April 2022 Update: To avoid any possible confusion, new builder applications are not currently being accepted. The application period described below was closed on 4 April 2022.
ILCA is now accepting new builder applications for a limited time ending 4 April 2022. Interested parties should carefully read and understand the following information before submitting a preliminary application.
In 2019 the International Laser Class Association (“ILCA”) commenced a process to approve new class builders under the ILCA Class Rules. This process has been successful in introducing several new builders and the class is now enjoying strong supply and renewed growth worldwide. .
Because ILCA class equipment is part of the Olympic programme, one of the cornerstones of our new builder approval process is compliance with the World Sailing Olympic Equipment Policy and its underlying fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) principles. While the class originally proposed to repeat the new builder application process on a quadrennial basis, linked to the Olympic cycle, the success of the new builder process and the class since 2019 has resulted in significant additional builder interest.
In line with the principles of FRAND and to encourage further growth, ILCA is opening a new application window to allow interested builders to apply now rather than wait for the previously scheduled application period in 2023. This modified application procedure comes with a few limitations, described below, but ILCA believes that opening an additional application window now offers prospective builders an excellent opportunity to become manufacturers for the largest, strongest and most successful youth and adult dinghy class in the world.
ILCA therefore now invites suitably qualified companies to submit preliminary applications to become approved builders under the ILCA Class Rules.
Preliminary applications for consideration in the current application window are to be submitted no later than 4 April 2022. There is no cost to submit a preliminary application. Applications are to be submitted in electronic form to the ILCA Class Office at FRAND@laserinternational.org.
The information to be provided with the preliminary application must include information to allow the assessment panel to evaluate the applicant against the criteria set out in Appendix A1 of this document. To give applicants an idea of how the assessment panel will review applications the general marking criteria that will be used are provided in Appendix B below.
Any prospective applicant that has questions on any aspect of this process may send questions via email to ILCA at FRAND@laserinternational.org until 29th March 2022. All applications will be handled on a confidential basis and ILCA can provide a written confidentiality agreement upon request.
No application from builders will be accepted after 4 April 2022 until the next application window opens. ILCA will advise dates for the next window at a later date, but we advise that it is expected to be in mid 2023.
In 2019 World Sailing confirmed the ILCA dinghy as the Men’s and Women’s One-Person Dinghy for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The confirmation of that selection was conditional upon the class signing the World Sailing Olympic Classes Agreement, which among other things requires the class to comply with World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy. In particular, that policy requires that qualified manufacturers have an opportunity to enter the market to supply boats and class equipment on a FRAND basis.
In 2019 ILCA’s procedure to implement this ‘FRAND policy’ was reviewed and approved by World Sailing and ILCA proceeded with the first set of new builder appointments, resulting in six new builders being appointed around the world.
A cornerstone principle of our class that remains enshrined in the new builder policy is that all boats and equipment sold by the class approved builders and used in class racing must be made in strict compliance with the specification of the class construction manual. ILCA is committed to continuing this strict one-design principle and ensuring that all new and existing manufacturers maintain the highest uniform standards. The class will remain what it has always been, a mass-produced one-design boat built within tight construction tolerances set down to allow for a mass production process. No attempt by builders at optimization of the boat or equipment within the allowable tolerances will be permitted and all boats must be constructed from molds and tooling certified by the class, as they have been in the past.
In accordance with the mass produced boat philosophy, ILCA expects an approved builder to be producing a minimum of 200 boats per year and the builder contracts and required minimum royalty fees are structured to reflect this requirement. All boats, sails and parts will be branded as “ILCA” equipment and a license to use the ILCA trademark will be issued to successful applicants.
In order to allow the appointment of additional class builders, ILCA is now commencing a new round of its multi-stage formal application process to identify interested builders that have the relevant expertise, experience, competence and business strength to meet the class builder requirements. ILCA notes that criteria for becoming an approved builder are very strict and there is no guarantee that any additional applicant will successfully complete the approval process.
ILCA sees this process as an opportunity to assess the current level of interest from potential manufacturers and to build on our ongoing success. Our goal is to continue to grow on a worldwide basis and to ensure that affordable, high-quality, one-design boats and equipment are accessible to all sailors of all ages in all parts of the world.
