2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by 154537, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Cefalu

    Cefalu New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: rule change, builder

    Many people believe that true one design status can only be preserved with the current status quo system. This philosophy is fear based rather than reality. The International Optimist Dinghy Association operates under very strict one design rules. Optis are every bit as strict a one design class as the laser class, yet there are literally hundreds of suppliers vying in competition to supply hulls, spars, blades, sails rigging etc. It's true competition not a monopoly.

    Here is how it works, and it is really quite simple. IODA has class measurer's who approve the hull molds every builder uses. Every hull mold has a discreet numerical ID that is used to track boats later to verify conformity and grant a measurement certificate. ISAF issues a measurement plaque, the same as Laser currently does. The class has very strict hull construction specification that must be followed by every builder. Hulls are measured once for weight, and are then stickered. Hulls come from approved molds and have an ISAF plaque to certify it so nothing else needs to be measured. I am not aware of any problems in the 10 years I have been involved in the class.

    The rest of the stuff? sails, blades and spars are all measured excatly one time only at a major class event and stickered. Once stickered you don't need to be measured EVER again unless you buy new blades, spars or a sail that were not previously stickered. Under our current system there is no way to verify if a competitors boat components are genuine or not because it is never measured or stickered. We "assume" the laser class blades, sails and spars are unadulterated and genuine.

    It resulted in lower costs for boats and equipment. The Opti class is exploding in size so it works. Personally, I would rather pay a bit more for a professional class measurer which would allow multiple builders, than a class controlled by builders who dictate to the members.

    Case in point. Our centerboards and rudders are pure garbage. They are made from what looks like bondo with a wire core. WTF is that? I don't know any other boats built that way. Heavy, weak and prone to chips and breakage. But we pay the same as if they had been made with epoxy. Our upper sections are crap and here in SF they are a constant source of failure, taking with it the sail as collaterol damage. And the sails, no question they are overpriced for what you get. But the builders work from a place of fear with laser class members and argue that if they can't have this bit of gravy on replacement parts they can't make it on new boats alone and they might go out of business. They need this subsidy. That's BS. Bad business model.

    I am not under the mistaken belief that the builders who monoplize laser boat construction are getting rich. But I do believe that we can all have better quality equipment forthe same price. You don't have to look any further than the sucess of IOD 95 in the Opti class to prove it.
     
  2. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Re: rule change, builder

    It's not April Fools Day already is it ? Opti race sails cost just about the same as Laser race sails..Spars and blades too...


    All up race ready Opti is $4K

    Thanks, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater
     
  3. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Re: rule change, builder

    Dang didn't type fast enough :p

    Id like to point out that Opti racing sails are only 100 or so less than Laser sails. A fully tripped out Opti is almost 4k. Opti sails have different cuts and all cost different amounts of money. I fail to see how opening up the market makes Optis cheaper. It's an arms race for the top opti kids to have the best equipment and the parents pay for it blindly.

    Most Laser class parts like spars and blades have an official class sticker on them. Sails have buttons. They only come from the builder, which is why you don't see them on replica parts.

    Sadly the Laser class doesn't keep ownership records, which IMO they probably should be doing.
     
  4. Cefalu

    Cefalu New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Re: rule change, builder

    Comparing the cost of laser equipment to opti equipment is an apples to oranges comparison. The quality of opti gear is higher than laser gear. You cannot compare them. If you want the future market cost of a laser sail look no further than what Intensity charges. Less than half. It's a lot cheaper than our class approved sail. Opti sails are way better cloth and can last seasons of heavy use. Now which one is cheaper? My son had a North radial sail for his opti that he used heavily for 3 years and he still won races with it. Try that with a laser class sail. Spars? I have never seen a broken opti spar, EVER. It's not a matter of if you break a laser top section but when (here in SF). And those laser blades...what were they thinking?

    There is a hidden cost in laser class equipment, you have to replace it more frequently because it is inferior quality.
     
  5. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Re: rule change, builder

    Intensity charges less than half for their opti sails compared to the big names also.

    Opti spars don't bend like Laser spars so you really can't compare, plus you can't crank on the vang like a Laser.

    You can give a great sailor a very used Laser sail and they can still win.
     
  6. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Re: rule change, builder

    One way to help prevent top section breakage in San Francisco is to not sail in Richmond... if you sail on the City Front then you don't stick the mast in the mud when you capsize!

    Sorry Doug, that was too hard to resist!

    We can all argue well into next year about the quality of the boats. I certainly have my opinions, based on nearly two decades of hard sailing on the City Front while tipping the scales well over the heavy end of the competitive weight range.

    But that is not the point of this thread. The rule change in question presents a modification to the Laser Class Rules that is possible to do with membership approval. Some of the other suggestions, e.g. opening to any builder and having measurement at regattas, are not possible within the context of Laser sailing as we know it. Given the legal situation with design rights, trademark rights, etc., what is proposed is at the limit of what can be done - at least this is what has been presented to me.

