Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Laser Designer Bruce Kirby Dies at 92

20th July 2021
Annalise Murphy racing a Laser Radial in Medemblik in June 2021
Annalise Murphy racing in Medemblik in her Laser Radial, a variant of the classic dinghy design by Bruce Kirby Credit: Sander van der Borch

Scuttlebutt Sailing News pays tribute to legendary yacht designer Bruce Kirby, who has died on Sunday (18 July) at the age of 92.

Kirby is internationally renowned as the designer of the Laser class — in which Ireland’s own Annalise Murphy will be chasing Olympic glory in Tokyo in a few days’ time.

However, the former newspaper man from Ottawa in Canada had a lengthy sailing career in his own right from the 1950s, competing in Olympic Games in the Finn (1964) and Star (1968) as well as designing several world-title-winning International 14s, a class he raced in his youth.

In the 1970s Kirby drafted designs for a string of boats still in wide use today — among them the Sonar, which remains a boat of choice for the Paralympics.

And he was a skipper for Canada’s Admiral’s Cup campaign in 1981 in a yacht of his own design.

But Kirby will forever be associated with the iconic dinghy he conceived of in 1969 and which has brought Ireland our strongest Olympic sailing results today.

Scuttlebutt Sailing News has more HERE.

Published in Laser
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

Email The Author

MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

At A Glance – Laser Dinghy Specifications

Designer Bruce Kirby & Ian Bruce

Year 1969

Crew 1
Draft 0.787 m (2 ft 7.0 in)
Hull weight 58.97 kg (130.0 lb)
LOA 4.2 m (13 ft 9 in)
LWL 3.81 m (12 ft 6 in)
Beam 1.39 m (4 ft 7 in)
Mainsail area 7.06 m2 (76.0 sq ft)

Racing D-PN 91.1 RYA PN 1088 PHRF 217

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating