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Lasers - Applying a Blow Torch

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3 hours ago, IPLore said:

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.

LP broke the WS contract so class association is free to fire them.

 

 

 

 

Free to fire them maybe, free to appoint a new Laser builder maybe not.

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Free to appoint a builder sure, but that builder won't be able to use Laser name and other trademarks without a deal with the mark owners, Velum limited, which might not be readily obtained.

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You don’t hear much good about being a European lpe customer either. That said I guess that being closer to source for most of the parts insulates the punter from some of the disorganisation / poor governance etc. 

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On 3/30/2019 at 2:27 PM, IPLore said:

LP broke the WS contract so class association is free to fire them.

Maybe, but do you really think LPE will just walk away? I suspect this will spend a long time in various courts.

I seems that the breach is only in relation to inspections, so no claim that the boats are not class legal. No doubt there is a lot to argue about when and how often such inspections are required. Anyone know the details?

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3 hours ago, RobG said:

Maybe, but do you really think LPE will just walk away? I suspect this will spend a long time in various courts.

I seems that the breach is only in relation to inspections, so no claim that the boats are not class legal. No doubt there is a lot to argue about when and how often such inspections are required. Anyone know the details?

Class legal? We may not know if the LP boats built in China comply with the build book or not, but we can say with absolute certainty that boats built after the notice period specified in the contract will not be issued with WS plaques and will not be class legal. Anyone can splash a Laser mold and build a boat that complies with the build book but it is not class legal unless it is built by a builder that has been approved by both the ILCA and World Sailing.

I am assuming that the ILCA consulted with WS before issuing this notice of default.

 

I do not expect LP to just walk away. They have two options. More later.

 

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LP's options at first glance:

Option 1 (The sensible option) :  Sit down with the ILCA and WS with a skilled mediator and find an amicable settlement . Move as quickly as possible to avoid further sustained damage to the global Laser brand. Offer to make this a global settlement that resolves all outstanding litigation surrounding the Laser including an amicable settlement of the GS vs LP lawsuits.  Create a clean slate that allows a united announcement from WS, ILCA, LP, GS and a new initiative of customer service.

Option 2 (The lawsuit option).  Hitherto LP have not shown a propensity for sensible options ( eg. The Sunfish class dispute, the 5 +years dispute with GS etc etc).   Their legal options include counter suing ILCA and WS for breach of contract, filing a suit vs ILCA for tortious interference , ...and almost certainly issuing notice to ILCA that ILCA cannot use the Laser trademarks and name.

Option 3 - The Good Guy/ Bad Guy option.  Appoint someone in the organization to pursue Option 1. At the same time initiate Option 2 led by public profile guy who seems determined to have his day in court.  Guy#2 announces a scorched earth legal strategy and can come across as deranged as he likes.  Guy#1  promises to ILCA and WS that he can rein back guy #2 but he needs help by putting together a reasonable settlement.  Unless they can reach reasonable settlement then Guy#2 is going to sue everyone for every penny.

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what's the over/under on LP launching an International Laser Class Organization

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LP does not own the ILCA or the Aussie and Japan builders.  LP can go after trademark infringement, but what law says the ILCA, (along with the two current builders) can't carry on business as usual as long as they drop the Laser name and emblem?  Every hull built/delivered prior to the announcement day could be grandfathered into the "new" class.  WS could be happier with that than the current cluster put fourth by LP.  This could also will fair better for the Olympic selection.

LP would be left with an old design that rolled out the new "Laser class" hull #1 last week to compete with already established, modern concepts like the Aero, Devoti and Melges.  Wonder how many they will sell?

 

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10 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

what's the over/under on LP launching an International Laser Class Organization

I'll take the under, doesn't matter what date you set.

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9 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

what's the over/under on LP launching an International Laser Class Organization

I would expect that soon.  However, given how well they've run their building operation I'll stick with whatever our ILCA representatives come up with. 

 

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With regard to the ILCA and authorizing a new builder, would they:

1.  Kiss and make up with LP in some way?  Not very likely in my book.

2. Find a third party willing to build and market Laser hulls, starting from scratch.  They would have to create their own molds, train people to build them per the LCM, and obtain class approval.  Given the capital outlay and dwindling market, again doesn't seem likely.

3. Approve an existing approved builder (which I believe are just PSA/GS and PSJ) to export hulls to markets previously served by LP.  Would obviously need to be a different name from "Laser" (same as #2).  To me this would seem the most likely scenario.

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8 minutes ago, torrid said:

With regard to the ILCA and authorizing a new builder, would they:

1.  Kiss and make up with LP in some way?  Not very likely in my book.

2. Find a third party willing to build and market Laser hulls, starting from scratch.  They would have to create their own molds, train people to build them per the LCM, and obtain class approval.  Given the capital outlay and dwindling market, again doesn't seem likely.

3. Approve an existing approved builder (which I believe are just PSA/GS and PSJ) to export hulls to markets previously served by LP.  Would obviously need to be a different name from "Laser" (same as #2).  To me this would seem the most likely scenario.

They don't need to authorize a new builder.  They already have two.  One in Australia and one in Japan.  Based on their press release the ILCA feels these two will handle the current load.

 

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Those data show that the current output is roughly  2000 boats per year. With five days a week and 50 weeks a year (two weeks vacation), that's less than ten boats per day. Split over two current builders (Australia and Japan), it's easy to figure that here is more than enough 'reserve' capacity to fill the demand.

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What about the shipping from across the world? Is that going to raise prices?

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I'm assuming in this discussion global demand will be back-filled by PSA.  Yes, this would increase shipping cost.

