International Laser 2 Class Association
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home : the class : rules : 2009 proposal changes interpretations questions 

Over the years the International Office gets a steady stream of questions about the rules. Often these do not warrant official interpretations, because the answer is within the existing rules as they stand.

However, since no question is only asked once, we thought you would like to read some of the questions that have been asked and the answers that have been given.


Q : Who am I allowed to buy Laser 2 sails from?
A : Laser 2 sails can only be purchased through Vanguard (USA) or Performance Sailcraft Europe (UK), or their authorized dealers.

Q : I sail in Europe, but ordered a set of sails from America over the internet because they were much cheaper than the European sails. But Iíve now discovered the material is different to the European sailcloth and much lower quality. Why is this?
A : There are two licensed sailmakers for Laser 2s, one in North America and one in Europe. The sails they produce are made from different material. This is because in the mid 1980ís there was widespread dissatisfaction with the Laser 2 sailcloth. We worked with the European sailmaker to develop new sails out of a stronger, better lasting sailcloth. After much testing, the class voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new material. However, the North American manufacturer refused to change their sailcloth and so they still make sails out of the old sailcloth.

Q : Do we now need to have national letters on Laser 2 sails?
A : An amendment to RRS Appendix H 1.1 means that national letters are now required at all international events except when boats are provided to all competitors. International events are ISAF events, world and continental championships and events described as international events in their notices of race and sailing instructions.
Therefore national letters are now required on Laser 2 sails for the World and Continental championships. According to a World Council ruling (approved by ISAF), the national letters shall be placed above the sail number and class insignia on the mainsail and are not required on the spinnaker.

Q : Where should the sail numbers be placed, particularly with regard to the class emblem?
A : The rules are pretty flexible as to where the numbers may be positioned provided :

There are no rules about where they sit in relation to the class emblem, just that they are above a line which is below the emblem!

Realistically, this means there are two options : either have both numbers above the emblem (the most common), or have the port ones below and the starboard ones above.

Q : Can the Laser 2 top batten be replaced by a different batten?
A : All Laser 2 battens have to be those supplied by the builder.

Q : Is it legal to use a nylon olive inserted in the mainsail tack eye?
A : This is not specifically allowed under Part 2 of the rules, so unless it is supplied like this, it is not allowed.

Compasses & Other Gadgets

Q : If I taped off the header/lift bars on the Tacktick Race Compass to disable the programme function, would it be legal?
A : Taping off the header/lift bars would not disable its ability to be programmed and it would therefore not make it legal.

Q : Can you use GPS on a Laser 2?
A : Using GPS is totally illegal on a Laser 2!

Q : I have a GPS which gives readouts of course and speed and also logs this data for download after the race. I was wondering if this would be classified as a digital compass since it can be linked to a screen that gives readouts of headings only during the race. Also it would not be programmable since you canít put any wind headings, or stuff like that, that could give you an advantage in any way. It would be exactly the same as a digital compass during the race, but allow track downloads after the race for analysis.
A : The system you propose is not allowed in the current Laser 2 rules because it is not explicitly allowed in Part 2 of the rules. Compasses are explicitly allowed, GPS is not explicitly allowed and is therefore illegal.

Foil Repair

Q : We have some damaged centreboards which we would like to repair. Are there some templates available or design specifications to allow us to rebuild them?
A : There are no templates or design specifications available because they are the commercial property of Laser. You simply have to repair them to be as close to the original shape as possible.

Q : Someone damaged their centreboard, repaired it with epoxy resin and then painted it with a high quality car paint and polished the whole thing. Is this legal?
A : Painting the centreboard with a high quality car paint is not allowed.


Q : I would like to know if you may paint an anti-slip coating on the cockpit floor?
A : The rule states that "non slip paint, tape or material may be added to the gunwales". Therefore anti slip coatings are not allowed on the cockpit floor.

Q : Would surf-board wax added to the deck as non-skid material be allowed?
A : Surf-board wax can only be added to the gunwales, not the decks.

Hull Surface

Q : Can the hull be sanded to reduce skin friction, and, if so, to what degree?
Q : Is polishing the hull with sandy car wax legal?
A : Cleaning or polishing the hull is not illegal, unless it alters the hull form.


Q : What kinds of material are prohibited in rule 12a when it says "Aramid fibre or similar material is prohibited for all sheets and lines except spinnaker sheets"?
A : Aramid fibre or similar materials refers to kevlar type materials and these are prohibited (except for spinnaker sheets) because they tend to fail without warning at points of stress.

Q : Are the new expensive non-stretch rope materials (Spectra, Dyneema) legal?
A : They are legal everywhere because they are not aramid fibre.

Q : Are spliced lines legal to attach ropes rather than knots?
A : I cannot see anything wrong in using splices to attach ropes to sails/fittings instead of knots, providing their only purpose is attachment.

Q : Are splices on the core allowed?
A : In view of the above, I cannot see anything wrong with this.

Q : Are stripped control lines legal (cunningham,outhaul and kicking strap)?
A : What are stripped control lines?

Q : Would it be legal to use two lines, one as a cunningham and one as an inhaul (instead of a fixed tack)?
A : It would not be legal to use two lines, but a "floating cunningham" made from the same line is allowed under 12i.

