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2011 Rule Changes - Fundamental Rule

whitfit

Member
Der_Dude says:

"Well, if you like to give the ILCA board the benefit of the doubt, one could assume that their motives for the proposal are the ones they stated, namely that they see a imminent adverse affect of the GS - LPE commercial dispute for the class"

But there is no reason that more information could not help us to better understand why they see an imminent adverse affect for the class. The benefit of the doubt should be reserved for where you really trust somebody, or there is missing information that cannot be resolved. In this case, there has been plenty of time to explain further. That hasn't happened, and besides the information on the voting page, there has been a deafening silence until now.

Heini Wellman says:

"The importance of this rule change triggered a lot of discussions between the Laser sailors and on the different web forums. These discussions were very healthy and contributed to a better understanding of all the different issues involved. Personally, I kept a certain restraint in order to allow an as free discussion as possible. For those who want to refresh their memories on the reasons of the rule change can go to http://www.laserinternational.org/rules2011 ."

A certain restraint in order to allow as free a discussion as possible? Have you been paying attention? Most of the discussion has been conjecture and frustration stemming from an almost complete lack of information. Gouvernail and I had an exchange a few weeks ago that made it clear that there was a lot of information missing from this discussion, and most other discussions on this board and elsewhere have indicated the same. You may have thought that you were acting in the most appropriate way by staying out of it, but the discussions have made it clear that the information available on the ILCA web page is woefully inadequate in order to make an informed decision.

It seems to me that the ILCA has not done nearly enough to get the information that would be required to its members. In effect, the attitude is: "trust us, this is the only solution, and it will be the best thing for the class". Well, I for one, don't trust a leadership that fails to answer the most important questions to its membership when asking it to make a fundamental, indeed historic (for our little corner of the world) decision on the fate of the Laser class.

That is why I voted no. I am not convinced it is a bad change, but the onus is on the proponents to effectively argue their case, and to inform the membership that this change would be beneficial. That hasn't happened. This is disappointing, and I only hope that the class is strong enough to carry on despite failure of leadership.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Simplicity.. I usually fail at this but here goes my attempt.

LPE knew when they bought the rights to the laser logo and name that it was for a very particular boat used for special types of racing which could only be sold for racing if certain rules and regulations were met.

The expenses related to royalty fees and contracts with the designer were clear then and have not been changed.

Part of that which made the purchase of the laser building facilities a good business decision was the guaranteed market provided by those people who race the boats. The racing customers buy boats and endless replacement parts for which they EXPECT to pay absurdly inflated prices......because the rules make it such that the builders have a monopoly AND a quid pro quo obligation to support the game and the organizations who manage the game.

No other builder of any boat anywhere in the world ever had to spend the number of dollars on game and class promotion the ILCA demands of Laser builders, but in exchange for the builder's agreement to absolutely abide by the rules , potential builders KNOW laser building is a safe investment because of the GUARANTEED market.

LPE has already to quit being a builder as described by our rules. I see no reason to change our rules so they can be allowed toprovide diminished support and return to our very reliable marketplace..

We can change the name of our toys if necessary. We have learned to say Celcius. NAYRU is long gone. The boat is the same toy no matter what it is called. We race the design not the name or sail logos. LPE no longer wishes to pay for the rights to build the design. Let's find a new builder who comprehends the fact that his success is directly tied to our success and power together into the next major boom in sailing.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
It's nice to know that Heini's letter is now up on the ILCA website, it was put up Tuesday; a couple of days after it appeared here. There is still no official confirmation of Kirby's re-acquisition of the business from Global Sailing.

Still a case of "too little, too late".
 

SFBayLaser

Member
I guess I have to question the assumption I see in many posts that LP are alone in being the bad guys here. I would agree that many of us in their trademark area have some amount of disdain for the way their operations have gone over the past few years, though I might argue that the solution to that lies more in an improving world economy than in anything else. And, of course, that article in SailingWorld implied to us that LP precipitated all of this by not paying their due royalties. And we don't know anything about the company that currently owns the "design rights". Take it all together and its easy to point a finger.

But is it fair to conclude that "LPE no longer wishes to pay for the rights to build the design"? Remember that what is now LPE was born out of the merger of PSE and Vanguard and the same family has owned PSE/LPE for over a decade now. So what precipitated this apparent sudden decision to simply stop paying royalties - after having done so for at least a decade? Has LP really said they will no longer make royalty payments? What about LP in North America? Don't they still have a builder's agreement? If so, that must mean they are still making their payments but then why would one side of the company make payments while the other didn't?