From my observations, two groups of people buy brand-new Lasers: yacht club parents and masters sailors with disposable income.  Extra shipping is a cost I expect they would be willing to absorb, especially given the perception of Australian boats.

This would be a strategy to maintain the status quo.  People who want new boats will be able to get them.  People who want used boats will be able to find good ones at decent prices.  Presumably everyone will be able to find spare parts.

I don't think this would do anything to grow the class.

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Look into your crystal ball:

You are at a Laser Regatta and some sailors who are Class members and oreregisteted show up with brand new Lasers. 

Their boats and sails are just like every other boat except for lacking the sticker that says ILCA approved. 

 

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ehh, people use intensity sails, too. as long as it isn't a big competitive advantage, boats on the water = good

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7 hours ago, torrid said:

I'm assuming in this discussion global demand will be back-filled by PSA.  Yes, this would increase shipping cost.

To buy a PSA boat in Australia from NB Sailsports it is already at least $1K USD more expensive than buying a LP boat from West Coast, I'd be very surprised if there isn't a substantial price increase if a PSA boat is to be supplied in the US

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I can't see a builder in the US wanting to spend the capital to get Laser production up and running.  Not with the existing market for new boats, and certainly not with the current legal situation.

Now maybe the right builder could come along, offer a good product at a good price, and actually stir up the market.  But there's still that legal disagreement going on.

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if the ILCA wants to find a new builder in any of LP's territory they'll have to be building a boat that isn't called the Laser. There was a more detailed response from LP posted in one of the other threads. They also insist that PSA or PSJ can't cover the supply since they are not legally allowed to sell lasers in LP territory.

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45 minutes ago, torrid said:

I can't see a builder in the US wanting to spend the capital to get Laser production up and running.  Not with the existing market for new boats, and certainly not with the current legal situation.

Now maybe the right builder could come along, offer a good product at a good price, and actually stir up the market.  But there's still that legal disagreement going on.

There was already a US builder who said in one of these threads that he'd build him, and he's already got the capacity.  I think people are underestimating how hard it is to find a boat to build that people already want to buy

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My money is on LP if there are rival offerings.  The value is in the Laser brand not the boat design. 

Under GDPR, could ILCA keep their European contact list?  I think the contacts they have were made pursuant to Laser racing, and any European Laser racing would be under LP.

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I too think the Laser will continue to be supplied by LP but without the plaque.

I'd think under GDPR, ILCA could retain their contact list unless the individuals requested to be removed. 

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5 minutes ago, JMP said:

I too think the Laser will continue to be supplied by LP but without the plaque.

I'd think under GDPR, ILCA could retain their contact list unless the individuals requested to be removed. 

playing this out, the class will split. Assuming Europe is what LP says it is, 75% of the sailors and the new sales, there will be a Laser SMOD in Europe. And something else ROW that ILCA manages?

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Just as I thought I was beginning to understand Brexit, LPE and ILCA manage to come up with a divorce that's even harder to understand.

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Why would the Europeans follow PSE and not ILCA? And why does there have to be a split in the class association?

Hey, just call the class "Laero" (hey, everything else is called "*ero" these days) and allow any existing kit and all new kit that can be shown to be built to current rules.

Oh, and if LPE sue ILCA then all sailing volunteers could think of refusing to hold any race, training session or other volunteer work related to LPE. That would kill their rival class off quickly. Even without a real boycott it's hard to think where LPE think they will get critical mass of sailors and race officials. Sailing isn't an industry - it's a volunteer sport with a thin skin of people making money from the volunteer's work.

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6 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Aren't we heading to at least a 3-way split?

1. Lasers made by PSA and PSJ for their current territories which will be called Lasers and which will be recognized by the ILCA as class legal Lasers.

2. Lasers made by LP and LPE for their current territories which will be called Lasers but which will NOT be recognized by the ILCA as class legal Lasers.

3. Boats that look like Lasers which will be made by PSA for LP and LPE's current territories and possibly by new builders in those territories which will be recognized by the ILCA as class legal Lasers but which cannot actually be called Lasers.

So why can't there be events open to all types? All that is needed is for owners of new "type 2" boats to be able to prove that they are class legal. LPE will have to provide that proof or lose most of its customers. And without ILCA, what can they offer owners?

 

 

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8 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Just as I thought I was beginning to understand Brexit, LPE and ILCA manage to come up with a divorce that's even harder to understand.

Oh Shit. I appear to be lost. Can anyone direct me to the Brexit thread? I was told it was down the corridor and take a left following a red sign saying "Emergency Exit".  I followed instructions and ended up here.

Help please. 

 

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1 minute ago, Curious said:

So why can't there be events open to all types? All that is needed is for owners of new "type 2" boats to be able to prove that they are class legal. LPE will have to provide that proof or lose most of its customers. And without ILCA, what can they offer owners?

 

 


I hope you are right. 

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4 minutes ago, IPLore said:

Oh Shit. I appear to be lost. Can anyone direct me to the Brexit thread? I was told it was down the corridor and take a left following a red sign saying "Emergency Exit".  I followed instructions and ended up here.

Help please. 

 

Are you looking for a soft Brexit or a hard Brexit?

Do you want a slow boat inspected by IXCA or a fast boat not inspected by IXCA?

Does the expulsion of LP/LPE from the Single Market need approval of all 69 member nations?

 

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34 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Just as I thought I was beginning to understand Brexit, LPE and ILCA manage to come up with a divorce that's even harder to understand.

i love brexit. so refreshing to see another country being highly dysfunctional. i think i enjoy it most when the SNP gets the floor.

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16 minutes ago, tillerman said:

I hope you are right. 

Its completely up to the organising authority as to what boats they allow in the NOR. So yes, no problem. What would be challenging would be if LP change the spec of their boats so they no longer conform to the construction manual. New rigs for instance.

