Sarah Douglas and Her Laser Radial

Feb 25, 2020

Canadian Olympic hopeful Sara Douglas beside her Laser Radial

In 1969, Canadian Bruce Kirby designed the Laser one-person sailboat that has revolutionized racing and is a huge part of international competition. The Laser became an Olympic-class boat at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Kirby, who grew up sailing on the Ottawa River, was voted into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2018, at the age of 88, Kirby was invested into the Order of Canada for his contributions to the sport, particularly invention of the Laser.

Over the past decades, Kirby and his company have been involved in a series of claims and counter claims regarding the building of boats and the Laser name. In the latest judgment on February 14 A hearing in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut found boat builder Quarter Moon (QMI) and LaserPerformance (Europe) Limited (LPE) liable for a sum of $6,857,736.30, payable to Kirby.

This is the latest blow to LPE, which had once been the dominant builder for the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) in North America and Europe, but is not currently eligible to build class boats. A year ago, LPE was removed from the approved builder list when ILCA found the builder had breached the terms of the Laser Construction Manual Agreement.

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