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Intended topics are Laser politics, governance, which at the time of creation focuses on the ILCA rule change to remover the requirement for builders to use the Laser brand; and agreement being sought by commercial parties as attempts are made to secure the Laser as an Olympic class for 2024 and beyond.

The hope is that this thread will morph into topics focusing on making improvements to the Laser class.

Note that there is a possibility of no longer using the Laser trademark and a name change to the class. Very few people want to stop using the Laser trademark or change the name of the class, however resolve to do so if the cost of using the Laser name is too high.

This thread is started in the hope that it replaces the following threads:

  • ILCA gives LPE the boot seeking new Laser Builder:  link
  • Lasers - Applying a Blow Torch: link

The intention of giving the above name is that when this thread is linked externally like on Facebook, the thread name is displayed.

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The cost of misinformation As an ILCA World Council member, I am alarmed at some "news stories" in the The Sailor's Voice (Facebook), specifically those posted by Jean-Pierre Kiekens. His comments

https://www.sailing.org/news/90895.php#.YHkHCy2ZNN0 Laser Radial sailor Nethra Kumanan has become the first ever female Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympic Games.

In a rare moment of seriousness I will say that this is NOT a good thing. While COVID-19 will likely prove to be similar to the flu in terms of mortality rate (i.e. low single digit %), it is far, far

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1 hour ago, bacq2bacq said:

image.thumb.png.9bf4c0cfedd66c10570df5315159f8da.png

Absolutely, Positively Laser - Brought to you by RS Sailing!

The sailor in the foreground, unless I am very mistaken, is Marc Jacobi, former US Olympic campaigner in the Laser until he moved up to the RS Aero in 2016. You can read his blog at Marc Jacobi's Sailing Blog.

PS. Do we need to change the title of this thread?

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50 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Absolutely, Positively Laser - Brought to you by RS Sailing!

The sailor in the foreground, unless I am very mistaken, is Marc Jacobi, former US Olympic campaigner in the Laser until he moved up to the RS Aero in 2016. You can read his blog at Marc Jacobi's Sailing Blog.

PS. Do we need to change the title of this thread?

Advertisers come and go, so no, a change of name is not warranted.

I'd love to see RS become a manufacturer of the Laser - under the new policies, this is a possibility.

---

Nothing can take away that Marc Jacobi won the Aero's first world champs in 2017, then again in 2018 (Aero 9). I checked out his results. 6th in the 1999 Australian National champs, 12th in 1999 Sail Auckland. The highest world ranking he held in the Laser was 78th. Clearly Marc is a good sailor (far better than me). This shows how strong the Laser class is.

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Turns out that Jean Pierre Kiekens is central to some of the misinformation, in part because his blog is posted by an administrator on the EurILCA Facebook page, however also because his blog is repeated as an article on Sailing Illustrated. Additionally, it is my observation that Kiekens is quoted almost as often as LaserPerformance in what in my view can be characterized as an attack on the ILCA.

Examples include this: in January 2019

Quote

5. other issues include the negative impacts of Brexit, an unsigned 2020 Olympic contract, an expiring licence to operate for ILCA ending August 2019, perverse impacts of litigation issues, lack of agreement on intellectual property rights, requests to move ILCA to the UK and appoint new staff, and the list goes on

Since when did ILCA need a license to operate? This refers to a contract for ILCA to use the Laser trademark for it's website, promotion of regattas and so forth. Subsequently it was signed, though without the clauses ILCA objected to.

On 1 July 2019, Tracy Ulman in a release on the ILCA website said:

Quote

Going forward, World Sailing have invited all parties to what they have described as a final meeting this Friday 28th to try and finalise a comprehensive agreement on FRAND licensing, the status of parties under the LCMA and compliance with World Sailing’s Olympic contract.

In recognition of this meeting and to avoid any negative influence on the World Sailing initiative, the ILCA World Council has agreed to defer the launch of the ballot until after this Friday’s meeting. If the meeting is successful in reaching an agreement with all parties that will guarantee Olympic retention, the class will take no further action on the rule change ballot. If not the World Council will immediately review the options with World Sailing and present our members with the alternatives available for Olympic retention.

Yet just 5 days later Jean Pierre Kiekens followed up with this post on 6 July 2019:

Quote

The contemplated move by the international class came at the very last minute, and maybe even too late, as the class rules require one month for the vote to take place (assuming it’s ok to leave the Laser constitution intact - which requires a 6 months vote for any change to be made).

The announcement of this vote came just after LaserPerformance and the Laser class ILCA announced this June 30 they had reached a new trademark agreement for the use of the name Laser and the Laser logo at regattas. 

Many observers thought it was a greatly positive step towards a resolution of the crisis, but it wasn’t. Actually, ILCA’s position is that the 1998 trademark agreement between LP and ILCA was set to run in perpetuity and there was no need to change it.

Important to this is:

  1. The ILCA World Council voted in February 2019 to make this rule change, if the commercial parties did not reach agreement to use the Laser trademark. 
  2. ILCA had no control over when Farzad Rastegar decided to sign the agreement. Rastegar knew the vote was coming because LaserPerformance at that time was a part of the ILCA World Council, and voted against the contingency plan proposing a rule change if the commercial parties could not agree. 
  3. There is an enormous gulf between the ILCA saying there is "no need to change it" in reference to the Laser trademark agreement (for regattas and normal ILCA use) and "objecting to clauses proposed by Farzad Rastegar" - something that ILCA have steadfastly maintained since 2016.

What is very clear is that Jean Pierre Kiekens is:

  • not checking facts against public statements
  • consistently takes one position which appears to favor LaserPerformance
  • not bothering to contact Tracy Usher or Eric Faust to fact check or even confirm positions.

I have approached a number of people in the ILCA World Council.  All have responded in a timely manner, with one exception: Jean Luc Michon has not returned any of my emails.

These releases by Jean Pierre Kiekens cause ILCA officials to work overtime making extraordinary attempts to try and counter the misinformation. All except Eric are volunteers.

My want here is for Jean Pierre Kiekens to lift his game. I'm not opposed to Jean Pierre Kiekens per se, though am very much against the misinformation he spreads.

 

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17 minutes ago, Gouvernail said:

A yes vote is not absolutely positively Laser.

 

A yes vote is the absolutely positively for sure way to guarantee you are NOT sailing a Laser. A yes vote is....

Welcome to ILCA dinghy and FRAND hell...  high prices, quality problems, supply problems, a lawsuit and your dues paying for lawyers instead of sailing. WS now owns your ass LOL.

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9 minutes ago, Wess said:

A yes vote is the absolutely positively for sure way to guarantee you are NOT sailing a Laser. A yes vote is....

Good point. The only way to guarantee that all Lasers will absolutely, positively always be called Lasers is to vote NO. Is that why Gantt started this thread?

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1 minute ago, tillerman said:

Good point. The only way to guarantee that all Lasers will absolutely, positively always be called Lasers is to vote NO. Is that why Gantt started this thread?

I think you are Canntt and you both secretly want the Aero in the Olympics. And the LASER to die. But that means I have to ignore you too.  You Canntt and Doug Lord.

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Anyone have any insight on the likelihood of LP being reinstated as builder when the "No" vote gets up?  I'd think it would be much easier for them to become an approved builder again with the FRAND system

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1 hour ago, jgh66 said:

If I've got it right there was a paper from LPE, where they are saying that they are moving production to Portugal due to Brexit, but they also have an chinese factory that is serving asian markets. Then they said that LPE stops to exist in september 2019. That was also the reason why they wanted ILCA to sign a new trademark agreement on using the name Laser for running Regattas. 

No idea what all of this means. 

Correct. Here's what Laser Performance said on Facebook:

image.png.7ae6eb0961682493bc723535d67cd55f.png

There is definitely a SailLaser that was just launched there.

Also, a company in Portugal that makes rudders. 

The Far East sailing company in Shanghai China does make boats, but it is unclear whether or not they make or resell Lasers.

3 minutes ago, JMP said:

Anyone have any insight on the likelihood of LP being reinstated as builder when the "No" vote gets up?  I'd think it would be much easier for them to become an approved builder again with the FRAND system

I believe that is entirely up to Farzad Rastegar, and the actions he takes over the next few weeks.

The agreement is signed by Laser Performance.

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3 hours ago, Tcatman said:

The Nacra 17 was a class of TWO protoyptes (without the Carbon mast which was the design) was entered into the multihull trials and selected by ISAF at the time.   ISAF had a large hand in writing the class association agreement with NACRA .   The class works for the olympic pro sailors, World Sailing and Nacra.   notable rule...  you can't move a fitting on the boat .... its that tightly controlled.   The ugly rumors were that lots of repairs could get the boat up to speed.  For quad number 2, the boat was redesigned and now is full foiling... Its pretty much an olympic only class with an international racing circuit....  I think they noted 400 boats delivered.    for the Amateur sailor... most of the Gold cup events have entry slots  allocated per each country.   Max is 5 slots per country.   So early in the quad.... Miami OCR's won't fill the allocated slots and the overflow goes to the US Sailors not on the Olympic team.  I have never heard of a recreational N17 fleet in the US or North America.   Bottom line.... World Sailing doesn't give a FIG about how you think your class should be run..... they manage the international scene that builds towards the olympics.   Step aside or get run over.

There is a dysfunctional relationship between the growth of grassroots sailing and Olympic sailing.

 The Finn has a little grass roots sailing mostly with their Masters.

Only the Laser has both going on. And last I checked, there were plenty of flying figs (and active Laser sailors) running ILCA.

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7 hours ago, Wess said:

I think you are Canntt 

Don't you think this persistent infantility is liable to reduce your credibility overall? 

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2 hours ago, JimC said:

Don't you think this persistent infantility is liable to reduce your credibility overall? 

Well if you can’t tell the difference between a joking and serious post it seems unlikely that would be a concern. It’s Sailing Anarchy. The internet. There is more half truths, bullshit and lies about what actually matters to Laser sailors in this thread than anything out there. If you don’t know that Canntt and Tiller are really two VERY different people I am not sure anything anyone says will matter. Chill mon. Go sailing. It’s a joke, this ain’t real life and believe it or not the sky ain’t gonna crash down no matter what happens in Laser land.

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13 hours ago, BruceH-NZ said:

The Far East sailing company in Shanghai China does make boats, but it is unclear whether or not they make or resell Lasers.

There are several producers of copy boats in the world but, as of March, 2019 there were only three approved builders and their factories: PSJ in Japan, PSA in Australia and LP in the UK. 

There was almost an approved builder in China, Shanghai Far East went through the entire process up through producing the requisite 10 boats and the ILCA Technical Officer "approved" them to be a builder. And then SFE and LP were not able to come to terms for the rights to use the name Laser. What was interesting in this case is that they were going to be a sub-builder of LP (as allowed in the LCMA) and LP had requested we work with them to go through the approval process. So it is ironic that the entire process was followed, at SFE's expense, and then in the end they could not come to a deal on the IP.

It is interesting to note that since the current LCMA was signed in 2005 there is yet to be an example of a sub-licensed builder. 

In my opinion this is the example that drives the need to have a solid agreement between the three trademark owners to license builders when complying with World Sailing's Olympic Equipment Policy. 

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16 hours ago, Wess said:

A yes vote is the absolutely positively for sure way to guarantee you are NOT sailing a Laser. A yes vote is....

Welcome to ILCA dinghy and FRAND hell...  high prices, quality problems, supply problems, a lawsuit and your dues paying for lawyers instead of sailing. WS now owns your ass LOL.

So basically no change then ...

