Laser 2, From idea to reality! A guide for owners and boat buyers

The 'Nearly' Complete Boat

The ‘Nearly’ Complete Boat

This post is from 2009. It’s an interesting read. I’ve just started (2017) a GP14 dinghy restoration which I’m documenting here.

This is the story of one man and his boat. It all started when I used my Tesco Clubcard points to go on an RYA sailing course at Bala lake in North Wales in September 2009. I wanted to learn to sail properly for years but had never got around to doing it. I did the RYA level 2 course and learnt to sail in an RS Q’BA making use of the Jib on the second day. I really enjoyed the experience so decided to buy a boat of my own.

Roll forward approximately 2 days when my wife rings me whilst I was in Leeds (we live in Crewe) to say that she had more or less bought a Laser 2 Regatta dinghy from near Solihull and I had to get home to come help collect it. Being several months pregnant at the time didn’t put her in the best position for moving boats around so I got the next train home and a few hours later found myself collecting a boat trailer from a friend and heading down the M6 at huge speed (60 mph!). We decided to take the central Birmingham road instead of the M42. That was mistake number 1. For the next hour we sat in rush hour traffic (or so it seemed) to go the final three miles to the place the boat was being kept.

We arrived at a sea scouts base and were directed towards a boat with half of the parts missing on a trolley with a flat tyre. It wasn’t looking good but immediately all I saw in my head was myself sailing my very own boat just as I was learning to do a couple of days beforehand. Luckily my wife is a little less easily swayed that myself but for £170 who can argue? We were shown another Laser 2 he had in bits and were allowed to remove any parts we thought we needed. I ended up with a spare clamcleat and another Mast step. I even had the blisters to prove it. Sadly there was no daggerboard or rudder to speak of and, at the time (!!), I didn’t realise how much these parts cost. We handed over the cash and shoehorned the boat (and assorted bits) onto the home made trailer and proceeded to the nearest McDonalds (a tradition of ours whereby we have a McDonalds each time we buy something like a house, car or indeed boat). On the way out we decided to take the M42 and were rewarded with no traffic and a lovely drive back to Crewe. Mistake number two was not considering where we might store the boat in the short term as we live in a terraced house with no garage or parking! Luckily a friend who lives nearby lives in a much nicer house with a drive and place to store said boat.

In effect we were left with a Laser 2 dinghy, a mast, a launching trolley and a few basic cleats. The following is the list of things I had left to buy to get the thing on the water and their retail costs.

  • £250.00 – Rudder
  • £80.00 – Tiller & extension
  • £270.00 – Dagger board
  • £60.00 – Central main sheet block
  • £80.00 – ALL the rope for the boat
  • £50.00 – Sail Battens
  • £50.00 – Kicking Strap (Kicker)
  • £50.00 – Assorted bits including various shackles, cleats, blocks, vernier shroud adjusters and a bung!

There lied the enormity of my task. At the time of writing (Mid November 2009) I have just taken delivery of my final piece to the very large and expensive puzzle, the dagger board.

Over the last two months I have been frantically scanning sailing websites, forums, friends minds and of course eBay. the following details for those people who might be in a similar situation what I found and how I managed to get the boat together as cheaply as possible.

As soon as we got the boat to Manley Mere, it’s next resting place,  I created the above list. Once I had finished weeping I got the parts catalogued  and got on the internet.

Firstly a few things about the Laser 2 you might not have known.

  • Laser 2 is a closed class meaning that in order to race them the parts must be official Laser stock and therefore confirm to strict size, material and weight constraints. If you want to get your boat together on a budget then ignore this rule except to assume that parts will NOT be readily available and those that are will NOT be cheap (as above demonstrates)
  • Laser 2 is no longer made. This, once again, reflects the fact that parts will be scarce although does give you an idea that at boat jumbles and sailing clubs there might be a few rotting that you could ask about buying.
  • Laser 2 was superseded by the Laser 3000. This is in effect good news because many of the parts were used in the new boat. Take, for example, the dagger board which was not changed from from the Laser 2 spec and will therefore fit your boat if you need one.
  • Laser 2 has an American counterpart. This means that parts for the boat might be available in the states although steer clear of the sails because they are, according to the head of the North American Laser 2 Class Association, not a good quality as those in the UK.
  • Laser Performance Europe has abandoned the boat as far as I can tell and have handed over the rights to sell parts for the UK to a company called Northampton Sailboats ( The staff are friendly and helpful although stock parts at prices which, in my opinion, should only be considered as a last resort. I had to get my Kicker from them for £45.00 plus postage but the more able among you might be able to fabricate one just as easily!

