Stuff it Kirby!!

Are you one of the 122 or the 1017?

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Active Member
Suthera....use mere mortals will probably never know. Even those who are on the inside of the class do not know...those who have contacts do not know...I doubt even PSA, GS, LP and BK know the full story even if you got them in to a room!

Suffice to say it is a mess and damn well needs to be sorted out so we can get the lovely new sail that everyone is raving about (although I did read that it has been 7 years in development....). My own view is that the jury is still out on the top section issue (especially as it only seems to be the 'new' top sections that are bending easily, builder collusion I hear you say, wash your mouth out!).
Thread starter #62
The following is posted without benefit of many hours considering its exact wording. Please simply consider the basic concept:

The builders are so foolish they are letting go of the marionette strings that have for 40 years, controlled the activities of the classes. The funding has stopped.

For four decades, those of us who simply wanted to race identical boats controlled by a set of rules, had no option but to race lasers. Laser builders gave so much money to ISAF and ILCA that neither organization would consider simply describing the one design toy and allowing all those who passed measurement to be used.
This abandonment of the supportive / defensive investment position by the North American and European builder is an opportunity for all of us to get our heads out of the sand and turn singlehanded sailing into a real game like football or basketball where the toys are defined and anybody anywhere in the world need only show up with a legal toy to play the game.

As building plastic boats is only sensible with molds and mass production, it would be simple to have ISAF and the ILCA CERTIFY builders such that any boat produced by one of the few interested builders would be considered legal for the game. There could be regular inspections of the products and facilities to guarantee compliance with the design so we could guarantee our game toys would be as equal as possible. Home building could be legal as well . All we would need is a simple inspection ssytem where we would test boats and certify those boats as legal.
The game could be played all over the world with no more single builders holding our game hostage.
all ILCA and ISAF need to do is continue the process that has already begun. The Kirby contract requitrement is history.
All that remains is the absurd self imposed Stockholm Syndrome style faithful to the abusers class rule about copyright holding and the name of the toys.
Let's simply allow all boats that meet the builder's manual to be used on our race courses.
There are guys like me all over the planet who love sailboat racing and know how to build simple litle 14 foot toys.
if the class will simply allow the toys anyone builds to play with those built by the builders who no longer care to support the game, we can have locally built singlehanders just like the teh toys we have been using produced all over the planet.
Also realize: The guys who already are set up to build Lasers can easily build boats more effeciently and for less money out the door than a shop like mine.
They only need to beat my price and keep teh rest of us out of the contest if we allow teh rest of us into the contest.
One possible answer to "screw you. What are you gonna do about it" is ...Let somebody else build the toys we love to use.
Just like the optimist with 3 makers of spars, 10+makers of foils, same for sails and 10+ makers of hulls ranging from $ 3500 to 8000 for a complete boat. But you need an approval sytem for the builders to verify that their moulds and procedures are OK.
The following is posted without benefit of many hours considering its exact wording. Please simply consider the basic concept:

The builders are so foolish they are letting go of the marionette strings that have for 40 years, controlled the activities of the classes. The funding has stopped....
My initial reaction is that I don't agree. For me, there is an important aspect of the limited manufacture; namely that there can never be any consideration about somebody having a "faster boat". Of course boats age, get soft, get mistreated (as do sails, etc.), but with a range of different e.g. builders, soon comments will start that "Gov Hulls" are faster - mainly because the individual helming is better. But that the winner has a "Gov Hull" and the mid fleet guy has a "Snail Hull" means that (s)he can blame their result on the hull design, etc. So "Gov Hulls" become sought after (and thus more expensive). Same with sails and gear in general. OK, hulls are the same but that won't stop talk. We already have rumours that "Aus hulls" are faster than US/European hulls.

There are loads of great classes that have a rule and any builder can build and be measured and some builders are considered faster than others (though they use the same rules). The one thing Lasers have is that there are no arguments about certain manufacturers being faster. And for me that is an important aspect to the class.

The Opti model works pretty well - the "we build faster boats than you" factor is the only problem but it's pretty much marketing with no substance. Sails and spars are a different story, but they do need to be tailored to the kid's size so strict one design isn't really possible there. That shouldn't be a problem for the Laser as we have the three rigs so we can specify tighter controls over each component.

It's still a big gamble though, no silver bullet. It's quite possible prices would rise and/or quality would decrease. Maybe this is just an Australian experience but for all our complaining we do have it pretty good at the moment compared with most other classes.
Wow, Gouv, great mark rounding. That was a rapid transition from upwind to downwind. :)

I must say, I like the cut of your new jib - oh wait, that does not work here. Uh... how about, that is a catchy tune you are singing and I have heard many of the faithful humming same. I think even the church preacher is trying to hide a smile of appreciation. The problem is the two choir directors sit on the church advisory board and they don't like that kind of rock and roll, no? I wonder though, this new sea breeze might stick around for a bit! But what to do with the choir directors? They are 2 of 4.