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14 hours ago, BruceH-NZ said:

There is a dysfunctional relationship between the growth of grassroots sailing and Olympic sailing.

 The Finn has a little grass roots sailing mostly with their Masters.

Only the Laser has both going on. And last I checked, there were plenty of flying figs (and active Laser sailors) running ILCA.

Dysfunctional...???   well you should probably explain how you think a functional relationship should work.    IMO... Whatever the current relationship is.... the rank and file have not kept up with the details.   Indeed.   guys like Gouv are clearly opposed to Olympics  aka professional sailors calling the shots) .... BUT since you can't roll back the clock...  You get to deal with the situation now.       FYI.  Marstrom was the last major builder of Tornado's.    He stopped producing T's once they were out of the olympics..    Say what you want... BUT being Olympic will insure the production and availability of boats world wide and  so .....  even Gouv gets... the bottom line...   he wants boats and equipment available.  

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It's very difficult for me to understand why LPE doesn't serve the North American market from their plant in China. After all, the problem with Chinese made 420s is that their quality is too high!

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1 minute ago, spankoka said:

It's very difficult for me to understand why LPE doesn't serve the North American market from their plant in China. After all, the problem with Chinese made 420s is that their quality is too high!

You may have missed Tracy Usher's comment above. He said that in spite of making attempts, Farzad Rastegar was not able to reach an agreement with SFE.

There is no builder of official Lasers in China.

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24 minutes ago, dgmckim said:

giphy.gif

 

7 minutes ago, tillerman said:

Don't you think this persistent infantility is liable to reduce your credibility overall? 
 

Those are absolutely positively the funniest posts I have read in a long time.

That will be the day when.... "when lawnmowers fly"... go figure!!

Damn Tiller, that sure needs music!!  But I am so busy laughing that I got nothing.

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57 minutes ago, spankoka said:

OK, the unofficial ones may be official sooner or later. 

As Tracy's story demonstrates, definitely, absolutely, positively so, but only if "Yes" wins, and the trademark can no longer be used as a barrier to market entry.  

It is hilarious that LP wants to subcontract out some of its own supply to a particular company (SFE), asks ILCA  to work with that company through the approval process, the entire process is followed, at the subcontractor company's expense, and then in the end, LP fails to come to a deal on the IP terms with the company it selected itself as its own possible subcontractor! How likely do you think LP will come to an agreement with a company (PSA) it despises and accuses of plotting against itself?

Do you understand why LP has been "demanding" that new builders (like SFE) be selected by the current builders, even though such a concept (the monopolist regulating market entry) would be laughable in any introductory economics course?  

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The reason I have changed the thread's name is so that posts look like this:

image.png.ccf04086321f25d377df882cd51d2bbd.png

Previously, links on Facebook appeared like this:

image.png.c68523ae238419aabea6d2923b53b470.png

A title which was relevant earlier this year, however the subject has significantly moved forward.

This is an unmoderated forum. If you do no wish to see off topic posts, then I suggest you join Sailing Anarchy (if you haven't already) and set your preferences to ignore.

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(The following is a repeat of what was posted on the The Sailor's Voice in Facebook a few minutes ago).

Tracy Usher, ILCA president speaks:
3 hours ago, SFBayLaser said:

There are several producers of copy boats in the world but, as of March, 2019 there were only three approved builders and their factories: PSJ in Japan, PSA in Australia and LP in the UK. 

There was almost an approved builder in China, Shanghai Far East went through the entire process up through producing the requisite 10 boats and the ILCA Technical Officer "approved" them to be a builder. And then SFE and LP were not able to come to terms for the rights to use the name Laser. What was interesting in this case is that they were going to be a sub-builder of LP (as allowed in the LCMA) and LP had requested we work with them to go through the approval process. So it is ironic that the entire process was followed, at SFE's expense, and then in the end they could not come to a deal on the IP.

It is interesting to note that since the current LCMA was signed in 2005 there is yet to be an example of a sub-licensed builder. 

In my opinion this is the example that drives the need to have a solid agreement between the three trademark owners to license builders when complying with World Sailing's Olympic Equipment Policy. 

There are some signs that an agreement between the three Laser trademark owners has made some headway, but not enough to give Takao Otani or others privy to the proceedings confidence that an agreement will be reached.

That being the case, what would the scenario look like without an agreement?
If a "yes" vote is returned, then the class will move forward without issue, as it gives the class the option to appoint official builders without the requirement to use the Laser trademark.
However there is a very real possibility that a yes vote will not be returned. EurILCA has called for a "no" vote, as have some commentators. With those calls, public statements were made, for example: "Voting NO does not mean that you vote is for Laser being kick out of the Olympics, but it will force all the parties to come to an agreement with the ongoing negotiations."
EurILCA Jean Luc Michon was pressed on how voting no was to help the TM holders by US coach and two time world Laser champ John Bertrand at the open recent meeting at the Japan world Laser champs. (ref video 36:56). Jean Luc Michon said "of course we want to see the Laser at the Olympics" and said that he wanted the three trademark holders to reach agreement. Disappointingly, Michon was unwilling or unable to give any rationale on how voting "no" would force parties to come to an agreement.
ILCA Vice President Hugh Leicester was more direct, stating that the EurILCA had no position if an agreement was not reached. It is important to note that this is not a vote in the same sense of electing representatives. It is a request by the ILCA World Council for its members to approve a rule change, which they see as the best way forward for the class.
Further, Takao Otani, one of the three trademark holders said exactly the opposite of Michon - in that a yes vote would help the parties reach agreement.
Elsewhere, Chris Caldecoat who is the CEO for PSA and another Laser TM holder, is pushing for a yes vote.
On the basis on these public statements, two of the three Laser trademark holders want ILCA members to vote "yes".
In my view, it is Farzad Rastegar who is holding up agreement, which is ironic, because he stands to lose the most if agreement is not reached. Specifically, Rastegar is not just giving up the Laser trademark fees, he is also diminishing the value of the Laser brand as the prospect of the class moving forward without it looms large.
What is interesting is that both Otani and Caldecoat are willing to give up the Laser brand so that the class can move forward. Boat builders will be appointed if a yes vote is returned, so a vote "yes" will lose both trademark holders fees. In my view, they are supporting ILCA ahead of profits.
Detractors point out that Otani and Caldecoat will profit from building Lasers, however the pathway forward is that they will get to build the boats we currently call the Laser irrespective of whether an agreement is reached with Rastegar. Literally, all lose if an agreement is not reached.
It is on this basis, on what is good for the class, that a few hours ago, as ILCA member I cast my vote "yes".
There is a very real possibility that a no vote will be returned. If this happens, things become less clear, the Laser is at risk from being dropped from the Olympics, and ILCA will be forced to evaluate what to do.
One option is that another vote will be called to pass the same rule change. ILCA have a solid basis to call another vote, though next time it will be with greater clarity of the issues outlined above which have come out over the last few weeks.
This leaves the question of EurILCA, and Jean Luc Michon. On the basis of his public statements, the suitability of Mr Michon to continue as EurILCA chair is brought sharply into question. It is only a question of time before calls made privately for Mr Michon's resignation become public, so the possibility of a new vote, with the support of EurILCA and a new chair is very real.
Finally, a public note to Mr Rastegar. Please agree to what Mr Otani, Mr Caldecoat and ILCA are asking you to agree to. We all want to use the Laser brand on the boat. But understand that our resolve to move forward is absolute, and if you don't agree, it will be without the Laser brand. And that will hurt your bottom line more anyone else's.
---
A personal note. I am an ordinary ILCA member who is swept up in these issues about one of my life's greatest passions: sailboat racing. I have no commercial relationship with any party, other than paying membership fees and buying Laser equipment without any discount.
---
The Japan meeting can be found in an earlier posting on The Sailors Voice. Tracy's quote above is from the another forum, and can be found here: http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/209593-absolutely-positively-laser/&do=findComment&comment=6659761
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8 minutes ago, BruceH-NZ said:

The reason I have changed the thread's name is so that posts look like this:

image.png.ccf04086321f25d377df882cd51d2bbd.png

Previously, links on Facebook appeared like this:

image.png.c68523ae238419aabea6d2923b53b470.png

This is an unmoderated forum. If you do no wish to see off topic posts, then I suggest you join Sailing Anarchy (if you haven't already) and set your preferences to ignore.

You didn’t change the thread name, you started a new thread. Needlessly.

Spreading misinformation, tut tut. 

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Earlier, I wrote:

1 hour ago, BruceH-NZ said:
EurILCA Jean Luc Michon was pressed on how voting no was to help the TM holders by US coach and two time world Laser champ John Bertrand at the open recent meeting at the Japan world Laser champs. (ref video 36:56). Jean Luc Michon said "of course we want to see the Laser at the Olympics" and said that he wanted the three trademark holders to reach agreement. Disappointingly, Michon was unwilling or unable to give any rationale on how voting "no" would force parties to come to an agreement.
ILCA Vice President Hugh Leicester was more direct, stating that the EurILCA had no position if an agreement was not reached. It is important to note that this is not a vote in the same sense of electing representatives. It is a request by the ILCA World Council for its members to approve a rule change, which they see as the best way forward for the class.

Then:

1 hour ago, BruceH-NZ said:
There is a very real possibility that a no vote will be returned. If this happens, things become less clear, the Laser is at risk from being dropped from the Olympics, and ILCA will be forced to evaluate what to do.
One option is that another vote will be called to pass the same rule change. ILCA have a solid basis to call another vote, though next time it will be with greater clarity of the issues outlined above which have come out over the last few weeks.
This leaves the question of EurILCA, and Jean Luc Michon. On the basis of his public statements, the suitability of Mr Michon to continue as EurILCA chair is brought sharply into question. It is only a question of time before calls made privately for Mr Michon's resignation become public, so the possibility of a new vote, with the support of EurILCA and a new chair is very real.

The following response was made in FB:

image.png.53ee0738740f388c9d00db56c72b0b84.png

My response:

Quote

I completely agree with you Jack that Jean Luc has worked very hard. Sadly, Jean Luc has not done a great job where and when it was needed as a ILCA World Council member.
One thing I would love to know is what changed Jean Luc's mind. He voted for the rule change as a contingency plan back in February. He speaks about two things, being misinformed and poor communication.
In spite of asking many times, Jean Luc has been to date unwilling or unable to give an explanation about exactly how he was misinformed.
I have been fairly rigorous in my questioning of ILCA World Council members. All who I have reached out to have responded to me except Jean Luc.
Unfortunately for Jean Luc, the information I have seen does not show that there has been poor communication, in fact the opposite. There has been a considerable amount of communication which has been documented. My conclusions regarding communication is that the European region has not been well governed because Jean Luc has not communicated what has been happening at the ILCA World Council meetings. This shows up on district websites. Further, Jean Luc has has not raised his voice when statements have been made that are false. And this is a failure of leadership.
I fully understand that Jean Luc works hard promoting events, however the position is about all governance, not just events. His hard work does not put Jean Luc beyond reproach for these failings.
As a consequence of Jean Luc's leadership of EurILCA, there is a good chance that the Laser name will no longer able to be used, and the Laser may not be in the Olympics in 2024. Ironic, because those are the exact things that Jean Luc says he wants.

In addition I want to add that I have tried very hard to understand Jean Luc's position, including emailing him directly.

While Jean Luc may start making public statements addressing these points, I have lost patience waiting and have voted yes. Additionally, I have reached the determination that Jean Luc Michon is not the right person to chair EurILCA.

