2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

torrid

Just sailing
#2
Re: rule change

This explains the many of the mysterious happenings over the last few months. Unfortuantely, I don't know if this fixes the situation.

Some more thoughts after reading all that:

1. This is portrayed as Global Sailing vs. LPE with ILCA, the sailors trapped in the middle. Does this present the best solution to the sailors? Not the ILCA as an organization, but those of us out sailing on the weekend.

2. It says that Olympic class status may be lost. I don't know if that's such a bad thing.

3. I'm disappointed that my Laser class dues are being used to hire lawyers to settle a pissing contest between builders. Again, nothing that really servers the interests of the sailors.
 
#3
Re: rule change

2. It says that Olympic class status may be lost. I don't know if that's such a bad thing.
I would agree. Additionally, the rule change (from the link) states "... which requires that a builder of class-legal boats must (among other things) (i) manufacture the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails and battens in strict adherence to the Construction Manual and ..." then "who build in strict adherence to the ILCA Rules and to the Construction Manual, which is controlled by ILCA".

So how come there are all sorts of excuses about "the builder" and "the ISAF" when it comes to reasons why the cannot have a new sail. From memory, we were being told that the sail is outside the control of the ILCA and is the responsibility of the builder. But now it seems that the builder has to comply with the "Construction Manual" and that is "controlled by the ILCA" (not by the builder, not by the ISAF).

Maybe I have misread something here.

Ian
 
#5
Re: rule change

Being an eternal cynic, I note that there is seems some relevant information missing from the proposed rule change. LPE is just one of the builders. Do the others have a valid "design rights holder" agreement and if so, with whom (i.e with Global Sailing) ? And in what way is the LPE "design rights holder" agreement considered invalid compared to that of other builders ?

My understanding (probably wrong) is that Laser Performance is a merger of European builder (LPE ?) and Vanguard. This implies that both European and US builder had allegedly invalid "design rights holder" agreements but only LPE is identified (so why can't they build under Vanguard's old agreement ?

I can appreciate that the information for the vote cannot be too lengthy but maybe there should be a link to a more detailed explanation for those concerned. Often legal arguments are complex - some just accept what lawyers say (and then get angry when the lawyers start "I gave best advice at the time from information I had available ..."), whilst other people like to understand more of the details.

Ian
 
#7
Re: rule change

I too would like more information before voting on this proposal.

1. The proposal talks about three different kinds of rights..
a) a design rights holder agreement
b) a building agreement from Bruce Kirby
c) trademark rights.

Are (a) and (b) the same thing or different things? In either case do all the current builders have all these rights and agreements, or are some of them in dispute? Which of these rights and agreements does Global Sailing have? Do they for instance have Laser trademark rights?

2. Why is there a dispute about LPE's rights? How did Global Sailing acquire the rights that they do have (if any)?

3. If the proposed rule change is approved, what do Global Sailing propose to do? Will they go ahead and form a "Kirby Sailboat" class and start manufacturing and distributing Kirby Sailboats? In what regions of the world do they propose to market Kirby sailboats? Or is it possible that ILCA would approve Global Sailing as a Laser builder?
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#8
Re: rule change

i guess if you prefer weaker competition, then yes, losing olympic status is a good thing
When that competition turns up with an unfair advantage from their coaching staff and other auxilarly support staff, are full time sailors etc then yes. Numbers in our region at non masters events are at an all time low, seemingly because none of us can be bothered turning up when it's no longer an even fight. I'd rather 100 competitors "club sailors" where no one has an unfair advantage than 20 elite full time sailors despite the competition being "weaker".
 

torrid

Just sailing
#9
Re: rule change

It looks to me as if this proposal serves to extend the status quo, particularly in terms of sails. That will make nobody happy.
 
#10
Re: rule change

When that competition turns up with an unfair advantage from their coaching staff and other auxilarly support staff, are full time sailors etc then yes. Numbers in our region at non masters events are at an all time low, seemingly because none of us can be bothered turning up when it's no longer an even fight. I'd rather 100 competitors "club sailors" where no one has an unfair advantage than 20 elite full time sailors despite the competition being "weaker".
I totally agree Alan. For an average (and aging) club sailor like me there has always been plenty of strong competition in the Laser class. And I'm not convinced that, even at the highest levels of the class, there would be much difference in the level of competition if we lost Olympic status. Remember, before Olympic status we had the likes of Russell Coutts, John Bertrand, Ed Baird, Glenn Bourke, Ed Adams and Peter Commette (to name but a few) sailing Lasers. I think they would have given even 154537 a run for his money.

So if the only argument for this rule change was "vote yes or we may lose Olympic status" then I would probably vote "no". Of course it's not the only argument so I'm not deciding until I understand the issues better.
 
#12
Re: rule change

"One other possible result of this conflict is that due to uncertainty over ISAF and ILCA approval, there may not be a sufficient quantity of new Laser boats compliant with the ILCA Class Rules available in Europe and other countries in 2011 and beyond to satisfy the demand of its current and future ILCA members. "

That sounds like a veiled threat from LPE, saying if you don't change the rule, we may decide to mothball the molds
 
Thread starter #13
Re: rule change

When that competition turns up with an unfair advantage from their coaching staff and other auxilarly support staff, are full time sailors etc then yes. Numbers in our region at non masters events are at an all time low, seemingly because none of us can be bothered turning up when it's no longer an even fight. I'd rather 100 competitors "club sailors" where no one has an unfair advantage than 20 elite full time sailors despite the competition being "weaker".
if you want to race against club sailors theres plenty of other classes. the whole sport is suffering from low numbers, not just lasers
 
#14
Re: rule change

Trying to read between the lines in the ILCA notification, it sounds like the officers of ILCA have sided with LPE, and by changing the rule in the manner proposed, I'm guessing it makes the dispute between GS and LPE pointless/meaningless.

I think we need to know who "Global Sailing" is, their side of the story, and what their intentions are..
 
#15
Re: rule change

"One other possible result of this conflict is that due to uncertainty over ISAF and ILCA approval, there may not be a sufficient quantity of new Laser boats compliant with the ILCA Class Rules available in Europe and other countries in 2011 and beyond to satisfy the demand of its current and future ILCA members. "

That sounds like a veiled threat from LPE, saying if you don't change the rule, we may decide to mothball the molds
We certainly need a better explanation than that summary on the ILCA website. I must admit that I took the comment about the potential lack of supply of legal boats in Europe and elsewhere to mean that, if it under current Laser class rules LPE really don't have the right to build legal Lasers, then any boats they make and sell wouldn't be real Lasers as recognized by ILCA.

But I could be wrong.

Is this rule change basically meant to legitimize LPE as a Laser builder, even given the doubts raised by Global Sailing? It certainly looks like this to me.

But I could be wrong.

And is it in the best interests of Laser sailors to help LPE out in this way? Or could Global Sailing do a better job for us?

Of course any Laser class rule change has to be first approved by the Advisory Council (as this one has been.) And nothing gets through the Advisory Council unless the current builders approve it. So is this rule change really about maintaining the status quo of LPE as a legal Laser builder?

Before deciding to vote on this change I would really like to hear what Bruce Kirby and Global Sailing have to say about it. Is that too much to ask?
 
#16
Re: rule change

I can try to answer questions that I know the answers to. The entire issue is very complex, there are agreements that ILCA is party to, there are agreements between the design rights holder and the builders that ILCA is not party too (and has no detailed knowledge of), etc. And, yes, it has required ILCA to seek legal advice in order to help guide what would be the best path forward for the Laser Class, and all Laser sailors.

The "Design Rights", as I understand it, refer to patents that were taken out on aspects of the design of the Laser. You can't patent a boat, but you can patent some features of it. This was done and they are referred to as the "design rights".

The "Trademark holder" is the person, in a given territory, who owns the trademarks for the use of the name "Laser" and the starburst symbol - as they apply to a sailboat.

Once long ago the Design Rights owner and the Trademark holder were one in the same... but they they went bankrupt and during receivership the various pieces were dispersed to the wind (again, this is my understanding). Bruce Kirby, Inc., became the owner of the Design Rights which gave them the right to contract with builders, through a builders agreement, for the right to build Lasers in various regions of the world. Those builders obtained the Trademark rights for their regions.

In today's world, that means that LP owns the trademark rights for the word "Laser" and the Starburst symbol in North and South America, all of Europe, Africa and most of Asia. PSA owns the trademark rights for Australia, New Zealand and a few pacific islands. PSJ owns the trademark rights for Japan and South Korea.

Some time in 2009 Bruce Kirby elected to sell Bruce Kirby Inc. so that he could enjoy a well deserved retirement. A company called Global Sailing bought Bruce Kirby Inc. They are based in New Zealand and owned by the same family that own Performance Sailcraft Australia.