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On 4/1/2019 at 12:28 PM, RobbieB said:

LP does not own the ILCA or the Aussie and Japan builders.  LP can go after trademark infringement, but what law says the ILCA, (along with the two current builders) can't carry on business as usual as long as they drop the Laser name and emblem?  Every hull built/delivered prior to the announcement day could be grandfathered into the "new" class.  WS could be happier with that than the current cluster put fourth by LP.  This could also will fair better for the Olympic selection.

LP would be left with an old design that rolled out the new "Laser class" hull #1 last week to compete with already established, modern concepts like the Aero, Devoti and Melges.  Wonder how many they will sell?

 

Contract law might prevent them.

Namely paragraph 9.1 of the original contract between the ILCA, WS and the trademark owners which stated  " within a licensed territory... Further builders may only be appointed with the prior written approval of the trade mark owner" 

However, ILCA are claiming that LP breached that contract , notably 6.1 (c) which entitles ILCA to periodically inspect the manufacturing facility to confirm that manufacturing is in accordance with the construction manual.

If LP sues ILCA, the ILCA will claim in defense that this constituted a material breach of contract.

I have read LP's response...and I am still mystified why LP would not simply allow ILCA to inspect the facility...it would remove grounds for their dismissal.    One problem with the material breach claim is that I suspect LP could remedy the breach fairly quickly by allowing inspection. However the longer LP leaves it, the harder it will be to claim that the breach can be remedied by performance.

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According to the very recent statement from LP/LPE, they did not allow ILCA to inspect because ILCA has not renewed the (Trademark) license agreement, due to expire August 31.

I quote:

LP has granted ILCA certain rights to use the Laser Trademark for its activities pursuant to an intellectual property license dated February 1998 (the “1998 Agreement”).

LP has been seeking a renewal of the 1998 Agreement which expires after multiple extensions on 31 August 2019.

 

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This was an unwise post for LP to put on its blog:

  • LP refused to have ILCA undertake an inspection of LP’s facilities five months before expiry of 1998 Agreement and after three years of ILCA refusing to renew its license under the 1998 Agreement.

▪️ LP does not and has not refused inspection of its manufacturing facility or its products by other legitimate regulatory bodies. Indeed, LP has formally requested World Sailing to inspect LP’s facility given that they are the ultimate authority for compliance and the issuance of the boats’ plaques.

Good grief, a good lawyer would have told them to say something about " LP ..more than willing to allow ILCA to inspect the facilities subject to ILCA agreeing to continue to comply with standard commercial non disclosure terms which were due to expire in August 2019.....blah blah".  But to come out and outright acknowledge that you were refusing to allow inspection was smart like lawn mower.  The contract is quite clear that the Association is entitled to inspect.

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2 minutes ago, Wavedancer II said:

According to the very recent statement from LP/LPE, they did not allow ILCA to inspect because ILCA has not renewed the license agreement, due to expire August 31.

I quote:

LP has granted ILCA certain rights to use the Laser Trademark for its activities pursuant to an intellectual property license dated February 1998 (the “1998 Agreement”).

LP has been seeking a renewal of the 1998 Agreement which expires after multiple extensions on 31 August 2019.

 

Yes. This looks incredibly similar  to the recent dispute that LP had with the Sunfish class. 

When it came time for the Sunfish class to renew their license to use the various trademarks belonging to LP, LP wanted some additional terms. I cannot recall what they were. The Sunfish class refused.

What LP is saying here is that ILCA is using a trademark belonging to LP, (presumably the Laser logo) and that LP wants to renew that license. We d not know what is contained in  the 1998 license agreement, nor what terms LP was asking for in a renewal agreement. However when we dug into the sunfish case, I recall we were not very impressed by LPs claims in that case.  If the lil' ole Sunfish class can hold firm to its claim to use the Sunfish logo without giving up the right to allow its members to source spare parts....then one suspects that the powerfully organized and well funded Laser Class is not going to give way easily.  

What is the betting that the ILCA liaised closely with WS before taking the decision to go hostile?

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I would be interested to see that 1998 license agreement to see if LP secured trademark protection that overcomes acquiescence.  Its not like ILCA has been using the trade mark to sell boats ;)

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Remember the change to the fundamental rule a few years back?  The one that gives the class the right to appoint/approve builders?  I had to Google it.  That was back in 2011.

I don't think ILCA could do their current action without that rule in place.  Ironically, my impression at the time was they were siding with LP.  Now they are clearly siding with PSA.

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if the class changes the name and the boat name its all over I thought?

Mumm 30 - Far 30, it happens

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17 minutes ago, Sailabout said:

if the class changes the name and the boat name its all over I thought?

Mumm 30 - Far 30, it happens

LASER SB3 - SB20 

Situation normal for Laser Performance!

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2 hours ago, torrid said:

Remember the change to the fundamental rule a few years back?  The one that gives the class the right to appoint/approve builders?  I had to Google it.  That was back in 2011.

I don't think ILCA could do their current action without that rule in place.  Ironically, my impression at the time was they were siding with LP.  Now they are clearly siding with PSA.

The change to the Fundamental Rule in 2011 was to remove the requirement for a builder to have a building agreement with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc.

The requirement that a builder needs to be approved by the International Laser Class Association was in the Rule long before 2011 - see 2001 rules in this link to the Wayback Machine.

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If ILCA changes the name of the class and the boat, that is a new class that does not presently have international or Olympic status. It can’t hold World championships and it ought not to have the same relationship with World Sailing that it currently does.  

Other than some moral argument, it is not clear why anyone in the US or Europe would buy this new class rather than an LP Laser, which offers Worlds, Olympics etc and would probably be cheaper (as they have the infrastructure in place) and certainly more well known. 

