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ILCA Buying Guide – Entering into the ILCA class by Sailingfast's Duncan Hepplewhite

by Duncan Hepplewhite, Director, Sailingfast 27 Jan 2021 07:20 PST
ILCA Nationals racing in Portland Harbour © Sailingfast

Which rig is right for me?

Time to jump on the weighing scales! If you are new to the class, you need to have a look at the weight ranges for each rig size.

  • ILCA 4 (formerly Laser 4.7) weight range is 45kg -60kg
  • ILCA 6 (formerly Laser Radial) weight range is 60-75kg
  • ILCA 7 (formerly Laser Standard) weight range is 75-90kg

However, don't forget a couple of other considerations:

What do your other club members use? If the fleet at your local club is full of ILCA 6s, we would recommend buying the same. It's a one design class, so if you are close to the weight range for the majority of the club ILCAs, go with the masses. It will make for more exciting racing although you might have to work a little harder to keep up with them!

Growth spurt round the corner?

If you are transitioning from the Junior classes, you have to decide where to start in the ILCA class. This can be based purely on sailor weight, but the jump up from Junior to Youth class can be a challenge both in terms of coach expectations, physical effort and mental effort as the sailor gets to grips with the different class. Moving between the different rig options is very easy. It is as simple as changing your sail and lower mast section. Many people use two rigs and gradually transition over a number of months.

How much will it cost?

Joining the ILCA class is very easy, the first aspect to consider is your budget, what are you prepared to spend?

There are somewhere in the region of 218,000 boats world-wide out there, so you will definitely find boats for all budgets. Once you have decided on your budget, stick to it! Please do bear in mind that, while a second-hand boat may appear to be good value, you may end up replacing ropes, spars or the sails almost straight-away. This is where second-hand may prove to be a false economy and you would be better buying new.

Part Exchange

Consider part exchanging your current boat. Here are Sailingfast we would consider taking your current boat as part-payment towards your new boat. If you would be interested in part-exchanging, please contact the office to discuss further.

Should I buy a new boat?

  • There are various benefits of spending more money on a newer boat - a higher sail number means an enhanced resale value.
  • A new ILCA has various carbon upgrade options such as carbon tiller, carbon tiller extension and/or carbon top mast.
  • A new Ovington ILCA carries a full manufacturer's warranty which will put your mind at rest.
  • You know where it's been! No bumps or scrapes, brand new control lines and a crisp, new sail. A brand new Ovington ILCA is made in the UK and delivered by Sailingfast from the factory or our shop to your door or sailing club.
  • The Ovington factory team take meticulous care to ensure that every ILCA that leaves the factory adheres to minimum tolerances.
  • The Sailingfast team then go over the boat again to check the boat package is complete and tailored to your specification.

The ILCA Package - what's included?

The ILCA Package includes:

  • The hull with fittings
  • Foils - daggerboard and rudder, ILCA alloy tiller & extension
  • Spars - Alloy top, bottom sections and boom complete with Harken blocks
  • Control Lines - XD style control lines
  • Sail - folded sail suited to your rig, including battens, tell tales and a sail number set

What about upgrades?

How do I buy a new ILCA dinghy?

Drop us a line via email or phone 01324 861756 and let us know the various upgrades/personalisations you require. We can talk you through the options in more detail, and send you a bespoke quote.

Is there a lead time for new ILCA dinghies?

At the moment we have ILCAs in stock, ready to deliver to your door. However, at busy times of year, there may be a lead time to consider. Best thing to do is contact the office on 01324 861 756 and chat to Duncan, our ILCA specialist.

How soon can you deliver?

We have vehicles delivering boats throughout the UK on a weekly basis. We are happy to offer free delivery to the ILCA events we are due to support. Other delivery options possible - just contact the office to discuss.

Why buy from Sailingfast?

Sailingfast owners, Duncan & Emma Hepplewhite, are familiar faces on the circuit as the Sailingfast mobile shop can usually be found at all the major events run by the UKLA (UK Laser Class Association).

The Sailingfast team have a long working relationship within the Laser/ILCA class having worked with LaserPerformance since 2003, and with Ovington Boats since 2010, but more specifically when they were recognised as an official ILCA builder in August 2020.

At one stage Duncan was coaching the Scottish Laser Squad and likes to claim he had a hand in encouraging fellow Scot Lorenzo Chiavarini onto his path to being a contender for the British Sailing Team selection for the Olympics in 2020.

Drop us a line on 01324 861 756 to chat to one of the team, or head to