Simmering Laser ownership dispute spills over....Junior sailing booms at Pt Chev...Three generations of Dicksons to race together

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 31 Mar 2011

Sail-World New Zealand: 31st March 2011

Adam Finlayson wins first prize - Pt Chevalier CSC junior prizegiving  Chris Mitchell
Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for 31st March 2011

For some time there has been 'information' circulating about the effect of an ownership struggle for design rights over the Laser class, designed by Canada's Bruce Kirby and adeptly put into production by Ian Bruce. The work of the Canadian duo became a model for the development of many other yachts of a genre which became known as a Single Manufacturer One Design. In other words the system of officials taking days over complex hull measurement of competitors' yachts before a major regatta were over, as the boats all came from the one set of base moulds and in external measurement were all the same.

That concept was taken a stage further by Kirby and Bruce and the company formed, Performance Sailcraft, to build and market the Laser. By using very tight restrictions on what gear could be used on a Laser a boat was launched that could be sailed at a World Championship by just turning up with your wetsuit. Yes, the boat from the local agent was identical to the one you sailed at home.

Backed by a strong class association, which again was unique at that time in the sailing world, the designers, builders, agents and sailors all worked together to protect and grow and incredibly simple concept into a highly successful class that has sold close to 200,000 boats and seems to be very safe in its position as an Olympic singlehander.

2008 Olympic Gold medalist, Paul Goodison,GBR 198605 in action at the 2010 Laser World Championship  Paul Wyeth / RYA

But all that would now appear to be under a threat with a proposed rule change stemming from a dispute over ownership of the design rights, since sold by designer Bruce Kirby to interests associated with New Zealand's Spencer family.

The stance of the International Laser Association is interesting. A class vote on the matter spells out the benefits of voting 'Yes' for the proposed rule change, but says nothing on a 'No' vote or the consequences of retaining the status quo. There is no indication from the ILA as to which of the design claimants they will favour in the event of the right of approval of the official builder being given to the ILA and the International Sailing Federation (who are generally guided by the class association). Two thirds of the ILA members must vote for the rule change for it to pass.

We have the opening rounds of this breaking story in this edition of Sail-World, and will be featuring more on

Harken Schools Teams Racing Auckland Cup  Daniel Johnston

Quite where this is headed is anyone's guess. Those associated with class administration and class rules will be aware of the ways in which the rights of existing sailors and boats can be protected through a process known as grandfathering. In terms of new boats however it is a different situation, and the risk is that a class that had as its greatest strength a very strict one design concept will be broken into three (two new designs plus the existing class).

Hopefully sanity will prevail and the interests of 200,000 exiting boats will be protected and the simple dream will once more be a reality, and continue to be the success story that it has been for the past almost 40 years.

But read on and follow the story as it evolves on

Rolex International Regatta Day 3  Rolex/Ingrid Abery

There's plenty more local and international news in this edition, which we have caught up on a couple of stories that should have been posted earlier in the week.

We often hear of falling numbers in sailing, however take the time to read the story from Pt Chevalier Sailing Club, which has managed to build a very successful junior program of 70 sailors.

Forceracing have also announced a series of clinics, one of which will be staged before the 2011 Optimist Worlds in Napier and will feature Predictwind's Jon Bilger - one of New Zealand's outstanding small boat sailors who crossed over to the America's Cup and became one of the worlds top yacht racing meteorologists.

KB4girls 2011 World Tour  KB4girls

Many thanks to those who have contributed to this edition, particularly those using our online submission and image loading facility which can be accessed by clicking here