Therefore I think a renamed ILCA risk becoming a regional class.  

And surely it is more than coincidence that PSA and LP announced separate new rigs shortly before this dispute became public. Even the fact it was ILCA that entered the Olympic trial rather than a joint LP/PSA bid seems odd. 

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Some speculative predictions from someone not involved emotionally other than appreciating what good 400,000 laser has done for our sport. I can not predict the time scale but I see these steps as the only logical outcome.

1. The rift between builders, trademark holders, the association and designer is now multifaceted and unlikely to be repaired, certainly not soon and probably never.

2. There is now a divide bewteen at least two strong groups who both think they control the class. All have at least some valid legal and moral claims.

3. There will be more legal action by many parties and like the last edition, this will take many years to quite possibly not reach any conclusion.

4. World Sailing will likely use all this as a very good reason to exclude the Laser from any further consideration for the currently up for grabs Olympic spot.

5. The thousands of people who own Lasers will continue to enjoy racing them and many will continue to buy new new boats and parts from their local builder or supplier. Some may call their boats and class by a different name, just to bypass the trademark legal action.

6. Regattas will continue to be run by local clubs and by maybe the two different associations claiming to represent the class.

7. Alternative builders will slowly upgrade/ alter their product until the two types will be diferent enough to no longer be truely one design in the old sense of the term.

7. At some point World Sailing will find it too hard to take sides and will be unable to select which association represents the whole Laser world, and which version of the boat is the real deal and consequently the class will lose international status and the right to hold World Championships.

8. The enthusiasm for the class and its international competitions will wane and with it the demand for new boats. Inevitably building new lasers will not be a viable financial enterprise.

That would be a very sad outcome for all the dedicated Laser people but it does seem ineviatble. Its also a very sad outcome for our sport because there are no new classes which can offer the universally cheap international sailing which 400,000 second hand lasers offers the world. 

 

 

 

 

;

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1 hour ago, sosoomii said:

If ILCA changes the name of the class and the boat, that is a new class that does not presently have international or Olympic status. It can’t hold World championships and it ought not to have the same relationship with World Sailing that it currently does.  

Other than some moral argument, it is not clear why anyone in the US or Europe would buy this new class rather than an LP Laser, which offers Worlds, Olympics etc and would probably be cheaper (as they have the infrastructure in place) and certainly more well known. 

Therefore I think a renamed ILCA risk becoming a regional class.  

And surely it is more than coincidence that PSA and LP announced separate new rigs shortly before this dispute became public. Even the fact it was ILCA that entered the Olympic trial rather than a joint LP/PSA bid seems odd. 

 

Nope. There's ample precedent for International classes to change the boat and class name. Current examples;

Int Access Class Association became the Hansa 303 Class Association and Hansa 2.3 Class Associations, and they remained International classes.  Int Laser SB3 sportsboat became the International SB20 sportsboat.  Int Musto Performance Skiff became Int Musto Skiff. None of them lost international or Olympic status, and one can't see World Sailing being keen to throw out all the Laser sailors of the LPJ and LPA regions and their fees.

Surely the main thing buyers want is other sailors to race against and volunteers to run races. Why would fleet captains and regional organisations go with LPE against ILCA?  What can LPE offer, apart from supply of LPE boats that can't race in ILCA events?

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45 minutes ago, Curious said:

 

Nope. There's ample precedent for International classes to change the boat and class name. Current examples;

Int Access Class Association became the Hansa 303 Class Association and Hansa 2.3 Class Associations, and they remained International classes.  Int Laser SB3 sportsboat became the International SB20 sportsboat.  Int Musto Performance Skiff became Int Musto Skiff. None of them lost international or Olympic status, and one can't see World Sailing being keen to throw out all the Laser sailors of the LPJ and LPA regions and their fees.

Surely the main thing buyers want is other sailors to race against and volunteers to run races. Why would fleet captains and regional organisations go with LPE against ILCA?  What can LPE offer, apart from supply of LPE boats that can't race in ILCA events?

In those examples it was just a simple change of name.  However, in this case if ILCA changed name to drop the "Laser" part, LP (or a third party) would surely create an "ILCO" to represent bona fide Laser™ sailors (not just LP Lasers™ but all legitimate Lasers™.  I submit that it is the Laser™ and not ILCA (or the ILCA boat) that is the WS and IOC recognised class.  

I would turn your last question around.  What can ILCA offer apart from organising races for boats that look like Lasers™ but can't race in Laser™ World Championships and Olympic qualifiers.

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As far as I can see from the WS regs, it's quite different. ISAF works out what classes are International and can hold worlds. There must be an agreement between WS and the class about matters such as trade names. If Babychopper wants the Babychopper Laser to become an International class they may have to agree to WS' terms about trade names, which gives WS leverage over Babychopper's biggest weapon.

Without WS recognition, Babychopper Inc can't run a Laser World Championships unless they want those attending to risk being chucked out of WS events. WS does not take kindly to classes holding world championships that are not under WS purview.

The Laser (TM) is not a recognised class. The recognised class is ILCA. Your submission is, with respect, apparently not correct at all.  ILCA can offer the title of 'International Olympic One Person Dinghy World Championships". It can also offer all the perpetual trophies etc from district level on up. The Int Babychopper Laser Class Association can't offer a world title, has no trophies with names like Schiedt, Bertrand, Coutts, Ainslie and Slingsby to offer, and actually may suffer flack from WS if it calls itself an International sailing class.