I do not know the root cause of the dispute between Global Sailing and LaserPerformance, nor do I know of any progress in their attempts to resolve it.
 
#17
Re: rule change

I assume ILCA cannot apply retrospective rule changes. And then, when large amounts of money are involved, are we safe in assuming that the rule change will be the end of the story or will Global Sailing be taking ILCA to court over their right to change such rules and their right to prejudice against themselves, etc. and what sort of costs would that involve. What are the probabilities and likely costs of defending subsequent action by Global Sailing ?

From my very limited experience of legal cases, even trivial black and white cases can get expensive any even if you are in the right you wont always get all you money back. In the UK there is big big pressure from courts on resolution through negotiation and this rule change would seem a quick attempt to bypass negotiation and thus may not be a solution in the eyes of the court (fail to negotiate and don't expect much of your legal costs back if found in your favour). OK, lawyers have advised the rule change as a way forward but their advice will depend on the question they are being asked. Ask them for the "quickest" solution to keep LPE building and you may get one answer; ask them the "safest" route for a long term solution and you might get a different answer - and we don't know what question the lawyers were asked/answering in this case. Don't know the risks and possible costs of subsequent court cases, etc. Lot of background and potentially very important information not published.

Ian
 
#18
Re: rule change

Some time in 2009 Bruce Kirby elected to sell Bruce Kirby Inc. so that he could enjoy a well deserved retirement. A company called Global Sailing bought Bruce Kirby Inc. They are based in New Zealand and owned by the same family that own Performance Sailcraft Australia.
.
Thanks Tracy. That explains a lot.

So, are Global Sailing/ PSA hoping to expand their role to become Laser suppliers for more parts of the world? Is this what this is all about? And is the rule change all about protecting LPE's role as the official builder in all their current territories?
 
#19
Re: rule change

We certainly need a better explanation than that summary on the ILCA website. I must admit that I took the comment about the potential lack of supply of legal boats in Europe and elsewhere to mean that, if it under current Laser class rules LPE really don't have the right to build legal Lasers, then any boats they make and sell wouldn't be real Lasers as recognized by ILCA.

But I could be wrong.
That is correct. As I understand it, while ISAF authorizes ILCA to issue the plaques to the builders, under the current rules it must do so with Global Sailing's "permission". The change to the Fundamental Rule would allow plaques to be issued, while ILCA would continue to forward the royalty to Global Sailing (as I understand it).

Is this rule change basically meant to legitimize LPE as a Laser builder, even given the doubts raised by Global Sailing? It certainly looks like this to me.

But I could be wrong.
I believe it allows ILCA to operate without caring about agreements it already doesn't know about. So, LPE is a Laser builder, they build boats according to the LCM that is "owned" by the Laser Class (and it is), GS gets a royalty for every boat LPE builds, ILCA doesn't care about agreements between GS and LPE that we already don't have access to.

And is it in the best interests of Laser sailors to help LPE out in this way? Or could Global Sailing do a better job for us?
I think the answer here is less clear. Because GS does not own the trademark rights, they can not authorize builders to build Lasers in LP's trademark territories. So, GS will have to slightly change the boat and market it under a different branding. It will not be exactly a Laser.

Conversely, if LP owns the trademark rights but is not allowed to build the boats we currently sail then they will have to modify the design and sell that. They will be able to call it a Laser, but it won't be the same boat that all of us currently own.

Either way it impacts ALL of the sailors, in particular those at the fleet level who are probably mostly sailing older boats. Unfortunately, at this point you need to drum up your favorite Donald Rumsfield quote about enemies you know vs those you don't and what army you'd like to have versus what you have...

It also means the current Laser hegemony over singlehanded sailing is broken and the door opens for something completely different to sweep over the land. Of course, this isn't good for current Laser sailors either since the resale value of their boat will plummet.

Of course any Laser class rule change has to be first approved by the Advisory Council (as this one has been.) And nothing gets through the Advisory Council unless the current builders approve it. So is this rule change really about maintaining the status quo of LPE as a legal Laser builder?

Before deciding to vote on this change I would really like to hear what Bruce Kirby and Global Sailing have to say about it. Is that too much to ask?
The Advisory Council currently consists of one builder and a representative of GS, as well as the President and Vice President of ILCA.

I have no doubt that Global Sailing will be presenting their side of the story in very short order. Equally, I would not be surprised to hear LP's side as well.
 