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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Laser Rule changes – Major issues for World's largest sailing Class,
This year, 40 years after Canadian designer Bruce Kirby launched the most successful boat ever, the 200,000 Laser dinghy has been sold. You'd be forgiven for thinking that all would be rosy in the Laser World, but it's not.... [more]
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Dicksons to race in Sail for Life at Worser Bay
Mandy Burt,
The Worser Bay Boating Club is hosting its annual Hebtro Trophy celebrity yacht race on Sunday 3rd April. This year's celebrity is the whole Dickson Family. Competing will be three generations of the Dickson Family as this year's celebrities. Grandfather Roy is still sailing. Father Chris is still enjoying is sailing and his two girls Grace 11 and Rose 9 are Optimist sailors.... [more]
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Kiwis report from the Harken Int Womens Match Racing Regatta
Danielle Bowater,
Danielle Bowater reports from the 2011 Harken International Womens Match Racing Regatta, sailed in Sydney: Yesterdays (Friday) semi finals we started in 15- 20 knots of fresh westerly wind, we had picked Stephanie Doyle for our match and beat her convincingly 2-0 securing our position for the grand final against Katie Abbott. The first race of the finals started in light breezes; we won out of... [more]
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Forceracing reports on upcoming Optimist and Club racing clinics
Andrew Brown,
Forceracing will run the Pre Worlds Optimist Coaching Clinic in Napier with a big focus on the venue and getting used to the venue before the Worlds start. This clinic will start on the 20th of December with Jon Bilger the director of and ex Alinghi weatherman giving a presentation on Napier, we also have some great New Zealand Coaches coaching at the clinic... [more]
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Junior Sailing programme a big success at Pt Chevalier Sailing Club
Nic Finlayson,
A little bit of news from PCSC. Over the last couple of years we have been building up a junior sailing programme in Pt Chevalier. We have had a big up-take of members, with 70 junior sailors down here now. We are offering LTS level 1 and 2 courses, with some of the more competent sailors learning to race. We ran a recent race series (9 races), with generous prizes gifted by Andrew Brown from Forc... [more]
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OKI Opti 6 Hour Race. How many laps can you do?
David Gunn,
The OKI Opti 6 Hour Race is scheduled to run this weekend Saturday 2nd April. The annual race is the precursor of the famous OKI 24 Hour Race. The OKI Opti 6 Hour and the OKI 24 Hour Race are run by Murrays Bay Sailing Club and are held in the waters of Lake Pupuke on Auckland North Shore.... [more]
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Top schools compete in this weekend's Auckland Cup
Daniel Johnston,
On the March 31, seven of the top sailing schools in the region will be battling it out at the 2011 Harken Schools Teams Racing Auckland Cup (Auckland Championships), hosted this year by the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club (BBYC). Aiming to qualify for the national competition later in the year the schools will compete in a double round robin with the top four teams going on to the semi-finals.... [more]
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Christchurch school shows earthquake is no barrier to success
NZ Herald,
Like many other schools from earthquake-damaged Christchurch, Christ's College has had an uphill battle to get to the Maadi Cup. But despite ongoing hurdles off the water, its rowers are proving their mettle on it. The school has sent 39 rowers to the country's largest rowing regatta at Lake Karapiro and has already had notable success with seven of its teams qualifying for the A-finals.... [more]
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Oracle Racing News - 3 - covering the latest entries
Oracle Racing,
Oracle Racing's newsletter for 28 March 2011 covering the latest entries and fleet sailing in the Hauraki Gulf and more.... [more]
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ISAF Sailing World Cup heads to Palma
ISAF Sailing World Cup event three of the seven event series starts on 3 April in Palma, Spain. Nick Thompson (GBR) has a commanding 12 point lead in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Standings. Thompson has amassed 37 points out of a possible 40 after claiming gold at Sail Melbourne and finishing fourth at the Rolex Miami OCR.... [more]
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29er Harken Grand Prix
Ian Payne,
The first 29er Harken Grand Prix for the 2011 racing season was at Rutland Water. With also the 'Try a 29er' taking place over the weekend, many aspiring young sailors came away with smiles on their faces, after experiencing the fun to be had on a 29er.... [more]
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ISAF Match Racing World Championship 2011 - Is it Richard's time?
World Match Racing Tour 2011. Mathieu Richard has refused to introduce wholesale changes ahead of this season's competition in a bid to go one better. Last year we had a great season - we were very close to the title and finished second which, was a great achievement. For 2011 we are changing little details to improve and be better this year but we haven't changed a lot.... [more]
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SAP 505 World Championship - US and Aussies close on leaders
Di Pearson,
SAP 505 World Championship day 5. Two more races sailed at Hamilton Island today as the wind gods played ball. Superb 15-20 knot winds, great surfing waves and brilliant action has bought a few competitors much closer to the leading Germans.... [more]
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It's over - Thomas Coville about to finish, but not with a record
Sail-World Cruising,
Thomas Coville set off on 29 January offshore of the Créac'h lighthouse on Ushant, a French Island in the English Channel to try, for the second time, to best the solo round world record of Francis Joyon, set in 2005 at 59+ days. In 2008, he had his first failed attempt. Since then he had worked on his boat Sodebo, making her faster, stronger. Finally in January, he thought he had a chance.... [more]
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SAP 505 World Championship - Veteran takes on the pros
Di Pearson,
SAP 505 World Championship - Sailing is one of those sports where even at the elite level, age can be a benefit rather than a barrier, and that is the case with 67 year-old Brisbane skipper Earle Alexander, who is competing at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island this week.... [more]
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Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Class update and a fantastic event
Tink Chambers,
Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2011 - Sydney Australia and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron really turned it on to make the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2011 a fantastic event that was hard fought right to the finish line of the last race.... [more]
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Virbac-Paprec 3's World Record ratified by WSSR
The WSSR Council announces the ratification of a new World Record by Virbac-Paprec 3, 24 Hour Distance Record, during the Barcelona World Race on 21st and 22nd January 2011.... [more]
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Barcelona World Race - One last Atlantic gale before Gibraltar
Barcelona World Race,
Barcelona World Race - Jean-Pierre Dick anxiously admitted that he and Loïck Peyron have one final blast of strong winds and agitated seas to pass through before the challenges of Gibraltar, where the 2007-2008 race winning skipper confirms that he expects to pass during the night of Thursday 31st March to Friday the first of April.... [more]
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Audi MedCup - Estimated media impact value grows by 65.6% year
Sabina Mollart-Rogerson,
Audi MedCup Circuit - Sport+Markt, one of the leading sports research and consultancy companies, have concluded their research and evaluation of the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit with a result that ascertains the world's leading regatta circuit returned 41,1 million euros in terms of media impact over the course of the year.... [more]
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SAP 505 World Championship day 4 wild weather training - video
505 Worlds,
At the SAP 505 World Championship the elite take to the waters off Catseye Beach to battle the elements.... [more]
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Velux 5 Oceans sprint four sunshine and steady breeze
Velux 5 Oceans,
Velux 5 Oceans - The fleet has been relishing champagne sailing conditions after two days at sea in ocean sprint four, which is a stark contrast to the grey, cold and wet Southern Ocean environment of the previous two sprints.... [more]
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China Team to Contest the 34th America's Cup
China Team Media,
For the second time in America's Cup history, China has entered a team to challenge for the oldest sporting trophy in the world, and bring it to China. China Team, with the full support of the Chinese Government, is the eighth challenger for the 34th America's Cup, joining the best sailors in the world to compete in the Challengers Series Louis Vuitton Cup... [more]
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ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma preview
The ISAF Sailing World Cup is heading to Palma, Spain for the 2011 Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Mapfre, the third stop of the seven regatta series, from 3 - 9 April. There is some top international sailing talent in the Finn, Laser, Laser Radial, Men's RS:X, Star and women's 470 ready to compete as the ISAF Sailing World Cup hits Europe.... [more]
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Platu 25 Alpen Cup 2011 and Platu 25 World Championship approaching
International Platu 25 Class,
The four legs of 2011 Alpen Cup Circuit will be placed, as the previous editions, in Italy, Austria and Switzerland. The first appointment with the Alpen Cup will be in Malcesine, on the North-East side of the Garda Lake (Italy) from the 29th of April to the first of May.... [more]
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Rolex International Regatta day 3 more images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery images,
Rolex International regatta day 3 images by photographer Ingrid Abery. A fabulous sailing day at St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Images of the Groupama 4 Volvo Open 70 build
Volvo Ocean Race,
Images of the Groupama 4 Volvo Open 70 build preparations for the 2011-2012 Volvo Open Race at Multiplast in Vannes, France.... [more]
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Barcelona World Race - Firm control for Virbac-Paprec 3
Barcelona World Race,
Barcelona World Race - While the routing may be a bit slower and a little more frustrating than when he was off the Azores counting down the miles to victory in 2008, but Jean-Pierre Dick is hoping the net result will be the same, as the French skipper, along with Loïck Peyron remains firmly in control of the second edition of the race.... [more]
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Weymouth's Nothe Garden is the place to be for 2012 Olympics
Weymouth's Nothe Gardens has been announced as the proposed ticketed spectator location for the Olympic sailing events and is anticipated to hold up to 4,600 spectators providing a great Games experience with views close to the medal course.... [more]
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34th America's Cup - China Team enters + Video
America´s Cup / China Team,
The 34th America's Cup World Series begins its inaugural season July 2011. For the second time in the Cup history, China is back in the competition and has entered a team to challenge for the oldest sporting trophy in the world... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race new rule forbids two-boat testing
Lizzie Ward,
According to a rule, which is new for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race, from 16 March 2011, the teams entered in the race can now only sail their 2011-12 race boats. This now allows other potential syndicates to acquire these second generation Volvo Open 70s... [more]
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ISAF In-House Certification expands into Asia
An important part of the ISAF IHC scheme is the periodic audit of the manufacturers involved in the scheme and how they build equipment that is in compliance with the class rules. On 15 March it was the turn of China Sail Factory, situated just outside Dong Guan in the Guang Dong Province of China, to undergo their annual audit.... [more]
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