A further consequence is that the ILCA officers have had wo increase their efforts and work harder to undo some of the misinformation that Jean Luc has put forward. This is in addition to what could be described as one of the most important negotiations that the class has ever faced.

My intention is not to attack Jean Luc, rather address his actions which in my view have not been good for the Laser class.

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image.png.cf6b45e3fd395497e634d174caca6ca7.png

Comments like the above one (sent to me privately) are coming in.

I'm posting it here for several reasons:

  • To show that not all of the reactions have been positive.
  • To show the extent that the misinformation campaign has been effective.
  • To underscore the importance in getting ILCA members to vote "yes".
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9 minutes ago, Dex Sawash said:

Pretty sure the others have a clearer pathway to implement FRAND. I would imagine they even submitted plans to WS. Didn't we learn that what WS wants is just a licensing framework for any potential new builders?

Yes, because the trademark and the rights to build the boat are held by the same party. I recall hearing it submitted. Though there still may be issues. The Nacra 17 is up for discussion shortly too. The licensing framework may be a problem, though for the classes concerned, the carrot at the end of the stick is the Olympics which guarantees a few hundred sales.

The quantum difference is that with the Laser, it is a few thousand sales per year - partly because it is a cheaper boat - but also because it is actually three classes (4.7, Radial and Standard).

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8 hours ago, BruceH-NZ said:

image.png.cf6b45e3fd395497e634d174caca6ca7.png

Comments like the above one (sent to me privately) are coming in.

I'm posting it here for several reasons:

  • To show that not all of the reactions have been positive.
  • To show the extent that the misinformation campaign has been effective.
  • To underscore the importance in getting ILCA members to vote "yes".

Reading this message was painful...

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The cost of misinformation
As an ILCA World Council member, I am alarmed at some "news stories" in the The Sailor's Voice (Facebook), specifically those posted by Jean-Pierre Kiekens. His comments seem to be an attack on ILCA and, by extension, on me and other fellow members of the World Council. An example is:
 
"The mistrust between EurILCA and ILCA has actually led to an online petition calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership, including the class president and executive secretary. Both have ignored that call for resignation and have continued with their long planned strategy to have new builders and possibly change the boat name."
 
ILCA does not oppose any of the current builders continuing to build Lasers. The overwhelming majority of representatives (who elect the President and appoint the Executive Secretary) fully support them continuing in their roles. A name change will only be required if the trademark holders fail to reach an agreement to allow new builders use the name - the existing builders can still use Laser. And the class needs new builders to satisfy World Sailing's policy, and as a key strategy to not just build the class, but to build the sport of sailing and particularly in regions with high growth potential.

Mr. Kiekens has been very selective with his sources, and it is clear to me that he has not fact checked. The end result means that an already overstretched ILCA World Council needs to work harder to undo the misinformation that Mr. Kiekens is spreading.

 

Here is my response to some of JPK's statements from his July 3rd, 2019 article: “Laser & the Olympics: More and More Drama with World Sailing Deadline Looming” (black font JPK statements, red font my comments):

 

 

The announcement of this vote came just after LaserPerformance and the Laser class ILCA announced this June 30 they had reached a new trademark agreement for the use of the name Laser and the Laser logo at regattas. Many observers thought it was a greatly positive step towards a resolution of the crisis, but it wasn’t. Actually, ILCA’s position is that the 1998 trademark agreement between LP and ILCA was set to run in perpetuity and there was no need to change it.

Reaching the trademark agreement is a completely separate issue to the effort to get the three trademark holders/builders to reach agreement on FRAND and remain the Olympic equipment.  Moreover, in the agreed-to document, LP finally removed their demand over the last few years to amend rather significantly the 1998 agreement by increasing their control of the trademark use. It was an unacceptable agreement to the future of the class and Laser sailors the world over. The agreement reached just recently effectively maintained the status quo with the trademark usage. It is also worth commenting on your remark that it is “ILCA’s position that the 1998 trademark agreement was set to run in perpetuity”.  It wasn’t a “position”, as there was no termination or expiry date stated in the agreement.

The rationale of the vote is to undo the control LaserPerformance and its sister company Velum have over the Laser via trademarks in most of the world, including Europe, North America and South America.

This is incorrect. The rationale for the vote is to have the option to unbrand the boat if the builders (now only LP/Velum) do not come to agreement. The other two builders have agreed and are ready to meet World Sailing’s deadline and effectively guarantee being retained as the Olympic singlehanded equipment for both men and women. It is worth noting that ILCA does not desire to undo any control that Velum has over its Laser trademarks, but rather the vote allows for a pathway that does not use the Laser trademark should the holders not come to agreement. 


Remember, on March 27th, the international class ILCA terminated LaserPerformance as a builder, despite the risks of shortages of boats globally, with LP producing over 80% of the production of Lasers world-wide. Note that while LaserPerformance was terminated as a builder, ILCA did not suggest there were any technical or non-conformance problems with the LP Lasers.

You’ve skipped over why they were terminated as a builder. It was for a major and on-going breach of the LMCA.


While discussions between the key parties (World Sailing, ILCA, LaserPerformance, Performance Sailcraft Australia, etc.) continued after the May 22nd London meeting, little progress was achieved to reconcile the European Laser associations, federated under EurILCA, and the international class.

Correct, little progress has been made by LP in agreeing to the licensing agreement, as the other two builders have. Two of the three TM holders have publicly said that a “yes” vote would help with negotiations. ILCA is working to correct misinformation, which is at the core of the current difference between EurILCA and ILCA.

No progress towards reconciling the European and international views seems to have been achieved since, on the contrary, and the current statement by EurILCA is a clear reflection of the mistrust that has built over the past months.

Yes, it is curious why there is “mistrust” from the EurILCA perspective. All World Council members, including the three from Europe, continue to be kept informed on this issue, with a group update conference call taking place just yesterday. I can confirm that they have been kept informed simply by checking my email Inbox and conference call record history. Nothing has been kept from the European representatives.

The mistrust between EurILCA and ILCA has actually led to an online petition calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership, including the class president and executive secretary. Both have ignored that call for resignation and have continued with their long planned strategy to have new builders and possibly change the boat name.

Naturally they ignored the call for resignation. The entire World Council (other than perhaps the Europeans), including regional chairs from Asia, Africa, Oceania, North and South America, have been in full support of  our class president and executive secretary. It’s interesting that the two European representatives did not respond to requests for their position on this absurd resignation call. Why was it absurd? Because it was an online petition in Europe only that ended up receiving about 600 or so signatures, if I'm correct. Many of those signing did so because they were against a name change and said so in the comments. This compared with over 9000 votes of a similar petition to keep the Laser in the Olympics – something that the ILCA World Council is working hard to do. A “yes” vote will support that.

While this seems to be a European affair, the main beneficiaries of sidelining LaserPerformance via this class rule change are probably found in New Zealand and Australia, with Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australia eager to access the world market for Lasers. Another beneficiary would be the Japanese builder Performance Sailcraft Japan.

I spent this past weekend with the General Manager of PSA, who was in Canada and sailed in a Masters regatta here. Chris confirmed that PSA is hopeful to see LP agree to the FRAND licensing document so that we can all be assured of remaining Olympic.

 

EurILCA has long been critical of the kind of alliance that seems to operate between the international class and the Australian builder. This is an unfounded statement. I have been on the World Council for 6 years and have not seen any sign of an “alliance”. There is a good working relationship between ILCA and PSA, I think this is because they are reasonable people. ILCA has been firm with PSA when it has been necessary, as PSA must of course observe the same strict standards as all builders must.


ILCA’s involvement with Julian Bethwaite out of Australia - also controlling the 49er -, to develop new rigs, to replace the 4.7, Radial and Standard by the so called C5, C6 and C8 rigs, also contributed to the mistrust, as most European Laser class reps were unaware of this collaboration and also of its scope (thought to be limited to the C5 rig only).

This is not true. The C5 rig was first presented at an ILCA World Council several years ago, with updates presented at subsequent meetings, and with attendance each time by the EurILCA reps and an LP rep.  Additionally, the C5 is not intended to replace the 4.7. The C6 and C8 rigs have been mentioned only in passing, as to my knowledge nothing of substance has been presented on these concepts and the status of their development by the private entities. It should also be noted that if the C5 is ever introduced by the class it will be done so using the established procedures for introducing changes to the class and its rules.

Remember the President of the Laser class stated in a video that emerged in mid-2018 on YouTube that there was no future for Lasers with white sails. On the video, Lasers sailing with the new C5 rigs can be seen with sails featuring the letters ILCA and not the Laser logo.

The ILCA letters should not have been on the C5 sail in the video, and ILCA was not consulted and did not agree for the C5 developer to do this.

But since you brought up the subject of developing new rigs, here’s a little tidbit for you. Many people saw the video of the “ARC” rig, developed in private by LP.  LP provided the World Council with scant information on its development progress, and the LP rep at the most recent World Council Meeting (Nov 2018) claimed they were thinking of abandoning it. That’s why we were all somewhat surprised when the video was released, but even more surprised when we learned LP had submitted the ARC rig to World Sailing as a candidate for the Olympic singlehanded dinghy sea trials and selection. It’s was rather incredible to me that LP would do this without informing the World Council about its intentions.
 

A process to protect the trademark for the alternative name ILCA, via a Delaware corporation named « WeatherHelm » was started in secrecy in 2018 by the international Laser class. ILCA is now a registered trademark for sailboats for the whole of Europe, and very close to be one in the US.

Yes, and this was a proper and prudent move recommended by legal counsel. It is disappointing to hear claims from some Europeans that WeatherHelm was established for ILCA commercial (i.e., revenue generating) purposes.

Also contributing to the mistrust has been the issue of the « Aussie Lasers » and the fact that neither the membership nor World Sailing were informed of the non-compliant boats produced by Performance Sailcraft Australia.

This subject has been well covered and explained by previous information releases by Tracy Usher and submission to World Sailing.

European sailors mostly sail on LaserPerformance sailboats, and some results at international regattas may have been affected by the use by some sailors of PSA non-compliant boats.

With LP refusing ILCA’s Chief Technical officer to inspect its factory and boats over several years, how do we know LP boats have been compliant? Regardless, there has been no known or proven advantage between different builder's boats, and at World Championships boats are supplied by the same builder. Previous to 2011, LP used to supply all boats to major events, however in recent years has pulled back from doing this and relies on dealers to supply charter boats.

The last attempt to change the Laser name, in that case for the « Kirby Torch » and to sideline LaserPerformance, ended up in court and was unsuccessful. While this is about 5 year old, the court case is still ongoing.

This is misinformation. What court case are you referring to regarding a name change? During this time, ILCA released plaques and inspected LP's premises to ensure that boats complied with the strict one design principles. ILCA was also a respondent in that legal action and emphatically rejects the notion that the case was about “sidelining LaserPerformance". 

 

We have heard many times now from EurILCA reps that “they don’t want to change the name from Laser”. I can assure them that nobody on the World Council wants to change the name. The name would be changed (or better said, simply not used for the boat) only if required to remain Olympic due to LP not signing on.

ILCA intends also to require steep fees from builders - US$100,000 annually, according to ILCA president Tracy Usher. This is down the US$200,000 that were initially considered.

It is important to state that the fee is not “for ILCA”, but is to place funds into a royalty pool for the current trademark owners/builders to share on a representative basis. Any final decision on fees is subject to the negotiations still taking place, and based on the number of boats built.

And if LP is officially re-instated, with their already amortized building facilities and their trained manpower, which builders will dare competing with them, including on the European market?

