Laser Rule Change - Bruce Kirby says disaster -news from the U.S. and
This week the International Laser Class Association asked its membership to vote for a fundamental rule change, on the basis that the intellectual property rights had lapsed.
Laser Designer 82 year old Bruce Kirby came out very firmly against explaining the ILCA had their facts wrong. He said there never was any patent or copyright on the Laser, (the general belief is that he should know), but that the design rights were firmly contracted. . It could be that the ILCA might not have been well advised. Apparently at the ILCA World Council meeting it was revealed that ther Class lawyers had never sighted those contracts. Watch this space.
Back to more fun things, one of the more interesting aspects of our sport is the way that culture and geography influence hardware and yacht design. Take, for example, the IC24 class. This homespun Caribbean class originated out of the desire for an affordable, fun, ergonomic raceboat that could be sailed competitively between clubs, islands and now nations. Many IC24s re-start life as junkyard residents who are resurrected and retrofitted with an open, Melges 24-like cockpit, as well as a modified sailplan. The boats remain just as technical as their predecessors, and allow sailors to play at a high level without getting into serious dollars.
Interestingly, they also make great match-racing platforms, as I have seen during the 2011 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival's (March 28-April 3) inaugural Gill BVI International Match Racing Championship (March 30 and 31). The winner of this Grade-Three match-racing event wins an automatic invitation to a Grade-Two match racing event at the Chicago Match Racing Center (CMRC) this August, giving every skipper reason to push hard.
BVI Spring Regatta BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival
Eight teams squared off in ten flights on Day One in a one-on-one format with an umpire boat trailing closely astern, ensuring that no tomfoolery transpired. Rather than contending with protest rooms, penalties are determined—and resolved—in real time, just like the America's Cup. And rather than worrying about the length of courses, the game here is to rifle through as many races as possible; because of this, the RC sets courses that they believe will take the racers 20 minutes to sail. Betwixt races, crews and skippers relaxed on the change boat (a 46-foot catamaran), where I was fortunate enough to chat with the sailors and hear their thoughts on the race. Given the number of smiles and positive comments, it was obvious that match racing is quickly taking hold here in the islands, much as it has in the States with the creation of the CMRC and the Oakcliff Sailing Center, on Long Island.
According to Mary Anne Ward of the CMRC, sailors debrief post-racing with the judges and the RC, giving them a forum to ask questions and so that they can better understand why certain calls were made on the water. While there's no possibility of redress, the intent, says Ward, is to help elevate all skipper's knowledge of the rules and to help everyone master the subtleties of match racing. The fact that yesterday's debriefing took place near the beach and the bar ensured a relaxed atmosphere and helped set the tone for this great new event.
By the end of the first day of racing, two boats were eliminated. Ace match-racer Peter Holmberg ended Day One in first place; just below him on the leaderboard was an extremely interesting three-way tie for second place between Colin Rathbun, Leo Vasiliev and William Bailey. Day Two end with Holmberg in first place, Bailey in second and Colin Rathbun in third. Congrats to Mr. Holmberg for sailing a great series of races, and for earning a free trip to the Windy City.
Next up for the IC 24 fleet is the BVI Spring Regatta, which kicks off on Friday, April 1 (no fooling around here folks, despite what the calendar might indicate!). Here, sailors will compete in a standard fleet-racing format aimed at producing plenty of windward-leewards, as well as a few other interesting course shapes. Stay tuned for more updates from the BVI Spring Regatta, and be sure to check the Sail-World.com/US for breaking news from sailing's broader world stage.
(N.B., Barcelona World Race leaders Jean Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron, aboard Virbac-Paprec 3, are getting closer and closer to the finishing line of what is quickly proving to be one of the world's greatest ocean races. Count on updates, articles and images before and after the champagne starts flowing in Barcelona.)
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