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Laser Class ushers in the new reality

Published on September 29th, 2019

It is an honor for a one design class association to be selected as the equipment to fulfill an Olympic event, but the requirements of the class have gotten steeper in the interest of both the sailors and marketplace. That’s the new reality for the International Laser Class Association (ILCA).

Since the Laser’s involvement began at Atlanta 1996 (Standard Rig) and Beijing 2008 (Radial Rig), the continued use of the equipment in the Olympics has been under threat, with the issue being how the opportunity to build the boat was restricted to only three licensed builders.

Due to legal pressure, it is now a World Sailing policy that equipment selected for Olympic events be open to any interested party who meets the necessary technical qualifications to manufacture and sell. To remain Olympic equipment, the ILCA and its three builders would need to open the doors.

With all the interested parties agreeing to adjust, and the Laser confirmed for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the ILCA is now accepting applications for new builders, with any interested and qualified manufacturer being invited to apply. Here’s a statement from the ILCA:

A cornerstone principle of our class that remains enshrined in the new policy is that all boats and equipment sold by the class builders and used in class racing must be made in strict compliance with the specification of the class construction manual. ILCA is committed to continuing this strict one-design principle and ensuring that all new and existing manufacturers maintain the highest uniform standards.

The class will remain what it has always been, a mass-produced one-design boat built within construction tolerances set down to allow for the mass production process. No attempt at optimization of the boat or equipment within the allowable tolerances will be permitted and all boats must be constructed from molds and tooling certified by the class, as they have been in the past.

Providing FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) access for new builders in accordance with World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy required that ILCA address the issues associated with the use of the Laser trademarks. The class has now completed this process, modifying its rules to remove the requirement that all builders must have the right to use the Laser trademarks.

The ILCA Class Rules now allow builders and suppliers to manufacture and sell class-legal equipment under alternative trademarks, as long as all equipment is compliant with the construction manual.

In order to appoint new class builders ILCA is now commencing a multi-stage formal application process to identify new builders that have the relevant expertise, experience, competence and business strength to meet the class builder requirements.

For complete details… click here.

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