If it ends up that an interested builder assesses the situation and the potential market and economic as not being not a wise investment, then they simply won’t compete. Note that the key regions of focus will be the area that have not received good supply (e.g., NA, SA, Asia).

And the timing of the vote is also an issue, as the full month required by the class rules may not be respected.

The class rule will be respected.

With the ongoing distrust, the issue of having independent parties to verify the voting is also being raised, as under the current system, ILCA is in charge of receiving and counting the votes.

The vote will be completely valid and fair, of that I am certain.

And all of that has to be done nearly in real time, as the vote runs until July 31. Initially, there was talk of about a week to process the votes, but this is not possible any longer.

Not true (see Tracy’s recent statement on this).

For example, the European sailors may vote mostly for the No.

And they may not. We remain hopeful and optimistic that European Laser sailors and throughout the world can see that a yes vote increases the chances of an agreement reached by the trademark holders, with two of the three TM holders publicly pushing for a yes vote. Only a “yes” vote secures the Laser class for the 2024 Olympics. Significantly, EurILCA do not have a position (referred by some as an “insurance policy”) if the TM holders do not reach an agreement.

 

North American members may mostly opt for the Yes too because of the supply issues, which are supposed to be resolved with the appointment of new builders.

Yes, it is true that there have been significant supply issues in North America and other regions, as it seems LP is not interested in meeting the demand. A yes vote means that new builders can be appointed in those areas and meet the demand for Laser and parts.

I attended a club level event yesterday in North America. Very experienced sailors doing an evening series. It was real Laser sailing. The kind of authentic Laser sailing that disappeared unfortunately in many places, including in Montreal, where the Laser was born.

You have mentioned more than once in your blog about the decreasing Laser activity in the Montreal area, yet it appears (from my discussions with active Montreal sailors) that you haven’t offered to volunteer to help turn this around.  A year ago I contacted and encouraged the great folks at Beaconsfield Yacht Club (Montreal) to host the Canadian Laser Nationals. They came through and put on a great event this past May with 55 boats entered. It was interesting that you did not even drop by at the club or sail in the regatta (and join the class association). I note that you have a child that races a 4.7, who would have been welcomed to sail in the regatta. Now you would likely say that this was because there were only four 4.7’s entered, but should that matter?  Your son could have sailed in the Radial fleet, as it was a light air event.


But this vote may not be that important after all, because ILCA’s plan may actually be more a fairy tale than a real strategy, as it entails substantial legal perils.

ILCA is always in search of sound legal advice. If you are privy to any, we want to hear. In reaching its position ILCA has received legal advice (and at very reasonable cost), which does not match what appears to be your subjective opinion.

So whatever side you take, like in a nasty divorce case, a negotiated settlement usually offers the best, or least damaging, outcome.

I first joined the ILCA World Council in 2012. During my time as the North American chair I have been impressed with the conduct of the ILCA in what has been described as one of the most challenging periods in its existence. The number of emails and phone conferences is impressive. Meetings are held, proper minutes are kept and the Laser class is run much in the way you would expect of the most popular Olympic sailing class in the world. We are in regular contact with not only Farzad Rastegar, but also his senior managers. Until April 2019, Laser Performance were on the ILCA World Council, so they received much of the same information that I have, and had the same opportunity to make submissions. The decision to dismiss LP for not allowing inspections was not one taken lightly, and could have been made in early 2017. The decision to move forward with the rule change vote was based on making a contingency plan in the event of the three TM holders not reaching an agreement. All three TM holders were at the meeting in February 2019 when that decision was made.

Moreover, recently the WC was in complete agreement to have a EurILCA rep (not a member of the WC) negotiate with Farzad, and although some progress has been made success has not been achieved as yet.

When one of the parties to a vote organizes the voting, can one expect it to be fair?

Yes

 

For an answer, check the voting form that ILCA has put on SurveyMonkey. Instead of simply mentioning the rule change and asking a Yes or a No vote to the proposed rule change, ILCA has included all its one-sided argumentation and slogans in favor of the rule change, i.e. in favor of the Yes. The No is not offered any space to make its case. This is a far cry from acting in a neutral manner. Such bias in the voting process would not be allowed in any democratic process at any level.
Why is the voting page set up this way? It’s because in ILCA World Council vote this past February, with members having plenty of time to consider and discuss the proposed wording, the rule change was overwhelmingly approved by an 11 to 2 margin (one of the two no votes was LP's), including the unanimous approval of all six ILCA Regional Chairmen. With effectively full ILCA approval of a Yes vote, yes, we are going to promote what we strongly believe is right for the class – a Yes vote! The ILCA World Council, on the basis of years of negotiations and attempts to provide a solution have put forward a solution. The ILCA World Council is now asking, as required by its own rules for the ILCA membership to support them in this decision. 

Note that Europe’s Jean Luc Michon and Alexandra Behrens voted for the rule change in February, but have since changed their minds. JL has cited “poor communication” and “being mislead” as the reasons for his position change. I can confidently state, in my opinion, we definitely have not had poor communication and he has not been able to explain precisely how he has been misled.


It's sad to say, but, irrespectively of the merits of the Yes and the No, this looks very much like a rigged voting process. And this was prefectly avoidable.

This is an egregious and offensive statement. And perhaps you can explain how the vote would have been avoidable, and it would also be good to hear your solution if the TM holders/builders do not reach agreement over the next week or so?


 
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Which is more true? 

The Laser dinghy is a popular boat because...

a) it is inexpensive, simple, uniform design with tightly-controlled class such that the best sailor usually wins! 

b) it is branded Laser (TM) with licencing fees and has a multitude of add-on gear where you can pay-to-win! 

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1 hour ago, aroy210677 said:

The last attempt to change the Laser name, in that case for the « Kirby Torch

Andy, I think this is related to the court case in Belgium, where LP has sued a dealer who tried to import PSA boats. As far as I know this was trademark related. Can you give us more infos on that subject? 

A second important point: I heard that during the  meeting in Japan was said, that Rastegar as owner of LP must have said, that he is not interested in the Olympics, as he believes he earns more money when the Laser is not Olympic. JL Michon has said that LP has a big interest in the Olympics, and therefore will sign the agreements, that would keep the Laser in the Olympics, so a rule change is not necessary. Can you give us more infos on that topic? 

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16 minutes ago, Schteiny said:

Which is more true? 

The Laser dinghy is a popular boat because...

a) it is inexpensive, simple, uniform design with tightly-controlled class such that the best sailor usually wins! 

b) it is branded Laser (TM) with licencing fees and has a multitude of add-on gear where you can pay-to-win! 

c) the Laser dinghy is a popular boat because it is a Single Manufacturer One Design (in any given area of the world) with the manufacturer producing uniform boats such that the best sailor usually wins.

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2 hours ago, aroy210677 said:
The cost of misinformation
As an ILCA World Council member, I am alarmed at some "news stories" in the The Sailor's Voice (Facebook), specifically those posted by Jean-Pierre Kiekens. His comments seem to be an attack on ILCA and, by extension, on me and other fellow members of the World Council. An example is:
 
"The mistrust between EurILCA and ILCA has actually led to an online petition calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership, including the class president and executive secretary. Both have ignored that call for resignation and have continued with their long planned strategy to have new builders and possibly change the boat name."
 
ILCA does not oppose any of the current builders continuing to build Lasers. The overwhelming majority of representatives (who elect the President and appoint the Executive Secretary) fully support them continuing in their roles. A name change will only be required if the trademark holders fail to reach an agreement to allow new builders use the name - the existing builders can still use Laser. And the class needs new builders to satisfy World Sailing's policy, and as a key strategy to not just build the class, but to build the sport of sailing and particularly in regions with high growth potential.

Mr. Kiekens has been very selective with his sources, and it is clear to me that he has not fact checked. The end result means that an already overstretched ILCA World Council needs to work harder to undo the misinformation that Mr. Kiekens is spreading.

 

Here is my response to some of JPK's statements from his July 3rd, 2019 article: “Laser & the Olympics: More and More Drama with World Sailing Deadline Looming” (black font JPK statements, red font my comments):

 

 

The announcement of this vote came just after LaserPerformance and the Laser class ILCA announced this June 30 they had reached a new trademark agreement for the use of the name Laser and the Laser logo at regattas. Many observers thought it was a greatly positive step towards a resolution of the crisis, but it wasn’t. Actually, ILCA’s position is that the 1998 trademark agreement between LP and ILCA was set to run in perpetuity and there was no need to change it.

Reaching the trademark agreement is a completely separate issue to the effort to get the three trademark holders/builders to reach agreement on FRAND and remain the Olympic equipment.  Moreover, in the agreed-to document, LP finally removed their demand over the last few years to amend rather significantly the 1998 agreement by increasing their control of the trademark use. It was an unacceptable agreement to the future of the class and Laser sailors the world over. The agreement reached just recently effectively maintained the status quo with the trademark usage. It is also worth commenting on your remark that it is “ILCA’s position that the 1998 trademark agreement was set to run in perpetuity”.  It wasn’t a “position”, as there was no termination or expiry date stated in the agreement.

The rationale of the vote is to undo the control LaserPerformance and its sister company Velum have over the Laser via trademarks in most of the world, including Europe, North America and South America.

This is incorrect. The rationale for the vote is to have the option to unbrand the boat if the builders (now only LP/Velum) do not come to agreement. The other two builders have agreed and are ready to meet World Sailing’s deadline and effectively guarantee being retained as the Olympic singlehanded equipment for both men and women. It is worth noting that ILCA does not desire to undo any control that Velum has over its Laser trademarks, but rather the vote allows for a pathway that does not use the Laser trademark should the holders not come to agreement. 


Remember, on March 27th, the international class ILCA terminated LaserPerformance as a builder, despite the risks of shortages of boats globally, with LP producing over 80% of the production of Lasers world-wide. Note that while LaserPerformance was terminated as a builder, ILCA did not suggest there were any technical or non-conformance problems with the LP Lasers.

You’ve skipped over why they were terminated as a builder. It was for a major and on-going breach of the LMCA.


While discussions between the key parties (World Sailing, ILCA, LaserPerformance, Performance Sailcraft Australia, etc.) continued after the May 22nd London meeting, little progress was achieved to reconcile the European Laser associations, federated under EurILCA, and the international class.

Correct, little progress has been made by LP in agreeing to the licensing agreement, as the other two builders have. Two of the three TM holders have publicly said that a “yes” vote would help with negotiations. ILCA is working to correct misinformation, which is at the core of the current difference between EurILCA and ILCA.

No progress towards reconciling the European and international views seems to have been achieved since, on the contrary, and the current statement by EurILCA is a clear reflection of the mistrust that has built over the past months.

Yes, it is curious why there is “mistrust” from the EurILCA perspective. All World Council members, including the three from Europe, continue to be kept informed on this issue, with a group update conference call taking place just yesterday. I can confirm that they have been kept informed simply by checking my email Inbox and conference call record history. Nothing has been kept from the European representatives.

The mistrust between EurILCA and ILCA has actually led to an online petition calling for the resignation of ILCA’s leadership, including the class president and executive secretary. Both have ignored that call for resignation and have continued with their long planned strategy to have new builders and possibly change the boat name.

Naturally they ignored the call for resignation. The entire World Council (other than perhaps the Europeans), including regional chairs from Asia, Africa, Oceania, North and South America, have been in full support of  our class president and executive secretary. It’s interesting that the two European representatives did not respond to requests for their position on this absurd resignation call. Why was it absurd? Because it was an online petition in Europe only that ended up receiving about 600 or so signatures, if I'm correct. Many of those signing did so because they were against a name change and said so in the comments. This compared with over 9000 votes of a similar petition to keep the Laser in the Olympics – something that the ILCA World Council is working hard to do. A “yes” vote will support that.

While this seems to be a European affair, the main beneficiaries of sidelining LaserPerformance via this class rule change are probably found in New Zealand and Australia, with Global Sailing and Performance Sailcraft Australia eager to access the world market for Lasers. Another beneficiary would be the Japanese builder Performance Sailcraft Japan.

I spent this past weekend with the General Manager of PSA, who was in Canada and sailed in a Masters regatta here. Chris confirmed that PSA is hopeful to see LP agree to the FRAND licensing document so that we can all be assured of remaining Olympic.

 

EurILCA has long been critical of the kind of alliance that seems to operate between the international class and the Australian builder. This is an unfounded statement. I have been on the World Council for 6 years and have not seen any sign of an “alliance”. There is a good working relationship between ILCA and PSA, I think this is because they are reasonable people. ILCA has been firm with PSA when it has been necessary, as PSA must of course observe the same strict standards as all builders must.


ILCA’s involvement with Julian Bethwaite out of Australia - also controlling the 49er -, to develop new rigs, to replace the 4.7, Radial and Standard by the so called C5, C6 and C8 rigs, also contributed to the mistrust, as most European Laser class reps were unaware of this collaboration and also of its scope (thought to be limited to the C5 rig only).

This is not true. The C5 rig was first presented at an ILCA World Council several years ago, with updates presented at subsequent meetings, and with attendance each time by the EurILCA reps and an LP rep.  Additionally, the C5 is not intended to replace the 4.7. The C6 and C8 rigs have been mentioned only in passing, as to my knowledge nothing of substance has been presented on these concepts and the status of their development by the private entities. It should also be noted that if the C5 is ever introduced by the class it will be done so using the established procedures for introducing changes to the class and its rules.

Remember the President of the Laser class stated in a video that emerged in mid-2018 on YouTube that there was no future for Lasers with white sails. On the video, Lasers sailing with the new C5 rigs can be seen with sails featuring the letters ILCA and not the Laser logo.

The ILCA letters should not have been on the C5 sail in the video, and ILCA was not consulted and did not agree for the C5 developer to do this.

But since you brought up the subject of developing new rigs, here’s a little tidbit for you. Many people saw the video of the “ARC” rig, developed in private by LP.  LP provided the World Council with scant information on its development progress, and the LP rep at the most recent World Council Meeting (Nov 2018) claimed they were thinking of abandoning it. That’s why we were all somewhat surprised when the video was released, but even more surprised when we learned LP had submitted the ARC rig to World Sailing as a candidate for the Olympic singlehanded dinghy sea trials and selection. It’s was rather incredible to me that LP would do this without informing the World Council about its intentions.
 

A process to protect the trademark for the alternative name ILCA, via a Delaware corporation named « WeatherHelm » was started in secrecy in 2018 by the international Laser class. ILCA is now a registered trademark for sailboats for the whole of Europe, and very close to be one in the US.

Yes, and this was a proper and prudent move recommended by legal counsel. It is disappointing to hear claims from some Europeans that WeatherHelm was established for ILCA commercial (i.e., revenue generating) purposes.

Also contributing to the mistrust has been the issue of the « Aussie Lasers » and the fact that neither the membership nor World Sailing were informed of the non-compliant boats produced by Performance Sailcraft Australia.

This subject has been well covered and explained by previous information releases by Tracy Usher and submission to World Sailing.

European sailors mostly sail on LaserPerformance sailboats, and some results at international regattas may have been affected by the use by some sailors of PSA non-compliant boats.

With LP refusing ILCA’s Chief Technical officer to inspect its factory and boats over several years, how do we know LP boats have been compliant? Regardless, there has been no known or proven advantage between different builder's boats, and at World Championships boats are supplied by the same builder. Previous to 2011, LP used to supply all boats to major events, however in recent years has pulled back from doing this and relies on dealers to supply charter boats.

The last attempt to change the Laser name, in that case for the « Kirby Torch » and to sideline LaserPerformance, ended up in court and was unsuccessful. While this is about 5 year old, the court case is still ongoing.

This is misinformation. What court case are you referring to regarding a name change? During this time, ILCA released plaques and inspected LP's premises to ensure that boats complied with the strict one design principles. ILCA was also a respondent in that legal action and emphatically rejects the notion that the case was about “sidelining LaserPerformance". 

 

We have heard many times now from EurILCA reps that “they don’t want to change the name from Laser”. I can assure them that nobody on the World Council wants to change the name. The name would be changed (or better said, simply not used for the boat) only if required to remain Olympic due to LP not signing on.

ILCA intends also to require steep fees from builders - US$100,000 annually, according to ILCA president Tracy Usher. This is down the US$200,000 that were initially considered.

It is important to state that the fee is not “for ILCA”, but is to place funds into a royalty pool for the current trademark owners/builders to share on a representative basis. Any final decision on fees is subject to the negotiations still taking place, and based on the number of boats built.

And if LP is officially re-instated, with their already amortized building facilities and their trained manpower, which builders will dare competing with them, including on the European market?

If it ends up that an interested builder assesses the situation and the potential market and economic as not being not a wise investment, then they simply won’t compete. Note that the key regions of focus will be the area that have not received good supply (e.g., NA, SA, Asia).

And the timing of the vote is also an issue, as the full month required by the class rules may not be respected.

The class rule will be respected.

With the ongoing distrust, the issue of having independent parties to verify the voting is also being raised, as under the current system, ILCA is in charge of receiving and counting the votes.

The vote will be completely valid and fair, of that I am certain.

And all of that has to be done nearly in real time, as the vote runs until July 31. Initially, there was talk of about a week to process the votes, but this is not possible any longer.

Not true (see Tracy’s recent statement on this).

For example, the European sailors may vote mostly for the No.

And they may not. We remain hopeful and optimistic that European Laser sailors and throughout the world can see that a yes vote increases the chances of an agreement reached by the trademark holders, with two of the three TM holders publicly pushing for a yes vote. Only a “yes” vote secures the Laser class for the 2024 Olympics. Significantly, EurILCA do not have a position (referred by some as an “insurance policy”) if the TM holders do not reach an agreement.

 

North American members may mostly opt for the Yes too because of the supply issues, which are supposed to be resolved with the appointment of new builders.

Yes, it is true that there have been significant supply issues in North America and other regions, as it seems LP is not interested in meeting the demand. A yes vote means that new builders can be appointed in those areas and meet the demand for Laser and parts.

I attended a club level event yesterday in North America. Very experienced sailors doing an evening series. It was real Laser sailing. The kind of authentic Laser sailing that disappeared unfortunately in many places, including in Montreal, where the Laser was born.

You have mentioned more than once in your blog about the decreasing Laser activity in the Montreal area, yet it appears (from my discussions with active Montreal sailors) that you haven’t offered to volunteer to help turn this around.  A year ago I contacted and encouraged the great folks at Beaconsfield Yacht Club (Montreal) to host the Canadian Laser Nationals. They came through and put on a great event this past May with 55 boats entered. It was interesting that you did not even drop by at the club or sail in the regatta (and join the class association). I note that you have a child that races a 4.7, who would have been welcomed to sail in the regatta. Now you would likely say that this was because there were only four 4.7’s entered, but should that matter?  Your son could have sailed in the Radial fleet, as it was a light air event.


But this vote may not be that important after all, because ILCA’s plan may actually be more a fairy tale than a real strategy, as it entails substantial legal perils.

ILCA is always in search of sound legal advice. If you are privy to any, we want to hear. In reaching its position ILCA has received legal advice (and at very reasonable cost), which does not match what appears to be your subjective opinion.

So whatever side you take, like in a nasty divorce case, a negotiated settlement usually offers the best, or least damaging, outcome.

I first joined the ILCA World Council in 2012. During my time as the North American chair I have been impressed with the conduct of the ILCA in what has been described as one of the most challenging periods in its existence. The number of emails and phone conferences is impressive. Meetings are held, proper minutes are kept and the Laser class is run much in the way you would expect of the most popular Olympic sailing class in the world. We are in regular contact with not only Farzad Rastegar, but also his senior managers. Until April 2019, Laser Performance were on the ILCA World Council, so they received much of the same information that I have, and had the same opportunity to make submissions. The decision to dismiss LP for not allowing inspections was not one taken lightly, and could have been made in early 2017. The decision to move forward with the rule change vote was based on making a contingency plan in the event of the three TM holders not reaching an agreement. All three TM holders were at the meeting in February 2019 when that decision was made.

Moreover, recently the WC was in complete agreement to have a EurILCA rep (not a member of the WC) negotiate with Farzad, and although some progress has been made success has not been achieved as yet.

When one of the parties to a vote organizes the voting, can one expect it to be fair?

Yes

 

For an answer, check the voting form that ILCA has put on SurveyMonkey. Instead of simply mentioning the rule change and asking a Yes or a No vote to the proposed rule change, ILCA has included all its one-sided argumentation and slogans in favor of the rule change, i.e. in favor of the Yes. The No is not offered any space to make its case. This is a far cry from acting in a neutral manner. Such bias in the voting process would not be allowed in any democratic process at any level.
Why is the voting page set up this way? It’s because in ILCA World Council vote this past February, with members having plenty of time to consider and discuss the proposed wording, the rule change was overwhelmingly approved by an 11 to 2 margin (one of the two no votes was LP's), including the unanimous approval of all six ILCA Regional Chairmen. With effectively full ILCA approval of a Yes vote, yes, we are going to promote what we strongly believe is right for the class – a Yes vote! The ILCA World Council, on the basis of years of negotiations and attempts to provide a solution have put forward a solution. The ILCA World Council is now asking, as required by its own rules for the ILCA membership to support them in this decision. 

Note that Europe’s Jean Luc Michon and Alexandra Behrens voted for the rule change in February, but have since changed their minds. JL has cited “poor communication” and “being mislead” as the reasons for his position change. I can confidently state, in my opinion, we definitely have not had poor communication and he has not been able to explain precisely how he has been misled.


It's sad to say, but, irrespectively of the merits of the Yes and the No, this looks very much like a rigged voting process. And this was prefectly avoidable.

This is an egregious and offensive statement. And perhaps you can explain how the vote would have been avoidable, and it would also be good to hear your solution if the TM holders/builders do not reach agreement over the next week or so?


 

Andy -- thanks for clarifying the confusion around these issues. It continues to amaze me that various other people  promote so many different online narratives about what is going on. 

 

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2 hours ago, aroy210677 said:
The cost of misinformation
As an ILCA World Council member, I am alarmed at some "news stories" in the The Sailor's Voice (Facebook), specifically those posted by Jean-Pierre Kiekens...

Great stuff, Andy. This guy is a piece of work. 

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1 hour ago, tillerman said:

c) the Laser dinghy is a popular boat because it is a Single Manufacturer One Design (in any given area of the world) with the manufacturer producing uniform boats such that the best sailor usually wins.

c) is not option. It describes world before “the dispute” AND is not FRAND compliant.

Also a multiple choice failure. 

Also a rhetorical question failure. 

Haha just kidding! I imagine sailors really only want (a) which is inexpensive uniform boats. But, for what it’s worth, most everyone would like to go back to the “good ol’ days”. 

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53 minutes ago, tillerman said:

c) the Laser dinghy is a popular boat because it is a Single Manufacturer One Design (in any given area of the world) with the manufacturer producing uniform boats such that the best sailor usually wins.

