DRAMA: Goodbye Laser, Hello Torch

As the designer of the Laser, Bruce Kirby was forced to pursue legal action to hold the primary builder of his boat – LaserPerformance – accountable to the agreements that they signed. The result of that action has now led to the launch of the Kirby Torch boat. Here are some details from the Torch website:

* Bruce Kirby Inc. terminated the builder agreements in Europe and North America late in 2012. This was due to a failure of LaserPerformance to make royalty payments as required by their builder agreement. Bruce Kirby Inc. considers boats made by the terminated builders and distributed under the Laser brand to be without his authorization and therefore counterfeit.

* On March 25, 2013, ISAF instructed the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) to no longer recognize LaserPerformance as a builder of the Laser.

* Bruce Kirby Inc. has signed new Builder Agreements to manufacture the Kirby Torch in regions serving the needs of sailors in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Companies listed on the website are located in Canada, Australia, and The Netherlands. LaserPerformance will not be involved.

* Current manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat under the Laser brand are in the process of converting over to manufacture the Kirby sailboat under the Kirby Torch brand. The process is expected to take a few months after which Kirby Torch builders will be the only licensed manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat throughout the world.

* Bruce Kirby Inc. and the Torch Builders have been trying to negotiate with the International Laser Class Association in hopes it would replicate itself as the Torch Class. This is considered the most expedient way to establish a Torch Class because Bruce Kirby Inc. and the Torch Builders all agree that all authorized Laser brand boats with ISAF plaques will be class legal in the Torch Class.

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