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Olympic status

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
It is interesting that according to the WS announcements, all three of the new boats competing to replace the Laser are "presented" by their builder, whereas the Laser is being "presented" by ILCA. Is that because Laser has three builders that do not get along, or because no one trusts the biggest builder to handle the trials correctly?
 

torrid

Just sailing
It is interesting that according to the WS announcements, all three of the new boats competing to replace the Laser are "presented" by their builder, whereas the Laser is being "presented" by ILCA. Is that because Laser has three builders that do not get along, or because no one trusts the biggest builder to handle the trials correctly?
Being generous I could say it is because there are multiple builders, and the class is presenting on behalf of all the builders. But realistically, it is as you describe.

I'm sure the current status of the class/builder relations will enter into WS's final decision. Truthfully, that is probably why there are sea trials taking place.
 

rippa

Member
None of the builders had the foresight to grab an old Laser mould out of the backyard and present a 32kg epoxy sandwich Laser with a newly developed rig at the upcoming trials. It would have been a serious contender.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Tillerman (well-known blogger) wrote the following on another site:

The panel doing the evaluation are supposed to present their recommendation to the Equipment Committee in May.

After that the Equipment Committee will make a different recommendation to the World Council who will then make a totally different decision that nobody saw coming.

Don't hold your breath.


I am afraid Tillerman may be right...
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Here is a blurb from Day 3 via Google Translate. On the last day they raced the three boats against each other, with the Laser remaining onshore: Evident as the best sailor, reigning Laser World Champion Pavlos Kontides, has an extra gear, regardless of the boat that was the helm. The Cypriot champion won all six races, regardless of the boat he was steering. It must be said that the greatest advantage has been achieved at the helm of the D-Zero, which also confirmed today, thanks above all to the possibility of adjusting the rake of the mast and to use the mainsail carriage, a greater average versatility in upwind. Three races were won by the D-Zero, the others by the RS Aero and Melges 14, always with Kontides at the helm.

it also said the D-Zero won all the women's races regardless of the skipper.

I think Tillerman is right. They will likely select the Finn to replace the Laser, and use either a to-be-designed rig for the women, or bring back the Europe!!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Google translating is fun. For words that obviously mean "rig", you get alternatives like "drilling platform", or even "weapon".

Observations from the pictures: three of the four boats took the "large" and "medium" sizes of their three rigs to Valencia. The D-Zero had a new smaller rig (instead of the former "Blue"), which looked good.

Impressions from the text: it's only natural for an Italian to have a pro-Devoti bias, but still it looks like if one of the boats stood out, it was (as I had anticipated) the D-Zero. It was especially praised for its adjustability; the mast rake adjustment by deck chocks and the actually-working traveller were mentioned several times. The Melges 14 did ok as well, but it wasn't as fast and was repeatedly criticized for an uncomfortable downwind sitting position. The lack of a halyard was a minus, too. The RS Aero sounded as underwhelming on the water as I've found it on land. And the Laser was there to be the Laser.

How the politics will work: the report will recommend one of the boats (possibly the D-Zero) plus a reserve alternative (possibly the Melges 14) to the Equipment Committee, which I don't think has much choice in forwarding that to the November meeting. And then the WS Council will unanimously choose the Laser.

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Tillerman

Member
We're talking about the monopoly within the Laser class. Or rather, it's a set of regional monopolies, but the individual consumer is limited to one choice nevertheless. I have personally tried buying certain Australian parts (which at the time were fundamentally different to the European counterparts) and was refused!

Of course there are alternatives to the Laser... and WS is now taking a good look at a few of those.

Does anyone here have any experience with the "official alternatives"? Tillerman...? (He doesn't even sail a proper course anymore as he's become an aerobian.)

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Since you asked... Yes, I did buy an RS Aero a few years ago after sailing a Laser for over 30 years. It has been a very rewarding experience to be in at the start of a new class and contribute, in a small way, to helping it grow. And now the RS Aero is already being considered as a replacement for the Laser in the Olympics. Amazing!

I have to say I was getting a bit tired of sailing the same old boat. Moving to the RS Aero has restored my passion for sailing. Have sailed RS Aero regattas at the Gorge and on Lake Garda. Sailed several of the regattas in the Florida Winter Series this winter and looking forward to racing in the New England Series again this summer.

Sorry to hear of the latest upheaval in Laser world. Hope everything works out for all my friends who still sail Lasers. If you want to find out more about the RS Aero, here is a list of some RS Aero Reviews. You might also be interested in my musings on what it's like to move to a new class.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
The WS Council actually voted today at the mid-year meeting! The final results were as expected:

The Laser was selected as the Paris 2024 Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Equipment, subject to agreement of the Olympic Classes Contract for 2024, following a ballot vote.