While you did qualify this statement it does point out a common misconception many people have, that the Laser Class is SMOD. 

It is not. 

To the average sailor it might appear that way because dealers are constrained to sell equipment only from a builder with authorization to use the trademark in that area. But this does not mean any sailor cannot buy any boat from any builder, in fact this happens. For example, here in the SF Bay Area there is one boat from Japan and a couple from Australia. Likewise, I know there are UK boats in Oceania (as well maybe a Japanese boat) and, of course, Australian (and Japanese) boats in Europe. 

I think the RS Aero is currently an example of a true SMOD - one builder worldwide. 

The Laser Class is a Multiple Manufacturer One Design class. The modern construction manual is specifically intended to make sure all builders produce boats as identically as possible no matter where there factory is located. One has to remember that when this construction manual was adopted in 2005 there were five builders worldwide, two smaller builders in Japan and Chile, a builder in Australia, one in North America and one in the UK. Now we are down to three builders but that does not change that we are still MMOD. 

Going forward, if either the trademark owners agree on a FRAND licensing scheme or, failing that, the rule change passes, then we will have more builders. The system is set up to handle that. While there is no way to know how many builders we might have when we start out I will once again point to the Opti class as the example of what one might expect to shake out over time. 

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12 minutes ago, Gouvernail said:

What the hell is “Laser positive about this thread??

I think it's positive that we get first hand infos from WC members. Would be even better if  JL could also explain here, why he believes that a "no" vote would keep the Laser in the Olympics, if the trademark holders can't find an agreement. I think it's positive if ILCA members can get this kind of first hand infos to be able to make a proper decision to vote yes or no. 

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these European Facebook responses sound a lot like the insane pro-Trump MAGAbots on twitter. that facebook response had all the signs... strong opinion based on clear misinformation, misunderstanding of even basic tenets of the situation, bad grammar/spelling (could be a language barrier issue for this particular point) etc

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15 minutes ago, SFBayLaser said:

Going forward, if either the trademark owners agree on a FRAND licensing scheme or, failing that, the rule change passes, then we will have more builders. The system is set up to handle that. While there is no way to know how many builders we might have when we start out I will once again point to the Opti class as the example of what one might expect to shake out over time. 

So FRAND licensing won’t guarantee many builders? Isn’t that the whole idea?  

 

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3 hours ago, aroy210677 said:
 

EurILCA has long been critical of the kind of alliance that seems to operate between the international class and the Australian builder. This is an unfounded statement. I have been on the World Council for 6 years and have not seen any sign of an “alliance”. There is a good working relationship between ILCA and PSA, I think this is because they are reasonable people. ILCA has been firm with PSA when it has been necessary, as PSA must of course observe the same strict standards as all builders must.

 

[snip]


It's sad to say, but, irrespectively of the merits of the Yes and the No, this looks very much like a rigged voting process. And this was prefectly avoidable.

This is an egregious and offensive statement. And perhaps you can explain how the vote would have been avoidable, and it would also be good to hear your solution if the TM holders/builders do not reach agreement over the next week or so?


 

Amazingly short memories in EurILCA, if the fundamental rule change that kept Laser Performance able to build Lasers after their fight with Kirby is forgotten, not to mention the dubious conduct of that vote, with all the "vote quickly before you have time to think about it" messages. If ILCA has an anti LPE alliance its very recent. Indeed one wonders if in the light of subsequent events whether that rule change was a mistake...

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This vote is about taking control of the future of the boat and the class. What structure would you want in the ideal builders regime? Competition will keep the price down most would accept that premise. What benefit do sailors derive from the trademark? Other than the Trademark Owners (and their dealers etc) who would want that? Maybe we need more of a clean slate mentality. We don’t want to simply trade one right holder for another, do we? 

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18 minutes ago, Schteiny said:

So FRAND licensing won’t guarantee many builders? Isn’t that the whole idea?  

 

I think the idea is only that there should be enough builders. 

SMOD is an unfortunate phrase, in that the real difference is between classes that are controlled by a public measurement system, and those primarily controlled by a confidential construction manual.

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24 minutes ago, Schteiny said:

So FRAND licensing won’t guarantee many builders? Isn’t that the whole idea?  

 

all it guarantees is that IF a new builder wants to produce the boat, they will be able to do such under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms. 

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On 7/15/2019 at 2:18 PM, BruceH-NZ said:

Advertisers come and go, so no, a change of name is not warranted.

I'd love to see RS become a manufacturer of the Laser - under the new policies, this is a possibility.

---

 

Except that RS is not a manufacturer of boats.  AFAIK, RS has always been a business model based on superb marketing and distribution that sub-contracts out all of its manufacturing.

The Laser model has always been based on a supplier that is an integrated manufacturing and marketing company.  PSA and LP are integrated, they manufacture boats and they have distribution and marketing people. There are very very few companies which posses both skill sets.

I dont recall seeing any of them on the prospective new builder list.

Is the Laser ready for boutique builders? or a business model where the builder doesnt build the boats....or a builder who does not market or promote the boats?

Just wondering (from a "Yes" voter)

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54 minutes ago, Schteiny said:

So FRAND licensing won’t guarantee many builders? Isn’t that the whole idea?  

FRAND regulates entry into the market. It does not regulate exit from the market, nor production volume while in the market. The whole WS idea is to open up the market to competition. That competition may result over time in the survival of several, few, or even one single builder. The World Sailing's "Anti-trust Policy for Olympic Equipment" explicitly notes that what's important here is merely "competing equipment, and competing manufacturers of existing equipment, to (be able to) bid to access the market on a fair and objective basis" at reasonable intervals. 

I think this general philosophy is reflected in WS-organized events, too:  "the fact that an evaluation results in the grant of the exclusive right to supply equipment for a given event organised by World Sailing to one supplier (e.g. ...) is not, in itself, incompatible with the competition rules."

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36 minutes ago, drLaser said:

FRAND regulates entry into the market. It does not regulate exit from the market, nor production volume while in the market. The whole WS idea is to open up the market to competition. That competition may result over time in the survival of several, few, or even one single builder. The World Sailing's "Anti-trust Policy for Olympic Equipment" explicitly notes that what's important here is merely "competing equipment, and competing manufacturers of existing equipment, to (be able to) bid to access the market on a fair and objective basis" at reasonable intervals. 

I think this general philosophy is reflected in WS-organized events, too:  "the fact that an evaluation results in the grant of the exclusive right to supply equipment for a given event organised by World Sailing to one supplier (e.g. ...) is not, in itself, incompatible with the competition rules."

Yes, FRAND is a part of a World Sailing Olympic Equipment Policy, where they request the Olympic Class to fulfill specific objectives. If Japan/Korea can sustain production levels of 50 per year, then at least initially, others can too.

There are two potential models.

  1. The Laser brand is licensed through agreement. This is the preferred model. It will result in three trademark owners who profit reasonably from all Laser builders. This is the preferred model and will in my view offer the most stable scenario with three or more builders.
  2. Agreement is not reached. And boat builders are appointed who do not brand their boats Laser. The existing builders 

Both models will lead to short to medium term growth in the Laser class, particularly in markets which have been poorly serviced. As these models mature, expect some cost competitiveness, before 'settling'.

Suppliers for event like the World Champs will have a boom in production. Both scenarios are better than the existing situation, where PSJ has just produced three years supply. I am unclear who pays for that, but the ILCA do not. There is strong growth in Japan and Korea at the moment, so it looks likely that many of the boats will absorbed into the local market.

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9 hours ago, aroy210677 said:

I first joined the ILCA World Council in 2012. During my time as the North American chair I have been impressed with the conduct of the ILCA in what has been described as one of the most challenging periods in its existence. The number of emails and phone conferences is impressive. Meetings are held, proper minutes are kept and the Laser class is run much in the way you would expect of the most popular Olympic sailing class in the world. We are in regular contact with not only Farzad Rastegar, but also his senior managers. Until April 2019, Laser Performance were on the ILCA World Council, so they received much of the same information that I have, and had the same opportunity to make submissions. The decision to dismiss LP for not allowing inspections was not one taken lightly, and could have been made in early 2017. The decision to move forward with the rule change vote was based on making a contingency plan in the event of the three TM holders not reaching an agreement. All three TM holders were at the meeting in February 2019 when that decision was made. 

Moreover, recently the WC was in complete agreement to have a EurILCA rep (not a member of the WC) negotiate with Farzad, and although some progress has been made success has not been achieved as yet.

This is at complete odds with what Jean Luc Michon put forward.

It would seem that Jean Luc is not saying anything publicly - at least since the meeting in Japan.

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On 7/17/2019 at 2:45 AM, dgmckim said:

giphy.gif

We watched a display at our local RC airfield some years ago.

Among other toys, they had a lawnmower flying, not unlike this one.

I wonder if it's a standard design?

I wonder whether the design is licensed SMOD or FRAND? :lol:

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This seems to be the core (from ILCA President Tracy Usher):

On 7/17/2019 at 1:32 PM, SFBayLaser said:

World Sailing didn't publish their Olympic Equipment Policy until after the midyear meeting. I've written this before, what World Sailing put in place is a policy that stands above the minimum that they could have done to probably squeak past EU anti-trust laws - their policy goes the extra distance so there can be no question. You can argue that point with them all day, that's fine. In the meantime they set the rules for Olympic equipment and we can choose to play by their rules or not by deciding whether we want to be in or out of the Olympics. For reasons stated previously we believe we want to be in so, yes, the class and its builders/trademark owners need to bend a bit to conform to World Sailing's rules. Or the class membership votes yes on the rule change and we can appoint builders who sell boats not called Lasers. 

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A rather horrible 'article' in Sailing Anarchy, shared as a post on The Sailors Voice page on Facebook:

image.png.466b772484cf5b84818b89acf7bfc621.png

To be fair to Beat, his emoticon was 'angry', as he must realize the damage such posts to the no vote 'cause'.

---

My response:

What is significant here, is that in spite of asking repeatedly, there is no compelling case to vote no if you support the Laser to be an Olympic class. Further, two of the three trademark holders are publicly supporting a yes vote - which means they are putting the class ahead of potential profits. There will be new builders though without agreement, both may lose potential trademark fees with a yes vote. Only Laser Performance is standing in the way of the Laser class moving forward. (This is not an attempt to vilify, just a statement of fact). If anyone has a soundly thought out rationale to vote no, I want to hear!

Takao Otani (Laser trademark holder, PSJ) has said that a yes vote will help the trademark holders reach a decision, essential for new builders to use the Laser name. Note that a yes vote will not change that the existing builders can use the Laser name.

The yes vote is not like an election, it is a request from the ILCA World Council to adopt what they see as the best way to secure the Laser class for the Olympics in 2024, and to address specific supply issues around the world.

When Darius says " If you really care about the Laser Class and you do not want to support the economic interests of some ILCA Officials, then you have to be objective about the vote, which in my opinion is not legal and fair. Decide for yourself what is important to you as a sailor."

This is a continuation of a slur against ILCA President Tracy Usher and ILCA Executive Secretary Eric Fox and has no basis in fact. I personally have dug a deeply as I can into this, and can find no basis for any truth that Tracy or Eric are involved with any impropriety - in fact my 'digging' revealed the exact opposite to be true!

This conspiracy theory that Darius wants us all to buy into is one where keen Laser sailors are involved in skulduggery. Here is a Laser conspiracy theory, one that was rejected by the courts in 2013 which reads remarkably similar.

http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LP-response-061213.pdf

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EurILCA posted a release on 30 May 2019 that where they said is not about the name.

I think many people missed it.

The statement reads: "The European executive committee, together with the 2 European World council members and our former ILCA President want to clarify that it has been no vote at the world Council on the name change of the boat and the only vote was to remove the obligation that a builder has to own a trademark from the class rule: definition of a builder. Anyhow, the next step, if any, will be to have the member vote on this rule change."

So according to EurILCA, the contingency plan was never about a name change - and they knew it!

eurILCA release 30 May.jpg

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1 hour ago, BruceH-NZ said:

My response:

What is significant here, is that in spite of asking repeatedly, there is no compelling case to vote no if you support the Laser to be an Olympic class. Further, two of the three trademark holders are publicly supporting a yes vote - which means they are putting the class ahead of potential profits. There will be new builders though without agreement, both may lose potential trademark fees with a yes vote. Only Laser Performance is standing in the way of the Laser class moving forward. (This is not an attempt to vilify, just a statement of fact). If anyone has a soundly thought out rationale to vote no, I want to hear!

 I'll have a stab at that, if you like?

 If my situation is typical of other European sailors then we are not so much misinformed as uninformed. What data I have about this is largely from the internet and has many of the hallmarks of unreliability (polarised, contradictory  views, anonymous advocates... you know the drill). Even the UKLA posts have largely been just making people aware of the debate, not about offering a balanced, objective assessment. I don't think there are many Europeans participating in online debate but it could easily be that I'm simply unaware of where they are taking place (in which case, I'm probably not alone).

 Now, LPE may not be "winning" the PR battle. Their releases don't come across as weighty and solidly grounded but then... they are being forced to defenmd themselves in the middle of a shitstorm... maybe a bit of frustration about the name calling is understandable.

  The arguments from the Class Association don't come across as balanced. There doesn't appear to have been a lengthy debate within the class about it's future, whether the Class really needs to change it's fundamental principles to stay in the Olympics and whether the membership of the class should choose to do so if retaining Olympic status meant moving away from the strict one-manufacturer/one-design principle that has been fundamental to the boat for decades.

 You can choose to simply dismiss those arguments but if you brush them aside without actually convincing the sailor then you haven't won the argument. I know that there are any number of claims on the internet from posters who probably know what they are talking about that Lasers haven't really been SMOD for years but the principle remains entrenched and dear to the heart of the sailors... Why, they might reasonably ask, not fix the SMOD system instead of trying to retrofit, and manage, a MMOD solution onto a class that's been so successfully SMOD for so long? 

 No-one has a clear picture of what FRAND needs... it's not like the other single-handers contending for the Olympic slot have a developed and mature MMOD solution in place, so why break the Laser model before fully understanding what really needs to change?

 ...and, while we're on this, will "The Olympics" really dump the Laser in favour of one of the others this time round? Don't they need the universality?  Maybe better to call their bluff for the next cycle, at least, while everyone gets to grips with FRAND. At the very least there should be a proper debate, prior to a change, across the membership about whether to ditch SMOD for the Olympics; not an executive decision and rushed vote, led by people who appear to have a real personal gripe with LPE.

 ...and then there's LPE. It's clear that many North Americans have a strong dislike for LPE. What's not clear is why. There are a lot of complaints about supply issues but the reasons behind them are not well understood and explained. Vitriolic hatred of LPE may seem reasonable in North America but to European eyes it seems divorced from reality: LP is a big manufacturer (the biggest?), they have a ready, reliable supply of quality products, spares backup, helpful dealers etc. they back National Championships, offer discounts to aspiring young sailors and assist with the provision of charter boats to major events. They appear to be a fairly large and effectively run business. For a sailor (or parent) that has a business relationship with this company and, in all probability, an equally good and personal relationship with their dealer, it's hard to see them as The Bad Guys. Their worst sin is that prices seem overly high... but this is Boats, so prices are inflated at the best of times, and a bit of  markup might be expected to go with the SMOD territory. It's all discretionary spend, anyway, and the cost of parts isn't that bad when it's factored into the overall picture of travel, training, entry fees etc... It begs the question of why LP are not supplying the US?  Maybe it's not cost effective? Maybe the legal wranglings are still rumbling on? Maybe there just aren't enough dinghy sailors close enough together to make the fleets viable? There seems to be more interest in yachts, yacht clubs and powerboats than crappy little dinghies, anyway....?

  and then... if LP get dumped, who will supply parts, boats etc? Will this "new manufacturer" regime be in place straight away? Will it wreck my friend's dealership? Won't LP sue? If they do (and, after all, they are the Single Manufacturer that owns the trademarks and it's their business being disrupted)  then how long will that take to resolve, what will it cost and who will supply in the interim? If it comes to that, then the wrangling will mean Olympic status will surely be lost, anyway!!!

 So, is there a compelling case to vote no? Maybe not...but there doesn't appear to be much of a case being made for voting yes, either... or at least, if there is then it's not being made  effectively.  The status quo seems pretty good, so maybe best not to disrupt it? Can't be a coincidence that the Americans are feeling hard done by and it's them who are trying to shake things up, can it?   Maybe the best thing is not to vote: No change seems a reasonable outcome.

 +------------------------------------------------------------------

 Does that help? Please note that I'm not arguing the positions above, just trying show how the current trainwreck may look from the other side of the tracks...this is Reality for a significant number (majority?) of Class Members. Disagree by all means but dismiss it at your peril.

Cheers,

                W.

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47 minutes ago, WGWarburton said:

 I'll have a stab at that, if you like?

 If my situation is typical of other European sailors then we are not so much misinformed as uninformed. What data I have about this is largely from the internet and has many of the hallmarks of unreliability (polarised, contradictory  views, anonymous advocates... you know the drill). Even the UKLA posts have largely been just making people aware of the debate, not about offering a balanced, objective assessment. I don't think there are many Europeans participating in online debate but it could easily be that I'm simply unaware of where they are taking place (in which case, I'm probably not alone).

 Now, LPE may not be "winning" the PR battle. Their releases don't come across as weighty and solidly grounded but then... they are being forced to defenmd themselves in the middle of a shitstorm... maybe a bit of frustration about the name calling is understandable.

  The arguments from the Class Association don't come across as balanced. There doesn't appear to have been a lengthy debate within the class about it's future, whether the Class really needs to change it's fundamental principles to stay in the Olympics and whether the membership of the class should choose to do so if retaining Olympic status meant moving away from the strict one-manufacturer/one-design principle that has been fundamental to the boat for decades.

 You can choose to simply dismiss those arguments but if you brush them aside without actually convincing the sailor then you haven't won the argument. I know that there are any number of claims on the internet from posters who probably know what they are talking about that Lasers haven't really been SMOD for years but the principle remains entrenched and dear to the heart of the sailors... Why, they might reasonably ask, not fix the SMOD system instead of trying to retrofit, and manage, a MMOD solution onto a class that's been so successfully SMOD for so long? 

 No-one has a clear picture of what FRAND needs... it's not like the other single-handers contending for the Olympic slot have a developed and mature MMOD solution in place, so why break the Laser model before fully understanding what really needs to change?

 ...and, while we're on this, will "The Olympics" really dump the Laser in favour of one of the others this time round? Don't they need the universality?  Maybe better to call their bluff for the next cycle, at least, while everyone gets to grips with FRAND. At the very least there should be a proper debate, prior to a change, across the membership about whether to ditch SMOD for the Olympics; not an executive decision and rushed vote, led by people who appear to have a real personal gripe with LPE.

 ...and then there's LPE. It's clear that many North Americans have a strong dislike for LPE. What's not clear is why. There are a lot of complaints about supply issues but the reasons behind them are not well understood and explained. Vitriolic hatred of LPE may seem reasonable in North America but to European eyes it seems divorced from reality: LP is a big manufacturer (the biggest?), they have a ready, reliable supply of quality products, spares backup, helpful dealers etc. they back National Championships, offer discounts to aspiring young sailors and assist with the provision of charter boats to major events. They appear to be a fairly large and effectively run business. For a sailor (or parent) that has a business relationship with this company and, in all probability, an equally good and personal relationship with their dealer, it's hard to see them as The Bad Guys. Their worst sin is that prices seem overly high... but this is Boats, so prices are inflated at the best of times, and a bit of  markup might be expected to go with the SMOD territory. It's all discretionary spend, anyway, and the cost of parts isn't that bad when it's factored into the overall picture of travel, training, entry fees etc... It begs the question of why LP are not supplying the US?  Maybe it's not cost effective? Maybe the legal wranglings are still rumbling on? Maybe there just aren't enough dinghy sailors close enough together to make the fleets viable? There seems to be more interest in yachts, yacht clubs and powerboats than crappy little dinghies, anyway....?

  and then... if LP get dumped, who will supply parts, boats etc? Will this "new manufacturer" regime be in place straight away? Will it wreck my friend's dealership? Won't LP sue? If they do (and, after all, they are the Single Manufacturer that owns the trademarks and it's their business being disrupted)  then how long will that take to resolve, what will it cost and who will supply in the interim? If it comes to that, then the wrangling will mean Olympic status will surely be lost, anyway!!!

 So, is there a compelling case to vote no? Maybe not...but there doesn't appear to be much of a case being made for voting yes, either... or at least, if there is then it's not being made  effectively.  The status quo seems pretty good, so maybe best not to disrupt it? Can't be a coincidence that the Americans are feeling hard done by and it's them who are trying to shake things up, can it?   Maybe the best thing is not to vote: No change seems a reasonable outcome.

 +------------------------------------------------------------------

 Does that help? Please note that I'm not arguing the positions above, just trying show how the current trainwreck may look from the other side of the tracks...this is Reality for a significant number (majority?) of Class Members. Disagree by all means but dismiss it at your peril.

Cheers,

                W.


Thank you. That's the best explanation I have seen so far of how these issues look from the perspective of a typical European Laser sailor.

I do agree that there hasn't been enough debate with the membership of the class about the implications of dumping SMOD (or the unique Laser version of it) to stay in the Olympics. The shenanigans in the C420 class this week are hardly a good advert for MMOD.

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1 hour ago, WGWarburton said:

Does that help? Please note that I'm not arguing the positions above, just trying show how the current trainwreck may look from the other side of the tracks...this is Reality for a significant number (majority?) of Class Members. Disagree by all means but dismiss it at your peril.

Yes, definitely your perspectives are valuable.

Right now I am sifting through the statements I have collected by EurILCA stating that it is about a name change.

The issue I am having is which one to use.

The most official one from 3 July 2019 is titled:

"EC 574 - ILCA vote on rule change - It’s about a name change"

In it they say:

Quote

It’s also could be consider as a blank check to ILCA management to rename our class at any time they wish.

Then:

Quote

We had no idea that it was for the name change. If we will have known that it was for te name change we will have vote NO

Reminder, on 30 May 2019 EurILCA said:

Quote

"The European executive committee, together with the 2 European World council members and our former ILCA President want to clarify that it has been no vote at the world Council on the name change of the boat and the only vote was to remove the obligation that a builder has to own a trademark from the class rule: definition of a builder. Anyhow, the next step, if any, will be to have the member vote on this rule change."

There is only one conclusion to reach: EurILCA have misinformed voters.

EurILCA knew it was about removing the trademark, not about changing the name.

EC 574 - ILCA vote on rule change - It’s about a name change.pdf

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1 hour ago, WGWarburton said:

Maybe the best thing is not to vote

Please read the Class Rules, in particular Part 5 (Rule 31). Not voting is not a choice. For the proposal to pass, the approval of two thirds of those who voted is sufficient. 

