Lasers - Applying a Blow Torch

redstar

Member
Gantt, let's just say I have a well placed source and leave it at that.

Not trying to mysterious, just that I'm probably breaching a trust by sharing the information. But the culture of secrecy embedded at the ILCA really pisses me off, so whatever.

I imagine announcements aren't far away, maybe waiting until after the WC meeting, and I've already seen a trickle of news from other feeds. Ask your local ILCA kingpin, see what they say.

 

redstar

Member
Who said it's acceptable? It's crap. Always has been, no matter who's in charge.

Problem is that we don't elect the World Council - not directly. Each District elects a District committee. Then the District committee chairs elect a regional chair who becomes the World Council rep. The World Council reps then elect the President, etc. The sailors don't get to choose who is on the WC. We don't choose our own representatives. And they don't ask us what we think.

Odd thing is that the Constitution allows the WC to appoint any additional members that it wishes to. For example, the ILCA VP, Hugh Leicester, is a World Council appointment - the sailors didn't elect him, even indirectly. The WC themselves did. This isn't a criticism of Hugh, I barely know the guy. But the system sucks.

Imagine how different it would be if there were at least a couple of popularly elected WC members? You'd end up with people keen to engage with the sailors, that's for sure.

The system is set up to maintain the power in the hands of those who already have it. And the system gets to choose who has that power.

 

Phil S

Super Anarchist
2,612
241
Sydney
Stop complaining.

The Laser and the Hobie are the original international SMOD classes.

They were set up by the manufactures to sell product, and running an association and sailing races is a means to that end. They keep control of everything. Giving the sailors limited influence just encourages them to sail the class and buy more product. Giving them too much power might errode their bottom line. Just accept that you will be kept in the dark, especially now, when the two manufacturers are not even talking to each other.

If you choose to sail a SMOD thats the way the game plays, (or at least until the factory changes its plan and moves its objectives elsewhere.)

And if one day they do move on (or send each other broke with legal fees), at least you all have a few hundred thousand Lasers to continue playing with, so its not all bad.

 

Sailabout

Super Anarchist
what if all this is academic as for sure the laser will drop out of the olympics as it looks stone-age and there are plenty of modern boats ready to replace it.

It will remain a great boat to sail like, Soling, Star etc but not inspiring for young sailors nor sponsors.

Dacron handkerchief ( that cost same as a windsurfer sail) belongs on an Opti

 
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Iron_Buddha

New member
11
1
Gantt, let's just say I have a well placed source and leave it at that.

Not trying to mysterious, just that I'm probably breaching a trust by sharing the information. But the culture of secrecy embedded at the ILCA really pisses me off, so whatever.

I imagine announcements aren't far away, maybe waiting until after the WC meeting, and I've already seen a trickle of news from other feeds. Ask your local ILCA kingpin, see what they say.
What about the carbon top section? Same deal?

 

Bruce Hudson

Super Anarchist
3,251
847
New Zealand
I agree with any membership asking it's organization questions, and yes, sometimes those questions are going to be tough. The right thing to do for that organization is to provide answers to legitimate questions. An organization that fails to do this, is not serving it's members.

With SMODs, the owner associations are usually entirely at the mercy of a single boat builder just as Phil S said. For the Laser, that may have been true if it were not for the designer, Bruce Kirby had set up the system of contracts the way he did. What it means is that the Laser builders were able to build Lasers only with a contract that was signed between the builder and the designer, plus Kirby formally gave powers to the ILCA through the ISAF agreement, by formally recognizing the ISAF agreement in the builder's contracts. It's clear that the original vision was to have multiple builders around the world, and part of that vision was to give those builder's the ownership of the Laser Trademark in the regions they operated. For new markets, what would happen is that Bruce Kirby would appoint the new builder, the trademark would be registered in that region. For many years this was successful, with builders appointed in North America, Europe, Oceania and Japan (Japan and South Korea). In recent years, the North American and European builders were acquired by the same owner, meaning this single owner owned the majority of the world's market share. This same owner registered the Laser trademark outside it's area, in Asia, prior to the 2008 Bejing Olympics, thwarting the way that builders had been traditionally appointed. It's clear that Laser Performance have been aggressive and at times difficult to deal with. Check out the number of times the ILCA NA minutes document Laser Performance's Bill Crane being difficult to deal with regarding sponsorship. That in itself is an issue, the conclusion is that Bill Crane has not been responsive nor clear with the ILCA-NA on the matter of sponsorship, which is pretty simple and important to the ILCA-NA. And Bill Crane sits on the World Council on the advisory council for Laser Performance. Sorry Bill, you have a poor track record.