#20
Re: rule change

Of course any Laser class rule change has to be first approved by the Advisory Council (as this one has been.) And nothing gets through the Advisory Council unless the current builders approve it.
Some time in 2009 Bruce Kirby elected to sell Bruce Kirby Inc. so that he could enjoy a well deserved retirement. A company called Global Sailing bought Bruce Kirby Inc. They are based in New Zealand and owned by the same family that own Performance Sailcraft Australia.
Trivial, but as PSA are part of Global Sailing, they have (indirectly) approved a rule change to the detriment of Global Sailing's (their owner's) interest ?

Ian
(Posted before seeing Tracy's post above)
 
#21
Re: rule change

So, are Global Sailing/ PSA hoping to expand their role to become Laser suppliers for more parts of the world? Is this what this is all about? And is the rule change all about protecting LPE's role as the official builder in all their current territories?
Pure speculation: If I were Global Sailing and I looked at the current Laser world and I owned an underutilized factory AND I saw the potential for this HUGE Asian market then I might be interested in expanding my territory.

But that is just what I would do. I can't speak for Global Sailing.
 
#22
Re: rule change

Trivial, but as PSA are part of Global Sailing, they have (indirectly) approved a rule change to the detriment of Global Sailing's (their owner's) interest ?

Ian
Sorry, PSA and Global Sailing are owned by the same family but are separate companies. Obviously, they must have the same interests but my understanding is that they are separate entities. I should have been more clear about that.

As I'm not a member of the Advisory Council I cannot speak to how the voting went there.
 
#23
Re: rule change

Sorry, PSA and Global Sailing are owned by the same family but are separate companies. Obviously, they must have the same interests but my understanding is that they are separate entities. I should have been more clear about that.

As I'm not a member of the Advisory Council I cannot speak to how the voting went there.
I would be interested to know what the voting on the Advisory Council was on this rule change. As class members I do think we are entitled to know.

The current members of the AC are Heini Wellman (SUI), Hugh Leicester (AUS), Chris Spencer (AUS) and Bill Crane (USA).
 

torrid

Just sailing
#24
Re: rule change

My impression is that for 40 years, Bruce Kirby served as an arbiter between builders and the class. He looked to preserve the one-design aspects as he originally intended.

He understandably retired and sold his interests in the the Laser design. If he chose one builder over another, that speaks volumes to me.

edit - A couple other thoughts. If you need parts for your Laser, I would buy them now. And don't look for a new sail design until this dust settles.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#25
Re: rule change

Thanks SFBay Laser and Tillerman for explaining the issue(s) a bit better than the ILCA website attempts to do. But since most of this is too complex for my aging mind, let me just ask two simple questions:

  • Whose pocket am I greasing if I were to vote in favor?
  • And what would happen if the proposal is rejected? As Tillerman already pointed out, the class did quite well without Olympic status. In fact, for some time, ILCA rejected efforts to gain Olympic status.
 
Thread starter #26
Re: rule change

correct me if im wrong, but the problems we are seeing with folks trying to use intensity sails for regattas could be duplicated if this rule change isnt passed... except people wouldnt be showing up with imitation sails, they'd be showing up with an imitation boat?:eek:
 

87607

Chris Caldecoat
#27
Re: rule change

Vote No or Wait?

Hello I am Chris Caldecoat, an alternate ILCA Advisory Council Member.

I have been asked by colleagues why I supported this puzzling resolution.

I want to make it clear I did not vote in favour of this proposed rule.

Let me share with you the facts.

I voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity.

From my knowledge of the events, Heini Wellman and Jeff Martin communication with members is definitely wanting in content.

Laser sailors deserve the respect of a detailed and complete explanation.

If there is a genuine basis to put a change of this magnitude to the class membership we deserve a far more detailed case for Yes and No vote.

Think about how in democratic societies referendums are run, there is a case for the Yes put out to the World and a case for the No that is explored publically then there is a properly constituted vote.

This is not what has happened here and right now there is no need for a stampede.

I believe the class is spending your money on issues that it should not get involved in.
What is the implication for all designers of all classes around the world under ISAF’s umbrella if the rule was passed ?

There is much more coming on this story, either vote NO or wait for more information.

Chris Caldecoat
GM
Performance Sailcraft Australasia
 
#28
Re: rule change

"I voted against this rule change as I believe this is not in the best interest of the Class or the international Sailing fraternity.

From my knowledge of the events, Heini Wellman and Jeff Martin communication with members is definitely wanting in content."

Why don't you supply the "content" i.e. the different positions or at least explain your reasons here?
 
