Thursday, July 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Classic Laser in France

I bought my first Laser #93933 - orange hull and orange sail - in the early 1980s.

It seems I must have been obsessed with Laser sailing right from the start because here is photographic evidence that I even found a way to bring my Laser along on family vacations.

Before kids (and before Lasers) my wife and I owned a frame tent and would have camping vacations every summer... in the English Lake District, North Wales, Brittany... When our eldest son was one year old we took the ferry to Santander in Spain and went camping in the Pyrenees with him.

Once we had two sons and a Laser we still went camping but instead of using our own tent we started going to sites that had pre-erected tents. That meant I could put the Laser on the roof of our trusty station wagon instead of the box holding all our camping gear.

I think we went at least twice with the Laser to campsites by the sides of lakes in south-western France between Biarritz and Bordeaux. I sailed the Laser on my own on the lakes but also took the boys for rides, with them sitting in front of the mast like the kids in that photo.

The boy in the photo (nearest the bow) is my younger son. I have no idea who the girl was - just some random girl from the campsite that the boys befriended, I guess.

Note the original Laser rigging including 3:1 vang. Aaah! Those were the days.

I do remember sailing the Laser one day on one of the camping holidays in France, playing around going upwind hiking flat out and - just for the hell of it - dipping my head in the water and seeing how long I could sail along like that with my head under water.

It seems I have always been strange.

I did do a bit of research to see if the holiday company we used - I think it was Eurocamp - is still running the same kind of operation. I discovered that they do offer holidays on campsites in south-west France but now every camp site has to have an "aquatic park" which looks something like this.

Apparently the simple quiet life of camping by a lake and playing with Dad on his boat are not enough excitement for modern British kids.


Keep Reaching said...

I don't see any sign of an outhaul - was there one?

Tillerman said...

Great question KR. Yes there was an outhaul on the original Laser but it only led from the clew to the cleat on the boom, not all the way to the mast and then to the deck like the namby pamby rigging on Lasers today. As you can imagine it was impossible to adjust on a run or a reach, and even on a beat it was something of a challenge. But men were men in those days.

Baydog said...

On #802, I had a cheap yellow polyethylene vang and varnished blades and cockpit handrails

Tillerman said...

So did my first car.

Drwatershed said...

I still have two Lasers from that era with 3-1 vang and outhaul. That is why you use your teeth for the main sheet. Some men are still men.

Tillerman said...

Teeth for the main sheet? Real men don't use their teeth for the mainsheet. They use their teeth to pull on the vang.

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