Bruce Kirby

1929 - 2021


A Canadian newspaperman and former editor of Yacht Racing (predecessor to Sailing World), Bruce Kirby is best known for designing the Laser. Kirby started as a reporter in Montreal before editing Yacht Racing and, in his spare time, taking up yacht design and drawing the Laser.

In 1970 Kirby became editor of Yacht Racing & Cruising (later Yacht Racing) where he stayed until 1975. Despite his duties with the magazine, Kirby was still designing boats which began with the International 14 class. Kirby's design won the world championships in 1958 and 1961. It was in 1969 that Kirby drew the Laser, one of the most successful sailboats ever. More than 200,000 have been built and it is currently an Olympic class.

Kirby represented Canada at the Olympics games in 1956, 1964, and 1968.

Amoung the other of his 63 designs are two America's Cup 12-Meters, Canada I and II, the Apollo, Sonar, Kirby 25, and 30, and Ideal 18 and San Juan 24. The latter with over a thousand built since its debut. Kirby also served as both designer and skipper on Runaway, Canada's entry in the 1981 Admirals Cup.

He is a member of the US National Sailing Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame, the International Yacht Racing Hall of Fame, the Canadian International Fourteen Foot Dinghy Hall of Fame, and the City of Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.

Sailboats Designed By Bruce Kirby

Model LOA First Built
SAN JUAN 30 29.86 ft / 9.10 m 1975
SEIDELMANN 24-1 24.18 ft / 7.37 m 1981
SONAR 23.00 ft / 7.01 m 1980
TICON 34 33.67 ft / 10.26 m 1983
TRAPPER 300 26.25 ft / 8.00 m 1976
TRINKA 12 12.00 ft / 3.66 m 1990
VISION 660 21.67 ft / 6.61 m 1976

.