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spankoka

Do Laser hulls deteriorate with use, or with time?

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For example; if had a choice between older hull that has been used gently, or a newer hull that has been ridden hard and put away wet as a club boat, which is the better choice? For the purposes of club racing, what should I rule out as a purchase? 

Edited by spankoka
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Yes. As it is with everything. How fast depends on how hard you use it and how well you take care of it between uses.

Sun is a very bad thing. Having it be wet all of the time is also a very bad thing.

Boats stored outside will age faster than boats that are stored in a garage and allowed to be out of the sun and kept dry.

Club boats tend to get very hard use. Since the user does not own the boat and, often, doesn't maintain the boat, they don't care for it as well when launching or coming into the docks. If I could, I'd probably avoid a club boat unless I was just looking for a knock around boat. If I'm looking for Olympic performance, I'd buy new and treat it was made of glass. Avoid the backyard flowerpots as well. Boats that sit under a tarp for years. I've never seen a boat treated like that worth my money.

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Depends on type of wind / wave conditions but could be that either hull is OK but a new sail and playing the shifts correctly can be much more important. That said, I guess I would go with the older hull for same reasons listed by TeamFugu.

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Use.
Damage accumulation model applies. small loads repeated many times is equivalent to large loads less frequently. See bridge design. Similar ideas.

The flexy problem of old hulls gains importance with wind strength and especially wave action. Flatwater light wind the weight and the smoothness of the bottom are all that matters. Sailing in say Buzzards Bay in 18 knot SW you will fall behind in a flexy hull.

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The problem with Laser hulls is twofold, one us they are made with chopped strand, and secondly the are made with polyester resin. As the hull ages the styrene slowly disappears from the laminate making it more brittle and prone to cracking. If you are going to be sailing on flat water then the old boat will be great if it has not been over stressed. 

A heavily used and abused new boat will probably have more mast step and centreboard case wear, more scratches on the hull and potentially more cracking under the gunnels from standing on the bottom of the boat during a capsize.

Obviosly without actually seeing the 2 boats in question it is hard to make a 100% accurate decision, try and find the local equivalent of Gouv to look at the boats for you.

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I get it that the Aero is a superior to a Laser in many ways, but Lasers on Sundays and Tuesdays is what my club does. In any case, thanks everyone for your input. 

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Sorry Major Tom, Tasar's are made from CSM and Polyester resin and they last for 30 years.  29er are made also from CSM and Polyester resin and they are not 20 years old yet but the laminate is not what is letting them down, its the kids pushing them at 30+ knts in HK that's causing them grief. 

Push any boat at 30+ knot's (Tasar's have been clocked at 25+) and you're going to have problems.

For what the Laser dose, it laminate has stood the test of time, as has the Tasar, in a couple of years maybe the 29er can be added to that.

Come up with a different reason, please!!!

        Jb

 

 

 

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Is everything we've understood about microcracking in polyester laminates wrong then Julian? I've understood one of the big advantages of the Laser layup being that it goes soft at the perfect rate - fast enough to encourage a steady flow of new boats into the class, but slowly enough that older boats aren't too badly outclassed. This in contrast to some of the very high end classes where epoxy foam boats stay fully competitive for years,  and consequently there are precious few second hand boats.

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1 hour ago, JulianB said:

Sorry Major Tom, Tasar's are made from CSM and Polyester resin and they last for 30 years.  29er are made also from CSM and Polyester resin and they are not 20 years old yet but the laminate is not what is letting them down, its the kids pushing them at 30+ knts in HK that's causing them grief. 

Push any boat at 30+ knot's (Tasar's have been clocked at 25+) and you're going to have problems.

For what the Laser dose, it laminate has stood the test of time, as has the Tasar, in a couple of years maybe the 29er can be added to that.

Come up with a different reason, please!!!

