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Passing the Torch

Vol. III, No. 2

The Laser is an Olympic class vessel, but also a popular competition boat among both kids and adults on Long Island Sound.  Photo by Allen Clark /

The Laser has been a popular competition boat among both kids and adults on Long Island Sound for decades. Recently, new boats and parts have been hard to come by due to problems with the North American builder. Photo by Allen Clark /

When Bruce Kirby designed the Laser more than forty years ago, he sketched it out casually with a pencil and paper.  It would later be referred to as the “Million Dollar Doodle.”  The Rowayton resident took it from doodle to drawing board and the first boat was produced in 1970.  Today, there are over 210,000 Lasers around the world.  Ask any sailor about the Laser, and he or she will have a story to tell with a grin. It’s a terrific boat.  Now there will never be another Laser produced.  But don’t worry–it’s just going through a name change.

Last week, Kirby announced that the world-famous car-topper would now be produced as the Kirby Torch. The name change allows Kirby to ensure that production of the boat will continue in the hands of honest, professional, and dedicated builders into the future.  Congrats to Kirby for protecting his copyright, and a big thank you to him for ensuring fun on the water for generations to come.

Read more about the Torch on Kirby’s new site:

For more details about the legal dispute behind the change, take a look at these articles from sailing media:

Sailing World’s Report:

Scuttlebutt Article: