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

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 15:49

The 45th Annual Southern Straits Classic is set for March 29-31, 2013.  The West Vancouver Yacht Club (WVYC) is making preparations to host its Annual Southern Straits Classic for the 45th...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 15:07

The British Virgin Islands is home to Conch Charters, operated for the past 25 years by Cindy Chestnut and Brian Gandey, a young couple from Montreal. Everybody that I have met that has taken...

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:02

In 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...

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:19

In 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...

Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:35

Bluewater Cruising Association's next Club Night on April 16, 2013 presents Cruising the Mediterranean, Family Style.  Summary: David and Karalee Greer spent two years cruising the...

Thursday, 07 March 2013 11:33

Bluewater Cruising Association is excited about our next Club Night presentation on March 19, 2013, featuring Julie Salisbury and her Seven Year Journey Around the World. Julie Salisbury will...

Boat Reviews

Video Gallery

 

 

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 54By Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau saw an opportunity to add a little thrill to any cruising adventure, so they took the hull of the First 53 racer (introduced just last year), and with a few fashionable changes, created the Oceanis Yacht 54, the new entry-level of Beneteau’s swanky Oceanis Yacht line. The result is a performance cruiser that sails like a witch and looks like a grande dame.

Design

Roberto Biscontini is the naval architect and Lorenzo Argento created the details of the exterior and interior design. 

Read More

Destinations

  • Prev
Over the course of four days in September 1864, representatives from Prince Edward Island, Nova ...
The new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming ...
Commemorating 100 (+1) years of through-navigation on the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic ...
On Friday, April 2 at 7 pm ET on TVO and streaming anytime after that on tvo.org and the TVO ...
Salt Spring Island, the largest among the Gulf Islands, has a certain mystique—much of it having to ...
Located in Lake Huron, the internationally significant Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater ...
In Part I, Sheryl Shard ended the story at June and the start of Hurricane Season when they were ...
You likely aren’t quite ready to travel yet, but we have our fingers crossed that we can all fly ...

Riverest MarinaThe new owners of L’Orignal Marina offer boaters a new destination. Located in a charming francophone village in Eastern Ontario, this joined marina and restaurant venue is the ambitious initiative of long-time entrepreneur André Chabot and biologist Alexandra Quester, both residents of L’Orignal.

The purchase of the L’Orignal Marina was made official in November 2020. The new year was barely underway when all 50 available slips were already reserved. No wonder the addition of member and visitor slips is already planned for the 2022 season – the 2021 count is up to 62 power and sail already. At the moment, the Riverest Marina offers boaters a stop where they can launch their boat...

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Last issue we featured a story about the engagement proposal aboard Via-Mara, a 1969 Trojan 42 Aft ...
With thanks to Sail Canada, here’s a collection of photos that are Olympic quality. Clearly our ...
Wow. That was a lot of fun reading the collection of boat names that came in from all over the ...
No individual had a greater impact on the modern sport of sailing than Bruce Kirby. Known and ...
Just off The Ocean Race European Tour, Daniel is setting his sights on competing in The Ocean Race ...
After being our fearless leader and publisher since CYOB kicked off, Greg Nicoll, handed over the ...
Swim Drink Fish is spearheading the Vancouver Plastic Cleanup by installing, maintaining, and ...
With but four weeks to go, Sarah is in Japan, staying safe while acclimatizing to the heat at ...
MJM is a different kind of boat builder, second generation family owned and operated, we design and ...
Stuart Hendrie, a pro photographer sent along this photo of the pirate ship in Jordan Ontario. Many ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings has introduced a new, easier to apply topside system with two new products ...
Whether for news, weather or just to watch the game, onboard television reception is important. But ...
Kanvaslight® was specifically engineered for a long life in a salty, sun-drenched environment. The ...
Watermakers take ocean water and create perfect drinking water using reverse osmosis. A Schenker ...
If you’re headed out for a weekend afloat or on a week-long cruise you often must park your vehicle ...
Ten years ago, St. Margaret’s Bay (Halifax), Nova Scotia-based SailTimer Inc. made the first ...
Between the odor and working in confined spaces, replacing an onboard sanitation line is never a ...
For many boat owners who have gear to tote and the occasional stretch of bumpy road to negotiate, a ...
The 2022 Sea-Doo Switch is a re-imagined pontoon that makes hitting the water more accessible than ...
On the water audiophile-quality sound is attainable with the new JBL-R3500 source unit. The latest ...

News

  • Prev
Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s Defiant completed a six-race sweep of the Cup for Canada over Zing, the ...
On September 6, Groupe Beneteau laid out its course to develop new boating experiences, new ...
Last Friday, the first ever Canada’s Celebration of Sailing honoured the season for Sailing in ...
Boating Ontario is very proud to have Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety jump on ...
Montreal-based Vision Marine Technologies, Inc. is headed to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout to ...
Summer is in full swing with Canadians enjoying time outside and on the water. So, while enjoying ...
On July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor ...
HanseYachts AG presents RYCK, its third motorboat brand carrying the "Made in Germany" label. The ...
“We are all proud of our athletes and coaches who have dedicated themselves to push Canadian ...
Collingwood, ON hq’d Limestone Boat Company – owner and builder of Aquasport Boats, Limestone Boats ...

Mia and Caleb's EngagementOn July 23 last year, CYOB published a piece on a beautifully restored 1967 Trojan 42 Motor Yacht in Oromocto NB. (That piece was also expanded in CY magazine later in the year.)

One of our Canadian Yachting contributors, Denise Miller, had shared the article on my social media and a young man reached out and asked if she could connect him with the owners of the boat, Dave and Barb. Denise leapt into action and Dave and Barb were thrilled. They concocted a plan that the young lady, Mia, thought she was coming to model for a sales brochure for Dave to do charter tours.

Read More