I am not sure I understand your point Mr. Ian. That issue always exists - even now, no? What is faster Hyde or North. EU or AUS boats. Sailing the angles or soaking deep? This new church wine might just be better than the old beer. It seemed a bit stale and expensive.
I am not sure I understand your point Mr. Ian. That issue always exists - even now, no? What is faster Hyde or North. EU or AUS boats.
Not an issue for me. We can only buy EU boats and only buy the one Laser class sail. At the moment everything is checked by one organisation so nobody is looking for "an edge" (some sales pitch to allow them to sell more/higher priced boats. When I used to sail Fireballs is was quite a major issue as to which builder, which sailmaker, etc. was fastest. It is already happening with Lasers and the advent of 3rd party sails. There is a lot of discussion at clubs and I think the strict one-design ethic is starting to make a come-back (i.e. a Laser must be a Laser). Lots of nice boats where the class is the rule and anybody builds and is measured. Laser is different from then because it is much stricter. Not important to everybody but I am starting to get vibes that it is important to far more than I thought. A lot of people who use 3rd party sails actually prefer the strict one design but will not spend the money when others don't. Given a choice they would go class legal.



Upside down?
Staff member
Our good friend Alan D (ISAF Measurer) will point out, as he has done repeatedly in the past, that measuring some 100 or more boats at a 'serious' regatta is a major hassle for all concerned.

I much prefer to stay with the strict one-design principle, although the current fracas needs to be resolved (duh...).
Thread starter #69
Why measure any boats at regattas other than spot checks followed by lifetime bans for those caught with modified boats??

It seems my suggestion proposed we continue certifying buiilders with regular inspections of their products and we allow anyone to build a boat and it may be raced forever once individually inspected.

Did you fail to comprehend my post or are you just making up arguments for the sake of argument??

I believe my system would allow for tighter controls than simply trusting anyone who has a traemark to build our toys.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
Why measure any boats at regattas other than spot checks followed by lifetime bans for those caught with modified boats??
Strangely enough, 50% of the major measurement issues I've had at major regattas have been with the builders quality control e.g battens or incorrectly placed radial bottom sleeves, or equipment supplied with new boats being illegal e.g. hiking straps with two loops. The remaining 50% of issues generally fall into people not being able to rig their control lines legally, incorrectly placed sail numbers or with local (national) safety requirements. It's incredibly rare that you'll meet up with something where you suspect that the competitor is doing something where that hope to gain some advantage by modifying their boats in some way.

Quality control issues should be picked up in house and by the technical officer, these should also be addressed immediately. How many decades did we go with battens that were 2mm too long? The safety requirement should be being addressed at club level. Which leaves the rigging and a few other little bits and pieces that should be checked at regattas and really is an educational issue.

Personally I thought that the ILCA rushed in the new control lines. I would have preferred if a new set of lines of lines were introduced that had to be rigged in one way only. You used the new system in it's entirety or used the old system with loops and no pulleys. It would have eliminated the issues I see with the control lines.


Active Member
Well put Alan. I believe over here that any measurement that takes place (for any class) only relates to that class of boat. All other requirements such as local safety requirements etc.. are the responsbility of the organising club to communicate out to the sailors and then the onus is on the sailor themself to ensure everything is adhered to. There is ususally a clause in the entry (that the sailor signs) that waives the club of responsibility and places the responsiblity on the sailor except in cases of proven negligence.

As for the current top and matters of discussion there is a pretty lively discussion taking place over on the Yachts and Yachting (primarily a UK sailing site) regarding the top mast. It is worth bearing in mind that a lot of the contributoirs are not current sailing Lasers and some have never sailed a Laser...

Some also have some very strange ideas about how to move the class forward. The general concensus of opinion is that all involved parties need to get their houses in order and the current situation resolved ASAP.


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
I thought I'd posted a reply with regards your other forum Jeffers, maybe not.

Anyway it seems that many there no very little about the class rules and how they have changed over the years. My 1993 Class handbook (and class rules) has the same wording for the tiller as the current rules, well before anyone was using carbon tillers with or without low profiles. Every time new equipment has been approved the ILCA has tried to make sure that there has been no performance advantage, there are certainly quite a few top guys still using the old vangs, the advantage of the new control lines is that it lets people with less strength adjust their control lines, I adjust my control lines no differently than I used to but I always had the strength and technique to do so, even before thimbles were permitted, for me the change has meant that I replace my lines every 12 months now, instead of 3-4 times a year. The change in sail cloth, has increased the durability of the sail, I can imagine the complaints these days if we still had 3.2oz sails and their durability or lack thereof.
The only issue I have ever had with measurement at Laser regattas is when the measurer at the Hayling Island Masters Worlds rejected a set of battens that had previously been measured and declared legal and initialed by the measurer at a previous Masters Worlds (which I won't name in order not to embarrass anyone who might be on this forum.) Do battens expand in colder weather? Or with age? Or is it possible that our esteemed international measurers don't always apply consistent standards?