Without the builder's contracts, or the ISAF agreement, I'm unsure what binds the parties together other than the desire to have consistency in the construction of the Laser. It does not address the issue of having an Asian builder, which is long overdue. If the contracts are not found to be legal, this contractual issue will need to be formally dealt with. Also what needs dealing with is what Bruce Kirby raised now several years back in his words, "estate planning". In this period there needs to be a road map for the future.

Aside from the structural and formal relationship issues, the ILCA World Council has become one that does not communicate with it's membership effectively which was highlighted by the fundamental rule change and issues surrounding it. It's difficult to talk about this, without talking directly about Tracy Usher. (Tracy is an active Laser sailor who among other things has been one of the main proponents of the new sail, I can recall he was involved with it back in 2011, and is obviously still involved with it. I believe Tracy to be good for the ILCA, that he is working tirelessly behind the scenes to make improvements to the Laser class and it's World Council. That being said, I don't believe things go entirely his way, and if Redstar is correct and the new sail is 25% more expensive than the old, then that is an excellent example.)

Prior to becoming President, and as President of the ILCA-NA, Tracy attempted to answer questions on behalf the ILCA World Council to fill an information void. The fundamental rule change was mishandled, mistakes were made and many questions were left unanswered by the ILCA World Council. A lot of Laser sailors became aware of at that time a political struggle, both with the builders Laser Performance, Performance Sailcraft and designer Bruce Kirby, though also internally within the ILCA WC with an obvious and public disconnect between Jeff Martin and the then President Heini Wellmann and the membership. I recall that Tracy communicated his best recollection of what Heini had said at a meeting. I believe that Heini did release some information, but it failed to address many questions of the time. The UKLA advised it's members not to rush into voting because of the confusion. Throughout all of this, we did not hear from Jeff Martin in spite of him being a central figure in this issue.

Bottom line is that I believe internal struggles within the ILCA's World Council may be a big factor in the lack of communication.

I believe that Tracy is naturally one who likes to communicate, the legal action can explain some reluctance to communicate on some things, however does not explain fully how little he has communicated since becoming ILCA president.

Here's the part from the ILCA constitution concerning the World Council:

World Council

6. (1) The Association shall be governed by the World Council comprised of the Chairman of each Regional Executive Committee from time to time holding office, the immediate Past President of the World Council, the Executive Secretary, the two appointed members of the Advisory Council, and such additional officers to be appointed by the Council for such term as it may from time to time determine. Each officer shall be a member of the Association.

(2) The World Council shall meet not less frequently than once per year and the first meeting shall take place within two months of the election of the Regional Chairmen. The time and location of meetings shall, if possible, coincide with the holding of a world or a regional championship meet.

(3) The World Council shall elect from amongst themselves, the President and Vice-President of the Association who shall hold office until their successors are elected to office; and the World Council may appoint Honorary Commodores from time to time as they shall see fit.

(4) The Executive Secretary shall be appointed by the elected members of the World Council and shall hold office for such term and upon such conditions as the World Council shall decide. He shall be situated at the Head Office of the Association and shall be responsible for the management of all business of the Association, subject to and in accordance with the Constitution, By-Laws and the direction of the World Council, including

( a ) the co-ordination of all inter-regional activities,

( b ) the organisation of all activities relating to World Championships,

( c ) liaison between the Association, the ISAF and all other yachting authorities, and

( d ) liaison between the membership and the Chief Measurer.

(5) The World Council shall appoint, for such term as it shall decide, a Chief Measurer for the Association who shall rule on all questions and challenges relating to the Rules, and shall issue Interpretations thereof deemed necessary by him. All such Interpretations shall be binding until approved, rejected, or modified by decision of the World Council, duly published to the members of the Association.

By having 'Honorary Commodores' directly elected onto the World Council as Redstar suggests may be constitutionally possible (if it's the World Council's will), and may even be a good thing to do as it may however give Laser sailors a stronger voice where it counts.

But, it would not in itself fix all the issues that the ILCA World Council has.

 
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torrid

Super Anarchist
1,085
434
So November 1st, huh? Nothing personal, but we've heard this before. I'll believe it when I see it. If it does happen, please come back on November 2nd to gloat.