Q : Is it legal to pass the outhaul around the mast, like on a Laser I?
A : Rule 12m clearly states that this is not legal on a Laser 2.

Q : What are the restrictions on the kicking strap?:

A : You have to use the blocks supplied by the builder. As Rule 12k states, you can add one stainless steel eye and describes how the rope should be rigged.

Q : The vang attachment to the mast sometimes breaks. Is it allowed to replace the original loop with a stronger one? Is it allowed to secure the vang with a rope around the mast, to prevent the loss of the vang in case the loop breaks?
A : You cannot change the type of loop, but I would allow preventative maintenance (Rule 29) of securing the vang with a rope around the mast in case the loop breaks, as is common practice.

Q : Is a 4:1 purchase constructed of two double sheaved blocks allowed to tighten the traveller?
A : The two double sheaved blocks are fittings which are not specified in Rule 12f and are therefore illegal.

Q : Is it allowed to have a separate spinnaker halyard and a separate retrieval line?
A : You can have a separate spinnaker halyard and retrieval line (Rule 20b). However, while I would allow the retrieval line to be tied off another fitting (provided it did not affect the function of that fitting), I would not allow it to use another fitting in its function (i.e. it could not go through a pulley, even the ones allowed for the spinnaker halyard).

Q : Can you have a continuous jib sheet system like 470 sailors use, with a fitting attached to the crew that could hold the jib sheet without making too much friction when you move?
A : This would be illegal because the fitting on the crew's body is a fitting not supplied by the builder and not permitted under Part Two of the rules.

Wire Rigging

Q : Can you replace the wire shrouds with 7 x 19 wire.
A : The construction of the wire shrouds should be 1 x 19 (Rule 12b).

Q : Can the trapeze wire be replaced with spectra lines?
A : The trapeze wire has to be wire (i.e. metal) (Rule 18a).


Q : I sail with a spinnaker bag and find the spinnaker halyard keeps getting caught on everything. Do you think a "take up" system, similar to that of the 470ís would be legal?
A : I am not sure what is meant by a "take up system", but it is unlikely to be legal on a Laser 2. The spinnaker halyard has to be rope, of uniform diameter, and the class rules clearly state how it can be controlled. I would have thought this would prevent any other "system" unless you reckon that the rules specifically allow what you are proposing.

Q : In the class rules about the mast it says about changes to the last rules but does not mention what the last rules are. Do you have any information as to the exact rules governing the set up of the mast?
A : Rule 1 is quite clear that the mast should be "as supplied by the builder", and can only modified as explicitly stated in the class rules. Rule 30 is to allow ancient spec masts to be updated. This does not allow anyone to change a current mast to the old spec.

Q : Do you think it is legal to attach both the helmsmanís hiking straps with each other?
A : They can only be attached to each other at the rear.

Q : Is it legal to replace the spring at the centre mainsheet attachment by half a tennis ball?
A : No, only what is explicitly stated in Part 2 of the rules is allowed as replacements to any fittings. Most people solve the problem of the spinnaker halyard in the spring by covering the attachment in plastic tubing, as is allowed in Rule 25b.

Q : Would a very soft sail batten, with a rubber cap, be allowed as a spinnaker sheet catcher; provided it will break without splintering in a collision?
A : This is acceptable and quite often used. The main thing is that it can easily colapse. This means it should be able to bend easily or to come unattached on impact. For example, I would allow a Laser 2 batten which is attached with tape which would cease to be attached on impact, but I would not allow a Laser 2 batten which is fixed by screws.

Q : Are plastic balls at the end of control lines and halyards legal?
A : These are not allowed at the end of control lines or halyards unless the rules specifically state they are allowed. So they would be allowed on the trapeze system because Rule 18c says this is unrestricted. They would also be allowed on the spinnaker pole because Rule 19a says this is unrestricted. But I don't think they're allowed anywhere else.

Q : Is it legal to replace all shackles and the chainplates used to adjust the length of the jib halyard with 3mm line?
A : Shackles may only be replaced with another shackle or shackles performing the same function (Rule 13f), unless specifically allowed in Part Two of the Rules. I think there are only two places where this is specifically allowed:

  1. The shackle attaching the head of the jib to the jib halyard which may be replaced with a chainplate (Rule 13g).
  2. The shackle attaching the mainsail to the tack attachment which may be replaced with the mainsail cunningham (Rule 12i).
In addition, there are some pieces of equipment that are largely unrestricted (e.g trapeze, spinnaker pole) where obviously any shackles can be replaced.
Shackles have been defined in a rule interpretation as a device with a hoop and a pin. Therefore replacement of shackles with line is illegal in most instances.

Q : Is it allowed to remove the shackle attaching the jib to the bow U bolt and attach the jib directly to the bow U-bolt?
A : No, for the reasons above.

Q : Is it allowed to switch the right and left spinnaker deck cleats so that they are open inwards?
A : Given these are supplied opening outwards, and there is no option on these in Part Two of the rules, swapping them around would not be allowed.


Jeremy Atkins

Chief Measurer.