Nothing personal against any particular measurers. My motto is, "The measurer is always right even if he's wrong." And, "Never argue with a measurer bearing a steel ruler."


Former ISAF Laser Measurer
When I constructed my measurement equipment, I have always tried to make it from the same material as the piece of equipment being measured. For battens that means fibreglass batten material, for spars it aluminium jigs etc. When constructed the measurement makes were made at 25 deg C. using engineering grade measurement equipment, so that expansion with temperature is accounted for. In addition the jigs were designed to remove as much error as possible. User error can always (and does) occur, it should be relatively easy to be consistent in measuring. Jean-Luc was very impressed with my batten jigs and took a couple of sets home with him after Terrigal. Yes, I come from a science / engineering background.

But I've always suspected that the batten ends move with old age, because I've heard the complaint so often that the battens measured at the last regatta.

Two or 3 mm of batten isn't going to make or break your chances at a regatta, so before these new battens were made available, I've just automatically trimmed my battens down to being 598 & 398mm respectively, when I picked up a new boat and never had an issue with battens during measurement. I'd rather fix things up when I have the time and the materials available, than when I'm trying to pass through measurement. Having things right beforehand makes the whole measurement thing quicker for everyone.
But I've always suspected that the batten ends move with old age, because I've heard the complaint so often that the battens measured at the last regatta.
Hmmm. Maybe batten ends do move with old age! I hadn't thought of that. It would explain why my battens were too long after a previous measurer had approved them a few years before. Thanks for the tip Alan. Next time I will measure my own battens before any regatta with measurement and cut them down if necessary.
Thread starter #77
Strict mesurment of battens is absurd. The lengths of the sewn pockets vary and the elastic is too weak to hold the battens out against the back edge of teh sail.

the ONLY proper measurement for a Laser batten is that it can be forced into a non modified class legal sail.

CVetainly our $700 class legal sail come with batten pockets which are 100% identical.

Certainly the battens are meant to be tight against the back of the pocket.

Certainly we all know the elastic in the sails is not designed to hold heh battens against the end of the pocket.

Certainly we all know the official elastic is too weak to do much of anything with respect to holding battens in place.

Certainly we know the purpose of the elastic is to slide next to the batten , pull the tip off , and store it there so sailors can later amuse themselves by atempting to remove that plastic tip without inparting too much damage on the day old and already stretched and thoroughly misshapen sail.

As measurement of laser battens would imply sailors might wish to use a different length batten than the one which perfectly fits properly in one of the perfectly and consistently constructed official laser Class approved sails, it must follow that anyone who measures battens is breaking the fundamental rule of laser sailing by helping sailors use somthing other than the 1005 identical equipment supplied by the official laser builders.
All sarcasm aside, I do have some sympathy with the view that if you have a batten made by an approved Laser builder and a sail made by an approved Laser builder and the batten fits in the sail, then such equipment should be legal. If our rules are so pernickety that they are forcing measurers to build rigs from the same materials as the equipment being measured in order to eliminate errors due to thermal expansion... then I do think we have lost sight of the big picture.

It's a game. We approve certain companies to build the toys we use to play our game. If those companies are not building the toys right, then show them how to build the toys right. Or find another company that will build the toys right.

I looked at "LaserPerformance Sailboats" (Europe's-)Facebook website, today ...

and found a question, FB member "Matthew B. ..." last Tuesday (Nov. 23th 2011) asked to LP:

{Begin of the original quotation of FB}

"is performance sailcraft still making the laser or is it all going back to Bruce and companys being distributors".

{End of the original quotation of FB)

"LP" gave a sort of an official answer ... :

{Begin of the original quotation of FB}

"Bruce Kirby has always been and remains the designer of the Laser. The original manufacturer was Ian Bruce and Performance Sailcraft. Today the manufacturers and trademark holders are LaserPerformance, Performance Sailcraft Australia and Performance Sailcraft Japan."

{End of the original quotation of FB)

... and now, as this is said "into stone" (or better: "into fibreglass and gelcoat and ILCA's silver stickers"),

may I now should continue into the believe:

"Earth still is a sheave" ... ? :p

LooserLu, GER

(directly to:
- Mr. Wesley W. Whitmeyer, Jr. of St. Onge Steward Johnson & Reens, LLC: I 'm not afraid of YOU (and your here secretly viewing staff)... never!! Greetings of
Europe, hahaha!!
Tracy: thanks you accompany us. I encourage you to do this in future, especially for this issue.)
So, here we are, a month and a day from when the ILCA said:
Therefore we will seek the approval of ISAF within the next few days as required by the ILCA Class Rules, part five article 30(d).
Jeff Martin Heini Wellmann
Executive Secretary ILCA President ILCA
October 28th 2011

And no word back from ISAF if they will approve the change or not (or the ILCA isn't telling us what ISAF said).
In the meantime, class sails are again becoming harder to come by, for the same reasons as before...