The other issue is the Terms and Conditions for Olympic Class Plaques (OPCTC). Clause 3.1 appears to prevent any builder (ie Babychopper Laser Inc) from stopping any competitor or organisation from buying any class gear produced by any other builder in the world. So BLInc can't stop the ILCA or RYA, for example, from buying 50 Lasers from LPJ and selling them to sailors. (EDIT - sorry, "trade" is not permitted so LPA or LPJ boats could not be sold by the RYA or ILCA).

Another clause allows WS to inspect factories "at all reasonable hours upon request" and to delegate such inspection to a class association. Babychopper's refusal to allow ILCA into its factory therefore appears to be pretty fatal, if WS's power of inspection was delegated to ILCA as one assumes may have been done.

Further clauses says that Babychopper Laser cannot suspend (or threaten to suspend) a substantial part of its business (ie like saying they won't build Lasers for the Olympics, although that may have no power since under Clause 3.1 WS and ILCA could probably buy LPA or LPJ boats and send them to the Games) and WS can stop issuing plaques if there is a breach of the contract. The OPCTCs seem to give WS just about all of the cards, from a quick reading of them. 

 

 

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Having looked up these T&Cs, and WS refs for becoming an international class, I think you are right. It would appear that a class is administered by its CA not by the IP owner. 

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There were also termination clauses in the builder contracts.  A former builder is very limited in what they can do by the termination clauses. This is all somewhere in the depths of the thread I think. Of course those have to stand up in court, and as we have seen that takes years and costs a fortune. And since the trademarks are owned by a different company to the builder, I wonder if the clauses can be evaded by dissolving companies and starting new ones.

But searching through the thread a bit a lot of them related to Kirby - Builder contracts, and that is still inching its way through the courts and making lawyers rich.

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6 hours ago, sosoomii said:

If ILCA changes the name of the class and the boat, that is a new class that does not presently have international or Olympic status. It can’t hold World championships and it ought not to have the same relationship with World Sailing that it currently does.  

Other than some moral argument, it is not clear why anyone in the US or Europe would buy this new class rather than an LP Laser, which offers Worlds, Olympics etc and would probably be cheaper (as they have the infrastructure in place) and certainly more well known. 

Therefore I think a renamed ILCA risk becoming a regional class.  

And surely it is more than coincidence that PSA and LP announced separate new rigs shortly before this dispute became public. Even the fact it was ILCA that entered the Olympic trial rather than a joint LP/PSA bid seems odd. 

Just to be clear sosoomi, unless LP allows the Class Association to inspect manufacturing then LP Lasers cannot be used in World Championships or Olympics.

World sailing is very firm on the terms of its contracts. Those class contracts are a fundamental element to WS's governance of the sport.  It is the only way they can control and enforce what is going on globally in the sport.  As a class,   if you want to host a world championship,or be considered for an Olympic class, the Class Association, the rights holder and the builder all have to agree in a written contract to a certain set of standards that all WS authorized classes agree to.  WS cannot and will not make exceptions.

One of those standards is the right and requirement to inspect manufacturing facilities. In the Laser contract , the class does the inspections.  It is a contractual obligation. It was signed by Laser Performance and its predecessors.

 

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I see that, but does the inspecting class association have to be ILCA, or can it be ILCO?  It looks like World Sailing’s agreement is with ILCA, so to answer my own question yes, it does have to be them.

Obviously international classes are more professionally run than local classes, and Olympic classes even more so, but I don’t understand how the class association, which has never paid for or owned the IP to the boat, can have such power over the class. Is it just the long and complex history that has led to this?  Why else would an IP owner agree a contract that lets a non-commercial owners club dictate terms?  I can’t imagine Porsche ever letting the 911 Owners Club rule the roost. You would be wise to listen to your customers but foolish to give them control. 

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Class name changes are fairly common. I have a database of UK Portsmouth yardstick numbers and there are classes that have changed their name more than once. Whilst its usual for there to be some relationship - Laser 2000 -> 2000 is one example in the UK, sometimes they are completely unrelated.

1 minute ago, sosoomii said:

I don’t understand how the class association, which has never paid for or owned the IP to the boat, can have such power over the class. Is it just the long and complex history that has led to this? 

Because Kirby and his colleagues set it up that way.  Its not uncommon for the design ownership to be separate from the builders, I believe Julian Bethwaite works that way.

The original setup was a complex mesh of contracts, which meant everyone had rights and duties, and no-one could unilaterally throw it over without exiting the game completely. At least that seems to have been the intention. It hasn't quite worked out like that because of the broken US legal system. The only IP a builder owns are the trademarks for their region. The design IP,  such as it is, is owned by Kirby or Global Sailing and there are a lot of implications related to that going through the courts.

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57 minutes ago, JimC said:

There were also termination clauses in the builder contracts.  A former builder is very limited in what they can do by the termination clauses. This is all somewhere in the depths of the thread I think. Of course those have to stand up in court, and as we have seen that takes years and costs a fortune. And since the trademarks are owned by a different company to the builder, I wonder if the clauses can be evaded by dissolving companies and starting new ones.

But searching through the thread a bit a lot of them related to Kirby - Builder contracts, and that is still inching its way through the courts and making lawyers rich.

The ILCA is not a party to the builder contracts.

I dont mean to get into semantics here but hitherto the ILCA has not  "appointed" builders, the rules refer to builders that are  "approved"  by ILCA and WS.

It becomes important because LP does not have a contractual case vs ILCA that can be taken to court.  LP could possibly try a claim for tortuous interference or it could agree to arbitration under the WS contract.  You will recall that when the Aussie builder tried to sue the ILCA (initially under the guise of Bruce Kirby and subsequently as Global sailing), they discovered the same thing. They resorted to tortuous interference and (as I predicted) it was thrown out.