Note that the process outlined here is seeking to appoint new builders only. An application and approval process for manufacturers of other class-legal ILCA parts and equipment will follow separately.
3. New Builder Appointment Process
ILCA will conduct a multi-stage process to assess the suitability of applicants to become approved as ILCA builders. Please note that, in accordance with the World Sailing OEP policy, ILCA has no target for the number or location of new builders. The process is intended to ensure that any new builder appointed will be fully conversant with the class builder requirements and will be able to successfully function as a class builder. ILCA takes no position as to the level of competition in any market and will not in any way allocate market areas or restrict the ability of any builder to sell class-legal equipment wherever it chooses.
The World Sailing OEP imposes constraints on the timing of the introduction of new equipment during the Olympic cycle. For this reason new builders appointed through the application round beginning in March 2022 will have restrictions placed on the use of their boats leading up to the 2024 Olympic Games. Boats manufactured by any new builders approved from the 2022 application round (i.e. from the current round of applications) will be specifically restricted from use in the 2024 Olympic Games or any of the qualification regattas for that event. Given the breadth of the class, and the fact that the large majority of class equipment is used in events outside the Olympic process, ILCA considers that these temporary constraints are manageable for potential new builders. It is required that all applicants acknowledge and accept this constraint as part of their initial application by agreeing to the ILCA Builder Application Terms and Conditions included with the downloadable application form.
ILCA anticipates the current round of provisional approvals will be complete by mid-2022 and those builders will be required to complete pre-production approval and commence commercial production no later than 12 months after their provisional approval, unless an extension is mutually agreed between the applicant and ILCA due to unavoidable delays. ILCA will work with successful applicants to agree appropriate timetables for mold supply, production samples etc.
An assessment panel consisting of representatives of ILCA and independent experts (as deemed necessary by ILCA) will be established to undertake the reviews of the applications. All applicants should note that the panel process is confidential. Applicants should ensure that their applications contain all the requested information and, other than in response to requests for additional information from the panel, applicants shall make no attempt to contact or influence the panel in its decision making process, either directly or indirectly. Breach of this provision will immediately invalidate an application.
The process set out below details the requirements to become a new builder.
Outline of the Approval Process:
Step 1 – Preliminary Applications
Invitation for preliminary applications from any party interested in becoming an ILCA builder. All applications will be handled on a confidential basis and ILCA can provide a written confidentiality agreement upon request.
Step 2 – ILCA Preliminary Application Assessment
Review by the ILCA assessment panel of preliminary applications against initial acceptance criteria (see appendix A1).
Step 3 – Formal Applications
Invitation to selected applicants to submit formal applications after signing a non-disclosure agreement and being issued with detailed information on the requirements of the ILCA Build Manual (IBM) and details of all required royalty fees etc.
Step 4 – ILCA Formal Application Assessment
Review by the ILCA assessment panel of formal applications against detailed acceptance criteria (see appendix A2).
Step 5 – Provisional Approval
Granting of provisional approval subject to completion of the pre-production process.
Step 6 – Pre-Production Approval
Completion of the pre-production approval. Granting of ILCA Approved Builder status and approval to commence production and sales (see Appendix A3).
Step 7 – Ongoing Review Compliance
Ongoing production review and compliance audits in accordance with the IBM and the requirements of World Sailing.
Appendix A – Acceptance Criteria
Appendix A1 – Initial Assessment
The initial acceptance criteria for selection of applicants to proceed to a formal application will include satisfactory information being supplied on the following. Please note that any information provided will be handled on a strictly confidential basis. ILCA can provide a written confidentiality agreement upon request.
- The size, location, financial strength and experience of the applicant.
- The availability of sufficient capital to set up and operate a viable production process.
- Relevant manufacturing experience.
- Key personnel and their experience.
- Preliminary information on the companies QA systems, process and procedures.
- The volume of production envisaged.
- Agreement to the ILCA Builder Application Terms and Conditions..
