South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
White South Africans
White South Africans are South Africans descended from any of the white racial or ethnic groups of Europe. In linguistic and historical terms, they are divided into the Afrikaans-speaking descendants of the Dutch East India Company's original settlers, known as Afrikaners, the Anglophone descendants of predominantly British colonists. In 2016, 57.9% were native Afrikaans speakers, 40.2% were native English speakers, 1.9% spoke another language as their mother tongue, such as Portuguese or German. White South Africans are by far the largest European-descended population group in Africa. White South Africans differ from other White African groups, because they have a sense of separate cultural identity, as in the case of the Afrikaners, who established a distinct language and faith; the history of European settlement in South Africa started in 1652 with the settlement of the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch East India Company under Jan van Riebeeck. Despite the preponderance of officials and colonists from the Netherlands, there were a number of French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution at home and German soldiers or sailors returning from service in Asia.
The colony remained under Dutch rule for two more centuries, after which it was annexed by Great Britain around 1806. At that time, South Africa was home to about 26,000 people of European descent, a relative majority of whom were still of Dutch origin. However, beginning in 1818 thousands of British immigrants arrived in the growing Cape Colony, looking to join the local workforce or settle directly on the frontier. About a fifth of the Cape's original Dutch-speaking white population migrated eastwards during the Great Trek in the 1830s and established their own autonomous Boer republics further inland; the population of European origin continued increasing in the Cape as a result of immigration, by 1865 had reached 181,592 people. Between 1880 and 1910, there was an influx of Eastern Europeans of various nationalities a large Jewish community from the Baltic region Lithuania; the first nationwide census in South Africa was held in 1911 and indicated a white population of 1,276,242. By 1936, there were an estimated 2,003,857 white South Africans, by 1946 the number had reached 2,372,690.
The country began receiving tens of thousands of European immigrants, namely from Germany, the Netherlands and the territories of the Portuguese Empire during the mid to late twentieth century. South Africa's white population increased to over 3,408,000 by 1965, reached 4,050,000 in 1973, peaked at 5,044,000 in 1990; the number of white South Africans resident in their home country began declining between 1990 and the mid-2000s as a result of increased emigration. Today, white South Africans are considered to be the last major white population group of European ancestry on the African continent, due in part to the mass exodus of colonialists from most other African states during regional decolonisation. Whites continue to play a role across the political spectrum; the current number of white South Africans is not known, as no recent census has been measured, although the overall percentage of up to 9% of the population represents a decline, both numerically and proportionately, since the country's first multiracial elections in 1994.
Just under a million white South Africans are living as expatriate workers abroad, which forms the majority of South Africa's brain drain. Under the Population Registration Act of 1950, each inhabitant of South Africa was classified into one of several different race groups, of which White was one; the Office for Race Classification defined a white person as one who "in appearance is a white person, not accepted as a coloured person. Many criteria, both physical and social were used when the board decided to classify someone as white or coloured; this was extended to all those considered the children of two White persons, regardless of appearance. The Act was repealed on 17 June 1991. In Employment Equity Act of 1994, legislation propagates employment of black South Africans. Black Economic Empowerment legislation further empowerers blacks as the government considers ownership, employment and social responsibility initiatives, which empower black South Africans, as important criteria when awarding tenders.
