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When are they going to make a decision? I need to know whether I should be training in my RS Aero or my Laser for Paris 2024.     

@WCB  i seriously doubt there is a soul contributing to this thread who honestly disagrees with my perceptions or the reasoning behind my effort to establish an AERO fleet in Texas and at my home

That is one version of the story but there are other views. Today, many years later, who seems intent on controlling what happens to money that does not belong to them and attacking those elected by

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In Kirby's Petition for cancellation of the Laser Trademark held by Rastegar's company Karaya (Jersey) Limited, the following was released on August 7:

 

Proceedings are suspended pending disposition of Respondent's motion for summary judgment filed on July 29, 2014. Any paper filed during the pendency of this motion which is not relevant thereto will be given no consideration. See Trademark Rule 2.127(d).

In addition to tolling the time to respond to outstanding discovery requests, suspension of proceedings tolls the time for parties to make required disclosures. See TBMP § 528.03. The motion for summary judgment will be decided in due course.

 

Source = http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/tc0e1tqv/uspto-trademark-trial-and-appeal-board/bruce-kirby-inc-v-karaya-jersey-limited/

 

I found it interesting that Exhibit A, a 19 page declaration by Crane of the 125 page motion 27 July to dismiss are deemed too sensitive to be viewed - are marked "HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL OUTSIDE COUNSEL'S EYES ONLY". Several references are made to it so the content contains specific agreements with Kirby - and Crane contests that the Trademark ownership survives the termination of the agreement:

Schedule B includes an express reference to the 170 Registration. This provision survived any termination of that agreement. See Id. at Paragraph 6. In the Head Agreement, Kirby also acknowledged and represented that it has no rights in the trademark. Crane Decl. at Paragraph 8, Exhibit A.

 

I wonder what the agreement is - I suspect it's the builder's agreement?

 

There were 8 exhibits, all submitted by Crane, including a Licensing agreement between Kayara and Quarter Moon. In that agreement Quarter Moon is licensed by Kayara to use the Laser trademark dated 31 December 2007 (Exhibit F). The fee for using trademarks as per the agreement is stated to be a minimum of $750,000, spread over five years (Year 1 $100,000; Year 2 $125,000; Year 3 $150,000; Year 4 $175,000; Year 5 $200,000). Year 6 and 7 are noted in an addendum, however are redacted - ie, are too sensitive for anyone to know. (I would guess that they increased by $25,000 per year?)

 

Also of interest is when Kayara bought the trademarks back in 2007 for $3,500,000. See the transfer here: http://assignments.uspto.gov/assignments/assignment-tm-3954-0601.pdf

 

While I'm not contesting the legal right for Rastegar / Crane to set up and maintain companies the way that they have, ultimately license fees will be passed on to purchasers of the registered products - the ongoing fees can explain in a small way part of the heightened costs of Lasers and parts. Note that the agreement includes other brands - though Laser is the largest brand.

 

The agreement grants use of the brands in USA and Canada only. (Though confusingly, schedule 1 of the agreement mentions use of the Laser trademark in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and El Salvador.)

 

While I'm not sure that this action will be successful (though I hope that it will be), the information it contains is of high interest.

 

Note that the bulk of the submissions are lodged under the name of William Crane, which elevates his involvement (at least in my mind).

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So if I'm understanding this correctly, one of Rastegar's companies is paying licensing fees to another company owned by Rastegar?

 

Yes. It's important to not forget one of the Rastegar companies paid the other Rastegar company $3,500,000 for several brands including the use of the Laser trademark for the US and Canadian markets only. (Note that of the 15,000 ILCA members worldwide, US and Canada make up less than 20%.)

 

Interesting thing (to me) is that the owner of the Trademark is Kayara. The defense seems to be entirely run by Bill Crane. The cover letters were written by the lawyers. Every exhibit in support was provided by Bill Crane.

 

 

Cancellation_No_92057168_MSJ.pdf(27877 bytes )

Cancellation_No_92057168_Memo_Redacted.pdf(64672 bytes )
Crane_Declaration_Redacted.pdf(84343 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit A - REDACTED - KARAYA 000568-587 - 1983 Agreement_Redacted.pdf(216855 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit B - USPTO Assignments on the Web.pdf(22128 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit C - Registration Certificate for No 1038170.pdf(19951 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit D - Registration Certificate for No 1800653.pdf(42662 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit E - Karaya and Quarter Moon agreement KARAYA 000020-044.pdf(2937942 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit F - Laser Class Rules KARAYA 000100-000113.pdf(1130501 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit G - Laser Plaque KARAYA 000099.pdf(89188 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit_H_-_Photos.pdf(5111072 bytes )

 

Pam and others have highlighted the chequered history of Rastegar as being an issue. Rastegar has enjoyed the support of Bill Crane since at least April 2008.

 

I get the sense that Mr Crane is very passionate about these issues, particularly the irrational notion that PSA is trying to take over world production of Lasers with one hand, while aggressively chasing the Asian and South American markets with the other.

 

To what extent (if any) is the tail (Bill Crane) wagging the dog (Rastegar)?

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Nothing very unusual about that licensing stuff, its the same sort of game that Google, Microsoft et al play to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. It also has the side benefit that the IP (Trademarks etc) is protected from the trading company going bust or losing big time in a law suit.

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While I agree with Jim that the use of offshore companies to hold to hold IP is common, what is more unusual is the way the IP was transferred. Usually, the IP is owned by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) from the start. I am assuming that if they simply transferred the IP straight to the offshore SPV, this would fall foul of tax law, hence the large payment (fair market value???).This then begs the question as to whether this could ever produce a net tax benefit or whether it was simply done to protect the IP in case of either going bust or maybe it was done to get the IP away from the reach of people who might just come after the original owner (LP).

 

Based on his previous activities and his propensity to asset strip, if the end game was always to go up against BK by breaching the agreements that were in place, it would make a lot of sense to move valuable IP assets out of reach of the courts.

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So if I'm understanding this correctly, one of Rastegar's companies is paying licensing fees to another company owned by Rastegar?

 

Yes. It's important to not forget one of the Rastegar companies paid the other Rastegar company $3,500,000 for several brands including the use of the Laser trademark for the US and Canadian markets only. (Note that of the 15,000 ILCA members worldwide, US and Canada make up less than 20%.)

 

Interesting thing (to me) is that the owner of the Trademark is Kayara. The defense seems to be entirely run by Bill Crane. The cover letters were written by the lawyers. Every exhibit in support was provided by Bill Crane.

 

>

Cancellation_No_92057168_MSJ.pdf(27877 bytes )

Cancellation_No_92057168_Memo_Redacted.pdf(64672 bytes )
Crane_Declaration_Redacted.pdf(84343 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit A - REDACTED - KARAYA 000568-587 - 1983 Agreement_Redacted.pdf(216855 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit B - USPTO Assignments on the Web.pdf(22128 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit C - Registration Certificate for No 1038170.pdf(19951 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit D - Registration Certificate for No 1800653.pdf(42662 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit E - Karaya and Quarter Moon agreement KARAYA 000020-044.pdf(2937942 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit F - Laser Class Rules KARAYA 000100-000113.pdf(1130501 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit G - Laser Plaque KARAYA 000099.pdf(89188 bytes )
Crane_Exhibit_H_-_Photos.pdf(5111072 bytes )

 

Pam and others have highlighted the chequered history of Rastegar as being an issue. Rastegar has enjoyed the support of Bill Crane since at least April 2008.

 

I get the sense that Mr Crane is very passionate about these issues, particularly the irrational notion that PSA is trying to take over world production of Lasers with one hand, while aggressively chasing the Asian and South American markets with the other.

 

To what extent (if any) is the tail (Bill Crane) wagging the dog (Rastegar)?

 

May be nothing irrational about it at all. It may in fact be right. Remember who BKI sold his rights to (PSA, right?). All any of us can do is guess but I would think it not far-fetched to guess that PSA having interest in area beyond its region and their and BKI's actions which maybe supported same is the possible spark that lit the fuse that...

 

If someone were laying odds its a bet I would take.

 

Perhaps there are no choir boys in this church.

 

Oh, and ojfd, the suggestion re rule 69 re FS and generic sails is inane. Remember its the sailors and clubs that are condoning the use of the generic sails (at grass root levels to enhance access and participation). You cant make people follow a rule they all decide to ignore for good reason.

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May be nothing irrational about it at all. It may in fact be right. Remember who BKI sold his rights to (PSA, right?). All any of us can do is guess but I would think it not far-fetched to guess that PSA having interest in area beyond its region and their and BKI's actions which maybe supported same is the possible spark that lit the fuse that...

