One of the great things about the Laser is having the ability to fly to nearly any country around the world and race. In order to do this, a lot of the time you’ll have to charter a boat, which also means bringing a lot of your equipment with you.
With ever increasing restrictions on airline luggage, it can often be difficult to bring larger pieces of gear such as sails, tillers and extensions with you (not to mention trying to stay under the weight limit with all of your everyday essentials). Over the few years I’ve been travelling overseas to sail, I’ve trialled a whole heap of different methods of getting all of my gear on to the flight. I’ve tried packing my sailing equipment (ropes, sail, clothing) with my clothes and checking them in whilst bringing my tiller extension as carry-on (both unprotected and in a postal tube). I’ve also tried bringing most of my sailing gear (tiller extension included) as carry-on. After a few attempts, and some advice from some more experienced travelers, I finally settled on (what I think to be) the best solution; a longer bag (at least 1.2m) made for other sporting equipment (ie golf bag, snowboarding bag etc.). Personally, I use a 1.28m snowboard bag which I check in. This allows me to fit everything from my tiller and extension to clothing in the one bag, and spares me from pushing the boundaries of carry-on allowance.
The photo above shows my fully packed bag which I took to the Sailing World Cup in Miami. In this one bag, I’ve been able to include;
- Tiller and extension
- Folded MkII Sail
- Entire ropes kit for my boat (vang, outhaul, cunningham, mainsheet + various equipment and spares)
- Zhik 360 boots and 60 boots and Zhik GripII Hiking Strap
- Zhik Microfleece Skiff Suit, Superwarm Top, Hydrophobic Top, Titanium Top, Hybrid Shorts and 2 x Lycra Tops
- Foam roller, exercise band, hockey ball and a few other bits and pieces used for recovery
- On-water nutrition for the entire regatta (hydration tablets, energy bars and gels)
- Clothes for four days, towel, toiletries etc.
All of this came to a total of 24.9kg. Despite being over my one-bag limit (allowed 2 x 23 kg), it got on the plane with no dramas (thanks Virgin Australia). With most other international airlines, this would’ve been well under weight restrictions. Be sure to check restrictions with your individual airline prior to leaving! I also could’ve easily lightened the load by bringing a larger carry-on bag – I only brought a backpack with me.
I paid roughly $200 for this bag a couple of years ago. It has definitely been a worthwhile investment, saving myself a lot of hassle having to deal with multiple pieces of luggage and/or equipment.