It is early days and LP has proven to be an unpredictable beast .....but I speculate that this narrows down to an intellectual property dispute regarding terms that LP wishes to secure in exchange for their trade mark. 

Honestly i am a bit surprised by LP's muted and rather confused response. If it were me, and I wanted to go hostile, I would have filed for an injunction.  As per the three options I described above...it is not clear quite which one they have chosen.   Round One in a 20 round bout goes to ILCA. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Curious said:

, Babychopper Inc

now i need a new fucking coffee

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51 minutes ago, sosoomii said:

 I can’t imagine Porsche ever letting the 911 Owners Club rule the roost. 

Driving a porsche isn't governed by a government-granted monopoly, but you can bet your große titten that Porsche has to bow down to the FIA on certain things.

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23 minutes ago, sosoomii said:

 

Obviously international classes are more professionally run than local classes, and Olympic classes even more so, but I don’t understand how the class association, which has never paid for or owned the IP to the boat, can have such power over the class. Is it just the long and complex history that has led to this?  Why else would an IP owner agree a contract that lets a non-commercial owners club dictate terms?  I can’t imagine Porsche ever letting the 911 Owners Club rule the roost. You would be wise to listen to your customers but foolish to give them control. 

By their very nature Class Associations in most one design racing classes have a lot of intrinsic power.  They are, in effect, a monopoly customer.   

The World sailing contract actually mitigates some of that intrinsic power, because the contract puts in place certain checks and balances that protect World sailing and protect the builder from a Class leadership going rogue.  Nonetheless it is a 3 party agreement and the Class Association is an important component of the three legged stool.

The savvy builder of a one design racing class recognizes the importance of an enthusiastic class association and endeavors to build a partnership relationship with the class. There is nothing that comes close to the marketing effectiveness of leveraging an army of volunteers (refer to 50+ posts from Gouvernail on the topic) .  The ownership of the Laser builders seem particularly inept in this regard.

Some builders have moved towards a builder managed class association. This only works if the builder already has that partnership mentality and a passionate devotion to its customers (which makes the builder managed class credible in the eyes of the owners, otherwise they start their own).   RS Sailing and Melges are two examples of this.

  The contrast between Laser and RS in customer relations is stark.  One brand is winning commercially and the other is losing. I dont think it starts with the boats but with the different ethos and mindset of the different companies.  Financially you would rather invest in RS than Laser.....and yet 15 years ago, Laser would have seemed to have all the advantages except one. That one advantage turned out to be most important.   To quote Jack Mitchell "Hug Your Customer"

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1 minute ago, IPLore said:

The contrast between Laser and RS in customer relations is stark.  One brand is winning commercially and the other is losing.

I suspect the Laser is still outselling all the RS racing classes put together.

According to published sail numbers from ILCA Laser builds averaged 8K5 pa during the 70s, 5K3 in the 80s, 2K6 in the 90s, 2K5 in the 00s and 2K2 pa so far in the 10s. Its not obvious that the LPE regime has caused a catastrophic decline. The shape of the graph is consistent for what I've seen for RS classes.

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No and Yes (now). Before LPE bought out Vanguard there were 4 I believe.

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15 hours ago, IPLore said:

This was an unwise post for LP to put on its blog:

  • LP refused to have ILCA undertake an inspection of LP’s facilities five months before expiry of 1998 Agreement and after three years of ILCA refusing to renew its license under the 1998 Agreement.

▪️ LP does not and has not refused inspection of its manufacturing facility or its products by other legitimate regulatory bodies. Indeed, LP has formally requested World Sailing to inspect LP’s facility given that they are the ultimate authority for compliance and the issuance of the boats’ plaques.

Good grief, a good lawyer would have told them to say something about " LP ..more than willing to allow ILCA to inspect the facilities subject to ILCA agreeing to continue to comply with standard commercial non disclosure terms which were due to expire in August 2019.....blah blah".  But to come out and outright acknowledge that you were refusing to allow inspection was smart like lawn mower.  The contract is quite clear that the Association is entitled to inspect.

Site inspection is not the overriding issue here. It is just a means  to start the process.

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4 hours ago, VWAP said:

Site inspection is not the overriding issue here. It is just a means  to start the process.

The initial issue appears to be a disagreement between LPE and ILCA over the use of the Laser trademark.

LP escalated that by refusing to allow inspection of the manufacturing facilities. I happen to think that was a dumb tactic from a legal POV.

ILCA is still in compliance of its obligations under any license agreement and so decided to pull the lever while they still had control of the ball. As I said earlier, I am giving the first round to ILCA. Obviously its not a knock out , but LP needs to go back to their corner and listen closely to their second

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22 hours ago, Dazz said:

LASER SB3 - SB20 

Situation normal for Laser Performance!

funny you mentioned that, it was all about taking the boat away from LP's control

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5 hours ago, IPLore said:

The initial issue appears to be a disagreement between LPE and ILCA over the use of the Laser trademark.

LP escalated that by refusing to allow inspection of the manufacturing facilities. I happen to think that was a dumb tactic from a legal POV.

ILCA is still in compliance of its obligations under any license agreement and so decided to pull the lever while they still had control of the ball. As I said earlier, I am giving the first round to ILCA. Obviously its not a knock out , but LP needs to go back to their corner and listen closely to their second

the trademark 'Laser' seems to be the issue and the leverage not the boat.

So the ILCA become ITorchCA , Kirby issues the build doc to lots of builders and the problem seems solved.

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Great!! 2020 Midwinters  East:

A group of sailors arrive from Minnesota with their brand new Lasers  from Laser Performance. They are each paid up ILCA members. They have no idea their Lasers are made by a buikder whom ILCA  no longer considers to be a supplier of boats worthy of participation in sanctioned regattas.  . 