    One could alter the design of the boat and invent a new name. But it would not be the Olympic boat, therefore it would not have worldwide appeal, it would not be recognized in the existing fleets and, ultimately, it would be doomed to fail like so many other singlehanders before it. Look at the "real" world, branding is VERY important!
     
  7. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Re: rule change, builder

    I'll stir the pot on this issue ;)

    Technically no laser leaves the factory measuring as it doesn't have any sail numbers on. Arguably no laser has yet competed in the Olympics for the same reason. Ultimately it's up to each competitor to confirm that their boats measure fully. But yes, I think the current system of the technical officer inspecting the factories is an efficient system, particularly when combined with dilegent class measurers inspecting and measuring the boats at regattas.
     
  8. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Re: rule change, builder

    We are bing asked to vote while uninformed by people who know we are uninformed.
     
  9. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Re: rule change, builder

    Presumably, rather than an ILCA rule change (taking 6 months), LPE could sort out the issues between themselves and Global Sailing. We are talking business here so it is all about money. Are LPE just doing nothing (other than scare everybody) to avoid having to resolve the issues ?

    Again, without the ILCA giving more complete information nobody can know.

    At this point there does appear an additional risk in that the ILCA rule change summary does give the impression that the Association has a strong opinion. Plus, there are signs in their published info of "scaring people" (We may therefore end up with three different classes and may lose the Olympic status. The “one design / out of the box principle” would also be threatened.). So what are the chanced of "un-biased" information ?

    Then if LPE are threatening the class, why are the class paying for all sorts of legal advice to help them out ? Does LPE threatening the class show a business whose interest is in developing the class or are their "true colours" emerging (money and profit).

    Why should the class membership be paying to resolve a business dispute between two companies ? Are LPE going to stop making Lasers (risks of starting a new class, marketing costs, etc.). Business disputes happen all the time and end up being resolved. Buy an iPhone and 6 months later do Apple come back and ask you to pay for their legal battle with Nokia over use of some patented technology ?

    Different people purchase Lasers for different reasons, but for many the strength of the 2nd hand market and that the boats retain their value very well is a major factor. So how many will buy a "not-a-Laser" when there is no fleet, no regattas, totally uncertain 2nd hand value, etc. The class has strengths and I suspect the players are ignoring those in what is a traditional game of bluff played in business disputes.

    Ian
     
  10. tim.platt

    tim.platt New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Re: rule change, builder

    I'm no legal beaver, so I might be about to ask some very stupid questions.

    Why was:

    "has a building agreement from Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. to build the Laser"

    ever in the ILCA rules, especially as the class was never party to these agreements.

    Presumably the class has just realised that we no longer need thisin the rules because what ever rights he had have now expired? Assuming that was why this was in the rules in the first place.

    I cannot see how removing this part of the rule should cause any problem - why do we (the ILCA) need to have anything to do with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc anyway (I dont mean that in a nasty way, but Bruce, having sold his business obviously isnt tied to the class in the way he might have been in the past)?

    And/or, if it is that easy, why wasnt this done before - which will probably answer my previous question?
     
  11. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Re: rule change, builder

    How does the class ensure that one or the other builder (or both) won't resort to a form of ballet stuffing.. ie, buy a bunch of memberships to vote with, and with so much on the line, how do we ensure that the count is done fairly and impartially ?

    One for you, two for me, one for you, wait, that's a hanging chad.....
     
  12. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Re: rule change, builder

    From an article on Sail-World.com
    http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?Nid=81848&refre=y&ntid=0&rid=1


    >>> Overnight Sail-World.com has spoken at length to representatives from Global Sailing and to Jeff Martin from the ILCA and now Bruce Kirby who is very much against the proposed change and will report on those conversations in the next 24 hours.

    Certainly the interviews we have conducted so far show there is much more to this issue than first meets the eye and the growing body of calls to wait for more information before voting do seem justified.

    And it seems to be getting worse. In the last few hours, we've been advised that numbers of the Laser sailors who followed the ILCA urging and voted early, have now been asking Class representatives, with the benefit of more knowledge asked how can they change their vote. <<<
     
  13. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
  14. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Re: rule change, builder

    I wonder if Bruce Kirby ever considered turning over the legal rights to the Laser design to the ILCA rather than selling them to one of the builders. Certainly there is money invoved, but it would have preserved his legacy and the phenomenon of Laser racing that he created.
     
  15. tim.platt

    tim.platt New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Re: rule change, builder

    I'm not expert, but I totally agree. I asked the same question on another forum.

    If I understand the circumstances correctly, and I might have got this wrong, but it does seem a bit rich if Mr Kirby isnt happy with what's going having sold his business/rights to a 3rd party.

    If his control/position was material to the situation, and he had the class at heart, why didn't offer these to 'us'. Maybe he did and we just never got to hear about it.

    It seems to me that the class will always be vunerable while any of the rights/trade marks are held by some other commerical organisation. Their agenda(s) will always be different to ours (as owners / users).
     
