Guide to Laser Pico’s and Dinghy Sailboats

8 dinghy sailboats on the water with different coloured sails

Guide to Laser Pico’s and Dinghy Sailboats


The laser boats were first produced at the beginning of the 1970s and attained the Olympic sailing category in 1996. Since then, these boats have become the most competitive sailing boats designed in history.

For this reason, all laser boats are constructed with similar specifications, including their sails, equipment, and hulls. The laser Pico and Dinghy Sailboats are among the common types of laser boats you can use to test your skill as a sailor and advance in this hobby.

Most starters may ask, how do these boats operate? How many people can they hold? Are they expensive? And what’s the difference between the two? If these are your concerns, you’re at the correct place.

This article provides everything there is to know about laser Pico’s and dinghy laser boats to help you know which is the most suitable one for your sailing hobby.   

The Laser Pico


Developed primarily for fun, the Laser Pico has constantly remained the prevalent sailboat of all times and abilities. The boat is easy to use and rig and facilitates a speedy learning curve, making it easier for a single sailor to utilize it comfortably.

The boat was first designed by an Olympic medallist known as Jo Richards and was built in 1998 by LaserPerformance. Current Pico models use the latest manufacturing process to ensure it offers nothing but the best experience while on water.

The Laser Pico is the best option for both novice and savvy sailors. The boat alienates the pressure of newcomers having to spend hours learning how to use it. The modern Pico is very simple to rig and sail that a beginner can master how it works in a day.   

It’s rare to find a boat with the combination of features and qualities found in Laser Pico’s. For beginners, this laser sailboat is vice free, simple, and stable enough that almost anyone can easily use it. However, pro users will delight in its brisk performance and highly responsive nature.

Pico is true to its size and rides with a smooth motion regardless of its flat underwater outline and flared bow sections. It doesn’t require great intricacy when steering or trimming due to its well-built rig and enormous rudder.

The boat has positive and well-balanced steering that offers precise feedback for the sailor, and is made to quickly notice forces that are out of balance. Its hiking straps are suitable even for bare feet, while the curved decks work well for people with different leg lengths.

The Laser Dinghy


A dinghy refers to a small open boat often towed or carried on larger ships and used as a tender or lifesaving boat. Other dinghies are usually designed for sailing, and the best example is the Laser Dinghy sailboat.

The Laser Dinghy, also known as the Laser Standard or the Laser One, was first designed in 1970 by Bruce Kirby, with more emphasis on performance and simplicity. The boat is in the international class and used by sailors in more than 120 countries.

Its popularity and wide acceptance come from its simplicity to rig, sailing ease, and robust construction. Its numerous features and great association controls make it a competitive sailing boat.

Usually, most people use the word ”Laser” to describe the Laser Standard, the largest plan rigs you can find for the Laser hulls.

But there are other types of Laser Standard sail plan rigs and many Laser-branded boats with entirely dissimilar hull designs, such as the Laser Pico and Laser 2. The Laser Class Association only offers three kinds of Laser boats: the Laser Standard, Laser 4.7, and Laser Radial.

All Laser boats are constructed with similar specifications and are usually light enough to be carried on top of car racks. However, they are suitable for people of different sizes and ages.

For instance, the Laser Standard is best for fit, muscular, and agile sailors weighing over 80kgs. On the other hand, Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial sailboats are good for small sailors with less weight.

Features to Look for When Purchasing a Sailboat


With many manufacturers producing dinghies today, you’d want to ensure the one you purchase is the best the market offers. For a starter, it’s easy to buy a second-rate or poorly constructed sailing boat if you aren’t careful.

Some of the essential features to check are:

1. Sailboat Number

Most dinghies have sailboat numbers on their cockpit’s back or the deck. These numbers usually help to identify the age and quality of the sailboats. The newer ones tend to have the numbers etched on their cockpit’s backs, while the older dinghies have these numbers written on their decks.

2. The Deck and Hull Condition

It’s important to ensure that the deck and hull of the sailboat you purchase are in good condition. It would be better to watch out for any deep scratches and cracks as they’re the primary tell-tale indications of leaking and damages on the boat.

Usually, this number includes three letters followed by a series of numbers and letters. The first three letters are normally the production date, while the remaining five are the sail serial number.

3. Stiffness

Stiffness is used in boats to indicate their ability to withstand heeling forces. A stiff is boat is usually more stable and responds rapidly to wave profile. However, the stiffness usually diminishes with use and time; hence could tell you the sailboat’s overall quality. Softer ones are more likely to leak.

