History

History

Laser racing rules the waves around the world in over 50 countries. From the start LaserPerformance has been there supplying the most sought-after Lasers and supporting the growth of the Laser sailing community.

“More than 200,000 Lasers can be found around the world, the largest number of any boat ever. They are sailed at Olympic, Nationals, in Men, Women, Juniors and Masters levels and of course as a fun boat.”


The Beginning

1970
The new Weekender (name of the first prototype), with “TGIF” (Thank God It’s
Friday) on the sail, won the America’s Teacup regatta in Wisconsin
The Weekender TGIF on Lake Geneva 1969 © SW
The boat was named “Laser” in November 1970 and production started the same year.

The Laser was launched at the New York Boat Show. Their uniform design and affordable price attracted sailors and 144 Lasers were sold. Laser sails were identical due to modern laser cutting thus setting a standard for future racing classes.

Fun Fact

The name “Laser” was chosen as being modern, recognisable and truly international and that the symmetrical Laser beam logo would only have to go on one side of the sail.

LASER MADE WITH LOVE

1972
In 1972 LaserPerformance launched its manufacturing facilities in Banbury, UK,
producing One Design Laser boats that became the quality standard for racers.
1982

Bankruptcy of Les Voiliers Performance Inc/ Performance Sailcraft Inc of Canada, the owner of the Laser trademark.
Peat Marwick Limited acting as receiver of the company sold the trademarks to different parties around the world thus breaking up the trademark rights.
LaserPerformance acquired the rights to the trademarks in various countries.

Growing the fan Base

… THROUGH INNOVATION
1988
LaserPerformance transferred for no consideration the trademark rights in
New Zealand to the Australian trademark owner (PSA) in order to promote sailor
participation and to enhance regional cooperation between builders
The Radial Rig

In the 1980s the smaller Laser Radial rig was designed by LaserPerformance allowing smaller sailors to sail with less effort. The Laser Radial quickly became popular amongst women sailors and others around the world.
The 4.7 Rig

Following the success of the Radial, LaserPerformance developed the Laser 4.7 rig in the UK in 1989 with an aim of allowing youth sailors to enjoy the Laser

The Beginning

1990's
With a hull that could take 3 types of rigs, the Laser quickly became suitable for the whole family
and in the 1990’s its popularity rapidly spread across Europe, Asia and the rest of the world
Atlanta 1996 © IOC Media
LaserPerformance steered the path to the Olympics winning entry for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

The Laser was introduced to the Olympics as an open class for the 1996 Quadrennial.
The simple single-person dinghy already had a cult following of thousands all over the world and inclusion in the Olympics was viewed as a forgone conclusion.

Fun Fact

The first ever Olympic medal in the Laser was won by Brazil's Robert Scheidt at the Atlanta 1996 Games after a dramatic start line duel with British rival Ben Ainslie.

OLYMPICS

2004
In 2004 the Laser was changed to from open to men's lightweight equipment following the
inclusion of the Laser Radial as women's single person dinghy for the 2008 cycle.
Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition © Sailing Energy World Sailing
OLYMPICS
1996 ATLANTA :: 2000 SYDNEY :: 2004 ATHENS :: 2008 BEIJING :: 2012 LONDON :: 2016 RIO DE JANEIRO :: 2020 - (2021) TOKYO :: 2024 PARIS :: 2028 LOS ANGELES
2008
In 2008 the Laser Radial was used in the Olympics as the Women’s Singlehanded Class and with the Laser as Men’s Lightweight Class

Fun Fact

Xu Lijia is the first Chinese sailor to receive a bronze medal in women's Laser Radial class at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and a gold medal in the same event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Her win led to a surge in popularity in the sport of sailing in China.
2016
46 countries participated in Laser competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, reaffirming the Laser’s global popularity.
The Laser's low cost and ease of transportation means it has the widest pool of nations competing of any Olympic Sailing Class and it's not unusual to see sailors from nations that aren't traditionally viewed as big sailing nations on the podium.

World Sailing

2016
Ever since the introduction of the Laser in the Olympics in 1996, LaserPerformance has partnered with World Sailing to promote Laser
sailing around the world and has been the primary sponsor of Laser World racing events by supplying boats to event as well as being the
Official Supplier of Laser boats for the Olympics (1996, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)
New Zealand 29ers © Christoph Launay / World Sailing

Fun Fact

In 2016 a last minute constraint forced World Sailing organisers to move the 2016 World Sailing Youth Worlds Championship to New Zealand. The Australian Builder (which was gifted the rights to New Zealand by LaserPerformance in 1998) declined to support the event and thus World Sailing rushing to LaserPerformance to save the event. With less than 4 months notice, LaserPerformance shipped 110 Lasers from the UK to New Zealand and flew staff over, making the event a success.

GROWING THE FAN BASE

…through investment in manufacturing capacity and quality
The vast majority of the Lasers have been built by LaserPerformance in the UK and the US. LaserPerformance established the
standard and measurements upon which the Laser One-Design are manufactured today.
2000
LaserPerformance streamlined its UK manufacturing by adding capacity for production of Laser boats and thus doubled the Laser boat market and production from the UK facility to 1,400 boats a year.
2007
LaserPerformance acquired the US builder Vanguard Sailboats and consolidated trademark rights in the group territories whilst streamlining its US manufacturing by adding capacity for production of Laser boats and thus doubled the Laser boat market and production from the USA facility to 1,100 boats a year.

GROWING THE FAN BASE

…through supporting and promoting participation
2010
LP entered into a major sponsorship agreement
with MACLAREN in support of women in sailing
Team MACLAREN training in Miami, FL, USA
2011
Team MACLAREN – Anna Tunnicliffe, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and her crew Molly Vandemoer and Debie Capozzi training for the Olympic Women’s Match Racing campaign.

The Team held the Sailing World Cup Women’s Match Racing title for two years.

GROWING THE FAN BASE

…through supporting and promoting participation
2009

THE LASERPERFORMANCE COLLEGIATE CUP COLLEGE SAILING

LaserPerformance provided 600 boats for events and races under a major sponsorship program with MACLAREN