Call us now on 0845 388 0330

The New Kirby Torch Dinghy – More developments

It appears that the boat once known as the Laser may now be called the Torch....

18457 18
18457 18

It appears that the boat once known as the Laser may now be called the Torch. Designer Bruce Kirby, in his efforts to hold the builders of his boat accountable to the agreements that they signed, has now launched the Kirby Torch website which provides these details:

* Bruce Kirby Inc. terminated the builder agreements in Europe and North America late in 2012. This was due to a failure of said builders to make royalty payments as required by their builder agreement. Bruce Kirby Inc. considers boats made by the terminated builders and distributed under the Laser brand to be without his authorization and therefore counterfeit.

* On March 25, 2013, ISAF instructed the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) to no longer recognize LaserPerformance as a builder of the Laser. – Does this mean that ISAF will also make Olympic Single Handed Dinghy Sailing take place in a Torch Dinghy – Steve’s conjecture in italics.

* Bruce Kirby Inc. has signed new Builder Agreements to manufacture the Kirby Torch in regions serving the needs of sailors in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Companies listed on the website are located in Canada, Australia, and The Netherlands. LaserPerformance is not among the companies listed.

* Current manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat under the Laser brand are in the process of converting over to manufacture the Kirby sailboat under the Kirby Torch brand. The process is expected to take a few months after which Kirby Torch builders will be the only licensed manufacturers of the Kirby sailboat throughout the world.

* Bruce Kirby Inc. and the Torch Builders have been trying to negotiate with the International Laser Class Association in hopes it would replicate itself as the Torch Class. This is considered the most expedient way to establish a Torch Class because Bruce Kirby Inc. and the Torch Builders all agree that all authorized Laser brand boats with ISAF plaques will be class legal in the Torch Class.

Source: Kirby Torch website

Steve’s conjecture – will the  Laser Class Associations line up with the Torch Dinghy.  Surely it all depends if ISAF dictate that the Youth Worlds or Olympics will be sailed in Torch Dinghies.  I would love to be a fly on the wall in the ISAF head office tomorrow; I am sure there are lots of big decisions to be made with some very big implications for sailors worldwide.

In this article

Join the Conversation


  1.    Reply

    Great -The Torch(laser upgrade). New sail design for the full rig, Mast to suit (Aluminium).
    Light weight Daggerboard-same shape, Built in Bailer– Metal S/S, Vertical Rudder which is a bit longer.
    Optional control lines and positions. Use rigid foam and add internal bulk heads to support the floor and the side decks.
    A sleeved mast foot-ie mast has a metal to metal bearing surface so no metal Grp/sand wearing issues.
    Optional Mainsheet fittings.
    There you have it perfect. And the older lasers can easily upgrade.

    Whats the problem get on with it

  2.    Reply

    This has been need for a long time – £400 for a appallingly cut Dacron sail was ludicrous (fortunately we have had Rooster for the replicas!) I do hope they take this opportunity to modernize the boat, not too much, but just things like a carbon top section and well cut plastic sail.

  3.    Reply

    I believe that the Laser 2000 was on the right tracks when they ditched Laser Performance and went to LDC. It has obviously been on the cards for some time and hats off to Laser 2000 Class Association (now classed the 2000 Class Association) for making great efforts with respect to following the inception of the LDC built 2000’s. Sails are already of a better quality than Laser Performance had.

  4.    Reply

    […] you have been following the standoff between Bruce Kirby, the ILCA and ISAF then yesterday was a day for […]

  5.    Reply

    Does this mean that ‘Official’ Laser parts from Laser Performance will no longer be official? And that the excellent Rooster sails could even be recognised at Laser Open Events as they would be as official as anything LP can supply? Can of worms anyone.

  6.    Reply

    The build quality of the Laser 1, EPS, etc., has been very poor in recent years. Parts costs have risen beyond reason, and monopolies have been created in the Trade. With a production run of over 230,000 Laser 1s, maybe Mr Kirby has a point.

  7.    Reply

    Look, you’re just not getting the name here. The Olympic boat will be the “Olympic Torch” right!

  8.    Reply

    If the rumours are true, Laser Performance are in financial trouble. I bet that due to this, and not being able to make the “official” boats (They would have to make their own design boat called “Laser”), Laser Performance will sell the trademark rights of “Laser” and the starburst symbol to the new builders for cash. People (the sailors at least) would then carry on as if nothing had happened.

  9.    Reply

    Whatever the name of the boat its the work and effort that thousands of sailors have and are putting into achieving in this wonderfully simple craft that tests the abilities of the helm only that matters. ILCA and our own UKLA should change there name now to suit and make sure that the Laser Torch remains the Olympic Single hander and continues to provide unparalleled competitive racing Worldwide.

  10.    Reply

    I learn’t to sail in a “Torch” at Broxbourne sailing club back in the early 70’s!
    We sailed 4 up, changing helm & crew as we tacked…lol.

    Steve, now’s the time to launch the “RPX” or is that now a dead duck?

  11.    Reply

    ‘Kirby Torch’ Sounds really crap – like the sound of a nail entering a coffin.

  12.    Reply

    If it means offical sails are more reasonably priced, boats are of a better quality and a competent outfit replaces Laser Performance then I can cope with the name change.

    Though whether anyone will ever be able to stop calling our plastic ironing boards ‘Lasers’ and start calling them Kirby Torches is another matter. Starburst will always be Opal Fruits to me, and a Snickers will always be a Marathon. (and I’ve yet to refer to my hoover as a Dyson – though I tend to ignore it generally)

  13.    Reply

    Thanks Rooster Sailing for the excellent summary.

    My concern would be that this could result in a major disconnect with prospective Laser sailors, who might just decide it’s simpler and safer to look at another class.

    On the other hand it could be a great opportunity to revitalise the class with some upgraded equipment, like the long overdue carbon mast sections.

  14.    Reply

    Move on guys!!! I did. I bought a Contender and we never have a problem with Bob/Ben rest his soul!

  15.    Reply

    Maybe Bruce can make Quality boats again with good materials instead of the cheap stuff laserperformace kept making us pay to much for.

  16.    Reply

    Ah, the old Torch dinghy that I remember so well ….. for sailing beginners like myself at Southampton University 1971 !
    Intended as a cheap trainer and camper (see the article:- I suppose it fits very well to replace the “Beach-Boat” that the Laser-1 was originally designed as; even better indeed as it can be sailed 1-up, 2-up or even take the dog !

    I can’t even take myself seriously these days ?

  17.    Reply

    How much for a Rooster Torch replica sail?

  18.    Reply

    If this goes thru, we are gonna have to do a lot of ‘search & replace’ – it’s a huge name change.

    it’s been coming for some time though

    Now where is that Rooster Project X Steve?