 

Wess, take a read of the submissions made by Crane. The supporting "evidence" include that he knows how many Laser are produced because he's on the World Council. That some guy bought some centreboards in Australia and shipped them to the US. The rest is even more speculative.

 

Kirby attempted to sell his rights under the builder's contract to Global Sailing, not PSA. It's likely that the court case will show that either that transaction was not completed or that he reversed the sale.

 

Both Laser Performance and PSA wanted the Asian market - there is some evidence that goes back prior to Kirby attempting to retire.

 

It's not irrational because the idea is far-fetched, it's irrational because of the manner in which the "evidence" supporting the allegations is flimsy and based of speculative claims. It's irrational because at the same time Laser Performance is supplying Laser parts outside of the North American and European markets, including to New Zealand. It's also irrational because once Laser Performance is no longer the builder for the North American market, PSA will not be the builder for those markets. Not even for the Torch if that route is taken. To me, it's a silly allegation.

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May be nothing irrational about it at all. It may in fact be right. Remember who BKI sold his rights to (PSA, right?). All any of us can do is guess but I would think it not far-fetched to guess that PSA having interest in area beyond its region and their and BKI's actions which maybe supported same is the possible spark that lit the fuse that...

 

Wess, take a read of the submissions made by Crane. The supporting "evidence" include that he knows how many Laser are produced because he's on the World Council. That some guy bought some centreboards in Australia and shipped them to the US. The rest is even more speculative.

 

Kirby attempted to sell his rights under the builder's contract to Global Sailing, not PSA. It's likely that the court case will show that either that transaction was not completed or that he reversed the sale.

 

Both Laser Performance and PSA wanted the Asian market - there is some evidence that goes back prior to Kirby attempting to retire.

 

It's not irrational because the idea is far-fetched, it's irrational because of the manner in which the "evidence" supporting the allegations is flimsy and based of speculative claims. It's irrational because at the same time Laser Performance is supplying Laser parts outside of the North American and European markets, including to New Zealand. It's also irrational because once Laser Performance is no longer the builder for the North American market, PSA will not be the builder for those markets. Not even for the Torch if that route is taken. To me, it's a silly allegation.

Sorry; not ignoring you. Just swamped.

 

I may be wrong and its been some time since I looked at it, but I recall PSA and GSA being kissing cousins of sorts.

 

Found this quickly from the Kirby Sail article:

 

‘Two and a half years ago, I sold my rights to the New Zealanders, the Spencer families’ Global Sailing. I am 82 as you know, and this move was what you would call estate planning.

 

‘The Spencers have been building Lasers through Performance Sailcraft Australasia for umpteen years. I simply figured the Spencers had the good of the class in mind - far more so than anyone else that was on the horizon - and that they would do the best job in looking after the class and promoting it and enhancing it.

 

Still hoping this resolves such that they all get tossed (BKI, PSA, GS, LPE and the trademark too) but then I am more interested in seeing lower costs and thus improved access so the club level grows and less concerned about the interests of those 1% at the top of the class.

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Well Gouv, with a second blown out shoulder and kids getting to be college age my wife and I are re-evaluating what we want out of sailing so I am guessing I am not the guy to save Laser. Racing just seems too focused on the chess game (and clearly I am getting too old for dinghies given I keep breaking myself) and cruising today seems to have evolved to become how to fix system in far away places and so we are wondering how to get back to the pure joy of sailing and spending extended time on the water together. But that is not for this thread.

 

For the past decade or so, much of my sailing has been about sailing with my kids (classes like the Snipe which is great) and introducing junior sailors (my kid's friends) to big boat sailing in our F27 trimaran. During this time I raced in the Laser class because it was great people and the best racing over the winter.

 

Its just one person's view but I suspect we disagree as I don't think the strength or growth (or decline) of the class comes from the builders collecting profits and plowing $s back in (or not). I think a class grows from the grass roots. From the club sailors and a class association with simple rules and a good boat (for the grass roots). So to me - and I get others disagree - it would be great if the trademark went away and so did Kirby, LPE, PSA, GSA and the whole lot of them. If this happened the class could set up a measurement standard (dimensions, materials, etc...) for the exact same boat and sail, and any builder could make it and compete on price. This is not unlike what we have with the Snipe save for the fact that the Laser boat and sail are quite simple and I think as even you have stated could be produced (same weight, dimensions, etc...) and sold at far more affordable prices than they are now. Boats now are what like $7-8K and the sails are pushing $1K. Good God, almost $10K to go race a Laser. We know an equal sail can be made and sold for a 75% discount so lets be fair and assume the boat could be done for half (50% off). Suddenly our new Laser boat and sail is not almost $10K, its well below $5K. I don't know if that makes a difference in terms of access or not but at a minimum people would not feel so ripped off as so many seem to feel now (just look at this thread w re the sail and I certainly agree with them).

 

But this too is a bit off topic of the lawsuit so in true SA style I guess I should at least try to stir the pot a bit... hum... OK, how is this:

 

You know even if I presented myself a kindly grey haired Old Dude who just wanted to help and be loved... if I had invented a cure for cancer back when the Laser was drawn on that napkin, by now and for many decades and decades ago, anybody could have made and sold my cure for cancer because the patent would have long since expired. That for a cure for cancer! This is about a boat! A boat they are still milking and its success today I offer for consideration has nothing to do with the napkin drawing and everything to do with the grass roots sailor, clubs and class associations.

 

OK, that should get somebody fired up, yes?

 

And if that does not work, try this:

 

If you are not a member for the class your opinion does not count! :P

 

OK, I will go put on the flame suit now! You can decide for yourself which parts of this are serious and which are not.

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To be fair, Wess, a Laser doesn't cost almost $10,000. They are $6,500 for the XD. And a new sail is $650, not pushing $1,000. So the numbers you are tossing around are over 50% high. The first (I have owned 6) new Laser I bought was $850 in 1973 and no one was complaining.That's about $4,600 in 2014 if you use the CPI inflation calculator. Those old leaky Lasers had way worse sails than now, mast steps that blew out often, three part vangs with yellow poly rope, wood tillers with shitty little extensions etc etc all complemented by brutal and totally inconsistent quality control. I would say they are at least 30 - 40% better today than they were in those days. So either $6,500 ain't that out of line, or they were a rip off at $850.

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Bill make sense.

 

The Laser was designed to be as cheap to make as possible. Its still a cheap build and its always going to cost about $6-7K because thats what it costs to build. Even if you get a chinese factory to make boats for the whole world, the freight costs will make up most of the difference. The phantasy $1000 price is crcazy. The freight company and the salesmen get more than that. Some of the mark up comes from the dealer network. If you want someone to stock the boats and spare parts near your home, that person has to make a profit to stay in business. So there is a mark up. If the class allowed you to use non factory parts that might be alleviated but thats not in the philosophy of SMOD.

 

Why so much wingeing? I bought a 15YO $1500 Laser 10 years ago for my daughter and while it rarely gets sailed much its still worth about the same money. Even the "new" sail is 6 years old, but its fun when there is enough wind. But once you have sailed a modern boat the Laser does seem a bit of an ergonomic anachronism.

 

The Lawyer fight will go on and soak up lots of money but the Laser classs will go on because there are so many boats out there sailing. When the smoke settles someone will still be building Lasers and the game will continue. It suits lots of people if not particularly me.

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Phil/Bill - Fair enough. I should have looked up accurate prices. From APS, they are:

 

Badged Laser - $6500

Badged Sail - $600

APS Generic Sail - $200

 

So the badged sail is about a 200% mark-up or the generic sail about a 66% discount however you want to look at it. I gather this is what gets people annoyed. I don't thinks its always fair to do CPI calculation. Take the cost of computers, or cell phones for example. As mfg and tech improves the prices came way down. Not my area but given the sail mark-up (and parts mark-up - Gantt showed that earlier) and general comments of many in the space about the costs around the boat itself, the impression sure exists that the boat is made for and could be offered for a price much lower than $6500. Maybe not so but folks used to say that about the sails too and now I can buy one for $185 at APS. Where there is smoke...

 

Certainly agree the lawyers get rich in this and the class goes on. Actually think the class did one hell of a job of avoiding as much of the legal mess as possible and minimizing the impact on the sailors. My hat is off to them. As you can tell I am not a big fan of monopoly or SMOD (which Laser is really not anyway IMO) and think we could have a fine OD class without the added costs associated with that.

