The Laser – sailing phenomenon since 1971

Alt_Laser rough sketch during first phone call1

The million dollar doodle

Designer, Bruce Kirby recounts the Laser story:

The Inception:
“The Laser started with a phone conversation in October, 1969. I was here in Connecticut and Ian Bruce called me from Montreal. He called me and said, “How about doing a car top sail boat?” While we were talking on the phone, I was doing a sketch on a piece of yellow legal paper.”

The Name:
“I think it was November of 1970. We were at the Royal St Lawrence Yacht Club. Ian asked a young lad there who was a sailor and a science student at McGill University “Have you got any ideas for a name? We’ve got this boat ready to be produced and we don’t have a name for it yet.” Weekender was the only name we had and none of us really thought that was the right name. This young lad said, “Why don’t you call it something scientific the young people will identify with?” And Ian said, “Do you mean something like Laser?’ And the kid said, “Yeah, that would be a great name.” Ian yelled down the table at me, “How about Laser?” And I said, “Yeah that sounds pretty good.”
And so it was the Laser…”
Read more of the history in the Kirby interview at

Yesterday and Today:
The Laser was first introduced to the public in 1971 at the New York Boat Show and as of today over 200,000 have been sold. The original name for the Laser prototype was “Weekender” which is why sailmaker Hans Fogh used the insignia “TGIF,” as seen in the photo of hull #1 below.

A Testament to Beauty and Simplicity:
Laser racing is arguably the most competitive and close sailboat racing in the world. Still, the real beauty of a Laser lies in its invitation to go sailing for the pure joy of it. With no standing rigging to bother with, no obstacle course of fittings to bruise and cut, no cockpit full of water, the bare essentials of tiller, mainsheet, and sailor can come together to feel the magic of the wind and water as it casts its spell.

Video from LaserPerformance’s Facebook page:

Laser #1 and the modern Laser…

laser hull1