ANNIVERSARY: When the Laser SB3 was rebranded as the SB20 (could the Laser be next?)

Published on May 2nd, 2013

One year has passed since the Laser SB3 was rebranded as the SB20 Class, and was launched by the newly appointed builders Sportsboat World.

The boat known originally as the Laser SB3 was designed by Tony Castro and launched in 2002. In 2007 the Laser SB3 was awarded ISAF Recognised Status and the first World Championships were held in Ireland in 2008. But now all was well, and in 2012 Tony Castro appointed a new builder, Sportsboat World.

At this time, the Laser SB3 was renamed the SB20 and building was returned to the UK from Malaysia. The ethos of the class continues. The boat is a strict one design class, economic to buy and campaign, easy to sail with a simple deck layout and electric downwind performance delivered by the generous sail plan. The boat has a lifting keel, can easily be launched from a slipway and towed behind a car.

A lot of improvements have been made for SB20 owners in the past 12 months. Spare parts, sails and new boats are readily available. Manufacturing of the SB20 returned to UK shores and stringent quality control. Parts that previously failed on a regular basis have been re-engineered, improved and released. The first World Championship was held outside of Europe at Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia in December 2012, with the 2013 Worlds to be hosted in Hyeres, France in September.

With the events occurring within the Laser class, could that be the next organization to be rebranded? Due to a conflict between designer Bruce Kirby and builder Laser Performance, Kirby filed a complaint in the U.S. Federal Court against the Laser class, ISAF, and Laser Performance. He determined the best way for Laser sailors to continue to be best served is for the Laser to be rebranded as the Torch.

Maybe Kirby is right.

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