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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 8:25am
Cirrus, you complain about people harking back to a golden age, then do it yourself by saying how good socials were back then, and how so many people got into sailing by hitching a ride. My memory involves seeing people driving home drunk and being warned about crewing for certain people as they were either crap (the better option) or (usually sugar coated) abusive.

My memory also serves up great parties and amazing races in some very diverse boats with exceptionally good sailors, but it wasn't the perfect way into sailing by any means.
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Chris 249 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chris 249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 9:47pm
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by Chris 249

   The push for this sort of change normally seems to come from people outside a class or in the industry


Got to disagree with you there. My experience of rule changes in development classes (and I still have the mental scars) is that they are very often driven by a faction within the class.

Changes pushed from outside (other than class builders) are very unusual IME. I can think of the spinnaker on the Tornado and the centremain on the Topper. While you do get people coming up to you at the Sailboat show and saying 'I'd definitely join your class if you did this' IME they are usually best ignored because 10 minuteslater they'll be saying something similar to another class, and 10 minutes after that ordering a newLaser...

From my experience, yes the driver for change in development classes often comes from within. I was referring more to the many people who sit on forums or at sailing club bars and dinghy parks and call for the Laser to adopt a new rig, for the Tasar to get a carbon pole mast, the Windsurfer class to die, etc. I think those people are the same as the ones who tell you what to do at the Sailboat show!
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Cirrus View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cirrus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 9:37pm
Put as simply as possible - the 'model' for racng small boats has changed.  Today handicap racing in various guises is the norm at many clubs for sure ... but classes still have plenty of 'purist' opens and both Inland and National championships available each year.  Fleet racing at club level is mourned by a few but it had a tendency to get very repetitive - same people, same courses, same location - a very standard pecking order quickly emerged and especially if the boat was not that much fun or easily accessible simply to sail or race the experience could quickly become boring for the typical 'mid-fleeter'.   Those keen to turn the clock back too often want to re-impose the 'adopted class'  rules .. rather than working to get more involved and into any sort of boatin the first place.  Class tribalism and a selective memory harking back to a 'golden age' does not help ...

If you want to bring new bloood into racing concentrate on making things more enjoyable at club level.  'Socials' back in the day were more a real recruiter than anything else and many more boats were suitable for grabbing a spare (newbie) person when regular crews occasionally did not turn up...  Many an adult or kid learnt that sailing could actually be fun and sailing clubs were good socially as well and were hooked.  So maybe more and 'better' socials and more 2 crew boats and 'fun' however you define it... plus adults as well as kids involved.  Get these basics right and then they may even race !!  The argument for 'what' should any newcomer should race is way way down list of newbie drivers in reality.    


Edited by Cirrus - 14 Feb 19 at 9:39pm
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 9:33pm
Saw the Maverick (the new play boat from Fusion) at the RYA principals' conference at the weekend. They are trying something a bit different (though Jo Richards had the same idea 30 years ago) in producing a multi use platform designed to simply be fun. I'll take bets that if it catches on, people will start racing them. Is this unnecessary proliferation or a new idea that might reinvigorate a section of the market? Closest I see to it is the Topper in the 70s, though I suspect that felt more radical.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Do Different Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 8:53pm
By far most of the preceding comments have a lot of truth in them.

However.

The view of the landscape can also vary hugely depending on your point of view.

Yes quite probably to the eyes of keen racers there are too many classes to support in the current climate of reduced participation in sailing.

For keen sailors, tinkerers and experimenters perhaps the number is just right with many old and not so old to choose from and every new idea eagerly anticipated.  
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 8:45pm
Originally posted by davidyacht

Surely proliferation is good if a boat brings something to the party and excites people enough to raise their level of participation, all of the OEMs have at sometime produced product that has achieved this spectacularly; the Laser 1, Topper, RS200, RS400, Aero ... I would add the 29er and 49er ... the common denominator of all these products are the identification of gaps in the market, and excellent engineering.

I guess the key word is 'their' rather than 'the'?

