How Old is my Laser?

It is a question that comes up again and again, often from someone who has found an old Laser hull that had been sitting neglected for some years and wants to give it new life. Or maybe you are planning to buy a used boat and you know the sail number and want some idea how old the boat is.

What year was this built? How old is my Laser?

If you know the hull/sail number for the boat, you can likely find out the answer by reviewing the following table (please note that for several reasons, this table is not definitive or guaranteed to be accurate, but may serve as a reasonable guide for the approximate age of a Laser):

YEAR       Sail Numbers
1977      35265 – 42273
1978      42274 – 56277
1979      56278 – 72998
1980      72999 – 86490
1981      86491 – 93254
1982      93255 – 104928
1983      104929 – 112845
1984      112846 – 118022
1985      118023 – 132688
1986      132689 – 128595
1987      128596 – 132231
1988      132232 – 136322
1989      136323 – 139659
1990      139660 – 142789
1991      142790 – 145705
1992      145706 – 148322
1993      148323 – 152360
1994      152361 – 155822
1995      155823 – 158264
1996      158265 – 161382
1997      161383 – 164398
1998      164399 – 166270
1999      166271 – 168874
2000      168875 – 171536
2001      171537 – 173950
2002      173951 – 176694
2003      176695 – 179554
2004      179555 – 182213
2005      182214 – 185370
2006      185371 – 188573
2007      188574 – 192439
2008      192440 – 194846
2009      194847 – 197063
2010      197064 – 200309
2011      200310 – 202431
2012      202432 – 204542
2013      204543 – 206662
2014      206663 – 208458
2015      208459 – 210618
2016      210619 – 212235
2017      212236 – 214962
2018      214953 –

Being able to date a Laser in this way supposes that you know the sail number corresponding to the boat. For many years, this number has been printed on a plaque placed on the aft end of the Laser cockpit. Although the plaque design has changed over time, the function has remained the same: identifying each Laser as an IYRU/ISAF/World Sailing recognized class legal hull and specifying the sail number for that boat.

If there is no plaque to consult, the difficulty becomes a bit greater. A number of years ago, Shevy Gunter published some information about dating older Lasers on his website dr Laser. Although that website is no longer on-line, it can be accessed through the internet archive. His FAQ page answers questions for quite a few different topics, but there are three in particular that relate to the question of identifying early Lasers (accessible through the drop-down menu of his FAQ page):
    – How do I determine my sail number and boat year?
    – How do I determine the age of a boat from the sail number?
    – Who owns the oldest Laser afloat?