So where did I get my parts from?

After a few days of scouring the internet I decided to bite the bullet and get my wallet out. After the cobwebs had settled I got in touch with several sellers on websites like eBay and where you will find plenty of boat parts but not so much Laser 2.

Cost so far: £170.00

I did several hundred Google searches and enquired about some rope to Joe at ropeloft. I rung Joe and within an hour of being on the phone we hatched a plan and created a list of what I needed. This was fairly good seeing as I had no idea what I needed except to describe to him what I did have (which was not a lot!). In the next few days arrived a huge bundle of high quality rope to do everything for the boat I needed including a few bundled offcuts. The grand total was £40.00 all in and the best thing was I actually received the goods before I paid. In my book that does show a very trusting and kind person indeed! I would recommend not using the website as at the time I found it hard to navigate to the extent I got bored and rung him. I would really recommend picking up the phone with any transaction beforehand because the people on the other end are usually really friendly and able to help and in my case it paid off because I got exactly what I needed with zero effort and minimal cost.

Cost so far: £210.00

Next on the list was a few bits and pieces such as a bung, kicker, vernier shroud adjusters and a back to back swivel block for the horse. Sadly for these I went to because they are generally low cost items I needed and I thought best to get official parts. Of course I got the kicker from them because of my lack of knowledge of the part and lack of patience in making one. This is something which, next time, I would do myself!

Cost so far: £270.00

I contacted Tony at Sailsport Marine ( for sail battens and some other bits. I rung up once again to make sure they would fit and was pointed in the direction of a ‘Training Batten Set’  which were half the cost and arrived very quickly. I also ordered an assortment of stainless screws and some plastic balls to go on the end of some of the ropes to act as shackles. They work a treat and were relatively cheap! I also ordered a center main sheet block from them which, although is a little small, does the trick beautifully.

Cost so far: £320.00

Being a bit sad I set up a saved search on eBay for the term ‘Laser 2’ and ‘Laser 2 Regatta’. Checking it daily got me a great bargain in a rudder and stock for £140.00.

Cost so far: £460.00

I then needed a tiller and extension of which the ‘official’ site were selling for around £75-80. I decided to keep trying eBay and a few days later my endurance paid off and I got a Laser 1 carbon tiller and extension for £40.00. A word of warning here though. Although the Laser 1 tiller will fit the Laser 2 stock you may need to ‘help’ the thing into the stock the first time. I used sand paper and furniture polish to do it and then drilled a new hole for the pin to go through but it works really well indeed! Don’t be shy to modify some bits like tillers because it’s very rewarding and brings the cost down no end.

Cost so far: £500.00

Finally I needed the most expensive piece of them all, the dagger board. This part alone would have cost me nearly £300.00 if it wasn’t for me being so stubborn. I scoured Google and asked tens of questions on wanted sites and forums. I kept an eye on eBay but even on there they have cottoned onto the sheer cost of these things. I got to the stage where i was going to ‘borrow’ one from another boat at the place I keep mine and fabricate something crudely out of plywood just to get me on the water. This was not necessary in the end as one of my many requests came back with a positive where someone had an old Laser 3000 board lying around and would sell it to me for £110.00. Thanks to the guys at Sailboat Spares ( I now have the final piece of the puzzle and can now write this post and tot up the overall cost.

Cost so far: £610.00

Notice I used ‘cost so far’ at this final stage. So far I have not yet sailed it so don’t know if there is anything I have forgotten and also there is no spinnaker set up on the boat. Although I am not proficient enough to even consider using one yet it’s on the shopping list definitely! The boat also has provision for trapeze wires so I need to get hold of a harness however it’s not a priority!

