RC Laser Sails & Rigs
A few of the parts that make up an RC Laser
For the newcomer there is often some confusion about what size of rig to fly and when and which rig fits on which mast and boom combination. So here is a pretty definitive guide to what and how!
Wind Strengths & Rigs
A rig - 0 to 6 knots
B rig - 7 to 16 knots
C rig - 17 to 22 knots
D rig - 23 knots and above.
The above is meant as a guide, as you become a confident RC Laser skipper you will find that you can sometimes hang onto a bigger rig for longer by depowering it as the wind increases, although sometimes it pays to change down early and it usually makes the boat much more comfortable to handle as the breeze comes up.
As for rigs and what sail fits what mast / boom combination here is the guide.
A rig - Dedicated A mast plus standard boom as supplied
B rig - Standard mast plus standard boom as supplied
C rig - Standard mast plus short boom as supplied
D rig - Standard mast plus short boom as supplied.
As a minimum you can get away with the four sails, an A mast, standard boom, standard mast and a short boom, this will enable you to fly all four rigs but not at the same time. Many seasoned RC Laser skippers will have a quiver of all four rigs already set on masts and booms ready to tune and pop into the boat at a moments notice. It certainly makes sense to do this and most suppliers offer rig kits and sail bags.
RC Laser RC Gear & Electrics
The RC gear in the RC Laser is relatively simple and inexpensive to replace should something go wrong, however the design of the radio board in an RC Laser makes this a relatively rare occurance.
The two main components are the winch servo and the rudder servo. As a one design class these are strictly controlled items with no variations allowed. The winch servo is now a Hitec HS 785HB which by model yachting standards is a relatively slow speed winch servo, however as a one design class everyone runs the same equipment so no one is disadvantaged by this. Boats built before 2004 were equipped with a Hitec HS 725BB and this winch is still class legal today.
The rudder servo has evolved since the class was designed and the new boats run a Hitec HS322 servo which has stronger carbonite gears which make it a long life unit when looked after well. Many boats will run an HS311 servo and boats older than 2004 may still be running an HS300 or HS303 servo. If you are running an older type servo it would be £9.00 well spent upgrading to the new HS322.
The choice of transmitter and receiver are left to the individual skipper. Todays new boats are supplied with Planet T5 2.4GHz radio gear which for the price is hard to beat. Older boats were supplied with the 40MHz Hitec Ranger IIn sets which involved crystals and lots of faffing about. There is a plethora of tx and rx kit available but many have found that the standard kit does a superb job, some skippers who sail other classes have a multifunction tx which can be programmed for several model yachts meaning they only need one tx for all their yachts, quite a neat solution.
A quick note on Rx position in the boat, as standard it is placed under the deck with velcro and it does a reasonable job, however several skippers (myself included) have found themselves out of control which can be inconvenient to say the least. The best place to site you rx unit is under the pot lid. Some skippers have velcro on their lid and pop the rx straight onto that which has the added advantage of not having your pot lid blow away on a breezy day at the pond, some skippers have a separate pot with the rx in it which sits on top of the battery pack and under the pot lid. Either way works well but it is something to be aware of when sailing.