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

 You will eventually get water into your diesel fuel tank. Could be condensation, a leaky filler tube or from the marina where you fuel up. It is not a matter of 'if' but 'when'...    
Come to the Redpath Waterfront Festival and Party ...
Beneteau America is pleased to announce the ...
PrestoMarine Lifts has announced the launch of ...
FLIR Systems, Inc. has announced the release of ...
Designed to traverse tough terrain with ease, the ...
  • Ablative Paints - Canadian Yachting's Ask the Experts with Rob MacLeod
  • Battery Performance and Longevity - Ask the Experts with Rob MacLeod and Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Surf Adrenalin Wakesurfing talks with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Swift Canoe & Kayaks talks with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Greg Emerson of Marlow-Hunter with Andy Adams at Toronto Boat Show
  • Ron Huibers of Volvo-Penta with Canadian Yachting magazine's Andy Adams
  • Toronto Brigantine Sailing School with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • Raymarine at 2015 Toronto Boat Show with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • NMMA's Sara Anghel talks to Andy Adams about the Industry Day on the Hill
  • Boating Ontario's Al Donaldson on Changes to Trent Severn-Rideau System with Andy Adams
  • Rec Boat Holdings - Andy Gamble on the Merry Fisher with Canadian Yachting
  • Trent Severn Fuel Sales with Al Donaldson and Andy Adams
  • Discover Boating's Searchable Dealer Database - with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Cruising Cape Breton and the Bras d'Or Lake Area with Greg Nicoll of Canadian Yachting
  • Ask the Expert - Marine Solar Panels: Power Considerations
  • Biltmore Fibertoon - Campion Boats - with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Cruising in the SeaRay 310 with Canadian Yachting at the 2015 Miami Boat Show
  • Boating Simulator with John Gullick of CPS-ECP and Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • Regal 2100 with Volvo-Pentas' Forward Facing Drives - Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • How to Select & Install the Solar Charging System on Your Boat -  CY's Ask the Experts
  • Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean Part I: Biocide  - CY's Ask the Experts
  • Flare Disposal with CPS-ECP's John Gullick and Canadian Yachting
  • Shrink Wrapping a 16 ft Glastron Bowrider for Winter Storage
  • https://youtube.com/devicesupport

Destinations

  • Prev
As an attractive destination for sailors and cruisers alike, Midland Harbour doesn’t really have to ...
We’ve bridled our bowline to a mooring ball in Trellis Bay just off Tortola in the British Virgin ...
Owning a runabout or personal watercraft enables boaters to do unique explorations not possible ...
We met Bobby Sherlock in Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island onboard his Hunter 340, ...
We’ve dropped the anchor in the northwest corner of Pillsbury Sound, hard by a channel bisecting ...
Just across the border from Canada’s Gulf Islands – and there’s a story behind that – San Juan is ...
After being without a boat for almost a decade, I decided it was time to own one again. My wife and ...
I was ruined...completely and utterly ruined. At the young age of 22, my very first trip to the ...
Dominica has been on “the” list for quite some time now and when I actually get to do something on ...
It’s just so easy to get to Antigua with direct flights offered by Air Canada and West Jet several ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
These pictures are a sneak preview of the new Neptunus 63, which will launch in September and be ...
Bavaria Yachts pride themselves in their German traditions of craftsmanship, efficiency, and ...
As a semi-recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest from New England’s historic waters, I was ...
It is early September, a gray day with the impending threat of rain.  It’s a great day.  The wind ...
There seems to be more and more talk these days about the “bucket list” and amongst people who are ...
While the name Monte Carlo is a new marque in the Canadian marine industry, this newcomer comes ...
I have had the pleasure of going through the Cruiser's Yachts design department in Oconto, ...
The new Jeanneau 64, flagship of the Jeanneau yacht line takes things to yet another level. This is ...
The latest designs stress versatility and the brand new Chris-Craft Catalina 34 is another example ...
Somewhere beyond the sport utility vessel is the Swiss Army Knife vessel and we think it just might ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Winterizing your boat in the fall is important and may be a daunting task for some boat owners.  ...
Boaters who prefer to be on the hook, such as ourselves in our Islander 36 sailboat Holole’a, ...
Will traditional paper charts soon be a thing of the past? And what will that mean for recreational ...
With built in functions for radar, weather, chart plotters, engine data, and radio controls, boat ...
Understanding how systems really work – and degrade over the winter – can help you prepare your ...
The Interlux® Boat Paint Guide has gone digital with the launch of a free app for Apple® IOS and ...
Convenient, Cool and Low-cost!From simple organizational Apps for your smart phone to complete ...
Navigation light repairs and replacements you can do yourself.In researching this article, we spoke ...
If you are new to boating, how do you start searching for the right boat at boat shows? We put the ...

Environment

  • Prev
Boating and astronomy can be a match made in the heavens. The inky black canvas above the boat is ...
The 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay is a boater’s dream destination with crystal clear waters, ...
New rules severely restrict where and how salt-water boaters can discharge sewage. Is your boat ...
Many Canadian Yachting readers have likely experienced the beauty of British Columbia’s Gulf ...
Many newspaper headlines appeared in the spring of 2012 with these two names highlighted. The ...
Investing in a reusable winter cover is a sound environmental choice and a practical way to ...
I’m on vacation! Things can turn ugly in paradise when you finally reach that secluded anchorage. ...
I've been a pilot for 37 years and spent 28 years flying passenger aircraft for the airlines ...
There's been lots of talk about electric boats recently, but few examples are actually out on the ...
I think it’s a given that as a Canadian Yachting reader, you are passionate about ...

Lifestyle

  • Prev
An interest to be on the water, do things on the water, and enjoy it with friends who like to do ...
You won’t find a prettier site in all of Canada (although I am sure that the west coast sailors ...
Imagine a club that has been around for 125 years, that used to rent their club house, finally ...
If you are ready to start your Holiday baking or just plain need a great chocolate fix these ...
It doesn’t seem to matter if you are on the east coast, in the Prairies, or on the west coast, ...
An easy salmon dish with homemade teriyaki sauce and a Sriracha cream sauce that will knock your ...
Soup season is in full swing and this Tomato Tortellini Soup with Pesto is just the recipe to warm ...
This flavour-infused pasta dish is terrific for any season.  It takes a little bit of prep time but ...
As the season's evenings grow cooler boaters will be looking for heartier galley meals to extend ...
Cooler days and cooler nights make everyone want to prepare something warm and comforting... This ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
PrestoMarine Lifts has announced the launch of their new platform, the PML platform. The PML ...
FLIR Systems, Inc. has announced the release of the new Raymarine eS Series line of HybridTouch™ ...
Designed to traverse tough terrain with ease, the Pelican ProGear™ 45QW Elite Cooler has 8” (20 cm) ...
Jim Burgoyne and Lynne Picard launched the little company in 2011 after sailing home from Asia. ...
Cruisers Yachts, a division of KCS International, Inc., announces the 59 Cantius, setting a ...
It's great to add lighting without drilling holes, running wires or worrying about draining ...
Boat owners no longer need to think about misplaced chargers or outlet clutter. Hubbell Marine's ...
Osborne Propellers Ltd of North Vancouver has developed an innovative product for boat owners to ...
Canadian Yachting’s John Armstrong visited Neptunus Yachts in St. Catharines. Pictured is Jan ...
Pelican Products, Inc. has introduced rugged Pelican ProGear™ Voyager cases for both the Apple iPad ...