Every Laser has a shiny plaque affixed to the back of the cockpit.
It's the way we know that it's an official, legal Laser. (Or at least we thought we did until recently.)
I hardly ever look at mine. I just think of it as "the ISAF plaque."
Occasionally I do look at the plaque on charter boats or resort boats to see what the original sail number/ hull number is.
As I wrote on Monday, Bruce Kirby, the designer of the Laser, has recently filed a lawsuit against one of the Laser builders, LaserPerformance, and the International Laser Class Association and the International Sailing Federation. One of the main claims in that suit is that ISAF and ILCA should not have been issuing plaques to Lasers built recently by LaserPerformance because LP was in breach of its agreement with Kirby, that those boats were not authorized by Kirby, and that by issuing those plaques ISAF and ILCA were infringing Kirby's trademark (his name.)
What? I never even knew Bruce Kirby's name was on that little shiny plaque.
So I checked my own boat.
Sure enough. The plaque does say that this boat is authorised by...
- the International Yacht Racing Union (now called ISAF - this is a sign how old my boat is)
- the International Laser Class,
- Bruce Kirby Inc.
- and maybe somebody else whose name has been rubbed out after 18 years of wear.
I guess it's a message that you should always read the small print.
What are those shiny letters running diagonally all over the background of the plaque?
VOID VOID VOID VOID VOID VOID.
What the hell does that mean?
Do I have a counterfeit boat?