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The first talk of a Laser 2 emanated from New Zealand in the late 1970s, where the local Laser builder commissioned Alan Warwick to design a two-man boat modelled on the Laser. The international owners of the Laser brand, Performance Sailcraft, had a prototype sent to them in Canada, but they did not proceed with the design.
However, whether stimulated by this New Zealand initiative or not, Performance Sailcraft in Canada decided to develop an inexpensive, simple two-man boat.
Viewing the market they felt that boats of this type quickly got "typed" into one of 3 categories – racing machine, junior trainer and day sailer – and no boat served all three purposes. In July 1978 they decided to develop a 3-in-1 product and have it ready for the 1980's.
A detailed design brief was developed and given to Frank Bethwaite of Australia in August 1978. Some of the things in the design brief were obvious: it had to be simple, be able to carry weight, come up dry after a capsize and so on. Others were a bit different: it had to be designed so that 8 hulls could be stacked into a shipping container!
The hull design Frank Bethwaite came up with was a development of his world championship winning Cherub designs and sailing trials began in November 1978, with further work on the rig and sails going on into 1979.
The class was first launched in Australia on 23rd May 1979 at the Melbourne Sailboat Show. It made it into North America later that year at the Annapolis Boat Show in October. It was officially launched into the UK and Europe at the London Boat Show in January 1980.next