Update: Sailed it  few times now… bought a cover for it. It’s a great boat that goes well. My only advice it to make sure you either know how to sail properly or have a second person to be in the boat with you. Single handing this boat with a couple of months experience is not a good idea 🙂


There are a fair few good sites out there about the Laser 2 however be aware that some of them are American and when you are looking for parts are not relevant really. There are a couple of good forums around but are not very active so the best places to look for parts and advice is around the boatyards that have them. Get down to the local sailing club and see if you can get talking to the people that have them because they are far more likely, like me, to have a few contacts for various parts.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has been/is working on a Laser 2 and wants to share their own sources of parts and knowledge.


I have been contacted by a supplier of Laser 2 parts in the UK who offers a cheaper alternative to using Laser Performance for this. The website address is


  1. John

    Just want to say well done. Great story and good to see an L2 back sailable. I have a Laser one and a Laser 2, sail in Chester currently but will be moving to Shotwick Lake for next season (there 2 or 3 Laser 2’s already there and its much better water). How has sailing gone for you. Suppose a little bit of expiereince would have told you the L2 kicker is essentially the L1 original which was incredibly under powered even for the 1. Got mine off ebay for about £10. However switch it with the new style one off my L1 when I can be bothered or when taking juniors out.

    • Sean

      Hi John, Good to hear from a fellow enthusiast. My wife’s family sail in Chester, the Whiteheads… I may have met you but apologies for not remembering. I’m awful with names and faces! Yes sailing has been great fun since I have had the boat on the water. The Kicker sadly cost me 40odd quid from the official dealer but it seems to do the trick. I would like to see a cam cleat on there instead of the V shaped it of metal it’s currently got. Would make life easier for derigging etc.. I’m finding the square back a challenge and have chopped about 8 inches from the tiller extension as it was impossible to handle at the huge size it was when I got it. I can’t believe anyone would use that on an L1! Otherwise it’s going great. A little bit too much for a novice like me to handle on my own at times but a very good little boat. I do, however, keep gawping at the Solos they have at Nantwich & Border Counties where I sail. Very nice indeed! Good luck at Shotwick and for the future. Stay in touch.


  2. James

    Hi Sean, great work on the boat and on posting your story here. A friend and I also just got hold of an ageing Laser 2 and we’re some way off getting it into the shape we’d like to see her in. Many of your comments on sourcing parts etc. have been very useful. Thanks again. James

  3. Andy GBR9212

    Hi sean

    Lovely to see a laser 2 returning to the water. I can suggest a very good website for restoring/maintenance on the laser 2:

    Currently have an as new boat, but thinking of restoring an older one too. The site above is great, lots of advice and tips, make your boat look good as new, repainting and all sorts. If your unsure if something is rigged right, theres a rigging guide on the left hand side of the page. If you want it even more shiny, get some marine polish, they tend to come up nicely.

    Also, the UK Class association is in need of new interest and members, as the commitee is thinning; they also have advice to offer through the forum and yahoo group.

    Oh, and this site has another forum which is handy:

    Cheers, good luck and well done, looks like a good buy after the spending!


    • Sean

      Hi Andy, thanks for the information… I had actually looked at each of those sites but for some reason didn’t document their usefulness in my report. The boat is now sitting at the club for the Winter as the lake is currently frozen, Will see how she goes in the new year once I can procure a wetsuit with legs or a drysuit. Not as hardy as I used to be apparently!

      thanks again

  4. Callum

    I was lucky enough to get a Laser 2 pretty cheap and almost complete. I found your article searching for others having problems with the length of the tiller extension. I took it for its first sail today with a novice crew and found that I had to manually unfoul the extension from the mainsheet at every tack. Bit of nightmare but managed not to take a swim. I’ve been thinking about this hard but can’t visualise a way to turn the boat without hanging that long extension up on either the center mainsheet or if I swing it to the stern, on the mainsheet leading to the traveller. You said how much you cut off but how long did that leave the extension? Can you still hike out far enough? Thanks.