 

But its just one opinion and how I would like to see the fight end. Hey, we (I) didn't start it. That's all on the fat cats wanting to get fatter. They all started clawing at each other and then one special old grey haired cat sued the class too. So yea, I hope they all - and especially him - get booted out the door. But I don't hold a grudge. If it ended the way I hope (its a long shot frankly) he could make and sell his Torch into the bigger class of Lasers, Torches, and anything else that met the class spec/rule and I would gladly buy one if it was the best value.

 

Wess

 

PS - Oh and Gouv sorry but I can't help you on the Snipe. There are fleets on East and West coast but I am not sure about your location. If there is a fleet local to you and you have an "other" or kid you enjoy sailing with I can only say great things about the fleet, the folks in it and the boats. And yes, you can find older boats that are still competitive (especially in flat water) for very affordable prices. As you note, that (affordable used boats) helps keep the fleet strong.

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I always use the CPI calculation when it works to support my position! But using computers/electronics as a comparable really doesn't work given the massive economies of scale involved. As "significant" as the Laser business is, in the grand scheme of things it's not really that big. I don't know how many new Lasers are actually sold in a year, but let's say 5,000. That's $32,500,000 in revenue annually. For argument's sake let's say it's another $32,500,000 for sails and parts etc.. Hell, let's just round the whole deal up to $75,000,000 on a global basis. That would be at the lower end of middle-market firms in the US or the UK. On a global basis, it's very small. No idea what the profit margins really are in all this, but it's not going to be that great or their would be plenty of millionaire Laserites. And there are a lot of pigs at that $100million trough all over the globe. I would suggest the law firms involved in this bizarre showdown will all make more money than the average Laser dealer over the same time frame.

 

Concerning sails,and I am not for a moment suggesting a new Laser sail is brilliant, but it could be worse - how about an Opti? North sell them for $615, Ullman $550, and Olimpic $595. Yikes.

 

But, to quote Phil S, "When the smoke settles someone will still be building Lasers and the game will continue. It suits lots of people if not particularly me." From a grass-roots perspective, 15 - 20 older Lasers with Intensity sails on the start line on Wednesday evenings with beer to follw sounds like a great place to be! Make $650 sails illegal at Club racing!

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I don't know how many new Lasers are actually sold in a year, but let's say 5,000.

2,000 in 2010. Curiously no later class annual reports are currently published on the ISAF website.
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I don't know how many new Lasers are actually sold in a year, but let's say 5,000.

2,000 in 2010. Curiously no later class annual reports are currently published on the ISAF website.

 

That was at the depths of the last recession. My own scientific study of sail numbers I see on new boats at regattas says they are now selling closer to 3,000/year.

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Make $650 sails illegal at Club racing!

+1 :D

 

Trying to keep up with you guys but wow it's A LOT of reading!

 

I will chime in here. As a fleet captain of a relatively small fleet (15 boats or so) nobody really has a gripe with the cost of Laser parts it always comes back to the cost of the sail. Find a way to fix that and things would be much better. I think at $250 for a class sail you would see most sailors pay the extra $65 to support the class and not mess around with the replica sails. At a $465 markup not so much!

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The call for a $1000 Walmart Laser is way off base. The closest thing they sell seems to be a plastic 12' dinghy for $700.

 

Who in the world is going to be able to add a quality centreboard, rudder, and rig AND make a hull tough enough for racing, for just an extra $300? Even the Snark sells for more than that, direct from the builder.

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For all of this talk about how much Lasers and their gear cost, where is anybody getting rich out of the supply of all this stuff? The simple answer is that nobody is getting rich. It has always been one of the great challenges - how to make money out of building boats. When you look at the business in theory, there should be a significant profit in Lasers but there isn't. I suspect that this is what drew Rastegar to the company. As a well trained consultant, he would have looked at the business and believed that the returns were lower than they should have been. And he isn't the first successful/knowledgeable businessman who has come to that conclusion about the sailboat industry, only to find that the reality is rather different. I have lost count of how many different distribution models I have seen Laser try in the UK, all in an attempt to make the business realise the returns that one would expect to see. And this doesn't just apply to Laser. You don't get rich building racing dinghies.

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Make $650 sails illegal at Club racing!

+1 :D

 

Trying to keep up with you guys but wow it's A LOT of reading!

 

I will chime in here. As a fleet captain of a relatively small fleet (15 boats or so) nobody really has a gripe with the cost of Laser parts it always comes back to the cost of the sail. Find a way to fix that and things would be much better. I think at $250 for a class sail you would see most sailors pay the extra $65 to support the class and not mess around with the replica sails. At a $465 markup not so much!

X Zachary. The sail has been a problem for the life of the class. Hulls and spars are durable. The sails are disposable and the expensive disposable sails are a source of resistance. So make the flimsy sail sell for less, or make a sail that's actually worth what they charge where worth doesn't equal the laser class badge but fabric and construction quality.

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2013 December ExCom minutes

4.AOB

a.Update by Al Clark from the World Council meeting in Oman: The new sail is pretty set to go, just waiting for builders to approve.

 

Pretty sure I read that the new sail was on hold waiting for the outcome of the legal action.

 

Bottom line is that ILCA has long agreed that there is an issue and that there is a plan in place. I'm not sure that is will completely solve the high cost issue, but fairly confident that it will be an improvement in quality. Nor am I sure why the legal action has put it on hold. If you draw up a matrix of outcomes, the only outcome that would prevent it from going forward is that the ILCA being replaced - and frankly, I can't see that happening.

 

Whoever lands the contract to make the sail, can be confident of strong sales.

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The call for a $1000 Walmart Laser is way off base. The closest thing they sell seems to be a plastic 12' dinghy for $700.

 

Who in the world is going to be able to add a quality centreboard, rudder, and rig AND make a hull tough enough for racing, for just an extra $300? Even the Snark sells for more than that, direct from the builder.

With brilliant foreword thinking imaginative minds like yours I damn certain wouldn't be holding more computing power in my hand than NASA owned when men landed in the moon.

 

 

Probably the key to the. $1000 14 foot sailboat is to stamp them out using way less material. If we built our toys weighing forty pounds or so, materials costs could be lowered along with shipping and all kinds of hurdles could disappear.

 

Maybe the fold up suitcase boats need to be inflated with a sufficient pressure to achieve stiffness. Can we make roll up spars whose stiffness comes from folding hinged sheets around a series of "bulkheads" ????

 

 

We need to climb out of the tiny box from

Where all previous construction ideas have come and look at how things Te being built elsewhere

 

And we need some fresh ideas of our own

 

Why can't we have our toys for $10??

 

Because nobody has decided to show us how!!!

 

Dinghies for $10? Jeez you think small.

 

For $10 I'd expect to be able to buy a matched pair of 120 foot racing quintuplemarans that do 60 knots dead upwind in 2 knots of wind, have fourteen geodesic ballrooms with custom fitted bordellos for accommodation, and sail on custom-made seas of champagne driven by wafts of angel farts.

 

Errrr - maybe we don't do have $10 racing boats because they are not actually possible? Some people have been sailing 40 lb toys for 30 years, some people are working on inflatable sailing craft, but even an inflatable surfboard costs $350 A or so (which leaves very little room for a rig and foils) and it's not going to fit the Laser type niche.

 

It's one thing to have dreams, but is abusing the sport while producing unachievable fantasies actually helpful? If it's that easy, why don't you do it yourself?

 

By the way, if you want to use the computing power analogy you also have to allow for the fact that the efficiency leaps you mention were accompanied (and created, as I understand it) from reducing the physical size of the device. That is not realistic in a sailing dinghy that will fill the Laser niche.

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Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, the Laser will be the Laser (or the Torch...) and my guess is the outcome won't push people out of the class or bring new ones in any great measure. The boat will remain a rather uncomfortable boat to sail with sails people don't like and bits that people think are too expensive. So nothing physical will change. Let's pretend the Laser loses Olympic status. Other than those at the top of the heap, will people really care? Will everybody torch their Laser (pun intended) and buy Aeros? Or get into whatever boat takes its Olympic spot? With all its blemishes, it will remain the most accessible class with the largest global footprint for years to come. And throwing on a carbon top section and mylar sail won't make it more appealing or notably faster, just marginally cooler and more expensive. And overall participation in dinghy racing will continue to slide - not because of the Laser - but as a sport it is expensive and time consuming.

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And throwing on a carbon top section and mylar sail won't make it more appealing or notably faster, just marginally cooler and more expensive.

