Zim Assumes LP's Role as Sponsor of US Sailing Events


Just sailing
Wondered whatever happened to the Byte. Looks like they have updated it with a carbon rig and fully battened sail. Can't blame Zim for stepping in to fill the void left by LP.

Whoever wrote this wiki article doesn't seem to be a fan:

The Byte is a one man sailing dinghy. It is produced by xtreme Sailing Products of Singapore and PS2000 in North America, and was previously produced by Topper Sailboats in the UK. However, Topper ceased production of GRP boats to concentrate on its rotomolded plastic designs. It is 12 ft (3.7 m) long, 4 ft 3 in (1.3 m) wide and roughly 100 lb (45 kg). The hull is composed of glass reinforced polyester and foam sandwich. The Byte is designed for sailors weighing 120 to 145 lb (54 to 66 kg) although most sailors weighing 90 to 160 lb (41 to 73 kg) should have no problems sailing this boat on a recreational basis. The Byte sail size is only 58 square feet (5.6 m²) making it the ideal boat for those sailors who enjoy the independence and simplicity of a cat rigged boat, such as the Laser, but who are not strong or heavy enough to control a large sail.
The hull is quite narrow which makes the boat less stable than the Laser and definitely only suitable for one person. The rigging is similar to that of the Laser except one noticeable difference. The traveler is just below the main sheet block and not at the stern of the boat (similar to a Finn or Europe dinghy). This eradicates the chance of the main sheet getting caught on the transom which is a common complaint of the Laser. The sail controls are also "split" and led to both side-decks, again somewhat like a Finn or Europe and allows for more technical adjustments. In the event that a Byte were to be sailed in a race environment against a Laser Radial, the Byte's Portsmouth yardstick of 1162 means that in a 90 minute pursuit race a laser radial would need to complete the course more than four minutes faster to beat the Byte.
A new design known as the "CII", with a fully battened sail and carbon-fibre mast, has recently been developed. The new rig has a slightly larger sail made of mylar and similar in appearance to the 29er sails. The new rig is designed to be self depowering and a much needed update to the previous byte rig. The inspiration for the new rig and sail was to create an out-of-the-box, cost effective, women Olympic boat. However, the Laser Radial was chosen over the Byte CII as the women's boat for the 2008 Olympics. Experienced Byte CII sailors often exclaim their surprise of the apparent difference from the standard Byte. Often these same sailors will also express surprise of the speed of the CII compared to the Byte. The introduction of two such remarkably different rigs has frustrated many sailors who are forced to buy the new equipment if they wish to be competitive in their boats, a violation of the fundamental principles of the one-design sail boats.
Although the Byte class operates on numerous continents, and there are fleets around the world; the critical mass of boats necessary to hold a Byte regatta is only found (with few exceptions) in Canada, Singapore, Bermuda, Great Britain and Switzerland. In the U.S. it is doubtful if the Byte can overcome the Laser Radials stranglehold as the single hand boat of choice for sailors from 90-160, especially considering that only minimal investment is required to convert the boat to a Laser Full Rig as the hulls are identical. Recently, the byte has come under fire because the Canadian Yachting Association claims it is taking light sailors out of the double handed classes and keeping them in a relatively inexperienced fleet. Discussions are being made about restricting the boat as a junior class, that is, to sailors 16 years of age and younger in Canada.
IMHO, Steve Perry (Prez of Zim) is one of the good guys, who left Vanguard around the time it was being sold (writing on the wall perhaps).
LP reducing/dropping support of events like this can only help Zim.


Just sailing
Looks like Zim acquired the rights to the Byte only a few days ago. Why do I find myself hoping they do the same with the Laser?


Upside down?
Staff member
The Byte and the Byte CII were dying a slow death in North America. This move by Zim might help to blow some life back into the CII class.

In the very long run, the CII might once again try to become an Olympic boat, replacing the Radial. Don't hold your breath though...


D10 Secretary
If they want to use this for the adult champs, they really need some smaller sailors especially when it says 160 pounds is the max weight.


Active Member
Do you not have the Mega-Byte for larger adults over there? I have sailed one here (with the old rig) and it seemed like a very nice boat!
Interesting that a new CII with modern rig (Byte CII + Bethwaite designed mylar sail and 2 piece carbon mast) is cheaper than a Laser.
Hi All,

I just wanted to take a moment to jump into your thread and address a few of the various points brought up. We are thrilled to have bought the Byte and are looking forward to the challenge of developing the class in North America. We will be offering the traditional Byte, The new Byte CII and hopefully the Megabyte in the near future.

