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SMALL BOAT REVIEW

Laser Bahia By Peter Eduardo Photos courtesy LaserPerformance

I

f you are looking for a mid-size, day-sailing dinghy, the Bahia may be the right boat. Designed by Jo Richards and manufactured by LaserPerformance, the Laser Bahia is a roto-mold plastic boat that combines comfort and performance. If it takes a long time to set up your boat and get on

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the water, chances are you don’t go out much. Setup time on the Bahia is minimal, and it can be launched by one person with ease. If you have concerns about carrying 150 square feet of sail upwind by yourself in an unballasted dinghy, fear not. A furling jib and single-line reefing mainsail make singlehanded sailing easy. As a sailing instructor, I used to take inexperienced people out in the Bahia on a daily basis. The boat was easy to handle. If there were concerns about the ability of the newbies, I would put a reef in before we went out. As people became more experienced, we would shake out the reef and unfurl the jib. Every once in a while, and if the conditions were right, we would use the spinnaker. The point is, the Bahia offers a lot of versatility. The Bahia is a plastic boat, and there is some debate about plastic versus fiberglass. Both construction materials have their pros and cons. Fiberglass is lighter, stiffer and less forgiving. Plastic is very forgiving, but heavier and not as stiff. In order to provide a stiffer hull, the Bahia hull is constructed with two layers of plastic with foam in between them. It makes the hull lighter and stiffer than plastic alone. The hull feels solid, and there is no need to cringe if you accidentally ram a seawall. At six feet wide, the cockpit is roomy and the boat feels stable at rest. Part of the pleasure of sailing a small boat is being able to explore areas inaccessible to larger boats, especially the numerous beaches here in the Southeast. I own a fiberglass dinghy, and pulling up onto a beach is almost out of the question. Having a durable plastic hull allows the Bahia to be pulled onto a beach without concern. A flat bottom and runners keep the boat stable when beached. You don’t have to worry about exploring shallow waters because the rudder and centerboard both have the ability to kick up on their own. A few features set the Bahia apart from similar dinghies on the market. If you want to spice things up a bit, you can play around with the spinnaker, which stores in a sock mounted on the deck forward and launches out of an opening at the bow. The whole setup is launched and retrieved with a single line that serves as halyard, retrieval and pole

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November 2012

SOUTHWINDS

www.southwindsmagazine.com

Southwinds Nov 2012  

http://www.southwindsmagazine.com/pdfs-issues/southwindsnovember2012.pdf

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