 

Wess

Super Anarchist
So November 1st, huh? Nothing personal, but we've heard this before. I'll believe it when I see it. If it does happen, please come back on November 2nd to gloat.
Don't worry, I share your scepticism. All I know is that people in a position to know about these things say it's done.
OK, will be serious for a moment. Heard same rumor from someone who is more likely than me to know.

View it as a positive sign on multiple fronts if true.

 

redstar

Member
What about the carbon top section? Same deal?
Not sure, I haven't heard. I hope it's coming at the same time, but no word yet.
sound like repeating B14 history,a Byte comes in 2 versions

surely not a carbon top with a dacron sail?
Actually composite rather than carbon. Not intended as a performance improvement but a way of avoiding the existing problems with masts bending and breaking. Bend characteristics, weight etc are identical to the aluminium, just better longevity. We hope.

 

Bruce Hudson

Super Anarchist
3,251
847
New Zealand
Will it be more expensive?
Seems likely, if it's made of composite materials. I've broken three, a ruined a brand new sail once (while doing well in an ILCA official event long ago), the other times it was on older sails. There's a part of me that hopes it isn't, but another part of me that doesn't care and will get one anyway - assuming I'm still sailing Lasers which isn't a given.

Thank you Redstar for the updates!

 
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SM123

Member
86
0
California
Will it be more expensive?
Seems likely, if it's made of composite materials. I've broken three, a ruined a brand new sail once (while doing well in an ILCA official event long ago), the other times it was on older sails. There's a part of me that hopes it isn't, but another part of me that doesn't care and will get one anyway - assuming I'm still sailing Lasers which isn't a given.

Thank you Redstar for the updates!
Wow! It's been decades since I raced lasers, but in the (approximately) 10 years that I was active, I don't think that I saw a single broken top section. Clearly, the manufacturing techniques or materials used have changed.

 

Agamemnon

New member
Will it be more expensive?
Seems likely, if it's made of composite materials. I've broken three, a ruined a brand new sail once (while doing well in an ILCA official event long ago), the other times it was on older sails. There's a part of me that hopes it isn't, but another part of me that doesn't care and will get one anyway - assuming I'm still sailing Lasers which isn't a given.

Thank you Redstar for the updates!
Wow! It's been decades since I raced lasers, but in the (approximately) 10 years that I was active, I don't think that I saw a single broken top section. Clearly, the manufacturing techniques or materials used have changed.
The main reason for the top sections breaking is because of the new vang and two block sailing techniques that are now being used. When I was racing Lasers in the 70s like you were, you simply couldn't put enough stress on the rig to do much to it. It was a beach boat but - for those days - it was fun, cheap and fleets built quickly.

 

Bruce Hudson

Super Anarchist
3,251
847
New Zealand
Wow! It's been decades since I raced lasers, but in the (approximately) 10 years that I was active, I don't think that I saw a single broken top section. Clearly, the manufacturing techniques or materials used have changed.

I think the top sections are much the same now as when I started racing Lasers in 1983.

The main reason for the top sections breaking is because of the new vang and two block sailing techniques that are now being used. When I was racing Lasers in the 70s like you were, you simply couldn't put enough stress on the rig to do much to it. It was a beach boat but - for those days - it was fun, cheap and fleets built quickly.

Wow! It's been decades since I raced lasers, but in the (approximately) 10 years that I was active, I don't think that I saw a single broken top section. Clearly, the manufacturing techniques or materials used have changed.
Funny thing is that all three that I broke was prior to the new vang system. The second one I broke was a brand new top section in 1985. I had too much vang on in about 20 knots, using the 'bounce' technique. It had jammed, couldn't release at the top mark after two attempts, so decided to just keep sailing. Bad move. It broke when I jibed.

I became more skillful at detecting stressed alloy, replacing them or putting the collar on the other end of older top sections. Also being gentle on them on the race course without sacrificing too much speed. Couldn't tell you how many I've seen break over the years - it's been a lot. Last one I saw break was 2012, though have done less sailing in 2014 and 2015.

I'm 100% in favor of the new vang system. In 1987 I had corrective surgery to my right shoulder which I had dislocated and stretched the tendons using the 'bounce' technique and have met others who had the same surgery for the same reason.

Motions hearing is just 5 days away.

 

Board skiff

Super Anarchist
1,606
672
So the long term strategy of the class is to shift from a cheap and cheerful beach boat that sold so many that folk couldn't help but race against each other, to an expensive, out dated shitbox?

 
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