The Laser and Topper probably have added new people to the sport but I'd question that the other classes have done much more than move people around within it (perhaps to the detriment of classes that already existed). And given we all set such store by fleet sizes...

Ultimately it always seems (on forums or from the missives of World Sailing) that the only possible solution must be a technical one, but IMO Stonefish's post is much closer to the truth - the sport isn't great at welcoming and guiding people in their early steps.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Chris 249 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 8:38pm
Originally posted by DiscoBall

Originally posted by getafix

Class 'proliferation' is progress.  Choice is good.  Being individual and liking what you like is OK.

Having dozens of sunday league teams, hundreds of bike manufacturers and genres and loads of different public and private golf courses and equipment manufacturers hasn't hurt participation in those sports.

When you look at the competitive parts of other kit sports like cycling or canoeing you essentially have a very small number of restricted/development 'classes'. The limitations of human muscle power probably also reduce the options and temptation for excessive technical development.  


Precisely. You don't get to the end of a cycling race and find out that your Merida has a different handicap to your mate's Giant, nor does cycling allow the equivalent of a Moth, skiff or Aero to compete.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Riv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 8:26pm
A quick look at Apollo Duck tonight gives the following available, I have removed the Keel boats and Cats as well as ones I know are not active, like the TOY

Laser 2000,3000, 4000, 29er, 49er, 420, 470, 505, Albacore, Alto, B14, Blaze, Cadet, Cherub, Comet, Contender, D one, D zero, Enterprise, Europe, Finn, Fireball, Firefly, GP14, 
Graduate, Gull, Heron, Hornet, Int 14, Int Moth, Int Canoe, Iso, Kestrel, Lark, Laser 4.7, Laser Radial, Laser Standard, Vortex, Sunfish, EPS, Vago, Laser 2 Merlin Rocket, Miracle, Mirror, Musto Skiff, N12, OK, Optimist, Phantom, Redwing, RS 100, 200,300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800 Feva, Tera, Vareo, Quba, Scorpion, Solo, Solution, Streaker, Supernova, Topper, Topper Buzz, Wanderer, Waszp, Wayfarer.

There are over 70 in this list. They are the ones people are currently buying and selling, some may have no class associations such as the Laser 2 but many people seem to sail them.

If you add Cats then there are about 10 types and there are 3 types of keelboats mentioned.

This means there are about 80 types of small sailing boat regularly traded and presumably used in the UK and I'm sure it maybe closer to 90 if I did the survey at other times of the year.

Is this a proliferation or symptom of growth over 100+ years.

If you did the same thing in say, Germany, how many would you get?



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davidyacht View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 6:26pm
Surely proliferation is good if a boat brings something to the party and excites people enough to raise their level of participation, all of the OEMs have at sometime produced product that has achieved this spectacularly; the Laser 1, Topper, RS200, RS400, Aero ... I would add the 29er and 49er ... the common denominator of all these products are the identification of gaps in the market, and excellent engineering.

The same companies, in some cases under different management have also produced a lot of dross, resulting in sailors getting stuck in a cul-de-sac, I suspect in these cases this has been more of a distraction from moving the sport forward rather than a disaster, since few of these boats gained sufficient traction to take way from the main event.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote DiscoBall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 4:56pm
Originally posted by getafix

Class 'proliferation' is progress.  Choice is good.  Being individual and liking what you like is OK.

Having dozens of sunday league teams, hundreds of bike manufacturers and genres and loads of different public and private golf courses and equipment manufacturers hasn't hurt participation in those sports.

When you look at the competitive parts of other kit sports like cycling or canoeing you essentially have a very small number of restricted/development 'classes'. The limitations of human muscle power probably also reduce the options and temptation for excessive technical development.  Certainly in canoeing you get blank looks if you ask about the technicalities of the boats, but most paddlers can talk at length about their chosen training regimes...and that with K1 rules that make the moth rules look complex.

I think class proliferation in a shrinking market probably is a bad thing. My impression is that, despite RS's undoubted commercial success, the real result of the regular new classes (particular the 'me too' ones where Topper/Laser/RS all launched pretty similar designs) has been to break the sport into ever smaller chunks.





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