The ILCA Hall of Fame includes builders of the class and champion sailors who have made an extraordinary
impact. The ILCA World Council established the selection criteria for entry as individuals who, over the
course of their sailing careers, made an outstanding impact on the Laser Class and the sport of sailboat
racing by virtue of the excellence of their achievements as sailors and/or contributors to competitive
sailing through technical expertise, design, writing or vision. Inductees receive a unique Hall of Fame Laser Cube. Nominations to the Hall of Fame are welcomed from any Laser Class member, with a selection vote to be taken annually by the ILCA World Council.
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 and, very importantly, class rules and member association, 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. Bruce received the Order of Canada in September 2018.
Jeff Martin (Great Britain)
For many people in the sailing community, the name Jeff Martin is synonymous with the Laser class. He served the class for over four decades as Executive Secretary. Sailing since he was 13, Jeff competed in keelboats, offshore, and quarter-ton boats as well as Lasers. During the 1970s he sailed Tornados, winning the European Championship. Jeff competed in the first Laser Worlds in 1974 in Bermuda, and helped organize each subsequent Championship through 2018. He was a tireless promoter of the class and served as an International Measurer, International Race Officer, and International Jury at countless Laser World Championships.
Marit Söderström Nord (Sweden)
Marit is regarded as truly the first female Laser sailing champion, who made her mark in the Laser Standard rig well before the Radial rig was introduced. She won a combined total of 10 sailing world titles, including 3 World titles in the Europe singlehanded dinghy (1978, 1979, 1981) and 4 titles in the Laser (Standard rig) at the IYRU World Women’s sailing championships (1979, 1981, 1982, 1983). Marit then stepped into the 470 dinghy where she helmed to a victory at the 1988 World Championships, followed by bringing home the silver medal from the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul, Korea. Marit also sailed in two open Laser Worlds (1980 and 1985), competing against men, and captured the Women’s world title at both events. One can only imagine the titles and medals Marit might have won had the Laser Radial been around and an Olympic boat during the peak of her sailing career.
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 in 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 marked Peter’s 32nd straight appearance competing at the event, and he’s captured a remarkable 13 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! Peter 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.
Dick Tillman (USA)
Dick Tillman won the very first major Laser regatta: the 1971 North American Championship (87 boat fleet with many champion sailors competing). He then went on to win the next two Laser North American titles as well.
A former US Air Force Major from Indiana, USA, Dick was a member of the U.S. sailing team at the 1976 Olympics as an alternate and was named US Sailor of the Year in 1965. Dick was National Intercollegiate Sailing Champion with the U.S. Naval Academy in 1957. Dick Tillman holds national, North American and world titles in the Snipe, Finn, Laser and Sunfish classes, won a bronze medal at the 1959 Pan American Games in the Snipe, and was Great Grand Master Laser Radial World Champion in 2002.
Dick has been a significant volunteer contributor to the sport of sailing, having been a director of the U.S. Sailing Association for 3 years, chair of National Single-handed Championship Committee for 7 years, commodore of the Snipe Class International Racing Association, sailing representative to USOC Athletes Advisory Council, Executive Director of the International J/24 Class Association, president of the US Windsurfing Association and president of the International Sunfish Class Association.
Dick wrote Laser Sailing for the 1990s (published in 1991) and also The Complete Book of Laser Sailing (first published in 2005), both widely regarded as the “Bible” of how to rig, sail and race a Laser. Dick is known for being a true gentlemen on and off the water and for always being available to share his sailing knowledge.