From Doodle to Kirby Torch
The plaque confirms that the boat was built according to the Kirby sailboat design and is authorized by Bruce Kirby. Only those boats manufactured under the various builder agreements and bearing the appropriate plaque were entitled to race in events sanctioned by the international governing bodies.
This system worked to the mutual benefit of the builders, the international governing bodies, Bruce Kirby, and sailors worldwide for almost 30 years until certain builders decided to breach their agreements by, among other things, ceasing royalty payments. Notwithstanding their breach, these builders continued using both the Kirby sailboat design and the Bruce Kirby name and trademark.
After exhaustive negotiations failed to resolve the continuing unauthorized manufacture of Bruce Kirby’s sailboat design, Bruce Kirby Inc. took the carefully considered step of terminating the builder agreements in Europe and North America late in 2012. The decision was not an easy one to make, but Bruce had been through a similar situation back in 1983 and the continued deterioration of the class and sailors’ best interests demanded action. Bruce Kirby Inc. considers boats made by the terminated builders and distributed under the Laser brand to be without his authorization and therefore counterfeit.
Early in 2013, Bruce Kirby Inc executed new builder agreements and rechristened his beloved “car-topper” the KIRBY TORCH. This new chapter of his venerable racing sailboat design looks every bit as promising as the period following the last upheaval in the class some 30 years ago.