The Laser class has a strict one design philosophy, as shown by the preamble to the class rules which reads:
"Our class is strong and popular because we believe in a strict one design and our sailors want to know that they are racing on equal terms. The ILCA takes a very strong line with Laser sailors who do not sail according to the rules...Our class is much bigger than the odd person who wants to gain advantage by illegally changing the Laser or its equipment. They can sail in other classes where the rules allow changes to a boat to get an advantage. We do not want them with us."
Much debate has been generated on the Laser Forum about whether to allow so-called practice sails in regattas. I have started a poll on the right to find out what people think. Please leave any comments below or in the Laser Forum in this thread.
By practice sail, I mean one of the several sails produced by non-builder approved sail makers.
The class rules do not specifically allow the use of non-class approved sails.
The class rules say that if the rules "do not specifically allow a change or addition - IT IS ILLEGAL! If you race a Laser that has a change or addition not allowed by the class rules you will be disqualified from the race."
So, what's a "race" and what's "racing"?
Does a "race" need to be sanctioned by the Laser class to be a "race"?
What if the sailing instructions say the class rules apply?
What if the sailing instructions specifically allow "practice" sails?
If the sailing instructions don't mention the class rules, and the regatta permits the used of practice sails, can I slap a Laser sticker on my Finn and show up for racing? Can I use my Rooster 8.1 rig? Can you stop me if I do? What would you argue?
Why should "practice" sails be allowed in any racing whether it is informal or not?