Ian Bruce (Canada)
With a concept in mind and a set of line drawings from friend and fellow Canadian, Bruce Kirby, in 1970 Ian created a boat, rig and manufacturing process that has essentially remained unchanged to this day, and that still represents the epitome of one-design sailing. By 1974, Ian had opened nine majority-owned plants worldwide building the Laser, and the rest is history. Often regarded as the Father of the Laser, in 2009 Ian received The Order of Canada, the nation’s highest honour. Ian sailed in two Olympics (1960 and 1972 in the Finn and Star Classes), and also designed and/or built 11 other international sailboat classes.
Bruce Kirby (Canada)
Bruce started his career as a reporter in Montreal before editing Yacht Racing magazine and, in his spare time, took up yacht design and drew what became the most successful dinghy in all of sailing. Recognized around the world as the designer of the Laser, Bruce’s sailboat design career also embraces seven renowned International 14′ Dinghy designs, a multitude of successful one-design classes and an America’s Cup 12 Metre. Bruce also represented Canada at the Olympics 1956 and 1964, sailing Finns, and in a Star in 1968. Bruce is a member of the International Yacht Racing Hall of Fame, and both the Canadian and U.S. Sailing Halls of Fame.
Jeff Martin (Great Britain)
To many people in sailing, the name Jeff Martin is synonymous with the Laser class, having served the class for over four decades as Executive Secretary. Sailing since he was 13, Jeff has competed in keelboats, offshore, and quarter-ton boats as well as Lasers. During the 1970s he sailed Tornados, winning the European Championship. Jeff has been at every Laser Standard World Championship, competing in the first Worlds in 1974 in Bermuda, and serving as the principal race officer for every Open World Championship held since, plus numerous Radial, Masters and Laser Youth Worlds Championships.
Marit Söderström (Sweden)
Marit Söderström won a combined total of 10 sailing world titles, including 2 Laser Women’s World Championships, and 4 titles as the top finishing woman in the Laser Open World Championships. All of Marit’s Laser titles were sailed in the larger Standard rig, before the introduction of the Laser Radial. Marit also captured a silver medal at the 1988 Olympics in the 470 double-handed dinghy.
Robert Scheidt (Brazil)
Known as “Mr. Laser,” Robert won an unprecedented nine Laser Men’s World Laser titles, two Olympic gold medals and one silver medal in the Laser, including the first Laser gold medal awarded at an Olympic Games (1996). After capturing the 2005 Laser Worlds in his home waters of Brazil, Robert switched to the Star Class, where he went on to win two Olympic medals. In 2013 he switched back to the Laser and amazingly won the Worlds again in 2013. When asked why he went back to the Laser he remarked: “I love the concept of sailing on equal boats and to really test the talent of each sailor.
Peter Seidenberg (USA)
The 2018 Laser Masters World Championships marks Peter’s 32nd straight appearance at the event, and he’s captured a remarkable 12 world titles in his age category to date. Known as the “Iron Master” of Laser sailing, the only Masters Worlds he missed was the first one held in France in 1980, and that was only because he wasn’t aware the event was being held! He also created the Seitech Dolly that became the standard dolly in North America and beyond not just for Lasers, but for many dinghies. Read more about Peter here, including his incredible tale of how in 1963 in the dead of night he and a friend escaped in a kayak from communist East Germany on to freedom.