However, private enterprises adheres to this legislation voluntarily. Some reports indicate a growing number of whites suffering from poverty compared to the pre-apartheid years and attribute this to such laws — over 350,000 Afrikaners may be classified as poor, with some research claiming that up to 150,000 are struggling for survival. This, combined with a wave of violent crime, has led to vast numbers of Afrikaners and English-speaking South Africans leaving the country. Genocide Watch has theorised that farm attacks constitute early warning signs of genocide against White South African and has criticised the South African government for its inaction on the issue, pointing out that the murder rate for "ethno-European farmers," as stated in their report is four times that of the general South African population. There are 40,000 white farmers in South Africa. Since 1994, close to three thousand farmers have been murdered in thousands of farm attacks, with many being brutally tortured and/or rape
Great white shark
The great white shark known as the great white, white shark or white pointer, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The great white shark is notable for its size, with larger female individuals growing to 6.1 m in length and 1,905 kg in weight at maturity. However, most are smaller. According to a 2014 study, the lifespan of great white sharks is estimated to be as long as 70 years or more, well above previous estimates, making it one of the longest lived cartilaginous fish known. According to the same study, male great white sharks take 26 years to reach sexual maturity, while the females take 33 years to be ready to produce offspring. Great white sharks can swim at speeds of over 56 km/h, can swim to depths of 1,200 m; the great white shark has no known natural predators other than, on rare occasions, the killer whale. The great white shark is arguably the world's largest known extant macropredatory fish, is one of the primary predators of marine mammals.
It is known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals, including fish and seabirds. It is the only known surviving species of its genus Carcharodon, is responsible for more recorded human bite incidents than any other shark; the species faces numerous ecological challenges. The IUCN lists the great white shark as a vulnerable species, it is included in Appendix II of CITES, it is protected by several national governments such as Australia. The novel Jaws by Peter Benchley and its subsequent film adaptation by Steven Spielberg depicted the great white shark as a "ferocious man eater". Humans are not the preferred prey of the great white shark, but the great white is responsible for the largest number of reported and identified fatal unprovoked shark attacks on humans; the great white shark was one of the many amphibia described by Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, its first scientific name, Squalus carcharias. Sir Andrew Smith gave it Carcharodon as its generic name in 1833, in 1873.
The generic name was identified with Linnaeus' specific name and the current scientific name, Carcharodon carcharias, was finalized. Carcharodon comes from the Ancient Greek words κάρχαρος, ὀδούς, ὀδών; the earliest known fossils of the great white shark are about 16 million years old, during the mid-Miocene epoch. However, the phylogeny of the great white is still in dispute; the original hypothesis for the great white's origins is that it shares a common ancestor with a prehistoric shark, such as the C. megalodon. C. megalodon had teeth that were superficially not too dissimilar with those of great white sharks, but its teeth were far larger. Although cartilaginous skeletons do not fossilize, C. megalodon is estimated to have been larger than the great white shark, estimated at up to 17 m and 59,413 kg. Similarities among the physical remains and the extreme size of both the great white and C. megalodon led many scientists to believe these sharks were related, the name Carcharodon megalodon was applied to the latter.
However, a new hypothesis proposes that the great white are distant relatives. The great white is more related to an ancient mako shark, Isurus hastalis, than to the C. megalodon, a theory that seems to be supported with the discovery of a complete set of jaws with 222 teeth and 45 vertebrae of the extinct transitional species Carcharodon hubbelli in 1988 and published on 14 November 2012. In addition, the new hypothesis assigns C. megalodon to the genus Carcharocles, which comprises the other megatoothed sharks. Great white sharks live in all coastal and offshore waters which have water temperature between 12 and 24 °C, with greater concentrations in the United States, South Africa, Oceania and the Mediterranean including Sea of Marmara and Bosphorus. One of the densest known populations is found around South Africa; the great white is an epipelagic fish, observed in the presence of rich game, such as fur seals, sea lions, other sharks, large bony fish species. In the open ocean, it has been recorded at depths as great as 1,200 m.
These findings challenge the traditional notion. According to a recent study, California great whites have migrated to an area between Baja California Peninsula and Hawaii known as the White Shark Café to spend at least 100 days before migrating back to Baja. On the journey out, they swim and dive down to around 900 m. After they arrive, they do short dives to about 300 m for up to ten minutes. Another white shark, tagged off the South African coast swam to the southern coast of Australia and back within the year. A similar study tracked a different great white shark from South Africa swimming to Australia's northwestern coast and back, a journey of 20,000 km in under nine months; these observations argue against traditional theories that white sharks are coastal territorial predators, open up the possibility of interaction between shark populations that were thought to have been discrete. The reasons for their migration and what they do at their destination is still unknown. Possi
Post office box
A post office box is a uniquely addressable lockable box located on the premises of a post office station. In some regions in Africa, there is no door to door delivery of mail. Renting a PO box has traditionally been the only way to receive mail in such countries. However, some countries, like Egypt, have introduced mail home delivery. Post office boxes are rented from the post office either by individuals or by businesses on a basis ranging from monthly to annual, the cost of rent varies depending on the box size. Central business district PO boxes are more expensive than rural PO boxes. In the United States, the rental rate used to be uniform across the country. Now, however, a postal facility can be in any of seven fee groups by location. In the United Kingdom, Royal Mail PO boxes are little more than pigeon-holes in the secure section of a sorting office and are accessible only by staff. In such cases, the renter of the PO box will be issued with a card showing the PO box number and delivery office name and must produce this to the desk staff when collecting mail.
For an additional fee, the Royal Mail will deliver received items to the renter's geographical address. Some private companies offer similar services of renting a mailbox in a public location; the difference is that mail sent there is addressed to a street address, instead of just addressed to "PO Box CSX". The quantity of post office boxes in a station varies widely. Stations of small areas are equipped with fewer than 100 boxes, while stations in a central business district area may offer a combined quantity of over 200,000 post office boxes. Post office boxes are mounted in a wall of the post office, either an external wall or a wall in a lobby, so that staff on the inside may deposit mail in a box, while a key holder in the lobby or on the outside of the building may open his or her box to retrieve the mail. In many post offices in the U. S. the PO box lobby is separate from the window-service lobby, so that the former may be kept open for longer hours or around the clock, while the latter is locked after business hours.
In the U. S. since the 1980s, in cities and large urban areas, post offices have tended to close box lobbies overnight because of the tendency of homeless people to use them for sleeping quarters. As a result, some box lobbies are accessible after hours by customers who are provided a code to a door keypad. In addition, some post offices are located in rented facilities such as shopping malls; as a result, PO boxes can only be accessed. If a parcel does not fit in a PO box, the postmaster will leave a note advising that customer to pick up that parcel from the counter. In some post offices, a key will be left in the PO box that corresponds to a larger, locked box where the patron may pick up his or her package if a signature is not required. Most in this case, once the key is used to open the larger, locked box, the key cannot be removed again by the patron, but the door cannot be secured either. Notes will be left in the PO box in respect of cash on delivery and registered mail that has to be signed for.
In 2011, the United States Postal Service began a pilot program called "gopost" which installed larger boxes to handle package pickup from an unstaffed station. A given box can be used by multiple customers thanks to the integration of a computer which accepts a delivery code; the system uses U. S. Patent 6,690,997, issued February 10, 2004 to Michael A. Rivalto. Deutsche Post started a similar concept called a Packstation in 2001; the operated Amazon Locker, started in 2011, is a similar one-time-use pickup facility for parcels sent to and from the company. Until 2012, package delivery to USPS post office boxes was not available from private carriers like UPS, FedEx and others. In early 2012, the Postal Service introduced a P. O. Box Street Address service that allows box-holders to combine the street address of the post office where their box is located with their post office box number into a street address format. A mailing industry publication called the new service "a great service for people who have a PO Box and don't want their packages delivered to their home."
