Open Singlehanded Dinghy
The Laser has been called the world's premier one-man racing sailboat. With 150,000 Lasers sailing in 85 countries, this boat has motivated more sailors--from juniors to masters--to excel in the sport than any design in the history of sailing. It is fast, responsive, lightweight (cartoppable), and virtually maintenance free. The Laser's accessibility and modest price make it an Olympic sailor's dream. An added bonus is the 1,000 worldwide regattas held each year by the Laser Class Association.
Designed by Canadian Bruce Kirby in 1969 and first produced in 1970, the Laser caught on during a boom period for recreational sailing. However, the design has proven its ability to survive more trying times as well, reaching its current level of popularity with minimal backpedaling over the years. Perhaps it is because every sailor seems to come in contact with the Laser at least once in his or her sailing career, and the boat is so endearing that many cannot continue racing without getting back to their Laser roots at least once in a while. Though the Laser is offered with three different rig sizes for different weights and skill levels, it is the International Laser that made its Olympic debut in 1996. With 76 sq. ft. of sail and a hull that measures 13'11", the International Laser is ideal for the singlehanded sailor of 150-180 pounds.
Women's Singlehanded Dinghy
The Laser Radial sail was originally designed for training and as an introduction to Laser sailing. But since the aim of the International Sailing Federation is to increase the participation of emerging nations in the Olympic games by right, then the availability of the Laser Radial in these nations was a huge boost to achieving that goal. Therefore the Radial is now the Olympic Women's Singlehanded class and will have a start for the first time in China 2008.
*Thanks to the US Sailing Association