The Laser may become known as the Kirby Torch....
Bruce Kirby, the designer of the Laser, has recently been involved in a legal dispute about unpaid royalties. As a result he has withdrawn building rights from one of the current manufacturers, Laser Performance, which supplies boats in the UK and North America.
Kirby has set up a new company to produce a boat called the Kirby Torch which will be identical to the existing Laser. The Kirby Torch builders have said that all ISAF-plaqued Lasers (basically all existing boats) will be regarded as class legal in the Kirby Torch fleet.
These changes are unlikely to have any impact on club sailing, other than possibly a change of Fleet name at some time in the future.
At the time of writing there is also no indication from the international Laser Class Association and UK Laser Association websites that racing at a national or international level will be affected.
The overall message is that whether it's a Laser or a Kirby Torch don't have any hesitation about buying and enjoying sailing it !
At SHSC we are fortunate to have a very active racing membership across the spectrum of abilities. Competitive sailors can enjoy racing alongside (or slightly behind) accomplished and renowned champions, whilst newcomers to the fleet find plenty of accompaniment throughout the race. Due to the high number of competitors, final positions can vary greatly from race to race which keeps the fleet vibrant and exciting.