Who Controls the Laser Class Rules

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Deimos, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    New to this but could somebody clarify who controls the Laser class rules and who "owns" the Laser design. Seems there are several different manufacturers around the world. Do they own rights or the design or just a license to manufacture (according to rules) from somebody.
    Then, when it comes to changing rules (e.g. rigging) who determines what can and cannot be done ? Manufacturers, sailors worldwide and under whose management ?

    Many thanks
    Ian
     
  2. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Hi Ian,
    If you haven't seen them already, you can download the class rules here. Maybe the easiest way to try to answer your question is to read the Fundamental Rule in Part One of those rules:

    FUNDAMENTAL RULE
    The Laser shall be raced in accordance with these rules, with only the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sail and battens manufactured by a licensed builder in accordance with the Laser design specification (known as the Construction Manual) which is registered with ISAF.
    No addition or alteration may be made to the hull form, construction, equipment, type of equipment, placing of equipment, fittings, type of fittings, placing of fittings, spars, sail and battens as supplied by the builder except when such an alteration or change is specifically authorised by Parts 2 or 3 of these Rules.


    Basically, Bruce Kirby licenses 3 builders worldwide: Vanguard here in North America, Performance Sailcraft Australia for Australia and New Zealand (and a bit more of the Asia-Pacific Region) and then Performance Sailcraft England for the rest (most) of the world. In turn PSE licenses two sub builders, one in Japan and one in South America, to make a total of five active builders.

    The Fundamental Rule tells you that you can only race with a boat and equipment (e.g. the sail) as supplied by the builder EXCEPT for those changes explicitly allowed in the rest of the rules. The construction of the boat (and blades, sails, etc.) supplied by the builders is defined in the Laser Construction Manual, a document which is controlled by Bruce Kirby and the builders (and not by the Laser Class). It is not a public document so we can't read it... however, I am told that it is quite detailed in its description of how the boats (and blades and sails and etc.) are to be built.

    The rest (the bulk) of the Class Rules tell you how you can rig and sail the boat and what equipment you can substitute (e.g. the tiller). It is this last part that we, the members of the Laser Class, control.

    Hope this brief summary helps.

    Tracy
     
  3. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Many thanks. It is interesting. It is surprising that it is somebody/a company (Bruce Kirby) controls the Construction Manual and thus in effect the bulk of the boat.

    If this is lodged with the ISAF, does this mean that the ISAF have to approve any changes or just that they hold a copy e.g. in case of disputes between builder and Bruce Kirby.

    I assume then that things like the "new foils" that were being discussed elsewhere are in practice controlled by the "Construction Manual" and are thus between the builders and Bruce Kirby - Laser sailors having no official input.

    Also, (again as an example) the sails are controlled by Bruce Kirby/the builders and thus you can only use the sails supplied by them. However, the Class Rules allow for items to "be substituted". Thus, could the Class decide to allow the sails to be substituted (by amending Part 3) ?
    Presumable also the Class rules could exclude something. Thus, if the builders released a new "turbo rudder" the class could "outlaw it" in their own rules permitting only the standard form.

    Not suggesting that the Class would ever start "taking on" Bruce Kirby or "the builders" but it is interesting, particularly as the builders main concern is profit - which is good in one respect (they want the class to continue being successful) but maybe has a few associated risks.

    (I'm not on any agenda here and am not going to turn round and say "in that case why ..." - just trying to get to grips with how things operate.)


    Ian
     
  4. Georg W.F.

    Georg W.F. Member

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    Sailors do have an input in any proposed change. E.g. the outhaul boom-sleeve thing (whatever the proper name is) was designed by a sailor, then taken up by the laser class, but had to be approved by the members (the sailors). Every change in the laser rules is voted on by the members. So, this is not merely a representative democracy, but very close to the true idea of democracy in which the citizens (in this case the sailors) play an active role themselves in the process.
    Georg
     

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