The International Laser Class Association (ILCA) is seeking a new builder for the Laser class following the removal of Laser Performance (Europe) Limited as an Approved Builder.
The move comes after longtime builder of the class dinghy, Laser Performance (Europe) Limited (LPE), breached the terms of the Laser Construction Manual Agreement (LCMA), which seeks to ensure the identical nature of all Laser class boats, regardless of where they are built.
Class President Tracy Usher said, “We’re disappointed to see such a long and productive relationship come to an end, but we had to move ahead in order to protect the level of competition and the investment for the 14,000 members of the International Laser Class and the more than 50,000 sailors around the world who regularly sail the Laser dinghy,”
With its UK-based manufacturing facility, LPE was the ILCA-approved builder that produced boats for most of Europe, Asia and the Americas until earlier this week, when Usher says, the class terminated the LCMA with respect to LPE after the builder’s refusal to allow inspection of the boats being built in their manufacturing facility as required by that contract.
Usher, claimed that LPE has unequivocally denied the class their right to access to LPE’s factory. “It’s the same for every class of one-design racing boat: if we can’t be sure that they are all the same, we have no class left,” said Usher, who said that LPE left the class “no option.”
There are already two other manufacturers of class legal boats, one in Japan and another in Australia.
According to Chris Caldecoat, General Manager of Performance Sailcraft Australia (PSA), his company is able to take up the slack if needed. “PSA has sufficient capacity to supply the market until new builders are appointed in Europe and around the world,” Caldecoat said. “We have and will always do what is right for the sailors and the sport.”
ILCA Executive Secretary Eric Faust emphasized that there will be no disruptions to the 2020 Olympics or to any major ILCA event.
Performance Sailcraft Japan (PSJ) will supply all the boats for the Tokyp 2020 Olympics, while the next two World Championships are in regions with Performance Sailcraft factories.
With PSA and PSJ supplying boats and parts to sailors formerly served by Laser Performance over the next few months, Faust expects the disruption to class owners to be minimal or non-existent.
The Laser class has just completed World Sailing’s Evaluation Trials for the selection of a new One Person Dinghy for the Paris 2024 Olympics in Marseille.
The Standard and Radial rig Laser hull was up against three other newer singlehanders – the Melges14, Devoti D-Zero and RS Aero.
ILCA plan to post a FAQ with more detailed information soon.
The full statement can be read by clicking on theClass Association website