How to Rig an Old Style Full Rig Laser

Sailing is a fun sport, but rigging up a boat is not as easy as you think. Without the correct settings, the boat will not be able to show its full potential. This guide presents details on how a full-rig Laser class sailboat is always supposed to be rigged. This guide is ONLY accurate to the old-style rigging, as the new style is much more complicated.


  1. Image titled Rig an Old Style Full Rig Laser Step 1
    Read all instructions before attempting this task.
  2. Image titled Rig an Old Style Full Rig Laser Step 2
    Check that your boat has no cracks in the hull and that everything else is in good shape.
    • Daggerboard: This is an easy one, just slide it in. You should do this before any other step as it stabilizes the boat.
    • Mast: Take your top and bottom section (they form the mast) and proceed by connecting them together. When connecting, the top section has a rivet whereby it has to be in line with the lower mask arrow. If not, it will have a tendency to break. Should this joint be loose, you must tape around the colored plastic so it makes a tight fit. Otherwise, your sail forms creases that decrease efficiency.
    • Sail: Slide in the sail, making sure that you have your Battens in. During this process you must be careful as you don't want to tear the sail. The alignment of the sail has to be with the straight line at the Goose Neck (metal bar that connects the boom to the lower mast). This is important as you don't want to have a twisted sail when sailing which reduces efficiency.
  3. Image titled Rig an Old Style Full Rig Laser Step 3
    Bring the mast up to its upright position and place it into the mast well of the boat (for this you may need two people as you might injure yourself or others, not to mention the boat and rigging). Don't release the mast when you locate the well but instead lower the sail slowly until it sits properly. Releasing the mast prematurely will cause the well to crack and in such cases, this is nearly impossible to repair.
    • Boom: Place the boom into the goose neck and using the outhaul, insert it through the cleat on the boom and run it to the eye on the end of the boom. Insert the rope into the ring and going round into the sail grommet tie a bowline or figure of eight to secure the sail.
    • Clew Tie down: Make sure that the clew tie down is on correctly by checking that the sail can move down the length of the boom freely and easily. The clew tie down, something often overlooked, allows you to adjust the outhaul without the sail leaving the boom.
    • Boom Vang: This is one of the most important and the most adjusted sail controls. It governs the rake of your mast and the leech of your sail by adjusting the boom relative to the mast. Make sure that the pins are well secured and not broken. You will have to loosen the vang off just about all the way to get it onto the boom. Unless you're sailing, do not tighten the vang all the way, as it will permanently and irreversibly bend your mast.
    • Cunningham:(some call it a down haul, but on a Laser it is referred to as a Cunningham.) The Cunningham holds the sail and mast onto the boat in the event you capsize. On the old-style rigs, this is all you need, but on the newer rigs, you need a mast tie down. Otherwise, disqualification awaits you in any regatta. The Cunningham is an extremely important control as it adjusts the tension of your luff and opens and closes the top of the leech.
    • Mainsheet: Tie a figure of eight knot at the end of the mainsheet. Entering the main block, go to the single block on the boom, through the retaining ring below your outhaul cleat, and to the double block on the end of the boom. Moving through the topmost opening, reach down and over to the traveler block and back up to the bottom opening, tying a tight bowline or a figure-eight around the bottom. Make sure this is tight, as if it comes loose, you are basically hooped. It is OK to leave a tail on the end.
    • Rudder: Clip the rudder into the transom, making sure the thin rope that runs through it is not tangled. Taking your tiller in hand, slip it under the traveler and grasping the rope I mentioned earlier, run it as well under the traveler, cleaning it on the tiller.


  • Before launching the boat, adjust the hiking strap to your liking (an ideal position is your knee must be straight with the boat when hiking out).
  • Make sure that the boat is empty and not filled with water.
  • Make sure the Bung Plug is in before you leave.


  • Always remember to tie the daggerboard around the mast.
  • Remember to also tighten your bung plug as you don't want your boat to be sinking in the middle of your sailing expedition.
  • Sailing is extremely dangerous unless you know what you are doing.
  • Do not go sailing alone. Always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. Do not leave their sight.
  • Always wear your life jacket.

Things You'll Need

  • Your Spars (Top and Bottom section of your mast plus your boom)
  • Your Sail
  • Dagger Board
  • Rudder with tiller and extension
  • Outhaul
  • Cunningham
  • Boom Vang
  • Mainsheet
  • Bung Plug
  • An accredited Personal Floatation Device, or PFD

Article Info

Categories: Individual Sports