4. Mast Step

The mast step takes the highest pressure from the sail and mast. A mast’s primary purpose is carrying the soars, derricks, sails, and offering the required height for a lookout position, signal lamp, navigation light, and radio aerial. Therefore, it’s important that the mast step of the boat you buy is in good condition.

5. Other Parts of the Boat

Besides the parts mentioned above, it’s always best to make sure other parts of the laser sailboat you buy are in excellent condition. Examples of these parts are the rudder, daggerboard, mast and boom, and tiller and tiller extension. You should check them for straightness and inspect the ropes and sails for wear and tear.

Why Pico Sailing Is an Extremely Fun Hobby

Laser Pico is the most exciting and capable boat you can ever sail with. It features a:

  • Robust dacron sail

  • Line kit

  • Simple reefing system

  • A reefing mainsail and removable jib

  • Stable and stiff roto-molded hull, and more

  • Four-padded toe straps

These features, plus the boats superb design, high durability, and stiffness, make it a great choice for beginners and experienced sailors. Anyone can rig and sail it easily, and most first-time users are normally in charge of them after several days of use.

It’s surprisingly fast and accelerates briskly on the water with a good amount of breeze. Pico’s daggerboard fits easily and can clear the kicking strap and boom even when raised fully, allowing simple lee shore launching and preventing any foul-ups when gybing.

The Laser rudder system utilizes the famous swing-down-and-lock-with-the-tiller arrangement, fastened with a bungee cord you can replace easily. Its hull is produced using the latest process for higher stiffness and durability to ensure safety and longevity.

Therefore, you can expect to have a lot of fun and memorable sailing moments with your Laser Pico for years to come. Its high-capacity allowance and cockpit size are sufficient enough for you and your youngster to go sailing together and teach them more about this fun hobby.

Although the hull of this boat is slightly heavier, its durability and numerous essential features still make it a world-class sailboat. It’s fun, exciting, simple to use, modestly priced, and simple to maintain.

What’s The Best Beginner Laser Sailboat?


The laser boats come in different sizes and types. However, these boats have similar specifications since they’re built to be competitive sailboats to gauge sailors’ skills. Several factors determine the best Laser boat for you, including your age, weight, and experience level.

The Laser sailboats come in three main types; the Laser Standard, 4.7, and Radial. There are also two other types not formally recognized as the Laser class. The main types are designed for sailors with different weight capacities. Below is more comprehensive detail about them:

1. Laser Standard

This Laser bought is the one discussed above, also called the Laser Dinghy. It’s built for sailors weighing 70-84kgs.

2. Laser Radial

Laser radial is slightly smaller than Laser Standard. It’s the one utilized during the 2008’s Women singlehanded Dinghy Olympics and is suitable for people weighing 55-72kgs.

3. Laser 4.7

Laser 4.7 is smaller than the Laser Dinghy, and its shape differs from Laser Radial. It’s built for sailors with a weight of 50-55 kgs.

Two Other Types of Laser Sailboats Include:

1. Laser M

Laser M is the rare Laser sailboat model with a smaller hull designed for smaller sailors. Its mast is short, making it a bit challenging to use and depower, particularly with stronger winds.

2. Rooster 8.1

This type of Laser is produced in the UK, and it features a larger hull meant for larger sailors. It’s constructed with varying mast length options.

The first three rigs differ in size, with the Standard measuring 76 sqft, the Radial being 62 sqft, and the 4.7 is 51 sqft. All these boats are suitable for different people.


Usually, the Laser Standard is good for advanced sailors, the Radial is ideal for intermediate sailors, and the 4.7 is best for young sailors getting started with the hobby.

What’s The Weight of a Laser Sailboat?

The optimal weight for laser boats differs with each type. Generally, a standard Laser boat should weigh between 55-72kg.

Laser Vs. Laser 2- What’s The Difference?

The main difference between a Laser and Laser 2 is that the latter has a double-handed design while the first one is single-handed. Also, the laser 2 should be sailed with a jib, or else there will be excess weather helm, and it may fail to move.

The Laser 2 is also bigger than the standard Laser, and it can run a jib, main, and spinnaker. Its cockpit is larger and can accommodate even two adults; however, sailing it alone is tricky.

Winding-Up Laser Pico’s and Dinghy Sailboats

The laser boats are excellent options for anyone wanting to hone or learn their sailing skills and enjoy the hobby more. They’re highly responsive, well-built, simple to use, move briskly, the right size, and fun to sail in moderate and light winds, even for beginners.

However, you need to select the right type to be safe and have the utmost fun. Usually, you need to consider your age, weight, and skill set before purchasing one. Have fun sailing!

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