Laser Sail Numbers and National Letters

Questions, Answers and Tips for applying Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 Sail Numbers and National Letters.

Where should sail numbers and letters be placed?
The Racing Rules of Sailing and the Class Rules specify the size and placing of sail numbers and letters. All boats must comply with these rules for racing. ILCA has an easy up-to-date guide for the application of numbers and letters, published annually in the ILCA handbook and available on the website as well. If you follow the guide your numbers and letters will comply with the class rules: Instructions for Applying Sail Numbers.

Are there differences between the dimensions of numbers and national letters?
The numbers and letters on a sail shall have the same dimensions. The numbers and letters for the Standard and Radial sails (min height 300mm) are larger than those on the Laser 4.7 sail (min height 220mm).

May I use any number I choose on my sail?
NO. You must use the full 6 digit number of the boat shown on the plaque on the aft end of the cockpit. The numbers must all be the same style and size and be clearly visible by a Race Official from a distance. The last 4 numbers must be a dark color or black and any preceding numbers in a different contrasting color. Numbers and Letters must be only adhesive and not created by ink pens or markers.

May I use digital 8s for national letters?
While some letters can easily be made from a digital 8 (C, L, H, etc), others can not (e.g. B, D). Some of the letters can be made with a little extra work and using two digital 8s (such as R or A). For example, on the letter R you would need to cut the bottom of the 8 and make a diagonal forward ‘stepping’ leg, and an A must have a pyramid shape. Please see the Laser class recommendations for country letters.

Is there a space to respect between the characters of the country code or the sail numbers?
Yes, for the Radial and Standard the minimum is 50mm so use 60mm to be sure the numbers and letters are not too close. For the 4.7, the minimum is 30mm so use 40mm. Numbers and letters should be regularly spaced.

Is the red rhombus mandatory for women?
Yes, it is in the class rules [Part Two, section 4(g)(i) RED RHOMBUS].

How long does it take to put the numbers and letters on a sail?
Allow at least 1 hour especially if it is the first time. Most of this time measure, check and check again and mark guide lines for placing the numbers and letters. Do not wait until you arrive at the regatta as there may not be a good space to lay the sail out or you may be under pressure to complete the application. Both of these can lead to mistakes and more pressure. If there is an inspection of sails at the event you may miss your place in the inspection timetable and then have to wait for a later time.

What items do I need to properly apply my letters and numbers?
A well-sharpened pencil, a measuring tape, a good straight edge at least a meter long and an eraser to remove pencil lines and marks if you wish. If you use light lines and mark you can leave them on the sail as they will not be seen from 10 meters away. Make an accurate pattern 300 x 200mm (220 x 150mm for 4.7) cut from a piece to assist in getting numbers like 1, 3, 5, etc vertical with correct spacing. A strip of card 300 x 60mm (220 x 40mm for 4.7) is also helpful for correct spacing of letters.

How do I begin to apply the numbers and letters?
Follow the instructions on the ILCA website.

Always start with numbers on the starboard side of the sail. Make sure you draw the long horizontal Base Line to keep all numbers and letters on the same level, with the bottom of each number or letterson the line. Draw a Leech Guide Line 300mm line up from the base line 100mm parallel to the leech. The first starboard side number must just touch the 100mm line. There is a +/- 12 mm tolerance on this measurement. When you have finished the starboard side numbers turn the sail over and draw the a new horizontal Base Line and a new for the port side numbers. Draw a new Leech Guide Line 100mm from the leech for the port side numbers. The port side numbers and letters are attached starting with the number/letter closest to the leech. This will not be not be directly below the starboard tack numbers/letters as the leech does not run 90 degrees to the Base Lines.

Repeat the process for the letters, starting with the starboard side letters.