Let's also not forget that barely a month after the ILCA office received notice of termination of the builder's agreement "Global Sailing Limited" ran an ad in Scuttlebutt Europe looking for dealers in the European Region for the "Bruce Kirby designed Olympic Sailing Dinghy" (see this issue). That does not strike me as a conciliatory effort aimed at resolving a dispute.

So, once again, I have to argue that we, the public, are just never going to know the genesis of the dispute between the two parties, nor the intimate details of what its all about and what it would take to solve it. More importantly, we're just simply never going to know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Unfortunately for us, it doesn't appear that this whole mess is going to present itself in some neat and orderly package that we can understand and clearly say "this guy is the bad guy and he needs to be punished".

That's just my opinion and I would hope to be proven wrong. But its now about 48 hours to the close of voting and this thread's been going for nearly 6 months.
 

gouvernail

Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Certainly understand...anybody who reads this..

If there are any "bad guys" they damn certain are not the folks who volunteer and serve in various capacities of the association in exchange for nothing but an occasional free sweatshirt, ride to a regatta, or pat on the back...between bitching.

and I really don't see the LPE guys as "Bad guys" even if they want to build boats and refuse to pay royalties. Anybody who believes boat building is some sort of cash cow is a damned fool.

I suspect that when all is said and don we will find at least some of the driving influence behind the operations of LPE that are of the style sailors don't like...

will be found to be driven by book keepers, businessmen, and investors who simply cannot understand why anybody would jump thorough all our hoops for such a pathetic return on investment.

Someday I hope Lasers in North America will once again be built and promoted by guys like Chip and Steve and their team of employees who love sailing as much as they love money but want to build great boats and make some money while doing it...while realizing, "They could make more by renting out the shop and sitting in lawn chairs cashing checks and watching somebody use the place as a car repair facility or roller skating rink.

The reason I am not a player in the "let's build lasers" sweepstakes is I could not do it without investors...and there is no way any investor will tolerate the return on investment a laser factory generates.
 

redstar

New Member
Like Tracy, I don't understand why most people are assuming, based on uninformed speculation, that LPE are the cause of all this. To balance things up here is some vaguely informed speculation from the opposite direction, hopefully worded carefully enough that I don't run foul of any lawyers... or have they given up watching? I suspect the watchfulness of the lawyers at least partly explains the reticence of Heini, Jeff and co to say very much.

It was GS who terminated the building contract with LPE, not the other way around. I doubt that GS dropped a big chunk of money to buy the 'design rights' from BKI just to get some loose change from royalties, I imagine they did it so they could become global players in the Laser game. It seems they bought the rights then immediately went after the largest Laser market in the world, Europe. Why would LPE just decide not to pay royalties any more? That just doesn't make sense because it would be such an obvious breach of contract that they could never defend. It makes much more sense that GS, after acquiring the rights, changed the rules and gave LPE no options. This would mean that GS aren't interested in coming to an agreement with LPE, but that they want to simply take over their business. Whether this would be a good or bad thing for the Laser Class is a whole different discussion.

It's worth noting that a similar situation already exists with the SB3. LPE sell this boat into most parts of the world as the Laser SB3. In Australia, they don't own the Laser trademark - PSA do. So in Australia, rather than coming to an agreement with PSA to use the Laser trademark, LPE's agents sell the Dart SB3. Same boat, different logo, different name, just the roles of the two players are reversed. An interesting bit of recent history that shows that the relationship between the two companies might have already been testy.

Bruce Kirby has come out publicly on the side of GS. I find it very interesting that the channel he chose to do this, Sail-World, just happens to handle PSA's media for them. Is this just a coincidence? He might be the benevolent godfather of the Laser Class but he also has a commercial stake in all of this, and his statements could be interpreted as protecting this stake, despite being outwardly about protecting the class.