Users receiving large quantities of mail can use "locked bags", which are numbered like PO boxes. In the United States, this service is called caller service, the assigned number is called a caller number, although mail is addressed to "PO Box." Each country has its own regulations as to how one can retrieve mail at a PO Box. Some countries, such as the United States or the United Kingdom, may require one or more forms of identification. Not all countries offer locked PO Boxes. In the United States, two forms of identification are required. Many countries offer some type of PO Boxes for different uses. There are an increasing number of private companies that provide similar PO Box services to the official postal service under the guise of mail forwarding. In Namibia, PO boxes are the only form of mail delivery to private individuals. Small settlements feature a block of PO boxes for rent. In Windhoek and the only large town, blocks of PO boxes are scattered all over the city and not located at post of
Squadron Leader Roger Joyce Bushell RAF was a South African-born British military aviator. He is best known as the mastermind of the "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft III in 1944, but was one of the men recaptured and subsequently murdered by the Gestapo. Bushell was born in Springs, South Africa, on 30 August 1910 to English parents, Benjamin Daniel and Dorothy Wingate Bushell, his father, a mining engineer, had emigrated to the country from Britain and he used his wealth to ensure that Roger received a first class education. He was first schooled in Johannesburg aged 14 went to Wellington College in Berkshire, England. In 1929, Bushell went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to study law. Keen on pursuing non-academic interests from an early age, Bushell excelled in rugby and cricket and skied for Cambridge in races between 1930 and 1932, captaining the team in 1931. In private letters, his mother describes him as courageous and a'leader'; these were two qualities. One of Bushell's passions and talents was skiing: in the early 1930s he was declared the fastest Briton in the male downhill category.
After the war he had a black run named after him in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in memory of his efforts to organise the Swiss-Anglo ski meetings, he won the slalom event of the annual Oxford-Cambridge ski race in 1931. At an event in Canada, Bushell had an accident in which one of his skis narrowly missed his left eye, leaving him with a gash in the corner of it. Although he recovered from this accident, he still had a dark drooping in his left eye as a result of scarring from his stitches. Bushell became fluent in French and German, with a good accent, which became useful during his time as a prisoner of war. Despite his sporting prospects, one of Bushell's primary wishes was to fly. In 1932 he joined 601 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force, referred to as "The Millionaires' Mob" because of the number of wealthy young men who paid their way to learn how to fly during training days, he was commissioned on 10 August 1932 and promoted to flying officer on 10 February 1934 and flight lieutenant on 20 July 1936.
Although Bushell was pursuing a career with the RAF, he was not hampered in his attempts to become a barrister-at-Law of Lincolns Inn, London. From the outset of his legal career many commented on his ability as a lawyer in criminal defence. After a while, Bushell was appointed to military cases in prosecuting RAF personnel charged with various offences; these involved pilots charged with dangerous flying. In October 1939, acting as assistant to Sir Patrick Hastings, he defended two RAF pilots, John Freeborn and Paddy Byrne, court martialled after the friendly fire incident known as the Battle of Barking Creek. Byrne would be incarcerated with Bushell at Stalag Luft III. Bushell was given command of 92 Squadron in October 1939, his promotion to squadron leader was confirmed on 1 January 1940. During the squadron's first engagement with enemy aircraft on 23 May 1940, whilst on a patrol near Calais, to assist with the Dunkirk evacuation, he was credited with damaging two Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter aircraft of ZG 26 before being shot down himself by future ace Oberleutnant Günther Specht.
He crash-landed his Spitfire on German-occupied ground and was captured before he had a chance to hide. He became a prisoner of war and was sent to the Dulag Luft transit camp near Frankfurt with all other captured aircrew. On arrival at Dulag Luft he was made part of the permanent British staff under the senior British officer Wing Commander Harry Day; the permanent staff's duty was to help newly captured Allied aircrew to adjust to life as a prisoner of war. Escape, regarded as a duty of all prisoners of war of officer rank, was never far from his mind and he was in good company with Day and Fleet Air Arm pilot Jimmy Buckley. Day placed Buckley in charge of escape operations, with Bushell as his deputy; the three of them formed the escape committee responsible for all escape attempts. The permanent staff of the camp started several escape tunnels, one of, completed in May 1941. Bushell was given a place in the tunnel, but elected to escape on the same day as the tunnel break by cutting through the wire surrounding a small park in the camp grounds.