Under Regulation 21.1.3 (e), the decision on selecting the Equipment has to be made before 31 December 2019. Council members voted on deferring the selection of the Equipment to the 2019 Annual Conference but this was rejected meaning a decision had to be made in London.

The next step was to vote on the Equipment Committee recommendation to select the RS Aero. Their recommendation was rejected.

The process moved to a ballot and Council members were able to vote on the four boats that were part of the process - the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero.

The Laser won in the first round of votes.

For the Men's One Person Dinghy, 36 voted for the Laser and five voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.

For the Women's One Person Dinghy, 37 voted for the Laser and four voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.

But there's still a cloud on the horizon:

Before Council made its decisions on the Paris 2024 Equipment, the Board of Directors updated Council on its current plans for the Olympic Classes Contract. This included the position on implementing World Sailing's Olympic Equipment Strategy (FRAND) agreed by Council in November 2018. In order to provide certainty for MNAs, sailors and teams, the Board will engage in contractual discussions only until 1 August 2019. If by that time no agreement is reached, the Board will report to Council that no agreement has been concluded and Council will then have to select new Equipment for the relevant Event.

(Emphases mine.)

Paris 2024 decisions made at World Sailing's 2019 Mid-Year Meeting

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thieuster

Active Member
Yes, the link works! I spotted it last night but also noticed its length. I've watched a part and will watch the rest of it later. Around 1/3 in, the discussion gets heated.

Slightly off topic: Dutch dealer Sailcenter has been working with fixed prices for years and doesn't allow new 'players on the market' to sell ILCA approved gear for a better price. A few sailors (also a few who're in the crowd on the vid) have complained by the Dutch Government Anti-trust Agency. The Agency was interested to hear facts and see examples of the complaint
 
It gets very heated. I thought the class leadership demonstrated remarkable self-control, and I applaud their willingness to open themselves to direct questioning by a frustrated crowd. Apparently we live in a house divided.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Dutch dealer Sailcenter has been working with fixed prices for years and doesn't allow new 'players on the market' to sell ILCA approved gear for a better price.
That's how the dealer system works - it's in their contract with the builder. I believe that our former national dealer would have wanted to sell stuff at lowered prices at times, but the fixed prices are de facto required, which was a major reason for their quitting the dealership.

I also suspect that any given dealer doesn't have anything to say about appointing other dealers. They wouldn't really compete against one another anyway, having a similar relationship with the builder.

(Watching the EurILCA video next...)

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LaLi

Well-Known Member
To those who don't have 65 extra minutes to spend:


Eric Faust: "...a lot of space where the parties are right now"

So no "guarantee" for a 1 August agreement, and because very little time is left, a membership vote is coming up within days. Interesting to see how the rule change will be formulated. ILCA's preference is that the name won't change but the new builders would be licensed by the trademark holder. Name change is (still) a "backup plan".

Jean-Luc's first comment boils down to "I'm trying to do something". Also, whining and useless quibbling about some email message. Shouldn't do this in public.

Italian guy takes up the problem with PSA boats from a few years back. It's an LP distraction vehicle which some people really seem to think has something to do with the issue(s) at hand. "Laser Performance wants to save the class". Oh my.

British guy underlines that the Olympic and ILCA communication issues are separate. Good.

German guy says LP is hard to deal with, but we shouldn't "upset them more" by the "threat" of name change. As if nasty guys turned nice if we only treated them nice. Sure.

Thirty new manufacturers interested! (Of which most will drop out, but still.)

Eric: the class would "probably" survive outside the Olympics, but a lot of activity would "dry up", especially in Asia.

(I have a very hard time understanding Jean-Luc through his heavy French accent.)

Eric repeats again and again that it's the WS that's running the current negotiations. "No one has refused to sit down with LP".

Someone questions current ILCA/WS communication because of the apparent disagreement of WS okaying the name change a couple months back. ILCA went a little too far by saying publicly that WS supports everything they do, and Eric admitted that.

Alessandro Castelli: "since 2013, IlCA has tried to push LP out of the Laser business and favor Australia". For a reason, maybe?Resignations within the ILCA leadership were also called for.

Eric: the Laser class FRAND policy has been developed with the builders since last November, but "only recently has LP realized that it's a real thing".

Someone keeps pushing the "illegal PSA boats" thing. Eric says it actually concerned only about 200 boats over a 6-month period, and it was LP itself that proposed the solution that was used! "It was a good process and improved the quality of our boat".

Composite topmasts were initially built only by Southern Spars because LP didn't find a manufacturer who'd build to the required tolerances.. They now use Seldén.

On the question, "why do you treat LP and PSA differently": PSA responds, LP doesn't. Also, turns out that LP has refused inspection since 2015. Not a recent thing.

Eric reminds that the court case that started in 2013 is still going on (or phase 2 thereof), and that itself is making it harder for the parties (LP vs PSA) to agree on things.

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Rob B

Well-Known Member
Thanks! Does not sound good for an Aug 1 solution..... RS might want to start looking into ramping up production....
 
Weird to see the Europe vs ICLA thing popping up. No need for that as we all want the same thing (laser sailing?). To me it seems to be a communication problem first.

I, as a laser sailor and member do not get any information from my national class organisation on this. All i know is what I gather in fora like these and when talking to other sailors that are somehow informed. Also the eurILCA does not keep me posted (i do not count facebook as information!) . There is some info on the ILCA website but that's it.

Is is the task of the ILCA to inform everybody? Or do they inform EurILCA who inform my national class organisation? No matter what I'm not getting any info. How am i supposed to vote?
 

thieuster

Active Member
I spotted the chairman of the Dutch class org. on that video. He was in the audience. Contact the class and tell him about your (correct!) questions and point of view.

Menno
 
Thanks! Does not sound good for an Aug 1 solution..... RS might want to start looking into ramping up production....
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Laser as an Olympic class. I did lend my name to the petition that circulated earlier this year for it to continue as an Olympic class, but with reservations. Achieving Olympic status is a bit like having a tiger by the tail, and I was afraid that losing that status at this time would be too much of a blow. That said, I’m not sure being an Olympic class is good for the long term health of the class.
 

thieuster

Active Member
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Laser as an Olympic class. I did lend my name to the petition that circulated earlier this year for it to continue as an Olympic class, but with reservations. Achieving Olympic status is a bit like having a tiger by the tail, and I was afraid that losing that status at this time would be too much of a blow. That said, I’m not sure being an Olympic class is good for the long term health of the class.
I don't agree. 'Racing improves the breed' is a saying by the founder of Honda. And he was right. A Laser is built for racing and competition. It appeals to men and women alike who want to be the best, the fastest, the one who makes no mistakes. Without a small, dedicated bunch of 'warriors', the class will ultimately die down in mellow-ness and -what we call in Dutch- 'navel-gazing'.

When the Laser is no longer an Olympic class, no young sailor, coming from the Optimist will choose a Laser as his/her next boat. Within 5 yrs, there will be no more 'young blood'. Example: the Dutch Yachting Association ditched the 420 in 2012 and appointed the RS Feva as the boat for the route to a double-handed Olympic medal. 7 years later, there are no 420 sailors anymore in the Netherlands. Really: not a single crew is sailing that boat anymore.
 
I don't agree. 'Racing improves the breed' is a saying by the founder of Honda. And he was right. A Laser is built for racing and competition. It appeals to men and women alike who want to be the best, the fastest, the one who makes no mistakes. Without a small, dedicated bunch of 'warriors', the class will ultimately die down in mellow-ness and -what we call in Dutch- 'navel-gazing'.

When the Laser is no longer an Olympic class, no young sailor, coming from the Optimist will choose a Laser as his/her next boat. Within 5 yrs, there will be no more 'young blood'. Example: the Dutch Yachting Association ditched the 420 in 2012 and appointed the RS Feva as the boat for the route to a double-handed Olympic medal. 7 years later, there are no 420 sailors anymore in the Netherlands. Really: not a single crew is sailing that boat anymore.
Well let’s see. The Laser appeared in the early 1970’s. It entered the Olympics in 1996. That’s roughly two decades of class development and racing PRIOR to the Olympics. When I was racing the boat as a youth in the 80’s almost all the sailors came out of the Optimist class into Lasers. The history of the Laser class as an incubator of talent is well documented. The winners of the Laser worlds and regattas like CORK were legends that we looked up to. All of this was before the Olympics. The Laser does not need the Olympics to be a successful international class.
 

thieuster

Active Member
It's good to emphasise on the class' road to success like you do. And you're right when it comes to the Laser's history. But it's not the way towards the Olympics, it is the road after the Olympics that counts. Besides: really big athletes will - given the chance- try to be successful on the Olympics.