Do they get to race? 

And

Whst is someone protests the sailors who try to use Aussie built boats because they were not built by a builder who has the right to use the trademark in North America? 

******’

Whiie you guys fight about the answers to those questions I will fix up some busted up centerboards for folks who need them for play this weekend. 

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11 hours ago, Gouvernail said:

Great!! 2020 Midwinters  East:

A group of sailors arrive from Minnesota with their brand new Lasers  from Laser Performance. They are each paid up ILCA members. They have no idea their Lasers are made by a buikder whom ILCA  no longer considers to be a supplier of boats worthy of participation in sanctioned regattas.  . 

Do they get to race? 

And

Whst is someone protests the sailors who try to use Aussie built boats because they were not built by a builder who has the right to use the trademark in North America? 

******’

Whiie you guys fight about the answers to those questions I will fix up some busted up centerboards for folks who need them for play this weekend. 

1. Trick question. You can't buy new Lasers in Minnesota. See 50+ earlier posts from Gouvernail on the dire situation with Laser supply in North America.

2. Trick question. Nobody protests equipment at Laser regattas any more. The equipment rules are now so complex that nobody understands them. Plus, thanks to the aforementioned supply problems in North America, every Laser sailor in North America now has at least one "practice" part from Intensity Sails on their boat so nobody wants to start protesting equipment because the end result would be that everybody would be banned from sailing.

Personally I gave up on trying to understand the Laser equipment rules when an Official Measurer at one Laser Masters Worlds ruled that my battens were illegal even though they had been passed as legal by the Official Measurer at a previous Laser Masters Worlds (and still had the initials of that Official Measurer on them.) Life is too short to deal with such nonsense.

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2 hours ago, tillerman said:

1. Trick question. You can't buy new Lasers in Minnesota. See 50+ earlier posts from Gouvernail on the dire situation with Laser supply in North America.

2. Trick question. Nobody protests equipment at Laser regattas any more. The equipment rules are now so complex that nobody understands them. Plus, thanks to the aforementioned supply problems in North America, every Laser sailor in North America now has at least one "practice" part from Intensity Sails on their boat so nobody wants to start protesting equipment because the end result would be that everybody would be banned from sailing.

Personally I gave up on trying to understand the Laser equipment rules when an Official Measurer at one Laser Masters Worlds ruled that my battens were illegal even though they had been passed as legal by the Official Measurer at a previous Laser Masters Worlds (and still had the initials of that Official Measurer on them.) Life is too short to deal with such nonsense.

1-2 not entirely true. But this is the internet

 

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2 hours ago, tillerman said:



2. Trick question. Nobody protests equipment at Laser regattas any more. The equipment rules are now so complex that nobody understands them. Plus, thanks to the aforementioned supply problems in North America, every Laser sailor in North America now has at least one "practice" part from Intensity Sails on their boat so nobody wants to start protesting equipment because the end result would be that everybody would be banned from sailing.
 

Events allowing illegal "practice" parts should not be using the trademarked "Laser" name. They are no longer a "Laser" event. 

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On 4/2/2019 at 6:55 PM, JMP said:

I too think the Laser will continue to be supplied by LP but without the plaque.

I'd think under GDPR, ILCA could retain their contact list unless the individuals requested to be removed. 

I don't think GDPR would have any effect because the info was collected for a specific business purpose with the affirmative consent of the data subject, and ILCA has a bona fide reason to maintain that data for limited purposes (e.g  in case they need to contact past members).  They would likely not be able to use it for marketing if a data subject withdrew consent for that purpose, but how often would that really occur?

Also, FWIW, the Laser name may have undergone enough antonomasia, and been through enough owners, that the word, if not the logo, as a trademark, is no longer enforceable, at least in the USA.  I would not want to be the entity to test that, but the odds look strong just from a Google search.  

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I’m not too sure. You could argue that affirmative consent was given for the purpose of Laser(TM) sailing. If ILCA no longer offer Laser(TM) sailing, they don’t need to keep that info.  

Keeping info “just in case” is not a legitimate reason, so maintaining details of former members and specifically using that information to contact them with a plea to join the new class would be a breach. 

However, ILCA would argue the change of name does not make it a new class. I guess the crux of this is whether the Laser Class is the class administered by ILCA or the class that can call itself Laser. 

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3 hours ago, sosoomii said:

However, ILCA would argue the change of name does not make it a new class. I guess the crux of this is whether the Laser Class is the class administered by ILCA or the class that can call itself Laser. 

Bearing in mind how many classes have changed name, especially in these days when class names may include the current sponsor, I think the answer to that is clear cut. 

In addition we may note that LPE will lose the right to call their class the *International* Laser. 

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7 hours ago, sosoomii said:

 

Keeping info “just in case” is not a legitimate reason, so maintaining details of former members and specifically using that information to contact them with a plea to join the new class would be a breach. 

Of course it is a legitimate reason.  You have a business record exception at a minimum, but you may also have financial reporting, consumer product safety, etc.   GDPR is not a wholesale automatic destroyer of all collected information in the EU.   Re-marketing may be a stretch, but maybe not- at least until tested- and likey various outcomes with different DPA's so long as opt-outs are respected. 
 

 

 

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9 hours ago, JimC said:

Bearing in mind how many classes have changed name, especially in these days when class names may include the current sponsor, I think the answer to that is clear cut. 

In addition we may note that LPE will lose the right to call their class the *International* Laser. 

I understand that argument but anyone can start a class association for a boat that looks like a Laser, but isn’t actually one. In fact, anyone can start a CA for boats that actually are proper Lasers(TM).  The only advantage ILCA have is an existing agreement with with WS to be *the* recognised class association. And that agreement is/was for boats that are Laser(TM).  If ILCA change their rules to allow non-Lasers to compete LPE are surely going to question whether that agreement is fair.  