Yes, we do manufacture our Opti and C420 at our factory in China. We take delivery of the hull and outfit and QC each boat at our facility in Warren RI before our customers take delivery. We contract build the CFJ locally and plan to do the Byte and Megabyte at the same location. We will continue to do the final outfit at our facility. This builder has been building small boats in RI for over 25 years and with that experience they have provided us with Awesome boats!!!

Steve Perry, the owner of Zim was VP of Operations at Vanguard for over 10 years. Steve is an engineer by trade and has forgotten more about small boat building than most people know. He overseas all of our production with regular trips to our factories in China and and locally.

We are thrilled to be a new sponsor to US Sailing. Our C420 has quickly become the choice of the top Opti sailors moving into the C420 and it is proving to be very durable with fleet orders flying out the door to YC's, Community Sailing Programs, HS's and Colleges. We now have several FJ's scattered about the west coast and fleets at UNH and Tabor.

Having sailed the CII i will say it is awesome. I weigh 170#'s and have sailed in various conditions. The carbon rig and fully battened sail allow you to easily power up or depower. I was certainly concerned that i would be too big but that was not the case. I am looking forward to going out with my kids to see how i fair against much lighter people.

We have a bunch of boats in RI now. If you would like to demo one please let me know. We expect to start production in June.

Hopefully i have answered your questions!

Very Best, Bob Adam


Well-Known Member
Says so on their web site:

"Our production facilities in Asia allow us to spend more time and care in the production of each boat, ensuring the finest details are polished and built to the highest standard possible. This exceptional attention to detail using the finest materials available results in an extremely high quality product at a more favorable price to the consumer."


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
Somehow I cannot bring myself to jump for joy that another North American businessman might have decided to hire slave labor across the planet to build his product.
Those same hulls and decks could be produced here and the products would include the costs related to maintaing local schools, paying Social Security taxes, contributing to the defense budget, building highways, building bridges, and generally keeping the US as a world leader.
My guess is the hard working folks in China who are building those fiberglass parts do not have the same health benefits, retirement plans and vacation days as stateside laborers who inspect those boats, assemble and ship them.
How are the Chinese workers ( human beings) being protected from the fibers, resins, acetone, MEKp? Are the human protection standards the same as here in the US or Canada or are we saving money by endangering the health of those underpaid workers?

I have never read about a single North American laminator or gelcoat gun operator whose mansion was worthy of a tour by the media.

But despite the absurdly low wages earned by workers in the American fiberglass production industry, we very well might have businessmen who are so greedy they will search the world for people who are so starved for any job at all that they will work for less than that which we here in America define as poverty wages.

Enough less to fly back and forth and supervise.

Enough less to ship products 12,000 miles to market.

Those workers probably don't have big screen TV sets.

Those workers probably cannot afford a family golden retriever.

Those workers probably don't have iphones..or Kindles...or microwaves, or sailboats for their children to sail at the local yacht club.

Those workers probably cannot afford the products we American consumers pay them to build...

Besides, from everything I have read and heard, Chinese laborers generally work such long hours they have no time for play on toys like sailboats.

How many of these descriptions apply to the Chinese humans who build Optis and 420s??

I have no idea.

Maybe the laminators in China make $50 per hour and have two week annual vacations and have health insurance . and have retirement packages, and live in mansions.

Maybe the Chinese manufacturing facilites are the safest most modern facilities on the planet. Perhaps the workers there are exposed to virtually no chemicals.

Of course , if that is the case, I think we ought to be figuring out how to compete for the world's market place instead of sending our recreational dollars to build the might of the Chinese manufacturing empire.

I am not going to spend any effort standing in the way of those who choose to buy boats manufactured in China...But just as I would have rather paid the hockey players to continue sewing Laser sails, I would rather pay Yankees to build my sailing toys.


Upside down?
Staff member
In response to Gouvernail's post, I just want to point out that, whether we want it or not, it's a global economy....

Unlike the monopolistic set up of the Laser class, there are several competing manufacturers of the C420, Opti and CFJ. Hence, a (potential) manufacturer of such boats has to develop a business model that appears to be competitive, while allowing long-term survival of the company.

