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Class proliferation...

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Dinghy development
Forum Discription: The latest moves in the dinghy market
URL: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13258
Printed Date: 19 Mar 19 at 1:26am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Class proliferation...
Posted By: Old Timer
Subject: Class proliferation...
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 2:27pm
much talked about but is it true?

Where there really less classes in the 60s and  70s?

Anyone got any actual data on the matter?



Replies:
Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 2:31pm
No there were more active classes. Of course we still have boats left from the classes that have faded from then, so there must be more designs around, but not actually active as classes. I think JimC has lots of data on it.

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 3:24pm
I make it 121 centreboard classes on the 1973 PY list, 84 on last years.
Basically its nonsense, there were far more classes back in the day. Go back to an early 60s list and there are classes you'd struggle to find photographs of, never mind an actual boat!


Posted By: MikeBz
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 4:12pm
I think there were a lot fewer types of boat racing back in 1973.  At my club we had class starts for Mirrors, Toys, GP14s, Hornets, BODs, FDs, and possibly Tornados.   I believe there was also a single handicap class which had a few odds & sods in it.  Nowadays we have about 5 different handicap classes, and that's it.  An extreme example but is that not generally the way things have gone?


Posted By: Oinks
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 6:40pm
Less classes now maybe, but many less active sailors is my guess.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 6:49pm
Originally posted by MikeBz

At my club we had class starts for Mirrors, Toys, GP14s, Hornets, BODs, FDs, and possibly Tornados.†

But the next club down the coast probably had Herons, Solos, Enterprises, Fireballs and 505s...


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 7:22pm
As I think I may have said before, the question that interests me is why fleet racing is so unpopular. It seems fairly easy to start the nucleus of a fleet, and charismatic individuals can build quite a substantial fleet up with an awful lot of hard work. But if they move or lose enthusiasm it rapidly falls apart and it will be back to ones and twos again. If people really valued fleet racing for their normal weekend's sailing then it would be the opposite - it would be hard to build a nucleus of a new fleet, but once it was there it would snowball.

Again, too, in areas where there are a lot of clubs close together then club A would build a fleet of one class, club B of another, as it used to be in the days when the fleets were encouraged or mandated, and there was no handicap racing.

It seems clear that when you look at what people actually do, as opposed to what they say, that they value the club over the class, and would much rather be one of 2 boats at their preferred club than one of 20 boats at another one.

Of course there are people who think differently, but they're the minority on the open circuit.

This is, incidentally, why I really dislike the summer sailing challenge thing. Even at the biggest of the major winter handicap races you rarely get enough boats of most classes to deliver a reasonable single class race within a race. And even if you do boat on boat class tactics is a way to the back of the overall places. So if this thing takes off it will inevitably take some of the keen sailors from class events, which means there will be no fleet racing for anyone anywhere.


Posted By: Daniel Holman
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 8:47pm
All good points, Jim.
I think that boat choice is an intensely personal thing, to which very little cold hard pragmatic reasoning is generally applied. It is very quixotic.
Club choice maybe to a lesser degree.
I think you are right, people may prefer fleet racing to py all other things being equal, but because people are lazy creatures of habit that prefer not to leave comfort zones, especially in the way that they consume luxury goods (sailing dinghies) that class (or rather, boat) then club trumps fleet racing.


Posted By: Peaky
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 8:59pm
I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into racing. If you get into class racing you have to accept that you will only win if you put the effort in - fit enough to out hike the opposition, boat kept in tip top condition, new sails, perfected tuning, well chosen crew to be the right size etc. That takes more time on the water than most can manage. On the other hand, do some club based handicap racing and the PY may cover a multitude of sins on any given day, and youíll likely still get some boat on boat action for that little frisson of excitement.


Posted By: Daniel Holman
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 9:48pm
Hehheh good job we arenít salesmen hey?


Posted By: Peaky
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 10:03pm
Just cynical sods!


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 10:18pm
Originally posted by Peaky

I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into racing. 

Or could it be the reverse - that in a declining sport the keen people make up a greater percentage of participation and areless willing to sail boats not closely aligned with their body size or crew weight?

Also it may be that, with freedom to choose from many options, a like-minded group can only get to a certain size before people are tempted to be contrarians just to differentiate themselves?


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 11:25pm
Originally posted by Peaky

I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into racing.

There are, I think, two equally good reasons to race sailboats.

One is to have more fun racing, and the other is to have more fun sailing.

On the one hand, if you want to participate in highly competitive sport, sailing is a very congenial choice.

On the other hand a bit of racing gives your sailing a bit more focus. There's only so much time you can spend exploring the creeks and inlets of the average Thames Water reservoir...