        Jb

 

 

 

Julian, what I left out of my original statement is that the Laser hull is a single skin CSM construction. The deck is a cored construction using a very low density foam with CSM as the tension fabric on the underside of the core. The first 29er I built, no 530 I think, is still winning regattas in Cape Town, it must be more than 16 years old, it is however  a full cored boat with a minimum laminate thickness of 300g woven glass. From what I remember working at Rondar 23 years ago, the Taser was also completely cored. The Australian lasers seem to be better built than those from other builders, probably due to using a better quality resin and spending a bit more time on the build process. However, over time any thin single skin Laser laminate is going to get soft, especially in areas under the gunnels, around the centreboard trunk, mast step and the flat areas of the hull under the cockpit area.

regards

MT

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5 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

I love opportunities like this>>> @tillerman will be sooo jealous...

Just quit stressing and buy an AERO 

Go for it Gouv. 

JQTABAA is the obvious answer to about 50% of the questions on Dinghy Anarchy. 

Oh, and welcome to the dark side. It's good to have you here with all us other crazy Aerobians.
 

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2 hours ago, tillerman said:

Go for it Gouv. 

JQTABAA is the obvious answer to about 50% of the questions on Dinghy Anarchy. 

Oh, and welcome to the dark side. It's good to have you here with all us other crazy Aerobians.
 

Hey Spank - Too much of your question is "it depends."  As others said.  But a good visual examination and a bit of pushing and tapping on the hull and decks should give a good indication of which boat to buy.  And don't listen to those knucklehead Aerobians. As you can see from above; they can't even spell or make acronyms correctamply.  :P

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4 hours ago, tillerman said:

Go for it Gouv. 

JQTABAA is the obvious answer to about 50% of the questions on Dinghy Anarchy. 

Oh, and welcome to the dark side. It's good to have you here with all us other crazy Aerobians.
 

Did you ever sell your Laser?

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9 hours ago, JulianB said:

Sorry Major Tom, Tasar's are made from CSM and Polyester resin and they last for 30 years.  29er are made also from CSM and Polyester resin and they are not 20 years old yet but the laminate is not what is letting them down, its the kids pushing them at 30+ knts in HK that's causing them grief. 

Push any boat at 30+ knot's (Tasar's have been clocked at 25+) and you're going to have problems.

For what the Laser dose, it laminate has stood the test of time, as has the Tasar, in a couple of years maybe the 29er can be added to that.

Come up with a different reason, please!!!

        Jb

 

 

 

I'm confused. When the TASAR showed up on our shores nere in the US in the 70s it was Kevlar. When did that change?

 

11 hours ago, Major Tom said:

The problem with Laser hulls is twofold, one us they are made with chopped strand, and secondly the are made with polyester resin. As the hull ages the styrene slowly disappears from the laminate making it more brittle and prone to cracking. If you are going to be sailing on flat water then the old boat will be great if it has not been over stressed. 

A heavily used and abused new boat will probably have more mast step and centreboard case wear, more scratches on the hull and potentially more cracking under the gunnels from standing on the bottom of the boat during a capsize.

Obviosly without actually seeing the 2 boats in question it is hard to make a 100% accurate decision, try and find the local equivalent of Gouv to look at the boats for you.

the "styrene evaporation" is a red herring. The real issue is the damage accumulation.

 

As for "microcracking" or what is better described as the fatigue mechanism:
CSM has a low modulus of elasticity AND because of short fibres it also puts much more loading onto the matrix than do wovens. Furthermore polyester has a lower elongation to failure than say standard tooling epoxy (bPA-eCH-PA). The loading of CSM especially in bending, leads to matrix cracking long long before fibre failure or even fibre pull-out. But this mechanism is also responsible for its toughness (but you pay a price in bending stiffness both to start and with lifetime reduction of Bending Stiffness.). Compare to carbon where fibres fail before resin in many cases. BOOM!

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I'm with JB on this. I owned around 10 lasers and as an engineer I can say that, unilke say the stayed boats he mentions i.e tasar, 29er, when purely sailing lasers are very understressed i.e. the low tech construction basically doesn't see much stress so doesn't degrade materially if being used as intended.

