Laser manufacturer acquires Byte CII single-handed dinghy

Ines Sobral - Byte CII World Championship
Philippe Guegan, Voile et Voiliers
The long time Asia-Pacific Laser manufacturer Performance Sailcraft Australasia (PSA) has, after receiving permission from ISAF, acquired the Copyright and worldwide building and marketing rights to the single handed Byte and Byte CII dinghy from its designer and builder, Canadian Ian Bruce.

In 1969 Ian Bruce commissioned the Laser, designed by Bruce Kirby and, within three years, had opened seven manufacturing plants around the world and some 205,000 Lasers have since been built.

However in the late 1990’s Bruce realised there was a need for a smaller single-handed dinghy for youth sailors and ongoing for smaller female sailors.

He designed the Byte and, in 2004, it was upgraded to Byte CII, with a highly flexible two-piece carbon fibre mast.

The Byte CII is one of two boats designated in the ISAF Regulations for use as the Girl's One Person Dinghy for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships. The other is the Laser Radial.

The Byte CII has been used at two Youth World Championships, in Australia and Canada, and was also used very successfully in 2010 in the inaugural IOC Youth Olympic games in Singapore as the single-handed dinghy for both the boys and the girls.

In announcing his decision, the 78 year old Industrial Designer and boat builder said today. 'I have built a great many boats of many kinds in my life time and have decided that I am really not needed to build any more!

‘I am delighted that the Byte is going into the Laser family, from whence it sprang, as PSA will do more with the boat and for the Class than I was ever able to do.’

For the 2014 Youth Olympics in China, the Byte has once again been submitted to ISAF by the Byte Class International Association for use as the boy’s and girl’s singlehander and that decision will be made shortly.

Chris Caldecoat, PSA General Manager stated ‘We are fully committed to the Laser at every level. However we believe the adoption of the Byte CII for sailors just out of a small dinghy will increase the number of young sailors who graduate from the small dinghy ranks to the Laser ranks and that it will make them better Laser sailors.

‘This boat being smaller than the Laser, allows young sailors to learn how to sail dynamically in a boat. They can move around just like the top sailors in the Laser class do, both upwind and downwind.

‘We want to expand the opportunities for the many female and Asian sailors who are smaller in build and could never be competitive in the Laser.

‘PSA was started by Ian Bruce in the earliest days of the Laser and we look forward to carrying the baton forward with the Byte CII.

‘We want to see the Byte promoted, built, serviced and supported in markets around the world and that can best be done with the local manufacturing and distribution in North America, South America, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australasia where builders now exist.

‘We will shortly launch the new Byte website and announce full details of expanded manufacturing and distribution for the Byte CII.’
824airborne2 - 2010 Byte CII World Championship
Philippe Guegan, Voile et Voiliers


The changes in the market place have already started with the Byte CII gaining significant exposure with PSA’s newly appointed North American manufacturer/distributor VIM Sailing, having signed a multiyear sponsorship with US SAILING.

Zim will be providing Byte CII sailboats to the U.S. Single-handed Championships and to the Chubb U.S. Junior Championships.

Zim President Steve Perry commented 'We are thrilled to have competitors from the US Sailing National Championships racing in our boats.

'The Byte CII is growing in popularity around the world and I’m sure these sailors will enjoy the experience.

‘The Byte CII utilizes a modern rig, providing a perfect blend of performance and stability.’

Ian Bruce said ‘I am delighted that the future of the Byte CII is in the firm hands of Laser manufacturer PSA.

‘They understand the market place, they really care about dinghy sailing, they have a wonderful track record that stretches back 40 years and are highly regarded internationally.

‘Chris Caldecoat has asked me to stay on as Acting President of the Byte Class Association and I look forward, hopefully, to seeing the Byte in the 2014 Youth Olympics.’

by Byte Class International Association