 

Perhaps to buy, however the intention will be that they last longer. I have broken three top sections and ruined two sails when they broke, before understanding the need of replacing top sections... The intention with the new sail is to make more durable - so it remains competitive for longer - so if the sail is the same cost and lasts twice as long, then there is a saving.

 

And overall participation in dinghy racing will continue to slide - not because of the Laser - but as a sport it is expensive and time consuming.

 

It's more complex than just saying that the sport is in decline. Yes there are peaks and troughs, though it's my feeling that we are coming out of a trough.

  • If you look at macro factors like population growth, 1980 there was 226 million, now in 2010 there is 308 million. (Dr Al Bartlett will get your head around what population growth really is - Google his lecture - "the most important video you'll ever see" - its 73 minutes of education - that it, if you haven't seen it yet).
  • Laser sailing is a small part of all sailing, and an even smaller part of all water sports. If you think that recreational time is an issue, look at the growth of SUP. (If every Laser sailor made a point of sailing up to someone on a SUP, asking how they are going - they'll be hurting - then ask if they have tried sailing - there could be something there you know, people clearly still want to get on the water)
  • World sailing continues to increase, as overall affluence increases. (http://www.guide2uganda.com/news/83436/Events-Happening-in-Uganda-this-weekend-from-7th-to-9th-March-2014)
  • Cost of sailing Lasers is comparable with the cost of other sports (http://kidsplayusafoundation.org/overview-and-cost-of-youth-sports) - it's just that most people don't realise.

The Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship costs $75 per year / $100 for the first year (http://www.occsailing.com/sca/membership) and you get to use their boats - sailing is accessible at a very low cost in some places.

 

Real disposable income has increased since the 1980s in the US as in other parts of the world. Remember the 1980s? I recall that most of the fleet were newbies having a blast! They got on the water because they had a go and got hooked.

 

Here in California, you can participate at a club level with a $2000 Laser (which you will get your money back from) and annual fees that are less than $1000. It's about getting that message out - and that sailing (racing) Lasers is a whole lot of fun. Then and only then will we have a resurgence at the grass roots level (something that the ILCA-NA has stated is an area of decline).

 

It's not up to the ILCA, it's up to the local sailors to understand that recruiting new blood is an important part of making their sport enjoyable.

 

(I best get off my soapbox now.)

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No worries, Gantt, you look good up there! But I don't really get your points, other than there are some Lasers in Uganda should I be planning a visit, and sailing activity is well off the pace of population growth... Anyway - my comments were directed more towards adult dinghy racing. Sailing schools and rec sailing probably aren't suffering that much. But back to the Laser which, in spite of all the SA bashing, is a part of the answer to increased activity, not part of the problem! In it's intended original use as a simple, fun, (relatively) inexpensive boat you can race in a true one-design environment, it does a pretty good job. It was designed in 1969, so what do people really expect from a techno-perspective? It's not the boat's fault that it is old. And the desire to keep it one design is completely in line with the whole idea. Providing a less expensive, longer lasting option for some parts isn't a bad idea, but it has to be a measured approach. But I still maintain time and expense are the major obstacles to increased adult activity in dinghy racing. Certainly has nothing to do with this fucking annoying legal battle.

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Yup. And the folks involved with the class sided with the businessman who couldn't give a shit about sailboat racing and and told the designer with a lifelong reputation as a grand supporter of the game to fuck off

Gotta love the ILCA loyalty to those who have contributed years of their lives building and supporting the game

Gov,

 

It is sometimes hard to get the attribution right as far as cause and effect go. I am sure promotion and communication can make a 50% swing in results, but there are 5: product, place, price, people and promotion. (I think).

 

I got a boat and joined the class because someone with a nearby lake lot offered storage, and "higher than me" level competition.

After moving the boat to a more proper yacht club further away, I left the class when they added controls that would have increased my investment by 30 %. And the yacht club priced itself out of reach. I don't like people grabbing at my wallet.

 

If you do that in any sort of coercive way, you are gone. Or I am gone.

 

As far as class rules go, I participated during the window where long rope and thimbles worked, and the outhaul was on the boom.

 

Do you have membership correlation as a function of product (class rules)?

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Per my comment above, more evidence that the expense related to dinghy sailing is affecting participation. But I must admit, I didn't imagine that the 2001 vang-cunningham-out haul updates would take a sailor out of the picture. I think those were the best three updates Laser could possibly have! Sure beat the hell out of the macramé skills required previously. Although, being over 6 feet, it took away the advantage I had in performing the bottom mark rounding - hand over hand sheeting - out haul adjusting - boom vang tightening with one hand while pushing down on the boom with the other maneuver!

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... those were the best three updates Laser...

If you don't travel, and if sails are durable, sailing is pretty inexpensive.

 

But "updates" is a misnomer. I did not see anything in the 2001 kit that was not available when the Laser was introduced. It was a direction shift that put more clutter on the deck.

 

Add a two year lag for people to recognize that the boat is not simple any more, what year was the peak participation?

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... those were the best three updates Laser...

If you don't travel, and if sails are durable, sailing is pretty inexpensive.

 

But "updates" is a misnomer. I did not see anything in the 2001 kit that was not available when the Laser was introduced. It was a direction shift that put more clutter on the deck.

 

Add a two year lag for people to recognize that the boat is not simple any more, what year was the peak participation?

 

 

From a Sailing World 2008 article: "For nearly 30 years the Laser's simplistic sail controls had seen minimal changes. But in 2001 the class approved a number of sweeping rigging upgrades aimed at improving the boat's accessibility to a wider range of sailors. New cleats, a more powerful vang, and the allowance of multiple blocks to increase purchase in the cunningham and outhaul, now allow smaller, lighter sailors to effectively de-power the sail. The use of blocks also reduces friction associated with thimbles and knots, which were being built into the systems to create purchase."

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The point I badly made - or was trying to make - was that we can expect growth of Laser sailing and the context of that growth are larger, external factors.

 

On over simplification is that if Laser sailing is half as popular per capita as it was 1980 and the population has doubled, then you can expect both to cancel each other out. As the population continues to grow, without a further decline in popularity you can expect Laser sailing to grow. (Note that it's the potential market size rather than the population that is really important to Laser sailing - those for whom Laser sailing is a realistic possibility.

 

I don't buy the cost as being a major factor of the decrease in popularity at the grass roots level - adjusting for inflation and considering real disposable income, Laser sailing is cheaper now than what it was in the 1980s. Heck - they are now even sailing Lasers in Uganda! It's more about the class itself being less focussed on getting new people to try sailing. There is a concern with a sailing decline in smaller clubs, and the path for that being addressed is more at the club level by sailors, less at the ILCA or ILCA-NA level. Having said that, Gov's point about the potential to reduce the cost of the Laser is a good one to make. I wish that somehow the system could be made so that there is a focus to keep boats and parts cheap. Markets hardest hit are those that face the highest costs because they are remote. New Zealand still has fairly strong Laser sailing - however a new Laser is over US$8000. This means that the door is left open for other classes to compete on price - Gov's point is that Laser sailing would be more popular if the cost was less - and given developments in technology - and a focus and the political will of all parties - it's my belief that lower costs can be achieved.

 

Improvements can be made to the way all items are manufactured and distributed. This can be done both to reduce cost, and the lowering of costs my go some way to address the erosion of the Laser as being a SMOD by having parts manufactured by non official sources. (Possibly its best for the ILCA and/or the designer to lead those changes).

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! It's more about the class itself being less focussed on getting new people to try sailing. There is a concern with a sailing decline in smaller clubs, and the path for that being addressed is more at the club level by sailors, less at the ILCA or ILCA-NA level

The fundamental question is... Should the Laser Class be about Growing the participation of Laser sailing (at all levels)... OR should the Laser Class be about Competition (at all levels)?

It seems to me that class leaders and the class members (at all levels) have decided that their own personal interest concerns competition (at all levels).... They don't have the time, interest or will to be disciples for Laser Sailing in a world where there are hundreds of new ways to be on the water... (paddle boards, kayacks, kites, etc etc etc). They believe at their core that IT is a business of growing sailing in lasers... and as a business.... it should be up to the company.(pick your favorite builder) to make this happen. Of course, we all claim to want to introduce the Laser and the sport to everyone but... it just doesn't happen... AND after all... its a one person boat.... you just can't push off a newbie in a laser and expect a good outcome.....

