 ILCA 4 Smallest sail and lower mast section
Laser Radial ILCA 6 Middle sail and lower mast section
Laser Standard/Full           ILCA 7 Largest sail and lower mast section
Laser Race ILCA Classic Complete boat with aluminum tiller/upper mast section
Laser XD ILCA Composite           Complete boat with composite tiller/upper mast section

 

Legal note: Laser and the starburst logo are registered trademarks of LaserPerformance.