Let's turn it around: name me one boat that stayed successful after it's Olympic career! Europe? Elliot? And all the other boats that are named on the street map of Kiel/Schilksee... None of those boats has survived as a big and thriving class.

M
 
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Rob B

Well-Known Member

Interesting video. Hopefully the link works.....
It's good to emphasise on the class' road to success. But it's not the way towards the Olympics, it is the road after the Olympics. Besides: really big athletes will - given the chance- try to be successful on the Olympics.

Let's turn it around: name me one boat that stayed successful after it's Olympic career! Europe? Elliot? And all the other boats that are named on the street map of Kiel/Schilksee... None of those boats has survived as a big and thriving class.
Star seems to be doing ok.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
The Laser does not need the Olympics to be a successful international class.
Well, it depends wholly on how you define "success". Your argument is that a post-Olympic Laser class will be again the same as it was before 1992. Not going to happen... it's a different world now. Dinghy sailing isn't growing anymore, fewer people in their 20s or 30s race just for fun, the Laser isn't something new, exciting and unique, and there will be no Olympic class that the Laser would naturally feed into. The youth would go directly to the RS Aero, and the Laser would become increasingly a masters-only class with no more builders than today, and many sailing nations abandoning it altogether. I wouldn't call that "successful".

name me one boat that stayed successful after it's Olympic career! Europe? Elliot? And all the other boats that are named on the street map of Kiel/Schilksee... None of those boats has survived as a big and thriving class.
As I said in some other context recently, practically all former Olympic classes are living a more or less healthy "afterlife", typically in their historically strong geographical areas. (I can elaborate if someone wants.) They just tend to become more old guys' classes, with few new boats built. I don't want the Laser to go that way.

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thieuster

Active Member
^^^ this ^^^ What Lali says.

About the Star... Well, only for a very small bunch of people! Price of the boat/parts, hauling the boat, crew weight... I love the Star and I'm more or less biased, to say the least. But for this boat it's also exactly what Lali says. There's a sort of Primus inter pares competition with big names as crew members. That's even a smaller bunch of sailors making a small detour to the Star

Menno
 

torrid

Just sailing
Well, it depends wholly on how you define "success". Your argument is that a post-Olympic Laser class will be again the same as it was before 1992. Not going to happen... it's a different world now. Dinghy sailing isn't growing anymore, fewer people in their 20s or 30s race just for fun, the Laser isn't something new, exciting and unique, and there will be no Olympic class that the Laser would naturally feed into. The youth would go directly to the RS Aero, and the Laser would become increasingly a masters-only class with no more builders than today, and many sailing nations abandoning it altogether. I wouldn't call that "successful".
Never been a big fan of the Laser being an Olympic class, but I have to say this sentiment makes sense to me IF they replace the Laser with the RS Aero or something similar. As long as it is a class that a teenager could conceivably sail and is readily available, I could see youth being more drawn to that class over time.
 
It's good to emphasise on the class' road to success like you do. And you're right when it comes to the Laser's history. But it's not the way towards the Olympics, it is the road after the Olympics that counts. Besides: really big athletes will - given the chance- try to be successful on the Olympics.

Let's turn it around: name me one boat that stayed successful after it's Olympic career! Europe? Elliot? And all the other boats that are named on the street map of Kiel/Schilksee... None of those boats has survived as a big and thriving class.

M
I would start by asking which of the former Olympic classes has a pre Olympic history comparable to the Laser? I’m not 100% certain, but I would guess that none of them were as popular worldwide as the Laser prior to being adopted as an Olympic class. Perhaps losing Olympic status would be the nail in the coffin for the Laser class. This is the tiger by the tail situation that I alluded to earlier. It’s difficult to let go and live to tell about it. But given the unique pre Olympic history of the Laser I’m betting it would be capable of leaving the Olympics and continuing as a popular international class. HOW it could do that is perhaps a topic for another thread. Maybe a thread started after August 1 entitled “Life After the Divorce” :) I do like the Star and the SSL, and It remains to be seen what will happen with the Finn. But again all of these former Olympic classes did not have the unique pre Olympic history of the Laser. If it does turn out to be true that no fleet can leave the Olympics and live to tell about it then it should serve as a cautionary tale against going that route to begin with.
 
