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While the Laser 2 is a "strict one-design" it never had as strict rules as the Laser. With the addition of a jib, trapeze and spinnaker, it was felt that a certain amount of flexibility was needed for personal preference and so this was built into the class rules.
As mentioned, earlier, while things were going well in the early years in North America, they were sticking a bit in Europe. To try to overcome this, a thorough review of the boat was undertaken by Laser 2 sailors and the European builder in 1984.
Some radical ideas, like moving from diamonds to more conventional spreaders, were discussed, but rejected on the basis of altering the boat too much. However 3 main changes to the boat and rules were felt to be particularly beneficial and would not outclass existing boats:
North America ignored the vote and the changes until Sunfish Laser became the North American builder and they started building to the revised spec.
Despite the lack of interest elsewhere, these changes had a significant effect on the class in Europe, and particularly the UK, where it now grew fast.
The other significant change to the boat was again driven by Europe where there was great dissatisfaction with how long the sails lasted. This was first raised seriously in 1985 and after lots of testing over the winter, a new, heavier and longer lasting sailcloth was adopted by the European builder in 1986.
Once again, North America did not follow, arguing that, in the lighter winds found in North America, the original, lighter sailcloth was more appropriate. This difference has not had a significant effect on the class – both North American and European sails have been seen at the front at the Worlds. However it has caused some problems now people can easily order things over the internet. Some European sailors, seeing cheaper sails in North America, have ordered them only to be disappointed that the sails are not the same as they were expecting.next