The adequacy of the application will be assessed as follows:
For each of the six criterion above the assessment panel will assign a percentage score, out of 100, on a fair and reasonable basis, based on the assessed strength of the applicant in that particular area. This assessment will be based on the panel’s assessment of the applicant being likely to be able to meet the detailed requirement and acceptance criteria to become an approved builder. The panel may seek information on the applicant from the MNA, a regional or district class organization or other third parties relevant to assessing the applicant. The applicant will be assessed on the six criteria and assigned a percentage score for each criterion by the panel. In order to progress to the next stage of the process the applicant must score a mark of at least 70% for each of the six criterion. If the applicant does not meet this requirement the application will be rejected.
If the application is initially rejected the applicant may, at the discretion of the assessment panel, be invited to submit additional specific supporting information on any issues with a view to having their application reconsidered.
Appendix A2 – Formal Application
If the applicant is successful with their preliminary application they will be invited to sign a non-disclosure agreement, following receipt of which ILCA will provide a package of the following;
- The ILCA Approved Builder Agreement.
- The relevant sections of the ILCA Build Manual
- Class fee schedules and processes
- Estimate of costs to cover ILCA technical travel and assessment
- Approximate costs of the required ILCA supplied molds and building equipment.
Applicants will then be invited to submit a detailed application including the following information;
- The extent of relevant composite manufacturing experience of the applicant.
- Applicant’s key personnel, their qualifications, training, experience and ability to undertake their proposed roles.
- The applicant’s financial structure and strength. Applicants are to submit a business plan demonstrating their financial ability to execute their proposed construction strategy for the ILCA class boat.
- Experience in one-design dinghy construction, distribution, promotion and sales including any existing dealer networks.
- The applicant’s quality assurance systems and QA track record and ability to comply in all respects with the quality requirements of the IBM.
- Location and suitability of the proposed production facility.
- Proposed production rate and staffing levels.
- Proposed distribution systems.
- Applicant’s compliance processes with World Sailing sustainability policy.
- Demonstration that applicant is capable of building boats in compliance with the ILCA Build Manual.
- Staff training programs.
- Proposed equipment guarantees.
- Commitment to the expansion, development and long-term success of the class.
- Confirmation that the proposed builder agrees to sign the World Sailing Olympic Commercial Undertakings Agreement and make the appropriate class payments and World Sailing Olympic agreement fee payments.
- Other factors identified as important by the reviewers.
The panel will review the application and request any additional information it considers necessary to comprehensively assess the application. The class is committed to recruiting strong, stable, supportive long-term builders and suppliers on a FRAND basis. The adequacy of the application will therefore be assessed as follows;
For each of the 15 criterion the assessment panel will assign a percentage score, out of 100, on a fair and reasonable basis, based on the assessed strength of the applicant in that particular area.
The marks for each criterion will then be collated and averaged. If the applicant scores more than 50% on every criterion and scores an average of 75% or more they will be invited to proceed to pre-production approval.
If the applicant has achieved the required 75% average but failed to score over 50% on one or more criterion they will be given one opportunity to resubmit their application, readdressing any failed criteria. If the applicants average initial score is less than 75% or they are unable to satisfactorily address any failed criterion their application will be rejected.
All applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable application and assessment fee of US$7,500 to ILCA at the time of lodging their formal application.
Appendix A3 – Pre-Production Approval
If the applicant has been successful with its formal application, it will be invited to proceed to the pre-production approval process and be issued with full details of the IBM.
This will require purchase by the applicant of at least one set of the necessary class supplied molds produced from the ILCA master plugs, preliminary training of staff on the IBM requirements and techniques, and then construction of 10 pre-production boats to prove to the ILCA and WS technical staff that the builder is capable of meeting all the requirements of the IBM.
The cost of all supplied moulds and equipment and the costs of the ILCA technical personnel required for training and assessment during the Pre-Production Approval process will be payable by the applicant. A pre-paid deposit against these costs will be required.
The details of this process are set out in the IBM, which will be provided to applicants at stage 3 of the process as outlined above once the applicant has entered into a non-disclosure agreement.
Upon completion of this process the ILCA Technical Officer will submit a report to the ILCA and World Sailing. If the applicant is confirmed as having satisfactorily met the IBM requirements they will be invited to become an ILCA builder and will be able to commence production as soon as all required contracts are completed. Additional molds will then be made available for purchase from the class.
Appendix B – Application Assessment Criteria