Kirby TorchIn the last few months Bruce Kirby, the Canadian designer of the Laser sailboat, the world's most successful racing dinghy ever, and the one-design boat that powers arguably the largest and most significant class in racing, has revealed that for some time, he has not been paid the royalties owed to him by the builders who had contracts to build Kirby's design. Yet, the authorities in the Laser class association with the apparent cooperation of ISAF, the International Sailing Federation have continued to issue official plaques to these unauthorized Laser boats. The series of events would seem to undermine the whole concept of one-design sailing and racing. Here's Bruce Kirby's own explanation of the current events - Andy Adams Editor

IT’S  THE  BOAT  THAT  MATTERS,  NOT  THE  NAME

In an attempt to rescue the Laser Class from its downhill course of the past few years I have reluctantly decided that a name change, or re-branding is necessary.  During the past three or four years dealers have had difficulty getting timely delivery of boats, and in particular, of parts.  We have had calls and e-mails from various parts of the world asking if there is anything that can be done to save the Laser.  To give some idea how critical the situation with Lasers has become  (as of mid-April, 2013) there is a boat shop in Toronto which has 52 American-built Lasers that have been brought in for repairs of various kinds.

Laser Performance in both Europe and North America own the name LASER and the sunburst symbol on the sail, but they don’t own the boat.  Because I am owed quite a bit of money by these firms in unpaid design royalties it has been possible for me to terminate their building rights at both factories.

What the Laser sailing public must try to get their heads around is that it is not the name of the boat that matters, It is the boat itself - that 13’ 10” bit of fiberglass and aluminum   that provides us with untold pleasure.  I love the name Laser.  I was there in the beginning when then builder Ian Bruce came up with it.  I have lived with it and revered it for more than 40 years…but I know that if the boat is to be saved it must have a new name.

Laser Performance were terminated as builders last year, but the lawsuit was filed this year because production of the Laser unlawfully continued after termination.  The International Laser Class Association  (ILCA) in lock step with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) participated in this unlawful manufacture by refusing to stop issuing Laser Performance the stick-on ISAF plaques that are attached to the inside of the aft face of the cockpit, identifying the boat as an authorized Kirby Sailboat permitted to be used in Laser class and ISAF sanctioned events.

I have tried to work with ILCA and ISAF on rebranding the boat, but they refused and demanded instead that I get a Court Order.  So they are named in the lawsuit.  After filing of the lawsuit, ISAF initially asked ILCA to stop issuing ISAF plaques to Laser Performance, but I don’t yet know if ILCA complied.  In a new twist, ISAF and ILCA now seem prepared to issue a new version of the plaque to Laser Performance which removes my name from my own design.  This is not only against the Laser Construction Manual which ISAF and ILCA claim to hold Builders to, thereby insuring a true one-design class, but also reveals their true strategy to steal my design. The irony in all of this is that by continuing to provide plaques to Laser Performance against my wishes and our contracts, both ISAF and ILCA continue to collect money from Laser Performance for every boat made even while I am not being paid the design royalty.

In any event, all builders of the Laser have been terminated and the Kirby Sailboat will only be lawfully built under the Kirby Torch brand.  This does not violate any prior agreement I have with ISAF and ILCA since they explicitly only relate to manufacture of the Kirby Sailboat under the Laser brand. ILCA and ISAF have trumped up a “breach” in order to push through the “Fundamental Rule” change designed to excuse nonpayment of my royalty by Laser Performance.  Their actions make their intentions clear:  Steal the Kirby Sailboat from its designer.

New builders with stellar sailing and boat building credentials have signed agreements to follow the Construction Manual so that new Kirby Torches will be exactly like old Lasers, and both boats will be able to compete side by side under the rules of the Kirby Torch class.  We have asked ILCA to set up the Kirby Torch class, but they continue to ignore us and the Torch even though there are no longer any licensed builders for the Laser.  Go figure?!

So if you agree that what we are doing is in the best interests of the boat, please urge ILCA and your district Laser class organizations to cooperate with us for the sake of sailors throughout the world.

This is your boat.  It’s my baby, but it’s your boat.  With a simple change of the name we can offer a better quality  product, consistent delivery and the steady supply of parts. The Kirby Torch Builders and Class Association will serve sailors—that is our promise to you and the reason I am taking on this fight. The fight is about pulling the boat out of the swamp it has been dragged into and handing it back to the sailors cleaned up and ready to move ahead for another 50 years.  I have been disappointed with the treatment handed to me by those who should be firmly on the side of the sailors, and so at the age of 84 I am throwing all my energy into meetings, phone calls and e-mails to save the little boat.

Please join me in this endeavor and support the Torch.  I can no longer race with you, but I can cheer you on.

Bruce Kirby
Rowayton, Ct. U.S.A.

www.kirbytorch.com

Related Articles
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town of Richibucto offers a safe and picturesque harbour for yachts cruising the area. 
Here is the link for the 2018 Shark online ...
Bluewater Rigging Vancouver announced today that ...
CPS-ECP is excited to announce their partnership ...
The 2018 Laser Midwinters East took place last ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, ...

Destinations

  • Prev
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...
We did breakfast yesterday in the Greek port of Piraeus, just outside Athens:strong coffee, crisp ...
After much speculation Prince Harry finally popped the question to American actress and longtime ...
Last January we ran a short piece on the motor boat A Great Story which had been restored by the ...
The Moorings has just announced the launch of its newest Caribbean destination, Antigua. 
Toronto sailor and former RCYC coach/sailing instructor Ryan May is now a US coast guard captain ...
Just before the weekly party at Shirley HeightsSunsail staffer Chris Donahue conducts our chart ...

How to be as Polite as a Canadian at Gulf Island Marine Park Anchorages

Gulf Island Marine ParkStory and photos by Catherine Dook

One summer I sold ice cream and knick-knacks at Montague Harbour Marina. I was standing behind the counter one day, when the phone rang. “There’s a boat at anchor in the middle of the bay that’s been playing loud music for three hours,” complained an irate-sounding male voice. “Can you make them stop?”

“Um, no,” I replied. “The marina has no jurisdiction over the anchorage. Besides, my only weapon is a till.” The man hung up on me.

Now when you think about it, you can understand why the poor fellow was annoyed.

Read more about the Gulf Island Marine Park.....

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
We were all set with this week’s POTW when a real stunner came in as part of a story on the Blind ...
Have your say. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need ...
When I was about ten years old I starting racing sailboats on Cape Cod and the sound of the wind ...
I took this photo in July 2017 from our boat Ginger which was anchored and stern tied in Mouat Bay ...
Were we nervous when we returned to Adamant 1 in November? The answer would be a hearty yes. The ...
Just to put it in historical time warp I was a World Sailing Vice President 1976-1994 and President ...
Great icicles! This is not what one expects from the tropical climes of BC. It’s a nice winter ...
Rossiter is a Canadian builder in Markdale, Ontario that builds a nice fleet of rowboats and small ...
Welcome to Photo of the Week 2018. If you are not familiar with this wonderful feature (What???!!!) ...
Living the dream! Longtime CY staffer and now blogger Lynn Lortie with her husband Pat left Midland ...
Canadian Yachting Digital April 2018

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
Cruisers Yachts debuts the all-new 42 Cantius. The sporty, luxury cruiser will make its first ...
Once again, the designers at Jeanneau have outdone themselves with the innovative new Leader 10.5 ...
The introduction of X-Yachts’Xc range in 2008 has proven itself to be something of a game changer ...
Hull #1 ZINNIA, the all-new, twin outboard MJM 35z left Boston BoatWorks on July 5 for Newport and ...
Following a 10-year hiatus, Richmond, BC-based Crescent Custom Yachts is once again launching ...
According to the folks at Fraser Yacht Sales, you couldn't ask for more - the new Azimut Atlantis ...
During those cold, cold, sunless, dreary months of January and February, I want to remember the fun ...
The Rossiter 23 Classic Day Boatis both a logical extension of the Canadian-built Rossiter line and ...
It's rare for Canadian Yachting magazine to report on the same boat twice, but that is how ...

 

Cruisers Yachts Cantius 42

Cruisers Yachts Cantius 42By John Armstrong and Andy Adams 

The latest new model from Cruisers Yacht sis the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the fall of 2017, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. We had the pleasure of going all through this newest Cantius there and clearly, the Cruisers Yachts people continue to refine and expand on all the features that have made the Cantius line such a success.

The new 42 continues the Cantius family resemblance with handsome and distinctive lines including a big section of hull side glazing port and starboard that makes the full-beam mid-ship master stateroom feel very bright and open.

Read more about the Cruisers Yachts Cantius 42...

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...
Since the initial article of this series we have looked at the iPad and its use as a marine ...
The moment we all dread. It’s a warm sunny day and you’re out for a cruise. Suddenly ...
For most of us – this is the time to make the most of the boating season – launch and ...
Question: Is it possible to mount, protect and charge your iPad during marine navigation. ...
  Is iNavX the superlative marine navigation app?    
Question: Can I buy generic automotive parts or products for my boat, or should they specify ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...
Last year when this column launched a good deal of time was spent understanding global satellite ...
This article was my first about 10 years ago, and it found it's way to an outdoor editor/writer ...
For a gloomy February we look not only at how an app that works within your phone can be of benefit ...
ZCare Marine, offers effective, eco-safe products to help keep your boat clean. They have products ...
Monaro Marine Ltd. of Richmond, BC, designs and builds its own unique brand of semi-custom 21' to ...
With Garmin it is now possible to use both devices without independently operating two devices with ...
When the Halifax Boat Show opens on February 8th there will be an excellent selection of pontoon ...
The 627 is the largest outboard in world. New cylinder heads and camshaft, an uprated ...
Sirius Signal held a product information session for interested parties prior to demonstrating ...