At the end of the day a yes vote gives the class association (that's us, the sailors) more control over who builds our boats. How can that be a bad thing, and why are so many people interested in protecting commercial rights of the builders rather than looking after ourselves? Our longer term aim should be to have complete control over our boat, but there are a few more hurdles to jump before then.
 

sorosz

Member
. . . . I would hope that ILCA could position itself to gain the rights in the future, just to prevent this from happening again. But the price tag is high so not clear if that could be engineered.
I think that having the Class acquire the rights and trademarks would be a great long-term goal. Maybe someone could figure out a creative financing apporach that could spread whatever the cost is over a number of years.
 

whitfit

Member
Like Tracy, I don't understand why most people are assuming, based on uninformed speculation, that LPE are the cause of all this. To balance things up here is some vaguely informed speculation from the opposite direction, hopefully worded carefully enough that I don't run foul of any lawyers... or have they given up watching? I suspect the watchfulness of the lawyers at least partly explains the reticence of Heini, Jeff and co to say very much.

......

At the end of the day a yes vote gives the class association (that's us, the sailors) more control over who builds our boats. How can that be a bad thing, and why are so many people interested in protecting commercial rights of the builders rather than looking after ourselves? Our longer term aim should be to have complete control over our boat, but there are a few more hurdles to jump before then.
I agree with the first part - it is hard to tell who is the cause of all of this, and frankly I do not think that the statements of Bruce Kirby and the content in the "Sail World" articles sheds any light on the important issues.

I am not sure whether the lack of information is being driven by lawyers. Frankly, Heini's last message doesn't seem to be of the type that would have been vetted by a lawyer, but I might be wrong. Or, if it is the case that they are being advised that from a legal perspective, they shouldn't say anything further, then they could say at least that, so we can stop being confused about why we are getting no more information.

I suppose you are right about the yes vote giving the class more rights, and probably more leverage. However, it seems like a significant investment in strategic thinking/planning is needed here, and I am not sure that has happened. That makes me reluctant to vote yes, even though I am not convinced that voting no is a bad thing.
 

Deimos

Member
I think the leadership have already made complete fools of themselves by providing none on the information so many have asked for and said is missing. Their failure to discuss puts them in the league of "dictator" rather then "representative". To abandon the vote now would make their unready untenable positions even more open to ridicule.

I expect them to stick to their guns in their grab for power, why not stuff Kirby as well (question the class leadership should be asking themselves - I can see no reason to stuff anybody and the whole action proposed is disgraceful).

Ian
 

Deimos

Member
http://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Breaking-News---Laser-Class----Contracts-signed--Kirby-back/88802

Has the class in fact been informed by the ISAF that the rule change will not be accepted by the ISAF??

if so, why has the ILCA leadership not yet edited the voting page to include that information??

If not, why has there been no public anouncement that the linked article is false??
If the report of the ISAF letter is true, then it is not a "hot off the press" issue (and would certainly be e-mailed as well as posted). So, if true, then the ILCA are withholding very relevant information from the membership - which is a very different matter from just not giving enough information. I would suspect that were this to be the case then the leadership responsible would need to immediately step down as trying to force through a vote whilst withholding very relevant information is a very very big deal.

Ian
 

jeffers

Active Member
Given all of the previous pages and the actions of ILCA, and the national class associations, is it any wonder that apathy reigns at the grass roots of Laser sailing as a class and association membership is the exception rather than the rule unless you do the Open, National or International circuit/regattas?

From what has come to light today it seems Bruce Kirby is trying to sort out the current issues, taking back the rights is step 1, what he will do next will be inetersting to see. Were it myself (and let us remember that no one here is in full posession of the facts except maybe Bruce as he is likely to have spoken to all concerned parties at some point) I would hang on to them for as long as I damn well could and hope to see major changes before I considered selling the rights on to anyone (including ILCA or any company associated with producing the hulls).
 

Deimos

Member
I think the class is now in an interesting position (and not an enviable one either). The class has had a vote on a rule change. The vote was straight "Do we change the rules to become ..." and NOT "Do we authorise our leadership do do what they think appropriate". Thus, if the vote was to change the rules the class is obliged to implement that change. The deadline has passed and the proposal/vote was not withdrawn so the leadership are obliged to implement that vote. If the new situation means they have changed their minds they would need another vote to "change the rules back again". Also, because the change was a vote by the membership and that the class is a organisation formed by and representing the membership, the vote is binding whatever the ISAF may think. The organisation is the membership and thus it must do what the membership says it wants. If the ISAF wants different rules then they have to create their own class (maybe an offshoot of the Laser but they can determine their way forward).

Had the ILCA leadership wanted to include the ISAF then they should have included a "subject to ..." clause in the vote (or maybe checked and obtained ISAF approval first or ...). But they didn;t so the only way to undo any "Yes" vote is for another vote for a change back. Basically, the class has voted and the class officers cannot unilaterally decide to ignore such a vote.

