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All about to kick off....

sorosz

Member
The April issue of Latitude 38 (p18) has an ad from Westmarine that says:

Laser Performance Hardware
Now West Marine has the genuine Laser Performance
hardware you need to optimize the performance of the world’s
most popular one-design! We carry the Laser Clew Sleeve,
Outhaul & Cunningham and Vang Upgrade Kits and Laser
Traveler and Boom Blocks by Harken, along with sail numbers
and Hull and Deck Covers. And remember that shipping is free
when you order online for pick up at your local West Marine
store. At selected stores and online at westmarine.com.

I thought it might be an April Fool's joke. . .
 

torrid

Just sailing
Wonder how
The April issue of Latitude 38 (p18) has an ad from Westmarine that says:

Laser Performance Hardware
Now West Marine has the genuine Laser Performance
hardware you need to optimize the performance of the world’s
most popular one-design! We carry the Laser Clew Sleeve,
Outhaul & Cunningham and Vang Upgrade Kits and Laser
Traveler and Boom Blocks by Harken, along with sail numbers
and Hull and Deck Covers. And remember that shipping is free
when you order online for pick up at your local West Marine
store. At selected stores and online at westmarine.com.

I thought it might be an April Fool's joke. . .
Funny. Many, many moons ago, my local West Marine store was the Laser dealer. You could buy anything you wanted there - spars, sails, drain plugs. They had a Laser on a dolly that they wheeled out front every day. My apartment was literally next door, making it easy to get parts. They had some disagreement not long after Vanguard took over and dropped the franchise.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Will be rather ironic for Laser Performance to be called that if they cannot make Lasers!!! Maybe they will become Sunfish Performance, or Bug Performance, or something like that!! BB
 

jeffers

Active Member
I heard on the rumour mill today that the ISAF having said they will no longer supply plaques to Laser Performance and that the Laser hull manufacturng factory in Banbury is locked up......
 

Deimos

Member
I think that in life, lack of information can be far more damaging that the real information. So whatever is really going on, not keeping people up-to-date can make a bad situation far far worse.

People do talk and wonder (and even contribute to threads like this, myself as well). So when people are concerned about the impact it will all have on the class, then any negative impact is going to be far far worse when everybody is kept in the dark. The Laser/Torch class is/will be dependent on its users/customers - as without those there are no builders what-so-ever.

But I can appreciate that with a legal case initiated those involved do not always have the same freedoms. But I would have thought that things like telling the class about issuing plaques is not going jeopardise and legal case (which seems primarily concerned with counterfeit goods). And it does have a big impact on the class - so I would have hoped that somewhere in the "powers that be" somebody would have had a thought for the main important consideration in all this - the sailors in the class!

(Not for one moment suggesting we should not be discussing this. People not interested do not need to read it. But more that, as usual, the source of the money going to builders, Kirby/Rights Holder (sometimes anyway)/ILCA/ISAF/etc. seem to be being treated as an irrelevance).

Ian
 

torrid

Just sailing
I heard on the rumour mill today that the ISAF having said they will no longer supply plaques to Laser Performance and that the Laser hull manufacturng factory in Banbury is locked up......
That's the story circulating on SA. The sad part is I'm sure there are people wanting to put cash down on a brand-new Lasers now that spring is here, but the plant workers are now out on the street.
 

jeffers

Active Member
Apparently another source on SA has now said the factory is open after an 'extended' Easter break.....
 

sorosz

Member
Looking on the bright side, maybe the rights to the Laser name will become worthless and the Class can pick them up for a song.

In the meantime, maybe the Torch will adopt the long hoped for new sail design and we'll come out ahead.
 

torrid

Just sailing
This is not over by any means. While a new builder tries to set up shop in the alley out behind the magazine editorial offices, there is still a court case working its way through the system. The court could rule against Kirby, meaning the new builder would have to compete directly against LPE's existing building experience, supply chain, and dealer network. Sounds like a risky business move to me.

The ILCA tried to head this off a couple of years ago with bad/incomplete information, and that obviously failed. Quite frankly, they should wait for the court case to be resolved before making any deals on a Kirby Torch class.
 

49208

Tentmaker
This is not over by any means. While a new builder tries to set up shop in the alley out behind the magazine editorial offices, there is still a court case working its way through the system. The court could rule against Kirby, meaning the new builder would have to compete directly against LPE's existing building experience, supply chain, and dealer network. Sounds like a risky business move to me.

The ILCA tried to head this off a couple of years ago with bad/incomplete information, and that obviously failed. Quite frankly, they should wait for the court case to be resolved before making any deals on a Kirby Torch class.
Ontario Yachts is hardly "out behind the magazine offices" and if quality is any measure of success, the boats from Dirk will be as good and consistent as the construction manual allows.
I don't think the dealer network in North America cares one bit where they are getting their boats from. In the past couple of years LP has changed the supply chain relationship, and "dealers" are now ordering directly from the 3rd party suppliers, not from LP for replacements parts (ie ordering from Harken, North Sails etc) Not to mention how many customer relationships at the dealer level might have been soured when LP made replacement parts scarce.

