There is no small single person boat market in the US but the Laser. Everything else is very specific to a single club or a few clubs near each other. So purchasing a different kind of boat is a tough current to row against as you know your investment will be diminished the second the electrons flow from your bank account to the hard drive of the dealer.
But you enjoy sailing a small dinghy some days, especially when the breeze is up. But either because your adrenaline fix is needier than most and/or you've gained a few pounds since you first sailed a Laser, the boat just doesn't appeal to you as much as its more powered up competitors. And you do like sailing OD and the Laser makes that easy. But do you plonk down a few grand on a Rooster rig, or many grand on a newer boat to get that thrill you used to get when you were 10, 20, 30+ pounds lighter? Nah, Intensity Sails has you covered for a cheap turbo thrill. http://www.intensity...aforlara47.html
I'll dispel one of the first questions that was fired at me when I returned yesterday from giving the new fathead Laser sail a four and a half our test sail. It will not make a Laser plane upwind. There was good breeze, ranging from 12-16kts and when I had the boat in a lee shore with no waves and giving it all I could, it would not plane upwind. I've done this on 505's and other boats so I do get what upwind planing means. The bow would surf a little indicating a good .5-1kt boat speed increase, maybe a little more for brief moments, but that's all. I just can't hike a Laser that hard.
The only other con I detected in this sail was the tendency to go down the mine a little earlier. I took the boat out into the Chesapeake Bay for about an hour and went after a lot of different wind angles and speed attempts. It was great except when I got a little greedy for speed and didn't shift weight aft quick enough and I ooched the boat down a wave. The bow went in, I layed down on my back, the bow popped back out after near complete deceleration, and off I went. Lesson learned, and what a happy one it was. A Laser with enough power to plane over 3' waves and stuff it into the back of a wave in 12-14kts of wind.
The good? Lots. My weight is currently 192lbs. The square head means that in 12kts of breeze and at full hike, the cunningham is on about 2/3-3/4, vang is on sorta hard and there is some bend in the boom, the sheet is about 2" from block to block. In 15kts, vang is on hard, cunningham is full, sheet is 1" from two-blocking, full on hike. When a little tired in 15-16kts, the front 1/3 of the sail has a bubble in it from feathering.
So when does it plane? With my weight, on a loose beat, around 12kts, on a reach 10kts, on a near run 12kts, DDW never happened, by the lee with heel 14kts. By the lee sailing is greatly improved as the top of the sail bends forward and there is so much more of it up there. When the bottom of the sail gets caught from behind and wants to gybe, the boat loudly communicates this with an immediate decrease in speed while the top of the sail tells the bottom of the sail that it's not ready to gybe quite yet. You have plenty of time and I never had an accidental gybe trying this out. The controls are as you would expect, eased cunningham, vang eased off to allow the square to drift forward. The wizzometer was indicating a 35-40 degree apparent wind angle more than I see with the standard sail.
Reaching of course is crazy fun and easy to control. The vang works with the square head as you would expect on a bigger boat. More vang gets the top of the sail on, feeling over powered just requires easing the vang. The Laser does not have enough vang to completely control leech tension to allow you to hook the square top, and from what I saw while trying this, the boom was going to break well before the top hooked.
If you want to see this sail and are local, I'm happy to show it. I don't work for Intensity. I'm an IT guy who is starting a distillery and likes to get his kicks by going fast. For $190 this is a great way to make a Laser a lot more fun, it looks better too. This test sail was at SMSA where it will be seen in the Portsmouth fleet, and I plan on bringing this sail out to SSA during the TESOD races when the Laser's are not scoring.