:) Not a ZIM Sailing stockholder, unfortunately....


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
In response to Gouvernail's post, I just want to point out that, whether we want it or not, it's a global economy....

Unlike the monopolistic set up of the Laser class, there are several competing manufacturers of the C420, Opti and CFJ. Hence, a (potential) manufacturer of such boats has to develop a business model that appears to be competitive, while allowing long-term survival of the company.

:) Not a ZIM Sailing stockholder, unfortunately....
Global economy?? What a bunch of nonsensical apologist euphemistic garbage speak advocating simply and offensively for the use of slave labor!!!

The total labor costs for a small toy like a Laser amount to less than a week of human pay. Maybe possibly if we do our absolute best to inflate all the costs related to hourly wages, FICA taxes, unemployment insurance, vacation time, health insurance, and a retirement program; you might be able to claim the laborers who do the hands on work in American Boat factories might possibly cost $1000 per week. Let's call it $1500 because I seriously doubt any parent of any kid for whom one of these toys is being bought works in a business where that parent's labor is expensed at less than $1500.

And I bet the majority of the parents take home a paycheck exceeding $2000 per week.

I will go so far as to say: I doubt most of the purchasers of small sailboats consider the paycheck earned by the laborers in American boat building plants to be adequate compensation for maintenance of their own lifestyle.

Further, I bet most of those customers who purchase small sailboats consider the work done to build those boats to be so nasty they would either refuse altogether to do it at any price or expect a very high wage to switch from their current occupation to becoming a boat builder.

So, exactly what parts of those labor figures are being cut out so we can enjoy exactly how many dollars of savings at the store for these boats produced in the "global economy?"

Why the hell should any of us do business with a company whose management doesn't pay its employees the same amount we ourselves would demand to accomplish the same work????

Global economy ?? Does that translate to: We condone selfish greed, slave labor, general exploitation, and oppression so long as we are justifying it by making lots of money for ourselves??

The Laser was introduced as an affordable toy for everyday people to use so everybody could get into the great game of sailboat racing. People who loved sailing and sailboat racing developed a toy that was , like the Sunfish, available and affordable for virtually anybody who had a job.

If the people building the boats, sewing the sails, driving the delivery trucks, and working at the dealerships canot afford the toys, the Laser game is dead and the Laser no longer serves any use to the world of sailboat racing..


Upside down?
Staff member
Who doesn't want everybody who is capable to have a job in this world, but let's be realistic and consider the facts of this particular case.

Zim builds Opti and Club 420 hulls in China. The hulls are outfitted in the US in Zim's RI facility. Apparently, Club FJs are built 'from scratch' in the US. All this according to Bob Adam's earlier post in this thread. Jobs that wouldn't be in RI otherwise. Jobs in China as well. Maybe the conditions aren't quite as perfect as one would want, but I need to see evidence pro or con prior to taking off on a wild flier.
Bytes will be built in RI for the North American market according to the previously mentioned post. Some more jobs here in the USA; that's a plus. If the Byte CII class will begin to prosper once again who knows how many more jobs will be created?

Is the glass half empty or half full?


Super Opinionated and Always Correct
In 1972 Lasers cost $799.

Here is my "I call bullshit" test:

Compare the actual dollars Canadian Laser laminators were paid in 1972 to those dollars the Chinese laminators are being paid today. ( In 1972 it was between $2 and $5 per hour depending upon experience and whether the laminator was a group leader of not)

Use the ratios of then and now for Laminator compensation and apply it to the compensation paid to everyone else involved in the production and distribution process.

Has laminator compensation risen at a similar rate as those in other parts of the company food chain??

A few hundred bucks of the increase in the price of lasers can be assigned to increases in materials costs. Resin and fiberglass cost less than $0.25 per pound and now cost more like $4 per pound...but lasers only weigh 130 lbs.

Laser prices have increased way more than even a $1000 difference in material costs would justify.

in fact...Laser prices have increased way more than even a $2000 difference in material costs would justify.

or even a $3000 difference..

Somebody is paying himself more than folks were taking per boat in 1972.

Those folks would probably tell you a guy can't live on 1972 wages.

Which wouldn't bother me if the laminators were also being compensated as though the year is 2012.