ILCA reveals Laser builder applicants

Published on January 24th, 2020

For sailing equipment selected for the Olympic Games, new requirements now dictate the availability of that equipment – both for the sailors and for suppliers seeking to provide it. For several of the Class Associations, this change for Paris 2024 was easy to fulfill, but for the International Laser Class Association (ILCA), this was new territory.

Throughout the history of the Laser Class, it has been the license agreements along with the trademark rights that determined who could sell equipment and in what territories. However, for ILCA this World Sailing policy has required some changes in how builders are determined and approved to manufacturer class-legal equipment.

As a result of antitrust actions brought in Europe, and in order to comply with EU Regulations, World Sailing now requires that any interested party that meets the necessary technical qualifications and regulatory requirements must be able to manufacture and sell the boats named as equipment for the Olympic Games.

World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy requires that the Olympic sailing classes have a process in place by which “any interested party who meets the necessary technical qualifications and regulatory requirements must be able to manufacture and sell Olympic equipment.” Further, the manufacturer selection process must be defined on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis.

To implement World Sailing’s policy, ILCA has now established the necessary procedures for bringing on new builders. The primary focus throughout this process is to maintain and ensure the one-design principle that is the foundation of our class – that all boats are built to the same strict standards regardless of the manufacturer.

ILCA has revealed that, under the terms of the new builder approval procedure, seven manufacturers will now be offered provisional licenses to move forward in the builder application process.

The provisional approvals come after the formal builder applications were reviewed by the evaluation panel appointed by ILCA, which is comprised of both class technical representatives and independent industry experts. The manufacturers approved to move forward in the application process are (in alphabetical order):

• Devoti Sailing s.r.o. (Poland)
• Element 6 Evolution Co Ltd (Thailand)
• Nautivela srl (Italy)
• Ovington Boats Ltd (United Kingdom)
• Qindao Zou Inter Marine Co., Ltd (China)
• Rio tecna srl (Argentina)
• Zim Sailing (United States)

Each builder applicant is now subject to a further technical review to ensure compliance with the established class one-design principles. The new manufacturers will now be required to obtain certified molds and tooling from ILCA and produce a number of pre-production boats to verify the ability to manufacturer boats to the strict specifications and tolerances of the building manual and the class rules.

Under the terms of the Olympic Equipment Policy, there are other applicants in the approval process at this time that may also receive provisional approval. ILCA will provide further updates as this process moves forward.

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