It seems that Bruce Kirby has at last applied a blow torch
Having been through the almost 150 pages of documents presented to the US Federal Court, over a long wet weekend here in the UK, I will not be the least surprised if ISAF decides its needs to back away from its previous position. The 1992 ISAF plaque agreement is so simple even this non-lawyer can understand it. And the 1983 original agreement with the IYRU is too.
It would not be hard to imagine in the next week a direction from ISAF to the ILCA to stop issuing plaques to LP.
If that happens then we are in a new world.
Its been proven many times over that One Design racing does not have to be in the fastest boat, it has to be in a uniform boat, so that the very best sailor emerges from the pack.
We have 200k+ of a 1969 design, so it has critical mass. I sat on Nothe Hill in Weymouth and I saw young Australian Tom Slingsby win Gold.
The best sailor emerged from the pack.
As a Laser sailor I was in awe.
Right now the class needs to move forward, I don't care if its called a Laser or a Torch, if the class insignia is upside down (thanks Torrid)
I just want to go sailing, I want to be able to buy a new boat, buy parts and I want to know that the class is run by honourable people and by builders who pay their design royalties to the guy who designed it.. And yes I want a cheaper legal sail
Am I alone??
I find it really telling that the pro ILCA people feel they need to distort the position of others in order to strengthen their argument.
Where I have ever said that the rule gives GS/BKI the right to arbitrarily terminate any builder? The rule doesn't and any builder is well protected under law from GS/BKI from doing so. Simply put, if the rule had been retained and the ILCA had continued to withhold builders plaques, LP would have had the option of going to court and getting an injunction in order to keep getting plaques, which I am sure would have been granted if their case was just. Instead, the ILCA (and ISAF) decided they were a better judge of the merits of the arguments.
In the real world, life isn't about doing what is easiest, or taking the path of least resistance. it is about doing what is right. I will try to explain.
the whole way the laser builders, trademarks, agreements, rules etc. regarding who can build and who gets what financial rewards were set up was to give those who had done the work of getting the design up and running a fair return. We know that between BK and the original builder that the other builders were provided with a lot of help, ranging from moulds and plugs to trademarks to technical advice (construction manual) and, most importantly, access to "the Game". In return, all that was asked was the payment and the continued abiding by the rules of "The Game".
I hope we can all agree that if this had all been set up and that a builder had stopped paying what was due under the builders agreement in the first year, everybody would have been up in arms and insisted in that builder was cut from the herd. So what we are now doing is arguing over timing. As I see it, the rule was there for a very good reason and that reason doesn't change over time, because BK and Ian Bruce could have kept far closer control over "The Game" and made more money that way. They chose a different way, because they saw it being better, overall, for everybody. As I see it, "The Game" is what it is today because of what was done in the past and it is not the place of the ILCA to undo that. There is plenty in place legally to protect LP, if they do have a just position, without the need for the ILCA to step in.
The way that the ILCA's actions are being portrayed suggests that they took the only option and it was in the best interests of its members. The action they have taken might be in the short term best interests of some of its members, but it certainly isn't in the long term interests of all of the membership. It also takes the association from a position where it was not legally exposed to one where, if LP were to lose, the association is likely to end up position, one that will probably endanger its very existence.
I also remain convinced that if this rule change had been handled more openly and correct process had been followed, it would never have been passed. It is clear that the membership weren't told the whole story by the ILCA and from many comments on forums throughout the WWW, where people have stated that they voted without knowing both sides to the story, that they trusted the association but would never have voted for the rule change if they had known the full story. In addition, there are serious question marks as to whether the correct processes were followed with the rule change, namely that a rule change requires the approval of the Advisory Council, which GS/PSA was a member, yet a vote never took place at a meeting that the GS/PSA were present. The approval was simply rubber stamped because it was considered that the majority of the council (class association reps and LP reps) were in favour. This might only be a case of "due process' not being followed, but that is still wrong. It is my understanding that ISAF withheld its approval of the class rule change because of concerns over due process. In the end, contractual issues between ISAF and LP farced them to approve the change - ISAF was contracted to LP to provide boats for championships and those boats had to be class legal. I have good reason to believe that they decided that they would rather deal with a breach with BK of an old contract than a breach of a very current contract with LP.
So, on 2 grounds, I believe that the ILCA and ISAF have acted wrongly. On purely moral grounds, I find their overall behaviour reprehensible, both towards BK and with regard to hoodwinking its own membership, but maybe I come from a different era, where I grew up in an organisation whose motto was Dictum Meum Pactum (my word is my bond) and that you cannot release yourself from your obligations (only the other party can). Secondly, I believe that there was already ample legal protection for LP if their case was just without the need for a rule change because I am sure that a court would have supported a request for a temporary injunction that would have allowed LP to get builders plaques pending the outcome of the case, assuming LP does have a case.
As said before, what the ILCA has done is to place itself ahead of the legal process and remove safeguards that were put in place years ago. If LP had their builders contract unjustly terminated, the courts would have protected them and if it was justified, who are the ILCA to "legalise" that the breach of a contract?
On a purely legal note, I honestly have no idea which way the case will go and would argue that nobody on here can have, not least because we haven't seen all the evidence. But for me, this isn't about the result of a legal case. it's about something far more fundamental to the human condition.