A hypothetical:

Prior to this mess, ILCA goes bust. A new CA is created.  Surely the *class*, as distinct from the class association, remains an international class?

 

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On 4/3/2019 at 8:55 PM, Sailabout said:

 

So the ILCA become ITorchCA , Kirby issues the build doc to lots of builders and the problem seems solved.

That is one thing that cannot happen.  Kirby's agreements with the builders prevent him from sharing the build book.

 

The key new piece of information we have from the recent FAQ from ILCA is that WS is working with ILCA. 

Together they control the build book.  Together they could appoint a new builder but it is a thorny path.

 

 

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2 hours ago, IPLore said:

That is one thing that cannot happen.  Kirby's agreements with the builders prevent him from sharing the build book.

 

The key new piece of information we have from the recent FAQ from ILCA is that WS is working with ILCA. 

Together they control the build book.  Together they could appoint a new builder but it is a thorny path.

 

 

so what does Kirby still have control over?

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9 hours ago, Sailabout said:

so what does Kirby still have control over?

Still being argued about in the courts.

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14 hours ago, sosoomii said:

The only advantage ILCA have is an existing agreement with with WS to be *the* recognised class association.

 

They also have thousands of class members; lots of volunteer officials; a bunch of trophies with history and prestige; and the ability to run many regattas including world championships.

What does LPE's potential class offer? They can probably find officials to run regattas in Europe, but the entry numbers and their membership stream will probably be smaller than that of the existing class. They will probably have zero chance of running anything outside of Europe since they would have to find volunteers and entries, and they can't run a world championship.

LPE also have the problem that if they want to be able to offer Olympic class boats then they cannot stop LPA and LPJ boats from being sold in LPE territory, nor can they use the threat to not supply boats for the Olympics.

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Q: Will boats from the newly-named builders be sold under the LASER brand?
A:  No.  In order to avoid trade mark issues and to comply with the requirements of European competition law, all current and future ILCA-approved builders will sell boats under a new brand name. ILCA and the current approved builders are finalizing the intellectual property details for the new brand, including fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing rules.  ILCA expects to announce the new brand name in the next four weeks.

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I found a late 1970's vintage Laser brochure (note the handwritten price) in my files. Kind of sad to compare then (note also rigging in the pictures) and now.

Page 1.jpg

Page 2.jpg

Page 3.jpg

Poster.jpg

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5 hours ago, Curious said:

They also have thousands of class members; lots of volunteer officials; a bunch of trophies with history and prestige; and the ability to run many regattas including world championships.

What does LPE's potential class offer? They can probably find officials to run regattas in Europe, but the entry numbers and their membership stream will probably be smaller than that of the existing class. They will probably have zero chance of running anything outside of Europe since they would have to find volunteers and entries, and they can't run a world championship.

LPE also have the problem that if they want to be able to offer Olympic class boats then they cannot stop LPA and LPJ boats from being sold in LPE territory, nor can they use the threat to not supply boats for the Olympics.

With over half the worlds Lasers being in Europe, never mind the America’s, there is no reason to believe LPE regatta turnouts would be smaller.  They also sell into (with rights) all continents except Oceania, so a much better global spread than PSA/PSJ. The LPE class would meet all the criteria to be an International class, which would presumably  be ratified in short time. 

That final point is surely one of LPEs annoyances. They have exclusive territorial rights currently and WS want to remove them. I know PSA do to, but in a much smaller territory.  So PSA are net winner, LPE net loser under that proposal.

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5 hours ago, sosoomii said:

With over half the worlds Lasers being in Europe, never mind the America’s, there is no reason to believe LPE regatta turnouts would be smaller.  They also sell into (with rights) all continents except Oceania, so a much better global spread than PSA/PSJ. The LPE class would meet all the criteria to be an International class, which would presumably  be ratified in short time. 

That final point is surely one of LPEs annoyances. They have exclusive territorial rights currently and WS want to remove them. I know PSA do to, but in a much smaller territory.  So PSA are net winner, LPE net loser under that proposal.

So LaserPerformance/LPE could start a new class and it could run Laser regattas in most of the world which would be open to Lasers built by any builder before 2019, Lasers built by LP/LPE after 2019 - and maybe even Gammas (or whatever they will be called) built by other builders after 2019. As sosoomii says, this Laser class might even be a World Sailing Class and so be able to run Laser World Championships. Lasers would not be in the Olympics - even in 2020.

ILCA (perhaps soon to be called IGCA) will run Gamma regattas in all of the world, which would be open to Lasers built by any builder before 2019 and Gammas build by IGCA approved builders after 2019. Lasers built by LP/LPE after 2019 would presumably be excluded because LP/LPE would not be an IGCA approved builder. It is assumed that the Gamma Class would also be a World Sailing Class and be able to run Gamma World Championships. Gammas would be in the Olympics in 2020 and perhaps beyond.

As the owner of a 1995 Vanguard Laser this sounds wonderful to me. On balance I would prefer that my class NOT be an Olympic Class so I would probably favor doing the Laser regattas rather than the Gamma regattas, but I could sail Gamma regattas too if I wanted to. Sailors who have Olympic aspirations or who like sailing against sailors with Olympic aspirations would favor the Gamma Regattas.

Sounds like everybody wins.

 

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5 hours ago, sosoomii said:

The LPE class would meet all the criteria to be an International class, which would presumably  be ratified in short time. 

I think that's quite a big presumption. I think it unlikely that WS and LPE will manage to agree contracts. And with LPEs record in the Americas they're going to struggle to get any real class association going. But we shall see.

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