Frankly, IMHO, if ILCA doesn't morph into ITCA, they should be left behind with LP
 

49208

Tentmaker
They must have one of those new 3D printers out back.

This is a sad day in sailing history.
Sad ?

I would think sailors in Europe and NA would be glad and rejoicing. We are more than LP's customers, many of us are class members and LP is not supporting the class.
 

Tillerman

Member
Looking on the bright side, maybe the rights to the Laser name will become worthless and the Class can pick them up for a song.
Don't LaserPerformance make a number of other boats using the Laser trademark? Laser Vago, Laser Pico, Laser Bahia and some others. Even if they can't build Lasers any more, wouldn't they want to hang on to the rights to the Laser name for use with these other boats?
 

torrid

Just sailing
If BK wants to build support from class members, he needs to explain who he selected as builder and their qualifications. Right now there is just an address for a house which from Google Maps appears to have been converted into a duplex, half of which is occupied by a massage business. Not one of "those" places, but still not what you would expect for a qualified builder.
 

Deimos

Member
If BK wants to build support from class members, he needs to explain who he selected as builder and their qualifications. Right now there is just an address for a house which from Google Maps appears to have been converted into a duplex, half of which is occupied by a massage business. Not one of "those" places, but still not what you would expect for a qualified builder.
No idea how it works in the US but in the UK when there is a court case in progress people (involved in the case) have to be careful what they say/argue in public. Never reflects well if what should be argued in court comes to be argued in public (by those involved in the case). So I can appreciate Kirby being quiet at the moment as his priority must be not to jeopardise his case.

Ian
 

jeffers

Active Member
No idea how it works in the US but in the UK when there is a court case in progress people (involved in the case) have to be careful what they say/argue in public. Never reflects well if what should be argued in court comes to be argued in public (by those involved in the case). So I can appreciate Kirby being quiet at the moment as his priority must be not to jeopardise his case.

Ian
I am pretty sure it is the same in the US.

All Kirby has done is announce he is (re-)launching a (new) boat called the Kirby Torch. All current Laser dinghies which have an ISAF Plaque are considered to be class legal Kirby Torch dinghies as well.

I am sure Rastegars lawyers will whinge and complain but at the end of the day they are no longer licensed to build the boat and will not be supplied plaques by ILCA/ISAF what can they argue?

The real nail in the coffin will be if ILCA decide to become ITCA (although they cannot use that particular moniker as the International Topper Class Association might be upset).
 

49208

Tentmaker
If BK wants to build support from class members, he needs to explain who he selected as builder and their qualifications. Right now there is just an address for a house which from Google Maps appears to have been converted into a duplex, half of which is occupied by a massage business. Not one of "those" places, but still not what you would expect for a qualified builder.
It's already out in the public that Dirk Kneulman (Ontario Yachts) would be the builder in NA , and PSA in Australia, 3rd builder in Europe (Netherlands IIRC) .. Ask any Etchells or Sonar owner about Dirk's boats, they are at the top of the heap. And building the Laser as Gouv has pointed out, is not exactly art or science..

The name behind the address being used right now is John Kerr, who has been helping BK. Nothing hidden/devious about it.
 

49208

Tentmaker
Don't LaserPerformance make a number of other boats using the Laser trademark? Laser Vago, Laser Pico, Laser Bahia and some others. Even if they can't build Lasers any more, wouldn't they want to hang on to the rights to the Laser name for use with these other boats?

If the "Torch" name shines bright ;) , I would think the "Laser" name starts to take on about the same significance as the "Yugo"
 

jeffers

Active Member
Don't LaserPerformance make a number of other boats using the Laser trademark? Laser Vago, Laser Pico, Laser Bahia and some others. Even if they can't build Lasers any more, wouldn't they want to hang on to the rights to the Laser name for use with these other boats?
This may be why BK has gone down the Kirby Torch route as Rastegars bunch of cronies could argue that the Laser TM for use with sailing dinghies cannot be taken off them.
 

49208

Tentmaker
---snip---
I am sure Rastegars lawyers will whinge and complain but at the end of the day they are no longer licensed to build the boat and will not be supplied plaques by ILCA/ISAF what can they argue?
no barrister, but guess LP will argue that the contracts are not valid, and that they should be continued to be supplied plaques..
In the meantime ILCA has apparently lost their Australian builder.

Not sure this is checkmate, but seems like a good strategy (make it so one builder can't produce legal Lasers), then recruit the other builder and start a new class, and work on recruiting the class org and it's members to come along. Hell, I'm in

Even if it's decided the contracts are not valid and LP is allowed to continue to make boats, good chance there will be no one left to make them for.
 

torrid

Just sailing
The website is an attempt to win the support of rank and file class members to gain support for the Torch class and the new builders. This immensely pleases me on one hand as it is the most direct attempt by anyone involved in this fiasco to reach out to those who actually buy and sail these boats. I am disappointed on the other hand is it is still cryptic and incomplete information, subject to the conspriacy theories of internet warriros (yes like me, guilty as charged).

