Friday, September 19, 2014

Laser Mark II Sail

A few minutes ago LaserPerformance Sailboats posted this message on their Facebook page.

LaserPerformance introduces the New Standard Laser Mark II Sail! 
This is the sail everyone has been waiting for. Sailors can now enjoy an optimized training experience thanks to the Mark II!
The Mark II is considerably more durable with its bi-radial construction and manufactured with a longer lasting 4.5 ounce Dacron cloth. Optimized sail patches, new luff tube design, larger window, and a blue starburst are all new features on the Mark II!
The Mark II Sail is available now for pre-order on a first come first serve basis. It is available for purchase starting in January 2015.

This appears to be the long-awaited more durable Laser sail that was supposedly being delayed because of Bruce Kirby's lawsuits against the Laser builders and the Laser class.  It looks as if LaserPerformance has decided to give Laser sailors what they want and not let the legal process hold it up any longer.

The sail is available on both the US and European LaserPerformance websites for $395 and £246 respectively - a lot cheaper than the current official Laser sails.

However, there is a bit of a caveat posted on those websites…
Although it has not been approved by the Laser Class or ISAF for competition, it is time to put the training sail out in the market for the sailors to train and enjoy. 
While we wait for its approval, with each purchase the consumer will also receive a rebate coupon towards their purchase of a class approved Mark II sail, if and when it becomes available. Coupon will be valued at $80 redeemable through dealer or directly through LaserPerformance. After class approval, the Mark II starburts will revert back to red. Don't miss a great opportunity, order them as soon as you can.

I wonder what the response of the class will be. Can we even approve it while the legal battle continues?

Of course I am sure that the conspiracy theorists will see this as some kind of tactic in the war for global domination between LaserPerformance and Global Sailing, and others will whine that you can buy cheaper "training" sails elsewhere. But I'm a "glass half full" kind of guy and prefer to see it as a positive step in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

It isn't April 1, is it?

Now will this be a legal (LP) illegal (ILCA/ISAF) sail or what?


Tillerman said...

LOL Wavedancer. I must admit I did have to check the date first. This sail is not approved but is the same design that they hope will eventually be approved. Except the approved ones will then have a red logo instead of a blue logo.

torrid said...

I know they own the trade mark to the Laser starburst logo. However regardless of color, per the Kirby agreements can they put it on anything that isn't class legal? And yes, I know how concerned LP is with honoring the Kirby agreements.

Tillerman said...

I have no idea. I have never seen the contracts between Bruce Kirby and the Laser builders.

In any case, didn't Bruce Kirby terminate his agreement with LaserPerformance at some point during his legal battle with them? That's why the class changed the Fundamental Rule so that a Laser would still be a legal Laser even though there was no longer any agreement in force between LaserPerformance and Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc.

R1 said...

It looks great! And a decent price. I'm tempted, but it's that or a legal one. A few more photos and a review would be useful by someone that's proved to be an early adopter...

Tillerman said...

I am tempted too R1 but I am struggling to understand how and when I would use it.

It's not class legal so I couldn't use it at any class-sanctioned Laser regattas.

Some local fleets allow Intensity or APS practice sails in their local fleet racing. Maybe some of them will allow this sail too in which case I could use it in their races. But it still costs almost 3 times what an Intensity sail would be so, why should I want to use it, unless it is also has more than 3 times the life?

So what's left? The thrill of being an early adopter? A chance to get familiar with it's characteristics before it becomes legal, if it ever does?

And please don't tell me it will be faster than the current sail design. If that's true then, once approved, it will obsolete everyone else's $600 class legal sails. This would be a VERY BAD THING.

R1 said...

I sail a Rooster sail in our club handicap fleet, others have a Trident and nobody bothers. I even used the Rooster at a class run event recently because my legal sail is too old and the wind was blowing hard. That fleet is so low on numbers that nobody minds - and if they did, I'd just retire. But the tough cloth of a Rooster sail is amazing for being able to control shape in a blow.

So, maybe I'll step up to the mark here and let you know what I think. I would get use of it unless it's slower than a legal or Rooster sail. It's not cheap as you say- It's twice the price of a Rooster, which I like. But I'm guessing the blue MkII will be accepted if this is adopted.

One more point: why isn't it a MkIII? I remember upgrading my first Laser to the all "new 3.8" as we used to call them. It had the tough new 3.8oz per sq foot cloth that was made to last, a new label telling us that, and fancy red plastic gromits around each eye. I still have that sail and sold the MkI sail with the boat. So surely the 3.8 is the MkII and this is the MkIII?

Tillerman said...

You are right. It really should be called the MkIII. What year was it when we upgraded to the 3.8oz sail?

I came across a review of the sail by Clay Johnson (from a few years ago when it was still in testing.) He said that they tested a new MkII sail against one that had been used for 150 days and it was no different. Now that's durability! So maybe it would be worth it even if it is 2 or 3 times the cost of other practice sails. I know my old Intensity sail is way slower than my newer Intensity sail.

R1 said...

I don't know when 3.8 sails came. I got mine in 1990 I think, maybe 1989. It was pre-red button but had "new numbers" on it. Could "new numbers" coincide with sail number 100,000?

I found something on interweb suggest the button arrived in 1993 when it became Olympic class.

Tillerman said...

In the Laser Class Rules, rule 4.d says, "Sail numbers from 131000, sails purchased after 1st June 1993 and new sails stamped “New Numbers” shall have numbers that are clearly visible with the last four digits of the number in one dark, distinctive colour or black and any preceding numbers in a different, contrasting, distinctive colour (red is recommended)."

I don't think that answers your question but it's always good to quote Rules to confuse the issue.

Anonymous said...

The 3.8 sails came in in 1986. They were first used at a World Championship at the Worlds in Melbourne Australia in January 1987. It was at that time that people started experimenting to get more purchase into the vang and cunningham to cope with the stiffer sails.
From memory, the statement issued by ILCA at the time said that supplies of 3.2oz cloth had been so hard to come by, that it was forced to switch to 3.8oz. cloth. They had only managed to keep supplies of 3.2 oz sails going by moving them around the world until the new 3.8 sail was tested and available.

I think the Radial sail is up to Mk VI and most of those revisions have been introduced with little fanfare or comment by ILCA. However, the new full rig sail is so different in layout from the original, perhaps this is truly a proper Mark 2 and the 3.8 could be thought of as a Mark 1a?

It is a shame in a way, that in introducing a new sail, we lose the famous Laser silhouette, that includes the panel layout and window shape and that is easily distinguishable from the Radial.

Am I being cynical in noting that the press release said nothing about the pricing of the new sail once it becomes class legal? So it will be £50 off what....?


torrid said...

So I guess "new numbers" is a way for measurers to know the sail was made after the rule change and ought to have the color scheme on the last four digits? Seems an effective way to grandfather in older sails.

Ari said...

Mark II sails are now legal for the 14th Caribbean Laser Midwinter Regatta, Cabarete, January 15th-17th, 2016

Dave Leuck said...

Ari, the old sails are maybe a little faster in the light and slower in breeze. Agree or disagree? What do you think about upwind vs downwind?

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