    • Sean

      Hi Callum, Impressive you found one nearly complete. I have yet to find one both cheap and ready to sail. Yes I had to cut the tiller extension down quite by bout 8 inches I think but then it was an aftermarket carbon one. I personally don’t go out too far so have never had that issue however yes I imagine that if you were a lot taller and really get forward in the boat then it might be an issue. For me though I have always got a few inches of extension available to lean a little further. It was a bit of a pain having to untangle it each time I tacked, I went for the easy option instead of adjusting my style. I suppose you could give it a little flick as you turn to get it past perhaps. Good luck with it.. good to hear from another enthusiast!


  5. Callum

    Hi Sean, thanks for getting back to me. A hacksaw and pop rivet ought to do it. Mine is Aluminium. Can you tell me the length of the tiller and the length of the extension? I probably won’t alter it until the boat is rigged and ready.

    • Sean

      Yes it sounds about right doesn’t it. I was a little bit worried about cutting mine down for the same reasons you suggest to best to leave a couple of inches more than you wanted to take off on there and see if you can live with it. Remember you can take off but not put back on again. Sadly Laser 2 tillers and extensions aren’t cheap (as with any other product from Laser Performance). I got mine from eBay as you read in the saga however it’s from a Laser 1 so the measurement I gave would be wrong regardless. The simplest way to check would be to rig the boat (on a calm day) on the trailor, sit in the helming position, pull in the main as far as it will go so that the sheets are tight then attempt a tack on dry land. As your hand passes the main block you have your overlap. As I said it might just be something you can live with or possibly move the main block forward a few inches? You could always put it back I suppose. Not something I considered at the time.

      Hope this helps to some degree. I’ve not managed to get out in the boat for a while but with the weather as it is today in the UK I certainly feel that I should make the effort over the next few weeks!


  6. Marvin Moore

    Great story and what a wife you have buying you a boat!!! While pregnant!!!!! She is a dream wife.
    I just bought a laser 2 with everything but the mast (and rigging) and am searching world wide for one. So far nothing. I might even have to make one from some old mast and have the base engineered to fit in the step. Best of luck and thanks for the gives me hope.

    • Sean

      Hi Marvin,

      I actually sold the boat a few weeks ago through lack of use. It’s sadly not a good time for me to own one on account of the wife not being bothered and children too young. I had a great time sourcing the bits and making it all work though so I encourage you to stick with it. You might have to start contacting sailing clubs around you because these boats (of a certain age) tend to have been left sitting for years with their bits just ripe for you to buy. You might find that asking around the clubs and getting in touch with owners is enough to convince some bored old sailor to sell you the entire boat and then you can help other people via eBay or similar selling the parts (not to mention making a profit!).

      Good luck!


    • Awhapshott

      Marvin; If you still haven’t found a mast; Put an add up on “”, loads of hulls are worn out around the UK, so you could fairly easily nab a mast.. I am helping to select the new mast design.. so have looked at many alternatives. If you can hang on there will be a new, fully legal laser 2 mast avaliable within the next few months from sailboats uk .com… Otherwise your best bet is to try a shortened 420 mast..

    • Ben

      How did getting a mast go and how much did it cost? I have a 25 year old laser 2 and the mast is way past its best, so it really needs replacing.

      • Sean Barton

        I would look on eBay or scour the local boat clubs as these boats are really not that popular any more what with cheaper and easier boats on the market. The mast came with mine so I can’t comment on the cost but considering the cost of the boat complete with mast it might make sense for you to get a scrap rig and strip it for parts. It splits into two as you know so transporting it should be fairly easy going.

  7. paul cooper

    I have just bought a l2 and love it. Id like to sail it solo on the trap, does anyone know how long the extension needs to be. I saw one post on another forum saying 10′ but not where you can get such a monster which will telescope.

  8. Brian de Villiers

    Hi Sean
    I live near Cape Town, South Africa.
    I recently bought a Lazer 2 in Knysna , South Africa.
    A fairly old boat , about 12 years old , complete except for the daggerboard.
    There are not many Lazer 2’s around this part of the world. I need to make a daggerboard and the profile I can size according to the slot in the casing. I am however having great difficulty establishing what the correct overall length of the board needs to be.
    Can you help me ?


