ILCA Update from Competitor Briefing in Oman
At the Competitor Briefing in Musannah Oman in December ILCA President Tracy Usher gave an update on the Laser licensing issue.
The dispute between Laser Performance the UK based builder and Laser designer Bruce Kirby has been ongoing for quite a while. The story behind the dispute is here. The court case will be before the U.S. Federal Court District of Connecticut USA, through an action filed by Bruce Kirby. Tracy said that attempts by ILCA and ISAF to get a meeting of the parties and to potentially mediate the case have failed. Now the case will go through a four stage court process and may only see judgement some time in 2014. In the mean time ISAF plaques will continue to be affixed to new Lasers from all builders maintaing the supply of boats.
The long awaited improvements in the class with the new mast top section and the new longer life radial cut standard rig sail are all good to go but need the unanimous agreement of all the Laser builders. Tracy said that this approval had not been obtained and was unlikely to be until the current legal dispute is settled. His candid advice was not to hold your breath waiting for the improvements.
At the same meeting ILCA World Executive Secretary Jeff Martin explained the implications of some new initiatives by ISAF for World Championships.
These changes would see the ISAF limit World Championships to four per class and run a Sailing World Cup with four regattas plus the World Championship for each class limited to the top 25 sailors. The limit of four “Worlds” would rule out ILCA’s running World Masters or at least naming the event so.
The limitation of the Sailing World Cup to 25 might be fine for some classes with limited numbers of sailors but would rule out the majority of the very large number of up and coming Laser sailors from this peak level of competition.
These “one size fits all” changes by ISAF are counter to the interest of Laser sailing as is their other “initiative” to allow “kinetic actions” above certain wind strengths in Lasers.
On a more positive note Jeff explained that the GGM Standard Rig was a fixture for Laser Masters and that a new 75+ age bracket would be formalised for Radials.
The next World Masters (if it will be termed that) will be in Hyeres France 3-11th October 2014 and is likely to be huge with 4.7 Rig returning and the fleet size likely limited by the number of boats that can be managed on the courses available. The NoR is expected to be issued for this event in January 2014. The ILCA web page for the event is here. Subsequent “World Masters” will be in July 2015 in Kingston Canada and in 2016 either in South America or Malaysia.