And were that to happen then questions about credibility start to arise.

Ian
 

Tillerman

Member
Also, because the change was a vote by the membership and that the class is a organisation formed by and representing the membership, the vote is binding whatever the ISAF may think. The organisation is the membership and thus it must do what the membership says it wants. If the ISAF wants different rules then they have to create their own class (maybe an offshoot of the Laser but they can determine their way forward).

Had the ILCA leadership wanted to include the ISAF then they should have included a "subject to ..." clause in the vote (or maybe checked and obtained ISAF approval first or ...). But they didn;t so the only way to undo any "Yes" vote is for another vote for a change back. Basically, the class has voted and the class officers cannot unilaterally decide to ignore such a vote.
Ian - I don't think you have stated the role of ISAF correctly. Within the rules of the Laser Class the process for amending the rules is clearly stated...

Amendments to these Rules shall be approved by each
of:
(a) the World Council,
(b) the Advisory Council,
(c) at least two thirds of the membership replying in writing to the International Office of the Class in response to a postal ballot published by the International Office of the Class. Only those postal votes returned to the International Office within 6 months from the date of publication of the rule change shall be valid, and
(d) the ISAF.
So it's part of the Laser Class Rules that a rule change is not approved unless the ISAF approves it too.
 

Deimos

Member
Ian - I don't think you have stated the role of ISAF correctly. Within the rules of the Laser Class the process for amending the rules is clearly stated...

Amendments to these Rules shall be approved by each
of:
...

(c) at least two thirds of the membership replying in writing to the International Office of the Class in response to a postal ballot published by the International Office of the Class. Only those postal votes returned to the International Office within 6 months from the date of publication of the rule change shall be valid, and
...
So it's part of the Laser Class Rules that a rule change is not approved unless the ISAF approves it too.
I stand corrected (I got it wrong), but presumable the class officers have already consulted the three non membership bodies and they have agreed it (far easier to consult them than the grief/delays going to the membership.

But you raise an interesting aspect as, according to the rules you quote (which I am not questioning), everybody who voted online will be having their votes ignored as they have to reply to a postal ballot, in writing to the International Office.

Ian
 

torrid

Just sailing
Ian - I don't think you have stated the role of ISAF correctly. Within the rules of the Laser Class the process for amending the rules is clearly stated...

So it's part of the Laser Class Rules that a rule change is not approved unless the ISAF approves it too.
I think the that's the trump card right there. I doubt ISAF will approve it now that Kirby has repurchased his rights.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
It looks like we all spend a great deal of digital time IN FUTILITY by commenting on the Fundamental Rule issue because ISAF won't approve it, even if passed by the ILCA membership.

Still puzzled what the future will bring now that Kirby has repurchased certain rights.

And what about PSA's plan to spread its wings worldwide (and run LP off the map)?
 

Tillerman

Member
But you raise an interesting aspect as, according to the rules you quote (which I am not questioning), everybody who voted online will be having their votes ignored as they have to reply to a postal ballot, in writing to the International Office.

Ian
Actually online votes are OK Ian. Although the rule I quote did only mention postal ballots, it has to be read in conjunction with By-Law 7 which says...

1. For the purposes of Constitution article 17 (c) and
By-Law 1 (Rules) paragraph 29 (c) Postal Ballots
may be published by any of:
(a) a printed document
(b) e-mail
(c) e-mail or a printed document and notice on the
Association's web site.

2. Responses to a Postal Ballot shall be by returning
the Postal Ballot Voting Form by letter, fax, e-mail or
completing a designated web based Postal Ballot
Voting Form.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
It's interesting re-reading this thread in light of the current legal actions.
Indeed.
It gives those of us who pointed out that ILCA was treading on thin ice something to reflect on. Unfortunately, I can't feel good about that.

Here's a racing analogy (well sort of):
Heini W and Jeff M decided to approach the windward mark on the port layline. Big time regatta with about a hundred Lasers entering the zone on starboard. Heini and Jeff couldn't get out of the way, capsized and caused an enormous mess around the mark. Heini was rescued in due time, but more than a year later, Jeff is still stuck there with his mast in the mud.

The rest of the fleet sailed on, but got lost on the way to the finish line which, for some reason or other, was reset numerous times by the PRO.

Finally, even the PRO (named ISAF) didn't know what to do anymore and decided to raise the Abandonment Signal (N).
 
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