    • Sean

      Hi Brian,

      I believe the Laser 2 is between 13 and 15 feet long however that won’t be a problem really. If you buy a Laser 3000 Daggerboard it will be the correct size and shape and fit the slot no problem. The laser 3000 is a vastly improved version of the Laser 2 so the parts are somewhat interchangeable. The Laser 2 is a great little boat for a single hander with some experience or a crew of two smaller people.. I had mine flying along (with some help) a few times and despite the age it will put a smile on your face.. particularly out of Cape Town.. The sailing there must be excellent!!



  9. Roman

    Hi Sean,

    what an adventure. Reading your story reminds me of what I have experienced. After acquiring a (German) sailing license together with my (now) wife ten years ago, I have got in the same situation as you did. No time for sailing at all due to hassle in the job/children/house.
    Then this year on holiday in the Netherlands I rented a dinghy for some hours and I had sooo much fun that I immediately decided to buy a boat of my own.

    Nobody can understand the enthusiasm first when searching and then when refurbishing the boat. You must have tried it.

    The very day after my holidays I bought a Laser 2 Fun. The Fun is special edition of the Laser 2 with a furling jib and reefable main sail, but no spinaker.

    As the halyards were totally rotten Idecided to buy new ones at (The UK laser II market is much bigger than the German one). While the main halyard fits perfectly the jib halyard doesn’t fit at all, because the mast dimensions of the FUN edition seem to be different. Now I solved the problem by replacing the old jib halyard by a Dyneema rope with a self spliced thimble.

    It’s sooo great to go out sailing, espacially after hours in front of the computer.

    You should not wait ten years as I did before restarting this hobby again.

    Greetings from Essen, Baldeneysee, Germany

    • Sean

      Hi Roman

      Thanks for your message. It does ring a bell. I fully intend to pick up sailing again when our family moves to the south coast in a few months. We should be there just in time for the Summer sailing season to begin!

      It is certainly a thrilling thing building your own boat although proximity to my own boat and lack of funds prohibited me from enjoying it as much as I could have done. I spent many an evening driving for 30-40mins to get to my boat to put on a cleat or something only to find I had left a key tool at home.

      When I finally got to sail it she went well although really the Laser 2 Regatta is a two man boat for both company and enjoyment. I found that by the time I had rigged her and got onto the water I was largely bored and decided to come in again. For one person learning or wanting a bit of fun I think the normal Laser would suit. There are more enjoyable and more fiddly boats to use but for a quick bit of fun the Laser is a contender. Cheap too and parts are plentiful as you suggest. Buying anything from is a little bit of a last resort for me because they stock official and new parts. For a better deal eBay is the best answer or just looking on local sailing club websites for parts. I believe I found mine on (if that’s stil going) and bought mine as a wreck. I would do it again in a heartbeat.. and probably will when my kids are old enough.

      Thanks for the enjoyable read and I do wish you the best of luck with your boat.


  10. Gerard

    Hi Sean

    I liked this story…..I have a similar one but quite a differnt starting point… one time I purchased a Bell Flyer (in Burton-on-Trent).

    So my starting point was somewhat different. My Kids (all teenagers) sailed this for a few yesrs, the plywood hull eventually was retierd a month ago. Given I only paid 250 for it and we had three years enjoyment I reckon it paid for itself. So I was left with a nice rig, rudder, dagger board & bag full of fittings but no hull.

    I then picked up a laser 2 hull in a local sailing school for £100.

    Starting with the rudder I spent 30 minutes making some inserts for the laser brackets to reduce them to 8mm and fit the pins on my rudder…..nice easy fix.

    I replaced the main sheet block with the one salvaged from the Flyer.

    Then I fitted the mast, clearly the boom was too high so the mast came down again a few minutes later. I cut 250mm of the end so the boom would be at the correct height, as I was at it I replaced the mast step with the one from the Flyer. Trapeze was an easy task I just needed a bit of shockcord, the wires are a little long but I’ll fix that in time. Then the Main & Jib went up….Incidently I have a fully battened main sail with a very large roach. We now had something approaching a boat ready for the water…Not bad for the first evenings work!

    I was not happy with the Jib setup the following day, so had a 3mm dyneema strop made up with an eye in each end to make the Jib fit properly, as I was it it I also bought webbing for toe straps….(additional cost another £6)

    ps. Dyneema is super stuffs so good that I’m thinking of replacing all the rigging with it.

