The Irish laser Association is a district member of EURILCA who are the European region of ILCA. In January, ILCA announced that “as a result of antitrust actions brought in Europe, World Sailing has made a number of changes to the process for selection and review of Olympic equipment. For ILCA, this World Sailing policy has required a fundamental change to the way our class has operated for nearly 50 years, not only in how builders are determined but critically in the trademarks used on class-legal equipment.” In March ILCA stated that “During this transition, there has been understandable concern oversupply, particularly in Europe – the largest region for the class. We remain focused on getting additional builders online in the very near future, including three highly respected builders in Europe. We anticipate that additional builders will enable improvement in supply conditions worldwide and that the competition will ensure that the sport remains affordable.”
Contractual changes with ILCA approved equipment suppliers as well as the initiation of a rival class (named “The Laser Class”) has led to some confusion and questions about what equipment can be legally raced at Irish laser Association events. The ILCA website gives detailed guidance on what equipment is legal and what is not, but for the benefit of our members, here is a quick summary:
- Existing or new laser performance boats with the world sailing or ISAF plaques in the cockpit are legal.
- New hulls supplied by Laser Performance without world sailing plaques are illegal.
- Laser Performance sails or sails from another manufacturer with ILCA or world sailing red buttons are legal. These sails are often described as “class legal” but to be sure, ask the vendor if the sail has the ILCA button.
- Laser Performance sails or sails from another manufacturer without red buttons (even with the Laser starburst logo) on the sails are illegal. These include training sails that are often supplied by companies such as Rooster or MSB and are often described as “class compliant”. “Class compliant” sails are considerably cheaper than “class legal” sails and are often sold by the same vendors. “Class compliant” sails are great for training but cannot be used in Irish Laser Association events.
- Some vendors may still have older stock of Laser Performance equipment that is still ILCA class legal, so be guided by the plaque or ILCA button, not the brand name.
- Equipment that is not ILCA approved can typically still be used in club racing or in events that are not ILCA affiliated.
- “The Laser Class” is not be confused with ILCA and is not officially recognized by world sailing.
In short: If your boat does not have a World Sailing/ISAF sticker it’s illegal. If your sail does not have a red button it’s illegal.
The Irish Laser association has been working with our local supplier; CH Marine, to ensure that the equipment they sell is class legal. They have been an excellent supporter of the Irish Laser Class for many years and we encourage our members to rely on them for equipment purchases.
To sail at any Irish Sailing Association event, your equipment must comply with ILCA policies.