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Laser Sails & Battens Including Standard, Mark II, Radial, & 4.7 Sails from North & Hyde for Laser Sailboats

Laser Sails & Battens

The Laser sailboat has three different rigs: Standard, Radial, and 4.7. Using a common upper mast and boom, each of these rigs uses a corresponding lower mast section and sail. The Laser Standard sail is the largest at 76 square feet and is the most common. For lighter weight sailors, the Radial Sail is 62 square feet and uses a Radial Lower Section, and for junior sailors, the 4.7 Sail is 51 square feet and uses a special pre bent 4.7 Lower Mast section. With one sailboat, young sailors starting out in the 4.7 can move up to a Standard or Radial sail as they grow physically and develop tactically without the need to buy a completely new sailboat every few years. Likewise, adult sailors can use smaller rigs in windy conditions for more control.

FREE Sail Numbers and Installation with the purchase of any new *class legal* Laser sail! For practice sails, add sail numbers to your order and we'll install them at no extra charge.

Laser Standard Sails

The 'standard' sized Laser sail (76 square feet) is the most common, particularly on older boats, and used with the 'standard' lower mast section. Laser Standard Sails are now only available in the new Mark II version, which is a radial cut sail, from both North Sails and Hyde Sails and are ILCA class approved for racing.

Laser Radial Sails

The 'radial' sized Laser sail (62 square feet) is used with the 'radial' lower mast section, which is a few feet shorter than the 'standard' lower mast section to accommodate the smaller sail and allow the rig to depower more easily. Laser Radial Sails are also available from North Sails and Hyde Sails and are ILCA class approved for racing.

Laser 4.7 Sails

The smallest of the three rig/sail sizes, the '4.7' Laser sail (50 square feet) is used with the 4.7 lower mast section, which is shorter than the 'radial' lower mast section and pre-bent just above the deck line to depower the rig. This sail size is commonly used for youth sailors just getting into the Laser class who are not big enough to manage either the Radial or Standard size rig. Laser 4.7 Sails are also available from North Sails and Hyde Sails and are ILCA class approved for racing.

Laser Practice Sails

While not not class legal for racing, these 'practice' sails (sometimes called 'replica' sails) are cut from a slightly heavier cloth for longer life but to the same pattern as class-approved sails. They have a similar feel to using a class-approved sail but are less expensive, making them great for training or for recreational sailors. We currently offer 'practice' sails from Rooster, which include battens and a bag.

North Sails vs Hyde Sails - Myths & Facts

There has been much debate over the years about the 'differences' between North and Hyde Laser sails, most of which is myth. We've sold thousands of Laser sails in the last 14+ years and worked with sailors around the world, so here are some things we've learned.

Myths about Laser Sails

  • Hyde Has More Resin - There are some small physical differences between the two sails. The question is what is 'perceived' different, and what is actually physically different. If you feel both sails side by side, the biggest difference is that, generically speaking, the Hyde sails feel more 'slick'. The rumor is that there is more resin injected into the cloth, so the sail holds a shape better and is more durable.
  • Hyde Sails Have a Tighter Leach - The Laser sail is very low tech compared to any modern sail design/cut/manufacturing. With that, there are some variations observable over a batch of say... 40-50 sails. The panels are uniform, but there could be small variations at the edges of each panel as it is cut. Additionally, as the panels attached to each other, there is a small margin for error that can sometime be seen.
  • Hyde Cost More, so they must be better - Hyde and North's probably cost about the exact same to manufacture. Hyde Sails just seem to have a longer distance to travel as they go through the UK before coming to the US. There was a rumor that the VAT tax added to the price, but that cost should be removed once a product is exported from the UK.

The Facts About Laser Sails (Real World Experience)

Many of our customers swear by Hyde for serious racing because they last longer and have a better shape. The flip side is that some of our customers prefer the initial 'setup' of the North, even if it is perceived to have a slightly shorter lifespan. Keep in mind, we are dealing on the fringes of what is real and what is perceived. Top level sailors will go fast with either sail and intermediate sailors get a big boost from a new sail no matter what the brand. If you care for each sail the same, keep it clean and be careful not to flog it needlessly at the dock or while sailing, either brand should deliver solid and very similar results over it's lifespan.