His decision for not using the tunnel was to allow him an earlier get away, thus enabling him to catch a particular train. The exact date of the escape is not known, but is believed to have occurred in June 1941. Bushell hid in a goat shed in the camp grounds and, soon as it was dark enough, he crawled to the wire and made good his escape, he was recaptured on the Swiss border, only a few hundred yards from freedom, by a German border guard. He was treated well and returned to Dulag Luft before being transferred to Stalag Luft I with all the 17 others who had escaped in the tunnel, he was at Stalag Luft I for only a short period before being transferred to Oflag X-C at Lübeck. At this camp he participated in the construction of another tunnel, but this was abandoned unfinished when the camp was evacuated. All British and Commonwealth Officer POWs were removed from the camp on 8 October 1941 and were entrained for transfer to Oflag VI-B at Warburg. During the night of 8/9 October 1941, the train stopped in Hannover, where Bushell and Czechoslovak Pilot Officer Jaroslav Zafouk jumped from the train and escaped, unnoticed at the time by the German guards.
Earlier in the journey, six other officers had escaped by jumping off the train while it was moving slowly. Bushell and Zafouk made their way to Prague in occupied
Cape Agulhas is a rocky headland in Western Cape, South Africa. It is the geographic southern tip of the African continent and the beginning of the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans according to the International Hydrographic Organization; the cape has been known to sailors as a major hazard on the traditional clipper route. It is sometimes regarded as one of the great capes, it was most known in English as Cape L'Agulhas until the 20th century. The town of L'Agulhas is located near to the cape. Cape Agulhas is located in 170 kilometres southeast of Cape Town; the cape was named by Portuguese navigators, who called it Cabo das Agulhas—Portuguese for "Cape of Needles"—after noticing that around the year 1500 the direction of magnetic north coincided with true north in the region. The cape is within the Cape Agulhas Local Municipality in the Overberg District of the Western Cape province of South Africa; the nearby small airport of Andrew's Field services Agulhas. South of Cape Agulhas the warm Agulhas Current that flows south along the east coast of Africa retroflects back into the Indian Ocean.
While retroflecting, it pinches off large ocean eddies that drift into the South Atlantic Ocean and take enormous amounts of heat and salt into the neighbouring ocean. This mechanism constitutes one of the key elements in the global conveyor belt circulation of heat and salt. Cape Agulhas has a spectacular coastline, consisting of a curving coastline with rocky and sand beaches. A survey marker and a new ikon depicting the African continent are located at the most Southern tip of Africa; the waters of the Agulhas Bank off the coast are quite shallow and are renowned as one of the best fishing grounds in South Africa. The rocks that form Cape Agulhas belong to the Table Mountain Group loosely termed the Table Mountain sandstone, they are linked to the geological formations that are exposed in the spectacular cliffs of Table Mountain, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Agulhas has a warm Mediterranean climate; the climate is mild, with no temperature or rainfall extremes. According to South African National Parks, who administer the nature reserve, the average rainfall is 400–600 mm per annum received in winter.
Temperature climate data is available for Cape Agulhas, averages are: The sea off Cape Agulhas is notorious for winter storms and mammoth rogue waves, which can range up to 30 metres high and can sink large ships. Over the past few hundred years it has been believed; these conditions are caused by a number of factors. The strong winds of the roaring forties, which blow from west to east, the cold Antarctic Circumpolar Current flowing in the same direction, come up against the warmer Agulhas Current in the region of the cape; these conflicting currents of water of different densities, the west winds blowing against the Agulhas Current, can create hazardous wave conditions. These hazards have combined to make the cape notorious among sailors; the coast here is littered with wrecks: Arniston, Elise, Federal Lakes, Geortyrder and Gwendola are just a few of the vessels lost in the proximity of the "Cape of Needles". Owing to the hazards and following the loss of several vessels, notably the Arniston, a lighthouse was built in 1848.