Here it is:

Amendments to these Rules shall be approved by each of:

  1. the World Council,
  2. the Advisory Council,
  3. at least two-thirds of the membership casting a vote in response to a ballot published by the International Office of the Class. Only those votes submitted within one month from the date of publication of the rule change ballot shall be valid, and
  4. World Sailing.
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1 hour ago, WGWarburton said:

 I'll have a stab at that, if you like?

 If my situation is typical of other European sailors then we are not so much misinformed as uninformed. What data I have about this is largely from the internet and has many of the hallmarks of unreliability (polarised, contradictory  views, anonymous advocates... you know the drill). Even the UKLA posts have largely been just making people aware of the debate, not about offering a balanced, objective assessment. I don't think there are many Europeans participating in online debate but it could easily be that I'm simply unaware of where they are taking place (in which case, I'm probably not alone).

 Now, LPE may not be "winning" the PR battle. Their releases don't come across as weighty and solidly grounded but then... they are being forced to defenmd themselves in the middle of a shitstorm... maybe a bit of frustration about the name calling is understandable.

  The arguments from the Class Association don't come across as balanced. There doesn't appear to have been a lengthy debate within the class about it's future, whether the Class really needs to change it's fundamental principles to stay in the Olympics and whether the membership of the class should choose to do so if retaining Olympic status meant moving away from the strict one-manufacturer/one-design principle that has been fundamental to the boat for decades.

 You can choose to simply dismiss those arguments but if you brush them aside without actually convincing the sailor then you haven't won the argument. I know that there are any number of claims on the internet from posters who probably know what they are talking about that Lasers haven't really been SMOD for years but the principle remains entrenched and dear to the heart of the sailors... Why, they might reasonably ask, not fix the SMOD system instead of trying to retrofit, and manage, a MMOD solution onto a class that's been so successfully SMOD for so long? 

 No-one has a clear picture of what FRAND needs... it's not like the other single-handers contending for the Olympic slot have a developed and mature MMOD solution in place, so why break the Laser model before fully understanding what really needs to change?

 ...and, while we're on this, will "The Olympics" really dump the Laser in favour of one of the others this time round? Don't they need the universality?  Maybe better to call their bluff for the next cycle, at least, while everyone gets to grips with FRAND. At the very least there should be a proper debate, prior to a change, across the membership about whether to ditch SMOD for the Olympics; not an executive decision and rushed vote, led by people who appear to have a real personal gripe with LPE.

 ...and then there's LPE. It's clear that many North Americans have a strong dislike for LPE. What's not clear is why. There are a lot of complaints about supply issues but the reasons behind them are not well understood and explained. Vitriolic hatred of LPE may seem reasonable in North America but to European eyes it seems divorced from reality: LP is a big manufacturer (the biggest?), they have a ready, reliable supply of quality products, spares backup, helpful dealers etc. they back National Championships, offer discounts to aspiring young sailors and assist with the provision of charter boats to major events. They appear to be a fairly large and effectively run business. For a sailor (or parent) that has a business relationship with this company and, in all probability, an equally good and personal relationship with their dealer, it's hard to see them as The Bad Guys. Their worst sin is that prices seem overly high... but this is Boats, so prices are inflated at the best of times, and a bit of  markup might be expected to go with the SMOD territory. It's all discretionary spend, anyway, and the cost of parts isn't that bad when it's factored into the overall picture of travel, training, entry fees etc... It begs the question of why LP are not supplying the US?  Maybe it's not cost effective? Maybe the legal wranglings are still rumbling on? Maybe there just aren't enough dinghy sailors close enough together to make the fleets viable? There seems to be more interest in yachts, yacht clubs and powerboats than crappy little dinghies, anyway....?

  and then... if LP get dumped, who will supply parts, boats etc? Will this "new manufacturer" regime be in place straight away? Will it wreck my friend's dealership? Won't LP sue? If they do (and, after all, they are the Single Manufacturer that owns the trademarks and it's their business being disrupted)  then how long will that take to resolve, what will it cost and who will supply in the interim? If it comes to that, then the wrangling will mean Olympic status will surely be lost, anyway!!!

 So, is there a compelling case to vote no? Maybe not...but there doesn't appear to be much of a case being made for voting yes, either... or at least, if there is then it's not being made  effectively.  The status quo seems pretty good, so maybe best not to disrupt it? Can't be a coincidence that the Americans are feeling hard done by and it's them who are trying to shake things up, can it?   Maybe the best thing is not to vote: No change seems a reasonable outcome.

 +------------------------------------------------------------------

 Does that help? Please note that I'm not arguing the positions above, just trying show how the current trainwreck may look from the other side of the tracks...this is Reality for a significant number (majority?) of Class Members. Disagree by all means but dismiss it at your peril.

Cheers,

                W.

Well said

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On 7/20/2019 at 9:44 AM, Bruce Hudson said:

 

 

 

On 7/20/2019 at 1:47 AM, WGWarburton said:

 I'll have a stab at that, if you like?

 If my situation is typical of other European sailors then we are not so much misinformed as uninformed. What data I have about this is largely from the internet and has many of the hallmarks of unreliability (polarised, contradictory  views, anonymous advocates... you know the drill). Even the UKLA posts have largely been just making people aware of the debate, not about offering a balanced, objective assessment. I don't think there are many Europeans participating in online debate but it could easily be that I'm simply unaware of where they are taking place (in which case, I'm probably not alone).

 Now, LPE may not be "winning" the PR battle. Their releases don't come across as weighty and solidly grounded but then... they are being forced to defenmd themselves in the middle of a shitstorm... maybe a bit of frustration about the name calling is understandable.

  The arguments from the Class Association don't come across as balanced. There doesn't appear to have been a lengthy debate within the class about it's future, whether the Class really needs to change it's fundamental principles to stay in the Olympics and whether the membership of the class should choose to do so if retaining Olympic status meant moving away from the strict one-manufacturer/one-design principle that has been fundamental to the boat for decades.

 You can choose to simply dismiss those arguments but if you brush them aside without actually convincing the sailor then you haven't won the argument. I know that there are any number of claims on the internet from posters who probably know what they are talking about that Lasers haven't really been SMOD for years but the principle remains entrenched and dear to the heart of the sailors... Why, they might reasonably ask, not fix the SMOD system instead of trying to retrofit, and manage, a MMOD solution onto a class that's been so successfully SMOD for so long? 

 No-one has a clear picture of what FRAND needs... it's not like the other single-handers contending for the Olympic slot have a developed and mature MMOD solution in place, so why break the Laser model before fully understanding what really needs to change?

 ...and, while we're on this, will "The Olympics" really dump the Laser in favour of one of the others this time round? Don't they need the universality?  Maybe better to call their bluff for the next cycle, at least, while everyone gets to grips with FRAND. At the very least there should be a proper debate, prior to a change, across the membership about whether to ditch SMOD for the Olympics; not an executive decision and rushed vote, led by people who appear to have a real personal gripe with LPE.

 ...and then there's LPE. It's clear that many North Americans have a strong dislike for LPE. What's not clear is why. There are a lot of complaints about supply issues but the reasons behind them are not well understood and explained. Vitriolic hatred of LPE may seem reasonable in North America but to European eyes it seems divorced from reality: LP is a big manufacturer (the biggest?), they have a ready, reliable supply of quality products, spares backup, helpful dealers etc. they back National Championships, offer discounts to aspiring young sailors and assist with the provision of charter boats to major events. They appear to be a fairly large and effectively run business. For a sailor (or parent) that has a business relationship with this company and, in all probability, an equally good and personal relationship with their dealer, it's hard to see them as The Bad Guys. Their worst sin is that prices seem overly high... but this is Boats, so prices are inflated at the best of times, and a bit of  markup might be expected to go with the SMOD territory. It's all discretionary spend, anyway, and the cost of parts isn't that bad when it's factored into the overall picture of travel, training, entry fees etc... It begs the question of why LP are not supplying the US?  Maybe it's not cost effective? Maybe the legal wranglings are still rumbling on? Maybe there just aren't enough dinghy sailors close enough together to make the fleets viable? There seems to be more interest in yachts, yacht clubs and powerboats than crappy little dinghies, anyway....?

  and then... if LP get dumped, who will supply parts, boats etc? Will this "new manufacturer" regime be in place straight away? Will it wreck my friend's dealership? Won't LP sue? If they do (and, after all, they are the Single Manufacturer that owns the trademarks and it's their business being disrupted)  then how long will that take to resolve, what will it cost and who will supply in the interim? If it comes to that, then the wrangling will mean Olympic status will surely be lost, anyway!!!

 So, is there a compelling case to vote no? Maybe not...but there doesn't appear to be much of a case being made for voting yes, either... or at least, if there is then it's not being made  effectively.  The status quo seems pretty good, so maybe best not to disrupt it? Can't be a coincidence that the Americans are feeling hard done by and it's them who are trying to shake things up, can it?   Maybe the best thing is not to vote: No change seems a reasonable outcome.

 +------------------------------------------------------------------

 Does that help? Please note that I'm not arguing the positions above, just trying show how the current trainwreck may look from the other side of the tracks...this is Reality for a significant number (majority?) of Class Members. Disagree by all means but dismiss it at your peril.

Cheers,

                W.

I'm living myself in europe and have a kid that wants to step in Lasers. 

I think you gave a really good view on what people think on this side of the pond. 

Many hope for mediation. Means everything stays as it currently is. The class stays with their 3 builders, and the boat stays in the Olympics. If not that would harm especially youth sailing, because the fleets will split into Laser and any new class. 

The problem I believe is, that WS in no way would do this, as they just don't have enough money for a legal battle against the EU. 

And LP got dumped already. Under the new system they would surely become a builder again. Without agreement - who knows? 

The whole process is a desaster, but the desaster will be even bigger if Laser loses Olympic status, and the youth fleets get much smaller, cause everything gets divided. We have seen this happening in our country with 420/29er before. Singlehanded youth sailing is already divided into Laser/Europe in our country. So I bet many would love the combi Finn/Europe to come back. That could work nationally. In the Netherlands there are no Europes anymore. As option they have the Splash. Others may have Bytes or Toppers or whatever. Some would adopt Aeros, if they will become Olympic. But not all. International singlehanded youth sailing will become difficult. Fewer sailers per youth class means less events, higher costs for travelling, big effect on "grass roots" With no new blood coming out of the youth classes the whole sport will suffer. 

You can vote no, and hope that WS nevertheless keeps the Laser in the Olympics. But what if not..... 

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14 hours ago, Bruce Hudson said:

Japan video just appeared on ILCA's Facebook feed

All the people I miss on the water nowadays are there! Ecem Guzel (TUR) and her coach Kemal Muslubas (2008 and 2012 Olympics) are sitting right there, in the back, at 11:30. Across from them is her Club Head Coach, İsmail Uzunlar (visible at 28:10). I practice with these guys, day in and day out; but while they excel at this game, at 65 now, I suck (more than ever)! 

Frankly, I found ILCA Vice President Hugh Leicester's reluctance to explain the European point of view (they collectively reduced it to "They don't want to risk not calling the boat a Laser") not that kosher.

Also, Leicester pretended not to have heard of "ILCA setting up a company for the collection of license fees" to be collected from the new builders (actually to be distributed to the three TM Holders). His exact words were, "I'm unaware of it." I was under the impression that both Leicester and Takao Otani had heard about this allegation in the earlier membership meetings. The question was neatly diverted when somebody brought up the Portugal factory issue. Obviously, this continues to be a publicly unresolved issue for ILCA.

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