So I would be happy (well, as happy as one can be to own the most heavily overpriced / marked up dinghy out there) to own a hull and as long as I looked after it and it didn't leak, I would expect it to be as good after say 500 sessions as it was after 50.

The thing is its tough to decouple the hull from all the other things that go wrong / wear out on lasers. The spars are wildly inconsistent in wall thickness due to sloppy tolerances on the extrusion process, and further they are sh1t, bend and break if the rivets don't pull out first. The sails last a week of solid usage. The foils go porous / aerate. If your boat is a leaker it will absorb some water. Gudegeons loosen up. I could go on. Many aspects afflict all boats to one degree or another to be fair.

Then you consider wear and tear - scratches on bottom, wear to mast step, damage from collisions /  unintended usage / sitting in nettles for 20 years etc that will accrue on a boat that isn't looked after, and these things will cumulatively reduce performance slightly.

Trade in deals meant it was convenient to chop mine in regularly in my tenure, as you get the fresh spars, sail and foils that you need, but if that didn't exist I'd be happy enough as a former national champ to keep the same hull as long as it was in good condition in the first place.

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4 hours ago, Wess said:

Hey Spank - Too much of your question is "it depends."  As others said.  But a good visual examination and a bit of pushing and tapping on the hull and decks should give a good indication of which boat to buy.  And don't listen to those knucklehead Aerobians. As you can see from above; they can't even spell or make acronyms correctamply.  :P

LOL.  JQSABAA is the correctamply acronym. :P

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2 hours ago, torrid said:

Did you ever sell your Laser?

Haven't sailed it for over 2 years.

Tillerwoman says it has to go.

Probably a good idea. Make way for another RS Aero in my fleet.

Rule 32. The minimum number of RS Aeros you should own is three, one for racing, one for practice and one to lend to your friends. The correct number of RS Aeros to own is n+1, where n is the number of RS Aeros currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of RS Aeros owned that would result in separation from your partner.
 

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3 minutes ago, tillerman said:

LOL.  JQSABAA is the correctamply anagram. :P

Aerobian scum, LOL  NTTIAWWT.

I can't talk to you because I am only 4 weeks into a 24 week PT protocol after rotator cuff surgery and am not allowed to sail.  I have given up dinghies but sneak out on my F27F quite often (without telling the PT nazis).  Wrecked 3 tendons (playing in the Laser over the winter).  But once recovered I cant wait to get back into small boats and have to decide between a new Laser, a UFO, or an Aero.  I accept bribes...  :D

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1 hour ago, Wess said:

Aerobian scum, LOL  NTTIAWWT.

I can't talk to you because I am only 4 weeks into a 24 week PT protocol after rotator cuff surgery and am not allowed to sail.  I have given up dinghies but sneak out on my F27F quite often (without telling the PT nazis).  Wrecked 3 tendons (playing in the Laser over the winter).  But once recovered I cant wait to get back into small boats and have to decide between a new Laser, a UFO, or an Aero.  I accept bribes...  :D

It's a difficult choice to make... 

Make sure you have trial sails in any of the boats you haven't tried yet.

Carefully consider your sailing goals. Figure out which boat is most likely to align with those.

Talk to as many people as you can in all three classes about the pros and cons of each class.

Read everything that has been written about the boats on DA in the last year.

Then just quit stressing and buy an Aero.

 

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15 hours ago, spankoka said:

I get it that the Aero is a superior to a Laser in many ways, but Lasers on Sundays and Tuesdays is what my club does. In any case, thanks everyone for your input. 

Agreed. We had 18 Lasers out last night and there are that many again in the fence able to go out any given night.  There is exactly 1 Aero in Utah in total.  I'm happy to sail an Aero but I will not be #2.  I will wait until there's a need to give them a start in our Tuesday Night racing and then wait five years for a good sized fleet.

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I have spent many hours in what was then PSI and what is now LP, plus PSJ and PSA.   I have been in the presence of 100's of Lasers being built.

