World sailing

World Sailing releases statement on changes to Laser/ILCA

World Sailing releases statement on changes to Laser/ILCA

By World Sailing/Sail-World.com/nz Apr 28, 2019 09:49 UTC
May 4-5, 2019

The Laser Radial class at the time at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 © Richard Gladwell

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World Sailing has released a statement on its website setting out its position on the world’s most numerous racing dinghy, formerly known as the Laser.


World Sailing, the sport’s global governing body, wishes to clarify its position on current issues regarding equipment for the men’s and women’s single-seater dinghy events at Tokyo 2020.

World Sailing is aware of the ongoing litigation between the International Class Association (ILCA) and its main builder (Laser Performance). Both parties have kept World Sailing informed of their position and the information will be taken into account as part of the ongoing equipment selection process for the Paris 2024 men’s and women’s single-seater dinghy. World Sailing is committed to following its published procedures for this process and it will be for the World Sailing Council to make a decision on equipment for the men’s and women’s single dinghy events after receiving the recommendation and report of the equipment committee.

However, World Sailing is concerned that recent public statements may exaggerate conversations with World Sailing officials.

World Sailing has not approved or pre-approved the proposed name change from Laser to ILCA dinghy. The World Sailing Board and Management Team have always maintained the position that World Sailing will deal with all class rule change requests when made by ILCA to World Sailing. To date, World Sailing has not received any request for a class rule change related to the name of the boat and, if formally made, World Sailing will process any request in accordance with the applicable World Sailing regulations.

Regarding the issue of World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy, World Sailing has not endorsed any individual class or manufacturer position regarding production and intellectual property rights. What World Sailing has done and continues to do is to listen carefully and note the positions of our stakeholders in this area.

The table above highlights the universality of the Laser/ILCA as well as the contribution of the RS:X Windsurfer as well as the Euro-centric nature of today’s Olympic classes. The pressure on ILCA/Laser has been triggered by a demand from World Sailing for the 2024 Olympic classes to be FRAND compliant – a term which World Sailing has not yet defined but which should mean that there must be multiple builders in a class with supply competition, which could result in multiple builders supplying the same territory.

The Laser/ILCA is the first of the current Olympic classes to undergo a review process imposed by World Sailing which includes competing against other classes for “their” Olympic spot. Given World Sailing’s statement above, World Sailing’s timeline for the review process and the timelines for changes to the constitution and class rules, it seems unlikely that ILCA/Laser will have its business in order by the World Sailing Mid-May meeting which begins on May 17, 2019. The World Sailing’s Council will vote on the equipment (class) to be used for the men’s and women’s single-seater dinghy in the 2024 Olympic Regatta.

Rule 31 of the ICLA Class Rules can only be amended after a four-step approval process. Amendments to these Rules must be approved by each of the following members: (a) the World Board, (b) the Advisory Board, (c) at least two-thirds of the members voting in response to a ballot issued by the Board class international. Only votes submitted within one month of the date of publication of the rule change vote will be valid, and (d) World Sailing.

Changes to the ILCA Constitution require a similar process to changes to class rules, except World Sailing approval is not required and the mail-in voting window is six months, not a month.

It seems to be a question of knowing if Man is made to serve the Rules, or if the Rules are at the service of Man?

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