 

So...in my opinion... the issue really becomes... Which boat builder company has a winning model of growing participation. Secondarily, how do they support the racers who play with their toy. IME, Hobie Company has worked the problem the best... (never having owned a Hobie)....I see NEW Hobie Waves, and Getaways on the water every year in the hands of Newbie rec sailors... I have not seen a new laser (except on a race course) in 20 years.. I do see the Hobie company being instrumental in funding the Gary Jobson led Video production for the upcoming Hobie 16 North Americans and Pan Am game qualifiers at Lewes Delaware. (far better for the sport of Hobie racing then sponsoring cheap rum at the party for the already hooked)

 

What I do remember was the Laser Performance Center in England looked like it took on the mission of growing the sport... (providing laser and Dart (catamaran) classes and boats to the newbie public).... but this effort is but a memory. Nothing comes to mind in the US.

 

(never owned a Hobie or a Laser in my life.... just a true believer in growing the sport!!

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Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, the Laser will be the Laser (or the Torch...) and my guess is the outcome won't push people out of the class or bring new ones in any great measure. The boat will remain a rather uncomfortable boat to sail with sails people don't like and bits that people think are too expensive. So nothing physical will change. Let's pretend the Laser loses Olympic status. Other than those at the top of the heap, will people really care? Will everybody torch their Laser (pun intended) and buy Aeros? Or get into whatever boat takes its Olympic spot? With all its blemishes, it will remain the most accessible class with the largest global footprint for years to come. And throwing on a carbon top section and mylar sail won't make it more appealing or notably faster, just marginally cooler and more expensive. And overall participation in dinghy racing will continue to slide - not because of the Laser - but as a sport it is expensive and time consuming.

And so is golf and that sport is doing just fine!

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Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, the Laser will be the Laser (or the Torch...) and my guess is the outcome won't push people out of the class or bring new ones in any great measure. The boat will remain a rather uncomfortable boat to sail with sails people don't like and bits that people think are too expensive. So nothing physical will change. Let's pretend the Laser loses Olympic status. Other than those at the top of the heap, will people really care? Will everybody torch their Laser (pun intended) and buy Aeros? Or get into whatever boat takes its Olympic spot? With all its blemishes, it will remain the most accessible class with the largest global footprint for years to come. And throwing on a carbon top section and mylar sail won't make it more appealing or notably faster, just marginally cooler and more expensive. And overall participation in dinghy racing will continue to slide - not because of the Laser - but as a sport it is expensive and time consuming.

And so is golf and that sport is doing just fine!

 

You are wrong about golf, Hobie. Just Google "decline of golf". Expense and time are issues...

 

 

 

The point I badly made - or was trying to make - was that we can expect growth of Laser sailing and the context of that growth are larger, external factors.

 

On over simplification is that if Laser sailing is half as popular per capita as it was 1980 and the population has doubled, then you can expect both to cancel each other out. As the population continues to grow, without a further decline in popularity you can expect Laser sailing to grow. (Note that it's the potential market size rather than the population that is really important to Laser sailing - those for whom Laser sailing is a realistic possibility.

 

I don't buy the cost as being a major factor of the decrease in popularity at the grass roots level - adjusting for inflation and considering real disposable income, Laser sailing is cheaper now than what it was in the 1980s. Heck - they are now even sailing Lasers in Uganda! It's more about the class itself being less focussed on getting new people to try sailing. There is a concern with a sailing decline in smaller clubs, and the path for that being addressed is more at the club level by sailors, less at the ILCA or ILCA-NA level. Having said that, Gov's point about the potential to reduce the cost of the Laser is a good one to make. I wish that somehow the system could be made so that there is a focus to keep boats and parts cheap. Markets hardest hit are those that face the highest costs because they are remote. New Zealand still has fairly strong Laser sailing - however a new Laser is over US$8000. This means that the door is left open for other classes to compete on price - Gov's point is that Laser sailing would be more popular if the cost was less - and given developments in technology - and a focus and the political will of all parties - it's my belief that lower costs can be achieved.

 

Improvements can be made to the way all items are manufactured and distributed. This can be done both to reduce cost, and the lowering of costs my go some way to address the erosion of the Laser as being a SMOD by having parts manufactured by non official sources. (Possibly its best for the ILCA and/or the designer to lead those changes).

 

A marginal cost reduction will have, at best, marginal results. People's family expenses these days are way more than they were in the 80's - largely because we have raised the next generation on the basis they are entitled to everything. A young family with two kids in soccer didn't spend anywhere near as much on that activity as they do now. Now, if they're any good they move to a rep team, get a coach with an accent, and travel to exotic places for tournaments. And even if they aren't skilled enough, the time involved dwarfs what it used to. Three practices a week, technical training (pay extra for another guy with an accent) and games as well. I won't get into school costs...And, while you are ferrying your kids around, your iphone is lighting up like a Christmas tree with emails, texts and messages from work! I will stick to my guns - expense and time are by far the greatest hindrance to growth of our sport. Cheaper Laser bits will be welcome, but certainly not the solution.

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Ok.. Gouv.... NO argument on enthusiasm being essential... I would clarify that you need enthusiasm top to bottom in the fleet and in leadership...

As to Young leaders... well.... I have a dim view of that one..

as a counter example... I hold up the V15 class... This class was DESIGNED for the under 30 crowd.... Blah blah.... a class that the college sailor can get into and do what they did in college but at 20 to 30 something crew weights.... As far as I can tell... the young leadership failed completely to build or maintain the class.. and take on the class direction/leadership from what the factory did.... . I think ONE guy promoted the hell out of a NA's a few years ago... and that was that...

 

What am I missing.. about young leadership.?

 

In a single handed class.... human nature is such that you serve your personal needs first and the needs of the fleet are a distant second... ... ie... your failure to show up and race will have a real negative impact on the fun factor of the group on the water.... The impact of your self interest will be felt with less participation down the road.... The responsibility to the fleet is is way way secondary to your own sanctification and needs... ... So.... IMO... you need adults (16 to 80) who manage the integrity of the game, maintain enthusiasm and deliver the message... um.... if we don't worry about the last place boat..... we will shortly have a NEW last place boat and one fewer sailor. (credit to Stuart Walker) to counteract human nature...

 

As to your opinions of the current leaderships ability as a function of their age.... I would say they are doing a fine job at managing the competition of an international olympic class from the club level to the olympic games .... ... and a lousy job at growing the sport of laser sailing BECAUSE GROWING THE CLASS IS NOT THEIR OBJECTIVE.... It has nada to do with their age!

 

Contrast what elements of the game YOU promoted with the elements of the game that are promoted in an Olympic Class...... Its a huge difference in focus... Olympic status is not the problem... rather its the balance of competition and fun factor that leadership can impact.... or choose not to impact..

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Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, the Laser will be the Laser (or the Torch...) and my guess is the outcome won't push people out of the class or bring new ones in any great measure. The boat will remain a rather uncomfortable boat to sail with sails people don't like and bits that people think are too expensive. So nothing physical will change. Let's pretend the Laser loses Olympic status. Other than those at the top of the heap, will people really care? Will everybody torch their Laser (pun intended) and buy Aeros? Or get into whatever boat takes its Olympic spot? With all its blemishes, it will remain the most accessible class with the largest global footprint for years to come. And throwing on a carbon top section and mylar sail won't make it more appealing or notably faster, just marginally cooler and more expensive. And overall participation in dinghy racing will continue to slide - not because of the Laser - but as a sport it is expensive and time consuming.

And so is golf and that sport is doing just fine!

 

You are wrong about golf, Hobie. Just Google "decline of golf". Expense and time are issues...

Yet again, somebody who thinks that because something is happening in the USA, it must be happening everywhere else.. Golf is actually doing very well in many parts of the world. Even in your own country, Canada, it is stable rather than declining. In Europe, they are seeing renewed growth (be careful how you look at the figures because the number or registered golfers is down but participants are up). The old Soviet block countries are seeing growth. Of course, the biggest boom in golf is happening in China, while it is still doing well in countries that have been traditionally strong, such as Australia and South Africa. From a very small base, golf is growing in South America, with forecasts of thsi becoming a significant market after a very slow take up until now. But it is in the USA that we are seeing a huge decline. It was reported that there was an 18% drop in participation last year alone. Clearly, US sporting participation follows different patterns to the rest of the world.

 

My guess is that this isn't a cost factor. Cost cannot be the reason for the decline of golf in the USA because the main expenditure is equipment and once you have a set of clubs, "pay and play" in the US is pretty reasonable. So even if there was a decline in club membership due to cost, there are cheaper and acceptable alternatives. I suspect that the real issue for certain sports, such as golf and sailing, is time. More and more we are seeing a trend in the USA for leisure time to be divided up into convenient "1 hour slots" and the growth is in activities that fit that sort of model.