    Centre board….Hmm! the one from the Flyer fits in the slot but is a little short (on the fore – aft dimension) and a little deep. I got out the circular saw and cut it down to size (150mm came off the end). After fitting a gasget to the centre board case it fitted fine with the addition of a small wooden peg at the front end. I’m thinking of replacing the board with a laser 3000 one in due course, but it will do for now.

    Happy with second evenings work….wife complaining of boat on lawn!

    Spinnaker….the Kite & Pole from the bell flyer are being reused. I welded up a stainelss bracket for the frount fixing from some material I had lying around. I’ve yet to figure out how to mount the rest of the spinaker gear before I go drilling holes in the boat……

    Going sailing this weekend (without the spinnaker finished) as the kids want on the Trapeze.

    • Sean Barton

      Hi Gerard, sounds like you took to it pretty well. I was a bit younger than I am now and was a good 15mins drive from the boat so doing anything with it was slow. That and sourcing cheap parts was a nightmare. Paying for every cleat and pulley breaks your heart but it’s a labour of love isn’t it. I’m with you on the Dynemma.. I made a lead out of the scraps for my dog and he’s yet to chew through it 🙂 Sadly the Laser 2 needs a Jib to effectively sail as the forestay is such a thin gauge wire that it can’t cope. As a beginner I found it a bit of a pain having to deal with both sails on my own but I’m all for jumping in the deep end with that sort of thing! Next time I shall get a plastic boat ready made but it was certainly worth the experience!

      Good job though.. I hope it works out for you and you get your franken-boat going 🙂


  11. Vanessa

    Hey guys,

    great to see there are still some Laser2 fans around the globe 🙂 I am president of the German and international Laser2 class association. At the moment we try to establish some contacts to Laser2 sailors around the world in order to get a fresh breeze into the class. Would be great if you join us and get in touch:

    Please also share with other (L2) sailors. Thanks and have a good time – Vanessa

  12. Rob Bodman

    Hi Sean. Great read- thanks for sharing your journey. I’m hoping you still read this as I’d value your opinion – I’m considering buying an L2 Fun for myself and my 10yr old lad to sail together, albeit with the intention of sailing it single-handed a fair amount too. I can sail, but by the sounds of things I may be at the same sort of level you were at when you finally got yours on the water. Realistically, how tricky are they to sail on your own? Cheers, Rob

    • Sean Barton

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for the message. Yup I read every comment here and glad to reply. I’ve not done a lot of sailing in the last few years. However, it’s a great little boat and would fit the 10 year old and yourself nicely. If you’re looking at a bit of fun sailing with less rigging and messing about then I’d recommend a Laser Pico.. same number of sails, lighter boat, plastic so harder to damage and easier to transport.

      The L2 was a great sail with two people.. we had her planing away and she went very well. Lots of adjustment and it’s a laser at heart which was fun. Singlehandedly sailing she was fine, a little hard as the design suffers from the same drawback of old lasers, the square stern so your sheets will foul regularly. You get used to a little tiller flick to clear it of course but it’s annoying at first.

      The L2 also needs to be moving to drain which is awkward if you capsize on your own. The Pico is an open back so self drains. Both recommended and great fun! 🙂


  13. Ian Yarrow

    Interesting read Sean – if only I had known some years ago as I have a “Black Magic” Laser 2 Regatta which I need to get rid of. It’s complete, but the sails are in poor condition and it hasn’t been used for the last 20 years!
    If you know anyone who might be interested I’d like to know..we live in East Hampshire not too far from the South coast.

    • Sean Barton

      Hi Ian, no problem. By all means post a price and contact number if you like. They are great little boats so I’m sure someone will take it. Is there a road trailer also..

  14. Jason

    Just bought a ’90 L2 in great condition, complete with both trailers and very good sails including spinnaker and trapeze.£450.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Be the first to hear about new products/updates!

This is a mailing list for those people interested in being told when we release a new product (Divi plugin or Theme).

We shall also use this list to let you know about product updates and releases.

You have Successfully Subscribed!