Last weekend I played Monopoly with my 6-year-old granddaughter Emily. She beat me, of course.
You know how Monopoly goes. At first you are cruising around buying properties and building houses and feeling fat, dumb and happy. Then in the middle of the game you are collecting rent from your fellow players but also paying rents to them and the money is coming in and going out and you are still feeling fat, dumb and happy.
Then the game reaches a tipping point...
Maybe one of the other competitors secures an edge of some kind, buying a group of those high price properties and putting hotels on all of them. Or a couple of the other competitors do some side deals to help each other at your expense. And before you know what is happening your money is going out faster than it is coming in, and you are selling houses to the bank and mortgaging properties until... wham, you have no money left and some other player gobbles up everything you own.
I could be wrong, but the news over the past few weeks has made me feel that the Laser world is near one of those tipping points.
1. The Laser SB3 is a popular sports boat built by LaserPerformance Europe. Tony Castro, the designer of the SB3 recently announced that the Laser SB3 will henceforth be known as the SB20 (no Laser in the name), he has appointed White Formula in the UK as the licensed SB20 builder, and global sales and marketing of the SB20 will be carried out by a new organisation Sportsboat World.
2. US Sailing and Zim Sailing (a North American manufacturer of one-design sailboats) announced a multi-year sponsorship deal. Beginning this summer, Zim will be providing Byte CII sailboats to the U.S. Women's Singlehanded Championships and the U.S. Junior Championships (which were formerly sailed in Laser Radials.) So the hotshot young sailors in the US will be training in Byte CIIs and the not so hotshot junior sailors will want to sail in Byte C IIs (instead of Laser Radials) as well.
3. The long time Asia-Pacific Laser manufacturer Performance Sailcraft Australasia (PSA) has, after receiving permission from ISAF, acquired the copyright and worldwide building and marketing rights to the single handed Byte and Byte CII dinghy from its designer and builder, Canadian Ian Bruce.
4. Ari Barshi, owner of the Laser Center at Cabarete, recently published a newsletter summarizing the results of a an earlier survey on how to make the Laser a better class. One of the suggestions was...
The class should be opened to ALL builders and sail makers, rather than regional monopolies. Local class approved builders should be in place, with very strict measurement procedures thereby allowing price competition.The newsletter also announced a competition to chose a new name for the Laser. In the FAQ for the competition was this question...
Are you sure the Laser will have a new name?
No, but in order for this name change not to happen some of the current key players have to invest a lot of money at once. For the past two years these players had not shown any interest in investing much smaller amounts of money. It will surprise many if they start spending now.5. And this week, Ari circulated a letter from Heini Wellmann, President of the International Laser Class Association, saying...
In the name of the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) I would like to thank Ari Barshi and all the participants of the survey for their efforts and interesting proposals. In 10 days there is a ILCA World Council meeting and we have put all suggestions / proposals on the agenda. We will obviously come back to you and report on the decisions taken at that meeting.
So what does all this add up to? Is there any pattern in these various news items? Does 2+2+2+2+2+2 equal 11?
Am I crazy if I say that this feels like the tipping point in a game of Monopoly?