  16. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Re: rule change, builder

    On the timing issue, the length of time for the balloting is determined by the ILCA constitution and is set to 6 months. Technically it also says "postal ballot" but in the modern era this includes electronic balloting (after all, we all have "mailboxes" on our computers!).

    The prominent placement on the ILCA website is intended to attract attention. I think that box can be ticked off.

    The actual page on the ILCA website does say "Vote Now!" in the title and in capital letters does say "PLEASE DO NOT DELAY YOUR VOTE". The reason for this is experience - ILCA typically sees a small fraction of people actually voting on rule changes, and that even only a fraction of people who "hit" the page. Apparently people often go to the voting pages, don't vote while there thinking about it, then forget to come back later to vote. This means small special interest blocks can have a large influence on the outcome of a vote.

    Summary: there is nothing sinister about this, rather an attempt to get as much attention from class members as possible, and to get as many people to vote as possible. Modifying the Fundamental Rule is a MAJOR change, it needs to have as many Laser Class members as possible voting!

    People who are not comfortable with voting now because they think they need more information should rightly delay their vote. However, its very important that they do, ultimately, vote, so PLEASE don't forget as the passion of the topic starts to die down!

    Note that once the voting is over, all District Associations will be required to verify that those who have cast ballots are actually members. That means that in North America neither Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse will have their votes count unless they join the Laser Class. (And what I really mean is that is the primary protection against ballot stuffing - a real name whose membership can be verified has to be attached to each ballot).

    Obviously, if someone wants to spend lots of money on memberships they can "buy" votes. Our protection against that is for as many of the 15,000+ plus existing members worldwide to vote as absolutely possible.

    There is also another page which contains the "other" proposed rule changes for 2011, you get to it once you have voted on the Fundamental Rule. Personally, I don't quite follow this organization... In any case, those rule changes should be discussed in a separate thread, which I will start and call "2011 Rule Changes - NOT Fundamental Rule". Perhaps Merrily or Bradley can change the title of this thread to "2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule"?
     
  17. sailchris

    sailchris Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Re: rule change, builder

    In the interest of promoting transparency by giving everyone all the available information, here is some information on some of the intellectual property related to the Laser.

    The following copyrights are recorded at the US Copyright Office:

    A copyright on a visual work of the Laser, titled "Laser / designed by Bruce Kirby" apparently owned by Bruce Kirby himself.

    A copyright on the Laser Construction Manual apparently owned by Bruce Kirby Inc.

    A copyright on a drawing of a Laser boat apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

    A copyright on some sort of design for the Laser apparently assigned to Bruce Kirby and Bruce Kirby, Inc.

    Bruce Kirby also seems to have had US design patents on the design of the model radio controlled Laser (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=x_4oAAAAEBAJ&dq=D373156) and a swinging centerboard boat (http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=jNY8AAAAEBAJ&dq=D304922).

    The Laser trademark in the US (Reg. No.: 1038170) was originally registered by PERFORMANCE SAILCRAFT INC. CORPORATION CANADA 91 HYMUS BLVD. POINTE CLAIRE, QUEBEC CANADA but is apparently now owned by a holding company in Jersey KARAYA (JERSEY) LIMITED CORPORATION JERSEY 14 CONWAY STREET ST HELIER JERSEY.

    There don't seem to have been any US design patents or Canadian industrial designs on the Laser itself. Also, it seems that the Laser is not registered under the relatively new Vessel Hull Design Protection Act: http://www.copyright.gov/vessels/list/index.html

    So, there seem to be some registered copyrights in the US on the design of the Laser and, interestingly, Bruce Kirby Inc. seems to own the US copyright on the Laser Construction Manual. Of course, there could be other unregistered copyrights and trademarks, as well as unrecorded agreements that govern the intellectual property. There could also be IP rights registered in countries outside the US as well as common law rights to IP.
     
  18. Fernwood

    Fernwood New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Re: rule change, builder

    I am sure there is lots we do not know here, but I certainly would not hold Bruce Kirby at fault.

    Bruce is a great guy and, unfortunately, he is not getting any younger. I would think that this was a business decision that was driven by the need to do some estate planning.
     
  19. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Re: rule change, builder

    I know patents expire, but I'm not sure about copyrights and trademarks. As long as they are actively protected, I think they can go on indefinitely.

    Maybe when looking between the two builders and ILCA, Bruce Kirby decided the Australian builder was the best of the three to protect sailor's interests.
     
  20. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Re: rule change, builder

    My guess is that the reason Bruce Kirby did not offer to the Laser Class is because he knew ILCA could not pay what he could get on the open market.

    If the choice was based on who could best protect the sailor's interest then why didn't he pick the third Laser builder, Takao Otani, the owner of PS Japan? I know this will break Gouvernail's heart, but there is no person on this planet who cares more deeply for Laser sailing and Laser sailors than Takao.

    In any case, I agree with the comment that Bruce Kirby has always acted in the best interest of Laser sailing, deserves to have a well earned retirement and is completely blameless in whatever disputes are going on.
     

Share This Page