 

There also seems to be a bit of a myth that the problem for sailing is around cost. I struggle to accept that as a real factor. Sure, a new boat is a reasonable amount of money, but so are a lot of other things that people use their discretionary spend on.Even within boating, the total new recreational boat sales in 2013 was $7.55bn yet sailboats only accounted for $256m. Even taking into account kayak/canoe sales, that says a lot of people are spending serious money on other sorts of boats, but not sailboats. That has to tell us something.

 

Having said that, i believe that the real problem in the USA is far more deep seated than simple issues of cost and time.

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Right you are, Simon. I should have referred to North America. Lots of written material on golf out there - here is the latest I read last month: www.macleans.ca/economy/business/the-end-of-golf/ I wonder if there is a golf anarchy and if they are talking about sailing?

 

One thing is certain, each geography will have their own unique challenges in maintaining and growing the sport. And nobody is saying it will be easy. If only I had enough time to figure it out!

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Right you are, Simon. I should have referred to North America. Lots of written material on golf out there - here is the latest I read last month: www.macleans.ca/economy/business/the-end-of-golf/ I wonder if there is a golf anarchy and if they are talking about sailing?

 

One thing is certain, each geography will have their own unique challenges in maintaining and growing the sport. And nobody is saying it will be easy. If only I had enough time to figure it out!

Golf got overbuilt in the 90's and is somewhat paying the price now in the US.... Gov. mentions the sailboat market in the late 70's but remember thats when oil embargo scared the powerboaters into buying sailboats.....even Rennels, Wellcraft and Bayliners. The economy IS also a factor now in the US. One thing

golf has going for it is a good organization at the top and a good (almost automated) handicapping system. I like single handed sailing but not in Lasers. Too physical (to be really competitive), too uncomfortable and not much fun if you are not racing.....but fine for those who like'em.

This whole site (dinghy anarchy) except for TCC seems hell bent on discouraging handicap racing and that in my opinion is degrading small boat racing in the US.

BTW we still need a good handicap system if it is going to improve.

If we can get Doug L involved this has potential to be the longest thread.

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Blackjack 2

What is the fascination people in the USA have with handicap racing and why do so many think this is the answer. In countries where dinghy sailing is strong, it is built on good class racing. The occasional pursuit race is a bit of fun, but i would rather not sail/race than regularly race in a handicap fleet.

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With so called emphasis on successful international competition??

 

If you want to consistently produce winners, you need to have big numbers.

 

In fact, I will state as an absolute truth, Consistent competitions held week after week after week among fifty and hundred boat fleets will regulalry produce world champions in any one design fleet anywhere on the planet. ...

as soon as Scheidt lets anybody else have a shot

Gouv.... this is one model.... and by no means a sure fire winner. In fact, many sports,... eg US Soccer tried this approach and decided it did not work. Now, they cull talent from kid programs and route the players to select teams... College Soccer is not essential.. The US has lots of kids in junior programs and events that allow you to spot sailing talent. They have a training program that involves a small number of gold cup regattas and lots of training time... Time will tell if they can develop the talent in their revamped Olympic training program. The relevant problem is getting the large number of junior sailors to play the game as adults.

 

So, international winners are NOT the relevant issue... You want a large diverse racing class that adults spend their time and money playing at. You don't want a class that an elite and small group of sailors WORK at for an Olympic medal. So.... what to do is pretty clear... You want quality competitive events that are "fun" from the club level on up. meaning you have competition at all levels of skill.... You also want a way to introduce non sailors to the sport through your class... You want a mechanism to get those newbies to stick with game AND you want a way to grab other sailors into playing. So... who takes responsibility for these elements... the sailor, the class, the builder?...... or the builder? the class? and then the sailor?.

 

I think your focus on the class leadership.... (your approach "come out and play" or the current class leadership approach "well run big event") assumes that you can manage your way to success. My view... you need an equal or greater commitment from the builder and the sailing members to beat the dual problems of no time and some money and limited access to the waterfront... not to mention that any single handed boat is a tough sell to the family. (my A cat doesn't work well at the family picnic last weekend)

 

So....the chaos that is the business of building, marketing and supporting lasers is a huge roadblock.... Even if they get their shit together... you still have to get the rank and file on board for growing the class by adding newbies and attracting other racers. I don't think "young leadership" is any better then "old leadership at solving the problem of balancing elite competition events with the fun factor. Of course... YMMV and we have two points of view. Perhaps we agree that this is a tough problem and NOT EASY to turn around. eg... Cheap class legal laser sails are not a silver bullet!

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Blackjack 2

What is the fascination people in the USA have with handicap racing and why do so many think this is the answer. In countries where dinghy sailing is strong, it is built on good class racing. The occasional pursuit race is a bit of fun, but i would rather not sail/race than regularly race in a handicap fleet.

Sorry if I overstated my case. I am all in for OD racing. However in my area there are only one or two types of boats that have classes. Neither very successful and are competing against one another for participation. Neither appeal or are practical for me. Lots of other dinghys in the area but none of the motivational efforts from the clubs are focused on developing handicap events. So, its OD or nothing. I’m afraid eventually nothing is going to win out.

From handicap events, OD can and will grow. The opposite is not true.

A few posts back someone quoted Walker about the guy who finishes consistantly last that eventually you lose a sailor…..he has no other choices. Maybe he should be in a two or three person dinghy as crew. Who knows. but none the less he’s gone.

In two of the countries you may have in mind where dinghy racing is strong there is also a strong supporting organization for handicap fleets as well as OD.

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I'm sure you meant it, though I don't think you understand it, DGM is rule 69.

Perhaps you would like to read this.

Since I dressed it up with brand new Torch logo making it impossible to miss the difference from a Laser class sail, even at a distance, this wouldn't apply. The rule implicitly stipulates some kind of subterfuge to get away with something, which obviously I did not since I stated it as non-class, and marked the sail prominently as non-class.

 

Hard to miss and hardly a case of misrepresentation.

 

post-3207-0-95091300-1408480126_thumb.jpg

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A marginal cost reduction will have, at best, marginal results. People's family expenses these days are way more than they were in the 80's - largely because we have raised the next generation on the basis they are entitled to everything. A young family with two kids in soccer didn't spend anywhere near as much on that activity as they do now. Now, if they're any good they move to a rep team, get a coach with an accent, and travel to exotic places for tournaments. And even if they aren't skilled enough, the time involved dwarfs what it used to. Three practices a week, technical training (pay extra for another guy with an accent) and games as well. I won't get into school costs...And, while you are ferrying your kids around, your iphone is lighting up like a Christmas tree with emails, texts and messages from work! I will stick to my guns - expense and time are by far the greatest hindrance to growth of our sport. Cheaper Laser bits will be welcome, but certainly not the solution.

 

Even a major price increase does not mean that Laser sailing will die.

 

Take New Zealand, where a new Laser costs US $8943, where on average New Zealanders on average earn less. The 2014 National champs attracted 95 Lasers split over five fleets. (Attendance was lower as a lot of competitors had to travel for more than 500 miles to a smaller centre). New Zealand has a population of 4.4 million people.

 

If the US had a similar turnout, based on population of 313.9 million, based on the same popularity per capita would have had a nationals turnout of 6777. Sailing Lasers in the US has never been as popular per capita as it is right now in New Zealand. (If it was then I agree with Gouv - then possibly the US would dominate.)

 

Price is not the only factor - but for those who have been in the game a long time know that 'not good feeling' of buying a part at an inflated price. (By parts I include sails). The question is, given the concerns about unofficial parts, why wouldn't we? With regards to the marginal cost results having at best marginal results, that comment misses the point as it fails to address the issue of non official parts. If there was little or no economic advantage - people would buy the official part - and in turn more would be manufactured lowering the production cost. Making less money short term may mean that there are more official Lasers 'out there' which is a good thing. Somehow the system is not rising to the challenge of unofficial parts (yet).

 

Regarding age, I recall in my mid 20s finally improving my downwind technique so that I could pass Doug Bates. He was around 70 at the time (and was fast downwind!). One of the attractions of Laser sailing is that is brings together people of all ages. Doug Bates was heavily involved with the running of the New Zealand association for a number of years and did a wonderful job. Stereotyping people based on age is called ageism - I'd suggest that has no place in Laser sailing. Yes maybe it's time for new people - but based on competence, policies and certainly not age. (Actually I'd like to see a more democratic way of electing officials to run the ILCA).

