Bigger Sail for Laser Pico

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by fightingtorque, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. fightingtorque
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: Norfolk, UK

    fightingtorque New Member


    I have a Laser Pico with 5.4m2 mainsail, and I'd like something bigger just for fun sailing in light winds on holiday. There is a Pico sport sail of 6.4m2 available but I was also considering something like a Laser Rooster 8.1m sail, presumably I'd need a laser boom and make a custom mast. Have people done this kind of thing before and what are the unforeseen consequences.........? I take the boat on holidays to Lac de Lacanau in France, usually the winds are very light, when I used to windsurf there I was a lot lighter but still needed around a 7m2 sail to have fun on most days.

    This is my first post and I'm new to any kind of modification to boats, as I spend most of my time fooling around with cars. I have a 1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE with a 1999 Alfa Romeo engine, power is increased from 128hp to 215hp, it's a hoot and only broke the back axle once. I'm looking for a similar experience in sailing, am I in the right place for this?

  2. Tink
    Joined: Jun 2018
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    Location: North East England

    Tink Junior Member

    Very left field but if it is just for messing about in light airs I would go for a lug rig.

    Standing lug would be simple but the balance might be thrown off

    Balanced lug and you would be fine.

    Homemade polytarp sail to test it out and you’re good to go.

    I expect serious racers will not agree with me but it would work.

    Laser / Rooster 8.1mm may prove tricky as the mast diameter for the laser is relatively large
  3. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: United States

    Skyak Senior Member

    It seems to me that you simply have the wrong laser rig for your size and weight. The standard 7M^2 sail should be no problem for you -over 60kg, sailing experienced. The laser is fairly narrow and round bottomed so it is easily driven, excellent to windward, but not particularly suited to planing no matter how you overpower it. There are flat top oversized sails, but I would recommend that you just go for the standard. You can't beat the price of the Unofficial clone sails -or you could just get an official sail -the new cut is excellent -more durable. In either case you can sell it for nearly full price if you don't like it. If you get some Franken sail it loses half it's value on the first sail.

    Standard lasers tend to break the mast base loose from the bottom. It is a good idea to build some gussets in even before it breaks.

    About light wind -it just doesn't have the energy to be very fun no mater how much sail you put up. My experience (regular laser) is that light winds are just too fluky. The round bottom of the laser makes me have to move my butt too often and crouching on center waiting for the next puff is no fun.

    My thoughts for a home build light wind setup would be a sprit main and a asymmetric spinnaker on a sprit for down wind. Some sort of seat that made it easy to scoot to center would be needed to make puffy conditions tolerable.
  4. tlouth7
    Joined: Jun 2013
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    Location: Cambridge, UK

    tlouth7 Senior Member

    The OP has a Pico, not a Laser.

    I think you would be better off with a larger dinghy (such as a Laser, or RS Aero) rather than a larger rig on the Pico. That said, you could probably concoct a sprit sail that fits on the Pico's own spars. That way you wouldn't have to take extra spars on holiday with you.
  5. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Location: United States

    Skyak Senior Member

    My mistake. I thought the Pico was just a small sail plan on the Laser hull -like the Radial or 4.7....

    It seems that they are abusing the trademark of the real Laser class by applying it to every little boat.
  6. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Back full time in the UK

    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    The Pico also comes with a jib, and why not fit a bowsprit and an asymmetric? Its a long time since I sailed a Pico I'm afraid, but IIRC the mast step is Topper like? So may be challenging to modify. Also the "bury" may not be enough for a bigger rig, and it's a plastic hull so you cannot modify it easily

    I agree with other comments, you might be better off getting a more performance orientated boat all older dinghies are very cheap these days. Streaker?, Minisail Sprint? (the one with sliding seat), Byte?, Splash? All car toppable

    Richard Woods

  7. fightingtorque
    Joined: Jul 2018
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Norfolk, UK

    fightingtorque New Member

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for the replies and ideas. I think the best points are "you might be better off getting a more performance orientated boat" and also that sailing in light winds is never much fun!

    In due course I plan to re-commission a wooden Scorpion that we have at my parent's home, we've not sailed it in over 25 years though so it needs a proper going over.

    The idea behind the Pico was that my daughters would learn to sail in it, although I must confess the enthusiasm has been limited.
    I found a guy selling a Rooster 8.1 sail for a reasonable price so I went for it. It turns out that the Pico mast diameters are the same as the regular laser but even with the Rooster extension piece, I need an extra 500mm or so in the top and then another 350 or so on the boom.
    2018-07-08 10.47.22.jpg 2018-07-11 09.26.10.jpg

    tube extension assembly.JPG I have some aluminium tube the same size (2") and also a smaller size to go inside (1 5/8") and will fill the gap with some 3D printed ASA pieces in the first attempt and using fibreglass paste between 3D printed formers if that doesnt work.
    I can imagine it might sail a bit awkwardly as the COE of the sail will likely be further back than the standard sail.

    All in all, it's a silly compromise I agree, but it's as much about doing a "project" as anything else!

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