Firstly Styrene "flashes" off in about 2-3 hrs, its part of the cure cycle, gone long before the boat is ever taken out of the mould, so that's BS.

It does leave microcapillaries, and salt dose gets into them.

2ndly,  a Laser is a multi-layer construction, it is not 1 single layer of CSM.    But sorry, it would be very unethical for me to go into the actual laminate schedule.        

3rd thing Epoxy, unless you 2nd screed the surface, almost by definition of the vacuum process, you end up with dry laminates, nothing wrong with that, but you also end up with "wicking", which is water travelling up the fibres.   Yes, even 49ers.   which is why its so important to keep ANY boat dry. and well aired, pull both bungs out.   Same is true of Farr 40's which is why they all plug-in de-humidifiers (sailed a Farr 40 yesterday, and final ritual is suck the water out of the pen, and turn the dehumidifier on.)   I own a Farr 30, we always make sure there is no water in the bildges

As for the construction of the Laser, its quite brilliant, and it has stood the test of time, well and truly, it has curved surface, which adds to it "form" stiffness, which a 29er/49er/Tasar don't have, so they need foam, sure, but a laser or just about anybody swung single hander has only "X" Righting moment, does not really matter which one, they are all roughly the same and that = about 4.5knts upwind or about 2-3 x that downwind.     At that speed how far a hull deflects is pretty minimal. 

If you want to go faster, you put wings on, or get on the trapeze, Moth and Contender Musto, RS (sorry don't know the number) are examples, then you can get on foils and by the time you have got to that, hull is not in the water so stiffness is irrelevant.   

Polyesters, Vinylesters and Epoxies all have their places.    Polyester is perfectly adequate for 29ers (and they go faster than 49ers) and Lasers, and a raft of other boats.   470's you're looking at trickier "ester" resin., 

To go to Epoxy, and foam core on a Laser, Btye, (even on a 29er) and 90% of "round bildge" the single handers is not really a cost-effective solution and you need only look at those that do go to the higher extents and look at their prices to see that's true.

Horse for courses.

Jb

 

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We have a few people looking for boats now and West Coast Sailing is getting it done for us.  The Laser does great stuff for us, I've said it before.  We have old boats, mid-age boats, and nearly new boats and trust me...it ain't the boat.

 

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On 6/13/2018 at 4:17 PM, tillerman said:

It's a difficult choice to make... 

Make sure you have trial sails in any of the boats you haven't tried yet.

Carefully consider your sailing goals. Figure out which boat is most likely to align with those.

Talk to as many people as you can in all three classes about the pros and cons of each class.

Read everything that has been written about the boats on DA in the last year.

Then just quit stressing and buy an Aero.

 

I respect your alternate approach but its most likely going to be a 3rd Laser purchase for me.  I have yet to see an Aero that lives and races in Naps.  On the other hand I can race a Laser here almost 52 week of the year and 2-3 times a week all summer if I wanted to race that much.  Plus its the most affordable purchase of the 3.  Keeping an open mind and maybe something changes by Fall,  but I doubt it.

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This thread has gotten a bit off track (Laser vs Aero).  My advice to the original poster is to ensure that either of the Laser's you are looking at have dry hulls.  Boats that have been wet inside for a long time, particularly if allowed to freeze when wet during winter storage, will get soft over time.  When I've looked at used lasers, I always bring a bathroom scale and balance the laser on its gunnel on the scale.  A spec weight laser hull is 134 pounds, I think.  Under 140 for an older boat is great.  If you see more than 150, you may well have trouble.   The first used laser I looked at weight 175 pounds.  Pass!   Everything else can be fixed.  If both hulls are dry,  then go with the one that has hardware in better condition, ei straighter mast sections, newer cordage, foils in better shape, and a newer sail.   But if the hull is soft or the core is wet, fixing it is possible but usually not cost effective compared to simply buying a dry used Laser.  

Neither age nor use is a good predictor of boat condition.  Neglecting a boat is often worse for it than sailing it hard and often.

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