The bar set by the opposition in this PR campaign was set very, very low. It should be a pretty easy battle to win.
 

CaptainAhab

Active Member
It will be weird seeing all of the new boats with numbers 1,2,3, etc. We have been seeing hull numbers over 100k since the mid eighties.

Hopefully a little Karma will Torch the Rastegar boatsheds. They have a history of spontaneous combustion so it would be no surprise.

Human greed has ruined many things in society. Eventually their own greed ruins themselves. The real shame is all of the employees that are going to lose their jobs for working for that devil.
 

coll

New Member
I can't believe that LP is going to just let a multimillion dollar revenue stream go without a fight. I think this is going to get really messy really fast.

Yeah, sure the hardcore laser sailors who read these forums is going to know about the change, but what about the average recreational sailor? They're not going to care about any of this. They'll just buy a laser, probably directly from LP, plaque or no plaque. Even beyond this, it's just going to kill sales. Nobody wants to deal with this confusion except maybe someone who's doing an olympic campaign. I sure don't. Laser fleets have been dying for the last 5 years and this is going to make it even worse. Time to jump ship imo.
 

jeffers

Active Member
I can't believe that LP is going to just let a multimillion dollar revenue stream go without a fight. I think this is going to get really messy really fast.

Yeah, sure the hardcore laser sailors who read these forums is going to know about the change, but what about the average recreational sailor? They're not going to care about any of this. They'll just buy a laser, probably directly from LP, plaque or no plaque. Even beyond this, it's just going to kill sales. Nobody wants to deal with this confusion except maybe someone who's doing an olympic campaign. I sure don't. Laser fleets have been dying for the last 5 years and this is going to make it even worse. Time to jump ship imo.
Most recreational sailors would not buy a new boat......

All those serious about racing will make sure they buy a boat that is class legal....

This is not a multi million dollar revenue stream either, why do you think we are in this mess? It is because LPE had cash flow problems and then stopped paying royalties and never resumed paying them....
 

Deimos

Member
It is excellent that the torch class is including ALL ISAF plaques Lasers. It would have been very easy (and one could say justifiable) for Kirby to require a payment (or maybe measurement and registration fee, etc.) for boats where no Rights Holder (Kirby) royalty had been paid. If the measurement and payment were to become a "Torch" that it would be valid whatever the outcome of the court case. So a good move from Kirby.

Ian
 

Deimos

Member
I can't believe that LP is going to just let a multimillion dollar revenue stream go without a fight. I think this is going to get really messy really fast.
I suspect that, as the court case is going to be some time in being resolved, that the Torch class will be well up and running by the time anybody gets to even argue their case before the Judge. I guess most clubs will adopt the Torch class pretty readily (as that is the only source of new boats). And even if LP keep selling their "Lasers", they will not have any ISAF plaques so I suspect would have to be sold on the basis of "Training hull" (or they could end-up with a lot of private cases from individuals after they arrive proudly at their club with their new boat (that they are immediately told they cannot race!).

And this time next year (or later) whatever the outcome of the court case, Torch will be an established class.

Add in that sailors are a pretty moral crowd (e.g. the self policing nature of the RSS, etc.) and the allegation that LPE just stopped paying money they owed the designer of their much loved class and I cannot see many leaping to the defence of Laser Performance Europe.

Ian
 

torrid

Just sailing
Word is out that there is a meeting next week somewhere in US. Kirby, PSA and a European group will sign and agree the distribution for newly named Laser. Laser Performance are out.....though no doubt they will kick up, bitch and moan and try and go legal.....

Gonna get messy (messier)......
Forgot about the original post in this thread. Looks like this did happen, and was quite accurate.
 

Icedtea

New Member
I support Kirby in this. Yes this is annoying as hell, and there'll be a delay before any new boats are built, but that only will affect the 1% who want new boats....the same 1% the upper echelons of ILCA seem only to listen to.

Hopefully this will lead to a cheaper, better product for us all.
Shame about the name though.
 

Deimos

Member
I support Kirby in this. Yes this is annoying as hell, and there'll be a delay before any new boats are built, but that only will affect the 1% who want new boats....the same 1% the upper echelons of ILCA seem only to listen to.

...
It would not surprise me if the US/Europe builders purchased some hulls from the Aus builder as a "stop gap" measure whilst or depending on how quickly they can get their production up to speed. As the move must be seen by all Torch builders as being in their interests, for Aus builder to sell a few extra hulls is good and for new builders to be able to supply before they can produce volume (even with low profit margin) would be beneficial to them as well.

Ian
 
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