 

Note that there are a few "old farts" over 30 who are in the top 50 in the world for the Laser Open class. (I'm agree with Tcatman's comments). I've introduced people in their 30s to sailing Lasers - and given the growth in the masters - this is a very positive thing for the Laser class. I'd suggest that the current crop of officials are focussed in part on growth, though Gouv (or anyone) is quite correct to point out any flaws, and a robust leadership must either take the valid negative comments on the chin, or take the less valid comments with the knowledge that there already is a focus in the right areas.

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Hmm. I am trying to connect your comments with my quote box. Did you clip the wrong one by mistake?

 

Nope. I started this yesterday, got interrupted and finished it today. Basically I'm agreeing with you that costs are important - but clearly based on comparing the US and NZ experiences demonstrate they are not the only factor. The research that says that real disposable income has increased in the US so even while your comments may be anecdotally correct, looking at the facts of both the increase in population and the increase in real disposable income mean that there now is a larger pool in the US of potential sailors to draw upon. My comments were intended to say that costs are not the only factor - as demonstrated by comparing New Zealand's higher prices, smaller income and far higher number of Laser sailors per capita than the US. (Maybe we should look at the number of fleets as a measure. I think they are published in Laser World. Thought of doing it but know that some are no longer active.) For parts, lowering the cost of official Laser parts can be more than justified primarily as a measure to protect the SMOD system, not as a measure to increase number of people sailing - but let's face it - as Gouv pointed out lower prices are certainly not going to hurt!

 

The comments on age obviously were a reaction to the later posts.

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What are the active development classes in the US?

Mostly the 505's, there is a scattering of I-14's, IC's, and Moths around the country.

 

You could call the Beachcat 16/18/20's & ACat's dev classes.

 

I'm sure I'm missing a few, but I can't think of them.

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I would suggest the true development classes in the US and Canada are represented by a handful of smallish but fanatical fleets of Moths, ICs and 14's. There are no 12s, 18s, Cherubs and the like to speak of. I would love to be corrected...

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.

.....a fellow in Egypt has figured the perfect answer to the Lasorch dilemma.... a Trojan horse...soon to be delivered to Rastegar...the cunning use of a laser hull,deck,and mast will surely add a subliminal ease to any hesitation the builder may have to pull the thing into his plant........




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyUMTGwEWX8

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... those were the best three updates Laser...

If you don't travel, and if sails are durable, sailing is pretty inexpensive.

 

But "updates" is a misnomer. I did not see anything in the 2001 kit that was not available when the Laser was introduced. It was a direction shift that put more clutter on the deck.

 

Add a two year lag for people to recognize that the boat is not simple any more, what year was the peak participation?

 

+1. I think that the simplistic original controls on the Laser were a major point of difference between the Laser and just about every other class. Sure, everybody grumbled about them, but it was a big part of the challenge, and it did help to keep the price down. Now, the Laser is just like every other racing class and has to compete with them on an equal footing for class numbers. The original concept of simple 'seat of the pants' sailing was lost.

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I would suggest the true development classes in the US and Canada are represented by a handful of smallish but fanatical fleets of Moths, ICs and 14's. There are no 12s, 18s, Cherubs and the like to speak of. I would love to be corrected...

 

There are 18s in San Francisco. There are a few other development classes - but I wouldn't include the 505 as one of them, as it's built within tolerances like the 470 and Finn. Lasers being almost identical is what set them apart and while other classes have copied, none have achieved the popularity that the Laser enjoys today.

 

I think that the simplistic original controls on the Laser were a major point of difference between the Laser and just about every other class. Sure, everybody grumbled about them, but it was a big part of the challenge, and it did help to keep the price down. Now, the Laser is just like every other racing class and has to compete with them on an equal footing for class numbers. The original concept of simple 'seat of the pants' sailing was lost.

 

The controls are still doing the same job, and though the old controls were simple to look at, they were harder to use. Those of us who have been sailing Laser since prior to the change recall bouncing on the boom at the top mark to tighten the kicker - yes the act of sailing is easier than it used to be in that regard - but I'd suggest that less people have dislocated shoulders as a result (I've had reconstruction surgery as a result) - and perhaps it becoming a little easier has helped in a small way people sail Lasers for longer and the masters fleet grow. I'd suggest that the original concept has not been lost, and a Laser still has the same handling as it did in the 1970s. (Technique has improved though!)

 

Yes the Laser is more expensive as a result of better hull construction, better foils and better running gear, but particularly in North America by increased profit margins by suppliers. Parts particularly have dramatically increased in price and as a result, cheap imitations ("practice parts") are now available. Inflation adjusted, Lasers have nearly doubled in the US. In NZ their rise has been closer to 30% over a similar period, more in keeping with the increased costs of the improvements, plus the fact that Lasers are no longer manufactured in New Zealand and have to be shipped in from Australia.

 

The Byte is for sale in the US new for $5750 and is pitched by sellers as a cheaper alternative to the Laser Radial (US$6515) - source is West Coast Sailing for both prices. (The Laser could do better to compete on price in the US!!)

 

Having said that, the Laser still attracts the largest number of adult one design fleets because it has close racing - and is still cheaper than many other international classes raced - for example the Finn.

 

The challenge and real growth for the class still is small club sailing - the grass roots - getting people to race Lasers for fun. The best way is for beginners to join in groups - or face being by themselves out the back door for a few seasons.

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505 has box rule foils and a fixed hull shape? Do they allow square headed sails like on a skiff?

 

The 505 is specifically NOT a development class, according to its designer and its other creators. As designer John Westell wrote in detail at the time, the fact that it's a one design is the basic point of the class. He specifically wrote that he felt that the traditional British model of restricted-development classes was going to suffer because of increasing cost and therefore a ONE DESIGN class was the way to go.

 

The Coronet "prototype" was then picked up by owners from the Caneton development class, who asked Westell to modify the Coronet so that it could form the basis of a new ONE DESIGN class.

 

The class rules specifically state that the hull shape has to follow Westell's lines plan (with some building tolerances) and that the sailplan is one design. In contrast, development classes don't have a lines plan to be followed.

 

The fact that a one design class allows some latitude and tolerances does not make it a development class; that's been pointed out at length by people like the man who essentially created the first International One Design yacht class, George W Elder.

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The game is fun. Those who are introduced to it and supported as they learn about it tend to stick around because the game is fun.

All it takes is people who have motivation and the time to be the welcoming hosts to the rest of the players.

 

For twelve years I have been railing on that which seems to be an impossible concept for way too many if my fellow sailors to grasp.

 

 

The game isn't fun if abusive people like you keep on telling other people that we have no right to their opinions and that anyone who doesn't follow all of your ideas is a dickhead.

 

It's also not fun if we have to deal with abusive people like you who tell us that we have no right to be involved in a class association, even if some of us have succeeded in reviving youth interest in classes that we run.

 

The first time I had contact with you, on the Laser Forum, you were anything but welcoming - you were vicious, arrogant and abusive, simply because I politely expressed an opinion about the competitive longevity of Laser sails that differed with yours. I may add that around that time I was district champion and top 10 nationally, so I was not exactly clueless; but you didn't bother to ask for details, you just threw abuse.

 

Getting abused and insulted by you was not fun. It was not welcoming, If you want to make the game fun and welcoming, why not turn off the hate, abuse, arrogance and insults that you throw around so often, and try respecting your fellow Laser sailors instead.

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I am one of those guys who stands behind a total stranger as he buys a pack of cigarettes and days, "Don't buy them!!"

Trouble is, if that stranger says "**** you" and buys an extra packet have you done good or harm? I still really struggle with knowing when to just keep my big mouth shut because telling what I see as the truth will do more harm than good, but I do have to accept such times exist, probably more often than I'd like to think.
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Getting abused and insulted by you was not fun. It was not welcoming, If you want to make the game fun and welcoming, why not turn off the hate, abuse, arrogance and insults that you throw around so often, and try respecting your fellow Laser sailors instead.

 

 

Trouble is, if that stranger says "**** you" and buys an extra packet have you done good or harm? I still really struggle with knowing when to just keep my big mouth shut because telling what I see as the truth will do more harm than good, but I do have to accept such times exist, probably more often than I'd like to think.

.

 

....yup,,,sometimes even the best intentions can backfire.......not to say that I think Gouv was acting with best intentions when he had some semblance of authority

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can we get a readers digest report for those of us that don't have the time to read through pages and pages of stuff? Please?