#29
Re: rule change

Laser sailors deserve the respect of a detailed and complete explanation.
If there is a genuine basis to put a change of this magnitude to the class membership we deserve a far more detailed case for Yes and No vote.
I agree. We do not have enough information at this time to make a decision on something so important to the future of our class.
 
#30
Re: rule change

There is much more coming on this story, either vote NO or wait for more information.

Chris Caldecoat
GM
PSA

Chris, thanks for taking the time to post here and elsewhere.

No problem waiting, but can you give us a approx date when you will be posting more info explaining the GS/LPA side of the story and why they feel it should be voted down ?
 
#31
Re: rule change

I'm confused...

As a laser sailor now for two decades I honestly want the class to be the same, if not better when it comes time for me to hand my first laser hull over to my kids. (as of yet I have no legitimate offspring) Suffice it to say I'm concerned for the long term health and welfare of the class as a strict one design boat. I recognize that competing firms are the cornerstone of our material world and that our class does give preference to one over the other and create an uneven marketplace, but all in the name on strict one design. I could care less about Olympic status, honestly, I'll never be that good, and we had a healthy class before that status was conferred. What does concern me is slightly different designs undercutting and diluting the one design. Older boats are no longer just as good and that in the end I feel will drive away sailors at all levels. So in the end I could care less who's got the trademarks and who’s got the design rights, what’s best for us as the sailors and our class. Right now this is as clear as fog, I'd like to hear both sides of the story. Thanks.
 
#32
Re: rule change, builder

As ever there are many valid arguments on this thread and most come back to 'tell us more before we decide' - an incredibly reasonable standpoint.

For my two pennyworth of speculation. My fervent desire is to see the class rules stay the same with NO MORE 'improvements'. The sail is perfect as is - just too expensive - as is the rest of the boat. Change nothing but reduce the price perhaps?

If you agree with this there is logic to consider that ILCA has the least vested interest in profit and the greatest interest in the Status Quo. So my default inclination is to vote for the Class Association to control the builders not the other way around.

As to the legal costs, no doubt any action will cost but the fact that the patents are time expired does make the equation easier! Let the other builders have free reign to develop their spin offs as they see fit. In my view they will be competing with a myriad of more sophisticated and better performing craft, what they won't have is readymade class racing at the majority of sailing clubs that I am ever likely to visit!
 
Thread starter #33
Re: rule change, builder

sf bay laser:
"It also means the current Laser hegemony over singlehanded sailing is broken and the door opens for something completely different to sweep over the land. Of course, this isn't good for current Laser sailors either since the resale value of their boat will plummet."
think about that. do we really want to turn this into the 505 class? i stand by my yes vote
 
#34
Re: rule change, builder

Chris Caldecoat, GM of Performance Sailcraft Australia says there is "much more coming on this story" and "right now there is no need for a stampede."

Based on what I have heard so far, I tend to agree. It looks like the vote on the proposed rule change will remain open for 6 months. So why are Heini Wellmann and Jeff Martin urging us to "Vote Now!" and "PLEASE DO NOT DELAY YOUR VOTE"?

What's the rush if the polls are open for 6 months? Don't we ILCA members "deserve the respect of a detailed and complete explanation" from both sides before we cast our votes?
 
#35
Re: rule change, builder

Chris Caldecoat, GM of Performance Sailcraft Australia says there is "much more coming on this story" and "right now there is no need for a stampede."

Based on what I have heard so far, I tend to agree. It looks like the vote on the proposed rule change will remain open for 6 months. So why are Heini Wellmann and Jeff Martin urging us to "Vote Now!" and "PLEASE DO NOT DELAY YOUR VOTE"?

What's the rush if the polls are open for 6 months? Don't we ILCA members "deserve the respect of a detailed and complete explanation" from both sides before we cast our votes?
Could it be they want to us to vote now before all sides weigh in and the facts are on display ? Sure seems that way to me.

Frankly I'm discouraged and disappointed that the ILCA used that wording to try and influence it's members
 
#36
Re: rule change, builder

Hi,

The most important required change is not included in the new wording.

All Lasers should be built following the same specifications and I don't care who builds them. A boat should be called a "Laser" only if it complies with clearly defined design and specifications. All boats should be measured before calling them Lasers. If they are in conformance with the class official measures, fine. Otherwise, correct them or change the name.

ILCA should be in charge of defining the specifications. Boats could be measured by any ISAF authority.

Regards,
Rodolfo
 
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