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Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

UK sailing news - The Kirby Torch, America's Cup and VOR

by Jedda Murphy and the Sail-World team on 12 Apr 2013
Laser Radial fleet © Marc Turner http://www.pfmpictures.co.uk
Canadian Bruce Kirby designed a 'car-topper' in 1969. It was launched as a Laser in 1970 and more than 210,000 Lasers later, it is THE dinghy success story.

There has been a long running dispute between the designer of the Laser dinghy Bruce Kirby and one of the Laser builders LaserPerformance, the builder and supplier of Lasers into UK, Europe and North America, because of non-payment of design royalties and in early March that reached the U.S. Federal Court District of Connecticut, alleging unlawful counterfeiting of the Kirby dinghy by LaserPerformance principal Farzad Rastegar acting with and through LaserPerformance and its associated entities.

The case named the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) and ISAF alleging they assisted LaserPerformance by continuing to supply ISAF plaques to the builder, after Kirby had given them formal notice to stop.

In March 25th Legal Counsel for ISAF Jon Napier wrote to Jeff Martin the Executive Secretary of ILCA, requesting that ILCA cease to issue ISAF plaques to LaserPerformance (Europe) Limited and Quarter Moon Inc. (the 'Builders') with immediate effect. The reason for this decision is that ISAF has concluded, based on the correspondence and court papers received from Bruce Kirby’s attorneys, that the Builders are no longer licensed by Bruce Kirby and/or Bruce Kirby Inc. to build the Laser class boat (as required by the 1983 ISAF Agreement and our 1992 Plaque Agreement).

ILCA has ceased to supply Laser Performance and related entities with Laser plaques.

You´d think that would be the end of the matter, but it looks like it might be just the End of the Beginning. Kirby has come up with a new name the Kirby Torch and new UK-European and North American builders. We have details from Bruce Kirby and are seeking more information from ISAF and ILCA.


We're pleased to able to report that Sail-World's transition to the Cloud is almost complete, one of the final phases of which has been to convert our newsletter system and so these are returning to their regular time slots.


A main feature in this edition is a two-part interview with Oracle Team USA's COO, Grant Simmer.

Known affectionately as Grunter on the Aussie scene, at just 26 years old was the navigator on board Australia II, winning the first of his three America's Cups. Now in his ninth America's Cup, Simmer, the former mechanical engineer is with Oracle Team USA, who he joined after the evaporation of the GBR Team Origin in 2011.

In the two part interview Simmer is very honest about some of the issues that the Defender has faced, and seems to be very confident that the Defenders can get back on top of the game by the time of the 34th Match in September.

In other America's Cup news, we cover the final sail of Emirates Team New Zealand, unfortunately we only have the team supplied reports and images of this milestone event.


In San Francisco, Artemis Racing have, today, released a video of their AC45 foiling in a very stable manner, save for one near cartwheel, which is also recorded. Whether they have been able to transfer this form to their AC72 remains to be seen. Their second SAC72 is due for launch in late May and is expected to be a true foiler. However as we note in the interview with Grant Simmer, time is fast running out in this America's cycle.

Luna Rossa are virtually out of Auckland. In this edition of Sail-World.com's newsletter we feature an extract from an interview by top European website, vsail.info's Pierre Orphanidis, with their skipper Max Sirena, who certainly doesn't hold back on what he thinks of certain aspects of the America's Cup.


The full route for the Volvo Ocean Race has been announced. The latest and final stopover to be announced is Lorient, France. While some may disagree with the format of the race which has shifted a long way from its original concept of being a round the world sailing adventure, to being close to a round the world sailing rally, with a variety of long and short course racing. It is what it is, and the race seems to be ahead of where it was in previous editions.


The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race gets underway this August and now, the 12 skippers for the ninth edition of the famous biennial event – which includes a mix of youth and experience, international challengers and home grown talent, as well as some familiar faces and only the third ever female to skipper the race - have been announced. More in this issue.

Also in this issue is an interesting blog from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Laser Gold Medallist Paul Goodison. It seems he's still not decided the road ahead.

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