The lighthouse now plays host to a small rustic restaurant. Cape Agulhas Local Municipality, the municipality containing Cape Agulhas. Agulhas National Park Cape of Good Hope, near Cape Town incorrectly regarded as the southernmost point of Africa. SS Wafra oil spill Cape Agulhas Lighthouse Agulhas National Park
The International Laser Class sailboat called Laser Standard and the Laser One is a popular one-design class of small sailing dinghy. According to the Laser Class Rules the boat may be sailed by either one or two people, though it is sailed by two; the design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes performance. The dinghy is manufactured by independent companies in different parts of the world, including LaserPerformance, Performance Sailcraft Australia and Performance Sailcraft Japan; the Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. As of 2018, there are more than 215,000 boats worldwide. A cited reason for its popularity is that it is robust and simple to rig and sail in addition to its durability; the Laser provides competitive racing due to the tight class association controls which eliminate differences in hull and equipment. The term "Laser" is used to refer to the Laser Standard. However, there are two other sail plan rigs available for the Laser Standard hull and a series of other "Laser"-branded boats which are of different hull designs.
Examples include Laser Pico. The Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 are three types of'Laser' administered by the International Laser Class Association. The laser's hull is made out of Glass Reinforced Plastics; the deck has a foam layer underneath for strength. The boat's history began with a phone call between Canadians Bruce Ian Bruce. While discussing the possibility of a car-topped dinghy for a line of camping equipment, Bruce Kirby sketched what would be known as "the million dollar doodle"; the plans stayed with Kirby until 1970 when One Design and Offshore Yachtsman magazine held a regatta for boats under $1000, called "America's Teacup". After a few sail modifications, the Laser won its class; the prototype was named the "Weekender". In December 1970 Dave Balfour, a McGill engineering student, suggested the name Laser and contributed the Laser sail insignia; the Laser sailboat was unveiled at the New York Boat Show in 1971. The first world championship was held in 1974 in Bermuda.
Entrants came from 24 countries, first place was won by Peter Commette from the United States. The Laser became a men's Olympic-class boat at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, a special Olympic edition of the boat was released that year in commemoration. A version with a smaller sail, the Laser Radial, was first sailed as a women's Olympic-class boat at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Arguably the greatest champion of the Laser Class is Robert Scheidt from Brazil; the Laser is manufactured by different companies in different regions. They include LaserPerformance in Europe and the Americas, Performance Sailcraft Australia in Oceania and Performance Sailcraft; as a one-design class of sailboat, all Lasers are built to the same specifications. The hull is 4.2 metres long, with a waterline length of 3.81 m. The hull weight is 56.7 kg. The various sizes of Laser are all cat-rigged; the Laser Standard sail has a sail area of 7.06 m² and in higher winds, is most competitive when sailed by a fit and muscular person weighing no less than 80 kg.
The Laser uses a Portsmouth Yardstick of 1097 for racing involving other classes. The equivalent yardstick in North America is the D-PN, 91.1 for a Laser. Laser sailing and racing presents a unique set of skill based challenges. Fast Laser sailing requires an advanced level of fitness in order to endure the straight legged hiking and body-torque techniques essential in getting upwind and reaching quickly. Since 1998 Laser sailing has increased not only to be physical upwind and reaching, but to include far more demanding sailing and potential speed increases when sailing downwind. Traditionally sailing downwind has been considered processional in dinghy racing being pushed downwind, but Laser sailors, including Ben Ainslie and Robert Scheidt changed the techniques used to race a Laser downwind. The techniques these sailors introduced use a much more dynamic sailing method, concentrating on surfing the waves going downwind; the sailors will weave their way downwind looking to either side for the next large wave they can "hop" onto and surf downwind.
To maximize their speed, boats will be sailed by the lee, where the air flow over the sail is reversed from its usual direction and thus travels from the lee to the luff of the sail. This change in technique for downwind racing has changed most dinghy racing to be much more competitive on the downwind legs and resulted in a change of the international course shape from a traditional triangle to a trapezoid giving greater opportunity for increased upwind and straight downwind legs. In addition, downwind laser sailing can easily result in a death roll where the boat rocks and capsizes to windward, or the lesser known big brother of the death roll: the California Roll, where the boat capsizes to windward but the sailor is pushed under the boat before popping up the other side. A Laser's date and place of manufacture can be determined by looking at the serial number stamped into the transom or under the fairlead on the bow on