Friday, January 21, 2011

New GRP Epoxy Laser Daggerboards and Rudders In Stock!


You hear it here first:

Laser Sailors in the US have long awaited the arrival of the GRP Laser blades, and they are finally here! In August 2010, APS did a write-up First Look on the new Laser Blades (Daggerboards and Rudders) -- and sadly, that enthusiastic post turned out to be just a teaser, tantalizing Laser folks everywhere who were in want of upgrading their beat daggerboards...you guys know who you are, and we know you recognize something cool when you see it!

Big Note: We have stock of the GRP Laser Epoxy Daggerboards and Rudders in limited supply so order soon!

We are STOKED about these new Laser blades! First of all, the class approved blades pull rank in strength over the old version thanks to an innovative composite manufacturing process they've mastered over at Laser Perfomance. Second, the new glossy, smooth finish is just so darn sleek and sexy. We'll add, Laser Performance designed the GRP Blades specifically to be significantly more durable than the older version - especially in the area of the trailing edges and tips where breakage was not uncommon. Thank you, Laser Performance.

How's that for some good news delivered on a Friday afternoon? Spread the word!

8 comments:

  1. I hope that they have made some improvements to the manufacturing process since they made the batch of GRP blades used at the Laser Worlds at Hayling Island in England last year. After being used in the Senior Worlds, all the blades were in shocking condition for the Masters Worlds. Almost every single one had some damage to the trailing edge or elsewhere.

    Any word on that?

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  2. Hi Tillerman - We asked our Product Manager James to get in touch with Laser Performance regarding your question. Their response is below:

    "The blades at the Worlds were the last run of FRP blades and...that manufacturer's [blade production.] Also, we have offered to warranty all the daggers that were sold with those event boats.

    Thanks for your comments - we're definitely looking to get some feedback about what people think about these new blades!"

    Sounds like it was a problem with the old style blades rather than the new blades...which have been designed to be more durable.

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

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  3. If by "FRP" the spokesperson for LP means the kind of blades that have been sold with Lasers for the last few decades, then those were NOT the blades that were supplied to us at the Laser Masters Worlds in Hayling Island last year. They were blades that looked just like the ones in the picture with different color tops and shinier finishes than old blades. We were led to believe that these were indeed the new GRP blades. When I questioned the amount of damage that had already been done to the blades during the Senior Worlds, one of the LP representatives on site said that there had been a problem with the manufacturing process and that they were working on fixing it. Hence my question.

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  4. Here, for example, is an excellent picture of Tom Slingsby sailing in the 2010 Worlds Senior Worlds where you can clearly see that he has one of the new daggerboards.

    http://www.sail-world.com/USA/Laser-World-Championships-2010-Day-3:--Slingsby-takes-the-top-spot/74168

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  5. Hi Tillerman,

    We have touched based with LP and expect to hear from the Managing Director of North America for Laser Performance today in regards to your comments.

    We will get back to you. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention.

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  6. Below is the full response we've received from Laser Performance. It's a fairly lengthy and I think it addresses your questions pretty directly. Sounds like there were a couple contributing factors to what you saw and none of them should really be an issue for any new blades that are well cared for.

    First regarding the new blades in general:

    It has been 9 months since LaserPerformance brought the next generation, upgraded fiberglass blades to the market. The new blades were developed to overcome the issues of warping in the heat and trailing edges that were to delicate often resulting in big “shark bites” in the trailing edge. The new blades are made using structural fiberglass skins with high density closed cell foam cores. They are fabricated at a brand new, state of the art LaserPerformance manufacturing plant in heated matched metal molds under high pressure. They are vastly more durable yet have the same weight and bend characteristics as the old style blades.
    The surface finish is a toughened gelcoat which gives it the noticeable high quality surface finish. The Laser Class mandated that the finish be white. One issue this presents is that if the gelcoat is scratched or dinged, the laminate substrate, which is a dark color, shows though. On the old style blades, you wouldn’t see this because the substrate was also white and would hide the chip. Like any high performance fiberglass product like this, competitors will need to handle their blades with a bit more care. In any event, should a scratch occur, it is easily fixed with either gelcoat or an epoxy based paint you can get at any marine hardware store.


    The second part of the response is below.

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  7. This is from a different source regarding the blades used at Worlds. It repeats some of the same information:

    The blades used at the Laser Masters had already been used at the Radial Worlds and at the Std Worlds in two separate venues. They were not handled with the care I suspect owners would give their own foils, and they were mass packed and moved by truck from venue to venue - thus further increasing the unusual wear and tear. Never the less I think that it is important for the consumer to understand that the finish on these foils is a hardened Gel coat. It is a much harder surface than the post molding urethane finish that was used on the old polyurethane foam foils, and it is applied over a very hard epoxy glass laminate that allows no “give” if the surface is struck. The plusses include a “molded in” surface finish that is much smoother, higher gloss and is a significantly fairer surface. The minuses include a higher level of fragility especially in the areas with sharp corners like the trailing edge, and the visibility of the darker substrate beneath the surface when the gel coat is damaged.

    What your customer is seeing relates to the gel coat being chipped off the trailing edge. This often occurs when the foil is out of the trunk and it slides across the cockpit striking the trailing edge against the corner of the cockpit or the mainsheet block. Additionally, if the sailor uses the foil as a grab handle when the foil is more than 50% raised it can rack enough in the slot to create a pressure point between the trunk and the trailing edge causing the gel coat to chip. Structurally the foils are unaffected. There is a about 0.010” of gel coat on the foil – so the chips leave a “step” of this dimension. These can easily be repaired with gel coat and sanding.

    LaserPerformance has provided its sailors with a very high tech foil that uses technology borrowed from high performance laminate manufacturers in an effort to enhance our product. Our new foils are significantly more stable, fairer and more durable in all tests but chipping. That the exterior finish of the new foils are inherently more delicate is a trade off that we have had to make in providing a foil that will not warp in the heat, lose pieces of its trailing edge in normal use, have traditional tip failure and is as fair as is possible.

    I think that is a pretty good synopsis of where we are today. As is true with all of our products, we will continue to refine and improve our products at every opportunity.

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  8. Thanks very much to APS for following up on this and for LP for the detailed feedback. I think I understand a lot more now about the characteristics of the new foils now.

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