 

Don't think one exists. I'll alert a couple of acquaintances in the media and hope they do a report. One of the story lines could be about the accusations that PSA are facing, the people (including Bill Crane) behind it and the 'evidence' that has been shared to date. Haven't seen any reports on that yet.

 

Be good if others encouraged their boating media too...

 

No doubt there will be more online chatter... understand that this isn't the trial, it's a discovery hearing - and discovery won't finish until November 24. The actual trial will be later.

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Can we get a readers digest report for those of us that don't have the time to read through pages and pages of stuff? Please?

 

Don't think one exists. I'll alert a couple of acquaintances in the media and hope they do a report. One of the story lines could be about the accusations that PSA are facing, the people (including Bill Crane) behind it and the 'evidence' that has been shared to date. Haven't seen any reports on that yet.

 

Be good if others encouraged their boating media too...

 

No doubt there will be more online chatter... understand that this isn't the trial, it's a discovery hearing - and discovery won't finish until November 24. The actual trial will be later.

What! Good Grief Charlie Brown!

 

All I want is a class sail for under $300 and made with some quality racing Dacron sail cloth. I guess that is too much to ask?

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All I want is a class sail for under $300 and made with some quality racing Dacron sail cloth. I guess that is too much to ask?

 

 

Yes. :) I predict that the legal action won't result in cheaper sails, in fact I believe it may have delayed the release of the new sail. The legal action about Bruce Kirby asserting his rights that exist through several contracts.

 

It's possible to get a $300 sail (materials, labor and reasonable profit), BUT the political will is not there with the decision makers (The builders and the ILCA). I hope that they prove me wrong!!

 

Interestingly, a new factor has been the cheap 'practice sails', so now part of the market is being lost has to be a pressure to lower the costs of genuine sails.

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Interestingly, a new factor has been the cheap 'practice sails', so now part of the market is being lost has to be a pressure to lower the costs of genuine sails.

Not sure the business margin math says to give up that margin once you have invited competition. Yes, to keep it out do not make the market so lucrative. But once competition is invited in and invested they might just segment it: Club racers and people who travel.

 

Club racers buy sails infrequently and don't have money. Clone sails help them keep the traveling racers sharp.

 

The reference price for people who travel is the whole regatta experience. That logically supports the price they have now.

 

Will likely hold price and promise longer life.

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Isn't all this legal wrangling about a 40+ year old boat really boring ?? Go check out the Devoti D-Zero and RS Aero threads - new classes, new enthusiasm, excitement and positivity.

Come back when any of these two are part of something like this:

 

http://www.santander2014.com/en/default/actualidad/noticia/text/santander-2014-isaf-worlds-an-open-game-for-laser-and-radial-fleets

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Well said ojfd. These proceeding are pretty important to the class which is without precedent. As your link points says, 72 nations are in attendance for the Laser open, 58 for the Radial. I'm a bit big for an optimist, the only other class that has such great accessibility.

Back to the "boring legal stuff", the Memorandum of Conference was filed... though details are restricted. Wanting to hear how things went...

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This is getting interesting..

http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.ctd.99988/gov.uscourts.ctd.99988.163.0.pdf

(Defendants = LPE)

...I hereby ORDER as follows:

1. Defendants shall produce the following information (either by producing redacted invoices or generating a report) for each Laser sailboat sold since March 2009:

(1) the plaque number of the boat;

(2) the sale price: and

(3) either the identity of the buyer (in the case of buyers who are dealers),or the city, state/province, and country of the location of the buyer (in the case of individual buyers).

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Thanks ojfd. Sounds to me that the court is looking to tabulate royalties due.

Think you might be extrapolating a bit far. AIUI this is about discovery, where AIUI each sides lawyers try to grab as many confidential documents as possible from the other side in the hope of finding stuff that might bolster there case. I'm pretty confident that this has got nothing whatsoever to do with anything the court might want.
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Yeah baby!!! And punative multipliers?? And those complicent in the scam ??

I wonder if the Laser class provides a sufficient "corporate veil" to protect the officers and employees if those individuals are found to have been acting on the wrong side of the rules ??

 

One thing is certain. Those who have consistently recommended Kirby's funds be collected ( and even held in a special account) until a settlement is reached sure look a little more conservative than those who have chosen to ignore his claims.

 

Punitive multipliers...Spoken like a true Texan! In CT, it is my understanding that punitive damages in cases like these are limited to plaintiff's attorney fees and non-taxable costs. The Laser class' corporate bylaws will likely contain indemnity clauses protecting the directors and officers when they are acting in the "best interest" of the organization. I would imaginme there is some type of directors and officers liability insurance in place for the Board members and potentially covering employees as well. In any event, I agree with Jim C - we have a long way to go.

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Or the judge is saying

"How about you show is just how many counterfeit boats you sent out.?!?"

Nope, I'm quite sure all the judge is saying is "you've got to give Kirby's attorney's this information they are asking for".

 

Doubtless Kirby's attorneys want it so they can say something of that sort should they win, but that's months away.

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Or the judge is saying

"How about you show is just how many counterfeit boats you sent out.?!?"

Nope, I'm quite sure all the judge is saying is "you've got to give Kirby's attorney's this information they are asking for".

 

Doubtless Kirby's attorneys want it so they can say something of that sort should they win, but that's months away.

 

Agreed JimC. Though with the addition that in the Judge's opinion that it meets all the relevant / necessary criteria.

 

It's possible that we won't ever be told what the figures are, however Kirby can calculate the total number of Lasers built then subtract the number which other builders have made. So Kirby is likely to already have a pretty good idea what the figures will be. All that equals very little wiggle room to fudge the figures for Bill Crane and Rastegar.

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Or the judge is saying

"How about you show is just how many counterfeit boats you sent out.?!?"

Nope, I'm quite sure all the judge is saying is "you've got to give Kirby's attorney's this information they are asking for".

 

Doubtless Kirby's attorneys want it so they can say something of that sort should they win, but that's months away.

Ah, let them have their pitchforks and torches (sorry, could not resist). They don't get to play with them much any more.

 

I'm actually surprised the other way... at how much of BKI's discovery is being cut back/limited, and that last bit about his counsel is odd. There is nothing to read into that document either way. Par for the course...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Noting the comments in the link, I don't think one needs to be a conspiracy theorist to suggest the timing of the release of this sail is a good strategy. It is wise of Laser Performancel to demonstrate they are interested in developing the class - especially now with all the noise going on in addition to the launch of some serious competition from the Aero and the D Zero. People have bemoaning the quality of the sail for years. This should ease some of those concerns. With the heavier cloth, it definitely should last longer, but it wouldn't do the class much good if was noticeably faster. I doubt the idea is to make the old sail obsolete. Plus, I wonder what the cost do the new one will ultimately be? In any case, for a training sail at this time, I would still pick the Intensity. You can buy 3 of them right now (on sale for $135) for just a few bucks more than one of the "Mark II".

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Works for me. Sailmakers charge an optional $30 royalty per sail for the Lightning class and put a little tag on the sail. If you want the sail class legal, you pay the $30.

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Wondering where Performance Sailcraft stands on the matter - whether or not they will be selling them. This seems like a Laser Performance initiative, which means it will not be available in the NZ and Australian markets. Here's some notes on testing the sail back in 2011 in San Francisco: http://claysails.com/node/392

 

Also, the new sail is meant to be introduces with a carbon top section, ending the frequent replacement due to bending of the current alloy one. Here's one already developed... http://csparnz.com/c-laser/

 

Personally, I won't be buying any non-legal sails or spars. I don't want to become used to them when sailing in regattas and have to change back and forwards.

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Hmmm... reading in Tillerman's post linked above...

In any case, didn't Bruce Kirby terminate his agreement with LaserPerformance at some point during his legal battle with them? That's why the class changed the Fundamental Rule so that a Laser would still be a legal Laser even though there was no longer any agreement in force between LaserPerformance and Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc.

 

Not sure that the above comment is correct - or at least is an established fact. According to Kirby he either had the right to sell his rights under the contract, in which case he later reversed them - or he did not complete the transfer according to the terms of the builders contract - in which case those rights are still his. No matter which way I look at it, those rights are still Kirby's. What Tillerman is putting forward as a question, is the position which I think is argued by LaserPerformance?

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Gannt,

 

As far as I know, Laser sails are made by Hyde and North..

This particular design has been in works for several years now. It is patented now and that patent belongs to ILCA ;) The timing of release it by LPE is unclear, but my understanding is that this is the next design for the full rig. PSA could probably also order the same sails and sell them, but it's up to them whether to do it right now or wait until the sail becomes 'official'.

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