I know, I know – sounds like a little smoke, maybe even a few mirrors – but one thing you will find out right up front ~ we tell it like it is.
We will TRY to be humble, but we ask YOU to compare feature for feature against any other RC sailboat. If you don’t see just how unique this boat is, let us explain.
Unique – adj. 1. existing as the only one of a kind. 2. having no equal; unparalleled. That is what Webster says.
The unique qualities of the RC Laser stem from the brilliant production design by Jon Elmaleh. He wanted a boat that would perform well, and be easy for the owner to enjoy, no matter what the boat was asked to do.
Poly Hull The choice of the polyethylene hull has produced the most remarkable owner benefit of all. And yes, it is unique, as not one other model sailboat in the world is produced using this material.
Cost Using poly material means the boat could be uniformly mass-produced in one homogeneous piece using a blow molding system. The reason others don’t copy this process is because of the high expense of building the molds. HOWEVER, once done, the resulting value is head and shoulders above all the rest. It is the main reason why no other ready-to-sail 42″” model sailboat is available for such a low cost.
Durability The poly hull has written the book on durability. Not only is the boat indestructible on the water, it is unbelievably resistant to damage when being handled or transported ashore. No other boat would dare be checked as baggage on a commercial airliner packed only in a soft, zippered bag! Now think about that – if the boat can take that kind of punishment, how bulletproof is it in the hands of the kids, or thrown below on your big boat, or stored in the motor home.
One Piece and Watertight The RC Laser is molded (deck and hull) in one piece. Except for a 1/16″ hole in the transom, used for pressure equalization, the boat is completely watertight. And, yes, it is hollow.
Electronics Compartment The engineering jewel of this boat is the electronics compartment. We have all fought with different ways to keep electronics dry, but this boat took the effort to a new level. When the boat is molded, it has a “cockpit”” molded into the deck. A well-designed deck plate is then permanently sealed over this cockpit. The result is the driest, most accessible electronics area in any RC boat. Only those that operate RC equipment around water understand just how important this is – especially when sailed in salt water.
Mr. Peanut Yes, it is a source of gentle ribbing that the cockpit hatch (entry through the deck plate) is remarkably similar to the plastic cap found on a peanut can. The male section of the hatch, which is molded as a 1″ “tower” in the deck plate, ensures a positive snap shut hatch that is very easy to open and close, while being the tightest, most reliable, seal of any hatch in model sailing. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing hatch, but owners really don’t care – it works so well.
Servo Installation The RC Laser control system is truly unique. Above deck “clothes line” type sail control lines are not uncommon, but attaching the servos to the underside of the deck plate with molded posts, is truly ingenious. Each servo has standard 4-hole mounting flanges. However, instead of screwing them to supports like other boats do, we have four posts molded to the underside of the deck plate. Simply slide the servo up onto the four tapered posts until it seats against the beveled deck exit hole, and then jam the supplied rubber block between the bottom of the servo and the cockpit floor. Voila! To remove the servo, pull out the block, and the servo drops right out.
Steering Basic steering is true to the full sized Laser with an outboard rudder. But that is where similarity stops. A tiller is mounted on the aft deck with a pivot point directly above the rudder gudgeon. The gudgeon is molded into the bottom of the hull right at the transom. The pintle on the rudder fits up into the gudgeon and at the same time the two upper prongs snap up into the tiller. Rods connect the yoke of the tiller to the servo yoke for simple, but accurate control. How how ingenious! Snap, it’s mounted and ready to go.
Keel Installation The RC Laser is ballasted by 4 # of lead, on a molded 16″ long keel fin. The top of the keel fin fits up from the bottom through a keel trunk that goes completely through to the deck. On the top of the keel fin is a wing lock that turns 90 degrees to snap into place on the deck to hold the keel firmly in the boat. Snap, it’s in – snap, it’s out!
Maststep “That mast is coming outta there when I roll out”, I thought to myself the first time I saw the mast step. How WRONG could I be. But I am often asked about this simple step and its ultimate ability to carry, and keep, the rig in the boat. Remember, I told you that the hull and deck are completely watertight, so how about the mast step???
First, the well for the maststep is molded into the deck. To give it the guts to support an unstayed mast, the bottom of the well is fused, in the molding process, to the bottom of the hull.
The mast step itself is a molded piece of hard plastic with a hole in the middle to support the mast, and allow it to turn freely. The mast step fitting is a press fit into the well. This design is so sound, that we have never had a mast step failure – never!
But what keeps the mast in the hole during a pitchpole or roll out? Who knows? But trust me, I have done it all, and more than once, and I have never seen a mast leave the step under any sailing condition. The only downside is that the boat cannot be lifted from the water by the mast!
Boom Vang No performance sailor would be caught dead without a boom vang to control sail shape – right? Well the RC Laser doesn’t have one! Instead, it has a rigid gooseneck and a very strong aluminum boom, which performs the role of boom vang to a T (or is that an L).
The vertical part of the gooseneck fitting surrounds, and is glued to, the tapered fiberglass mast. The boom fits snugly into the horizontal part of the gooseneck and is kept in place by the outhaul tension. The “web” on the gooseneck fitting does not allow any flex of the fitting. Consequently, the boom is “vanged” by the rigid gooseneck and because the mast is free to turn in the maststep, the boom actually turns the mast as the sail is trimmed. And tough – I have a box full of spare gooseneck fittings but have never had to replace one yet!
Freestanding Rig Ahhhh, the simplicity and power of the bendy mast. Certainly, the bendy mast sail system is widely acclaimed for its high performance. However, in the last 30 years or so, technology has helped produce higher performance freestanding masts – masts that do not need stays to hold them up. The two-piece mast in the RC Laser is a masterful piece of work – with the strength that allows you to sail in impossible winds, and the flexibility to drive the boat through the puffs with the grace of a swan.
The RC Laser mast is not just a tube but a carefully produced, tapered fiberglass, two-piece mast. It is unique in the model sailing world.
Sail Design The authorized sails for the RC Laser are all single panel sails, made to one plan, by one manufacturer. So what’s so cool about that???
Material Sure it looks like Rice Paper – but it wears like iron. The material is best likened to a material that you see used in express envelopes. You know, the ones you absolutely can’t rip open!! It is actually polyester film laminated to polyester tissue. A brand name for this polyester film is MylarÂ®. The leech of the sail is two pieces of this material bonded together to form a leech that will not fray nor stretch.
The unique result – a sail that will never tear, mildew, or lose its shape. Unless your dog eats it, you will likely never need a new sail.
Design It’s all in the luff round. Anyone that has designed sails for a bendy mast will tell you that it is no easy task to get the sail to fit the mast when the mast is bending all over the place. That effort becomes even more pronounced when you bring it down to the size of a 42″ boat. To make it work on the RC Laser, the sleeve that goes over the mast is relatively deep (fore and aft). When there isn’t much wind, the mast is standing up straight inside the sleeve. If you look closely you will notice that the sail extends well in front of the mast about half way up. In this case, the luff round is touching the mast at the head and the foot only, causing the “round” arch forward of the mast. Even though it looks a little strange, the stiffness of the sail allows this “leading edge of the wing” to be very effective.
As the wind picks up, the mast begins to bend and eventually fits right along the precut luff round of the sail! Coooool! Unique?? You bet!
Conclusion Is there any wonder why the RC Laser is earning the respect of more and more sailors every day.