After nearly 50 years, the monopoly of the world’s most widespread class falls. As of today, who will build the Laser? The battle between shipyards has begun as the ILCA (International Laser Class Association) has announced that it is looking for new manufacturers after “breaking up” with the incumbent manufacturer for Europe, Asia and the Americas, Laser Performance Europe, guilty according to ILCA of violating the terms of the Laser Construction Manual Agreement (LCMA), the “charter” that seeks to ensure that all boats launched are perfectly equal, regardless of where they are built.
“DO NOT ENTER THIS FACTORY”
“We are disappointed to see the end of such a long and productive relationship, but we had to move forward to protect the level of competition and investment for ILCA’s 14,000 members and the more than 50,000 sailors around the world who regularly sail the Lasers,” said Class President Tracy Usher. With its production facility in the United Kingdom, LPE was the ILCA-approved manufacturer producing boats for most of Europe, Asia, and the Americas until earlier this week, when the Class decided to terminate the relationship after the manufacturer refused to allow inspection of boats under construction at its production facility, as required by the contract.
“The very heart of our class is the ability of each sailor to race as equals, and the only way to guarantee this is to ensure that all builders produce the boat in strict accordance with the Laser Construction Manual. If we can’t be sure that the boats are all the same, we have no class left.”
AND IF YOU WANT A LASER NOW?
If you want to buy a Laser, while waiting for new manufacturers to be chosen for Europe, know that there are already two other manufacturers of legal class boats, one in Japan and another in Australia. For the 2020 Olympics?
“Doing what is right for sailors is really all that matters,” according to ILCA Executive Secretary Eric Faust, who stressed that there will be no disruptions to the 2020 Olympics or any major ILCA event. “Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ) will supply all boats for the Tokyo Olympic competitions, while the next two World Championships will be held in regions with Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA) plants.” PSA and PSJ will provide boats and parts to sailors previously served by Laser Performance in the coming months.