Well, it depends wholly on how you define "success". Your argument is that a post-Olympic Laser class will be again the same as it was before 1992. Not going to happen... it's a different world now. Dinghy sailing isn't growing anymore, fewer people in their 20s or 30s race just for fun, the Laser isn't something new, exciting and unique, and there will be no Olympic class that the Laser would naturally feed into. The youth would go directly to the RS Aero, and the Laser would become increasingly a masters-only class with no more builders than today, and many sailing nations abandoning it altogether. I wouldn't call that "successful".
It is important to define terms. I would define success as:
1. Growing membership
2. Active local fleets that support entry level sailors at the grassroots level.
3. Well attended national and world level regattas.
4. Reliable builders and dealers that work with the class to grow the sport.
4. Class organization that works tirelessly to promote all of the above.

I never said that the Laser class would be the same as it was before the Olympics. I recounted the pre Olympic history to illustrate the point that the class’s international popularity and success was achieved before the Olympics, not because of the Olympics. Would the class be the same after. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it could one day be better in some ways than it was. You seem to be confident that it’s “Not going to happen....”. I’m less certain of the outcome. Anyway, we shall see. Cheers!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
I would define success as:
1. Growing membership
2. Active local fleets that support entry level sailors at the grassroots level.
3. Well attended national and world level regattas.
4. Reliable builders and dealers that work with the class to grow the sport.
4. Class organization that works tirelessly to promote all of the above.
Good points all, of course. The first is the hardest, and very few classes are actually growing at this time. That's one of the reasons I listed for "not going to happen". One more is that, for better or worse, sailing today is more Olympic-oriented than 30 years ago. The sport is better organized, and the Laser is at the centre of practically all youth-to-Olympics programs around the world. Removed from that framework, what is left is a big and well-spread, but shrinking and ageing masters class. It's good that Eric Faust mentioned Asia: It's the only part of the world where dinghy sailing is clearly growing, and they haven't invested in the Laser for historical but practical reasons. They'd be the first to leave the class for good.

I strongly prefer the Laser to stay Olympic because the alternative doesn't look very attractive.

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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
In Australia our regatta fleets have decreased since becoming an Olympic class.

Personally I think just dump sailing from the Olympics.
 

thieuster

Active Member
June 27th.:
ILCA CAUGHT SPREADING FAKE NEWS Meeting with EURILCA members, ILCA's Eric Faust makes a number of claims in this video that are false and are questioned by the well-informed European members. But the biggest false claim is that LaserPerformance has refused to negotiate with ILCA. We remind ILCA that at the November 2018 ILCA World Council LP requested an all-party meeting to discuss our pending contractual issues in Dusseldorf around 9 January 2019. When LP formally requested ILCA to meet, there was NO REPLY even though we sent a number of reminders. We could have settled our issues then and would not be where we are today, with Eric spinning the story his way to get votes to drop the Laser name. The strategy all along has been to get rid of LP and commercialize ILCA with PSA as a partner.
July 1st:

LASERPERFORMANCE – INTERNATIONAL LASER CLASS ASSOCIATION TRADEMARK LICENSE AGREEMENT SIGNED TODAY

Similar to the document signed by LP and the Sunfish Class, this Agreement is in the form that LP has been asking for in the last 3 years. A big THANK YOU to World Sailing for facilitating the process. We have again invited World Sailing and ILCA to inspect the UK-based Laser Manufacturing facilities. Let’s hope the inspection can happen as soon as possible.
/QUOTE]

From ILCA's Facebook on June 30th:

LCA has entered into a trademark license agreement with Velum Limited, the trademark holding company for Laser Performance. The agreement covers use of the LASER trademark for the conduct of sailing events and for use on various items. This agreement replaces the so-called “1998 Agreement” which Velum erroneously claimed was due to expire in August of this year. In spite of these claims, the 1998 Agreement was set to run in perpetuity.
ILCA has agreed to a new contract as a show of good faith negotiations towards the more important goal of achieving a FRAND compliant policy for our class. While a positive symbol of cooperation, it should be noted that this trademark agreement is not in any way related to the ongoing discussions to remain in the Olympics.
After numerous attempts to negotiate a new trademark agreement over several years, signing a new agreement came only after Laser Performance finally agreed to remove the provisions that would have given away control of our class and disrupted our finances – both of which were unacceptable to the ILCA World Council.
With these conditions removed, the proposed agreement essentially mirrored the agreement ILCA has been prepared to sign since 2016, but had been repeatedly either rejected or ignored by Laser Performance.
For clarity, a new trademark agreement has never been a pre-condition for factory inspections or approval of Laser Performance as a class builder. Re-approval is a completely separate issue that must be negotiated and agreed in coordination with all parties to the Laser Construction Manual Agreement.
ILCA is hopeful that with this issue behind, Laser Performance can now focus on the primary task of reaching agreement with the other commercial parties on a process that will achieve World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy.


/QUOTE]
 
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