Bruce Kirby, a Canadian and the original designer of the Laser, is now launching the 'Kirby Torch'. The Laser sailboat is no longer in production in North America and Europe and because the Laser trademark is being held by the former builder, the boat’s name had to be changed in order for Bruce Kirby’s design to continue to be sold world-wide as a One Design class.
Kirby Torch plan
The newly-christened Kirby Torch has a very Canadian focus. The Laser started in Canada, quickly becoming an IYRU-recognized international class in 1974. Then in 1983, the original builder went bankrupt and rights to the design reverted to Bruce Kirby Inc.
After decades as probably the most active sailing class, a similar problem has arisen. The issue is supply of the Kirby sailboat and parts to sailors worldwide. Numerous bloggers and sailing writers have complained of supply and quality issues with products from the North American and European builders and royalty payments owed to Kirby had ceased. After numerous attempts, Bruce Kirby felt he had no choice but to withdraw Laser brand building rights in North America and Europe.
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