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 08 Feb 19 at 11:38pm
Originally posted by Peaky

I think itís because many/most people arenít actually that into class racing within which you have to accept that you will only win if you put the effort in - fit enough to out hike the opposition, boat kept in tip top condition, new sails, perfected tuning, well chosen crew to be the right size etc. That takes more time on the water than most can manage. On the other hand, do some club based handicap racing and the PY may cover a multitude of sins on any given day, and youíll likely still get some boat on boat action for that little frisson of excitement.


FTFY

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Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 12:25am
Originally posted by JimC

As I think I may have said before, the question that interests me is why fleet racing is so unpopular. It seems fairly easy to start the nucleus of a fleet, and charismatic individuals can build quite a substantial fleet up with an awful lot of hard work. But if they move or lose enthusiasm it rapidly falls apart and it will be back to ones and twos again. If people really valued fleet racing for their normal weekend's sailing then it would be the opposite - it would be hard to build a nucleus of a new fleet, but once it was there it would snowball.

Again, too, in areas where there are a lot of clubs close together then club A would build a fleet of one class, club B of another, as it used to be in the days when the fleets were encouraged or mandated, and there was no handicap racing.

It seems clear that when you look at what people actually do, as opposed to what they say, that they value the club over the class, and would much rather be one of 2 boats at their preferred club than one of 20 boats at another one.

Of course there are people who think differently, but they're the minority on the open circuit.

This is, incidentally, why I really dislike the summer sailing challenge thing. Even at the biggest of the major winter handicap races you rarely get enough boats of most classes to deliver a reasonable single class race within a race. And even if you do boat on boat class tactics is a way to the back of the overall places. So if this thing takes off it will inevitably take some of the keen sailors from class events, which means there will be no fleet racing for anyone anywhere.

One interesting thing, though, is that it seems to be a UK cultural issue. The other countries that are arguably in the "big three" centreboarder nations, Germany and Australia, seem to be very much into class racing at clubs. In Oz I feel that the places and disciplines that have maintained a class racing culture have done better at retaining numbers than those that haven't maintained that culture, although that may be a result as well as a cause of declining numbers.

Arguably the UK preference for yardstick racing is perfectly understandable (although the sport boomed when it was almost all about class racing) but it doesn't seem to be universal or a product of technological or societal changes per se.

You are, of course, dead right when you say there were many more classes in earlier eras. I'm looking at a 1962 YA Yearbook that includes classes like the Swan OD, Haven OD, Stormalong, Clipper, Delta, Mayflower OD, Brandy Hole OD, etc. But the other thing that strikes me is that while there were many tiny classes, the major classes seem to have been enormous. On the second weekend of the season, for example, the Ents had three different interclubs. On the next weekend, there were four of them. On the last weekend in May there were Enterprise interclubs at Exmouth, Poole, Gresford, Wraysbury, Loch Earn, Felixstowe Ferry, Colemere, Littlehampton, Hornsea SC, Horning SC, Peterborough, Putney and Avon SC. That same weekend there were no fewer than 11 Firefly interclubs. 

That was a huge amount of class racing, even without counting the clubs. The Ent was a "regularly raced" class at over 100 clubs - and that's only at clubs that start with a letter from "A" to "L" because I got bored counting. It does seem logical that the accent on class racing would have helped the sailing boom. Certainly that seems to me to be explicit or implicit in the writing of people like Beecher Moore and the creators of classes like the Snipe, Opti, Windsurfer, Hobie etc.

One amazing stat is that in 1961, there were 58 new clubs launched and 2,500 new personal YA members - and both those numbers were just par for the course in the post war era.


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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: Old Timer
Date Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 8:21am
I donít agree with your club trumps fleet racing argument because NO clubs seem to havefleets apart from Lasers. 

Itís not like I can drive an extra 20 miles from any club and suddenly find fleets of dinghy X. Every club is the same. Bar a few exceptions that someone will quote. 


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 9:12am
I didn't say it did. I merely pointed out that in other times and places, clubs have had strong class fleets ergo there appears to be nothing inherent in the sport or humanity that discourages class fleets and encouraged yardstick racing.

Personally, I really dislike yardstick racing because all too often it gets down to the conditions suiting the boat rather than the sailing, but that's just personal. 


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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 10:15am
One of the things that I think was different in the boom was that clubs could be over subscribed and actually have a waiting list for membership, which in turn meant they could turn away people who didn't want to sail one of the chosen classes. That in turn led to a proliferation of clubs.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 09 Feb 19 at 10:36am
Originally posted by Old Timer

I donít agree with your club trumps fleet racing argument because NO clubs seem to havefleets apart from Lasers. 

Itís not like I can drive an extra 20 miles from any club and suddenly find fleets of dinghy X. Every club is the same. Bar a few exceptions that someone will quote. 

I can, I know of at least 5 clubs within 20 miles or so of my home that have fleets other than Lasers including Solo, Miracle, Topper, GP14, Merlin, Firefly, RS200, Snipe and Supernova.


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: Paramedic
Date Posted: 10 Feb 19 at 8:46am
Originally posted by JimC

This is, incidentally, why I really dislike the summer sailing challenge thing. Even at the biggest of the major winter handicap races you rarely get enough boats of most classes to deliver a reasonable single class race within a race. And even if you do boat on boat class tactics is a way to the back of the overall places. So if this thing takes off it will inevitably take some of the keen sailors from class events, which means there will be no fleet racing for anyone anywhere.

Here, here.

And it wont be that good for club racing either.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 10 Feb 19 at 9:05am
Does anyone actually have racing participation numbers over all aspects of dinghies, so club class racing, class opens, club handicap and open handicap, for now and "back in the golden age"?

I'm very willing to believe that numbers are down, but has it been a slow drip or catastrophic episodes?

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 10 Feb 19 at 10:20am
Oooohhhh, that makes it sound as if you expect those who desire to run the sport should actually study it so they can know what's really happening. Certainly I've been looking for something like that information, anywhere in the world, and have never found it. Germany's ranking lists would be the closest and I assume that's not what you are looking for.

My gut feeling from tracing nationals attendance numbers is that there are periods of relative statis followed by periods of decline, but the problem is that the data is so messy that it's hard to be sure.



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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: sargesail
Date Posted: 10 Feb 19 at 2:37pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Does anyone actually have racing participation numbers over all aspects of dinghies, so club class racing, class opens, club handicap and open handicap, for now and "back in the golden age"?

I'm very willing to believe that numbers are down, but has it been a slow drip or catastrophic episodes?


So Iíve challenged those who make the claim but theyíre never willing to show any leg...


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 10 Feb 19 at 4:20pm
Nationals turnouts are way down except for the youth classes. Numbers of boats built are also way down. Those are the only numbers that are reasonably available.


Posted By: RS400atC
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 11:10am
"The 60s and 70s" is a very big and varied period of time from which people can cherry-pick data to support whatever their opinion might be.
Society changed a lot during those two decades, as did dinghy sailing.


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 1:14pm
The problem as far as I saw it, was that during the nineties dinghy sailing caught the windsurfing disease which started with what we then called dedicated slalom boards, it then followed an ever increasing trend to the margins of wave and high wind sailing. Dinghies headed in the direction of ever increasing performance and elitism in boats that could only really be enjoyed by experts. This all happened long before I came along and did my bit to moan and highlight it. I'm testament to exactly what's wrong, it's taken me now, over ten years to become a middle of the road club sailor with occasional moments in the sun. Heaven help anyone coming from a world with no experience of sailing, what happens to them? For the most part those I've witnessed endure the lower echelon of the laserati. Is there a pathway for fresh adults who've made the decision to sail? Can't say I've noticed one, I guess some clubs do their bit, but there doesn't appear to be any hard and fast formula, best we do is push the boat out and attract some leisure cruisey types, very difficult to get them racing. Racers come only from the squad fallout and maybe returnees, all steeped in the way it was/is. So society may have changed but dinghy sailing hasn't in any way that would attract those necessary new adults in my view.

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Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 7:47pm
Originally posted by RS400atC

"The 60s and 70s" is a very big and varied period of time from which people can cherry-pick data to support whatever their opinion might be.
Society changed a lot during those two decades, as did dinghy sailing.

Perhaps, but as far as I can recall no one I have ever encountered has ever been able to "cherry pick" any data that shows that dinghy sailing is stronger these days. On the other hand, there's heaps of data to show that the sport is declining.

I got sick of presenting data on SA because if you give lots of data, they accuse you of writing too much. If you present selected data, they accuse you of cherry picking and then cherry pick themselves. What they NEVER (IIRC) is actually show ANY data that backs up the claims that, for instance, there is significant growth in high performance dinghy sailing.

There's data here  ( http://sailcraftblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/pat-1-36-boomtime/%20" rel="nofollow - https://sailcraftblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/pat-1-36-boomtime/ ) from the '60s, especially lower down. Compare the number of boats built at that time with current World Sailing class reports and the picture is bleak.

Y&Y's invaluable nationals table goes back to the '70s, although my records have huge holes. They show a clear and very large drop in attendance. 

In fact the problem isn't cherry picking - it's that in many aspects of discussion about trends in dinghy sailing, one side has lots of evidence and the other side has none at all but will not admit it.




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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 8:00pm
Originally posted by sargesail

Originally posted by Rupert

Does anyone actually have racing participation numbers over all aspects of dinghies, so club class racing, class opens, club handicap and open handicap, for now and "back in the golden age"?

I'm very willing to believe that numbers are down, but has it been a slow drip or catastrophic episodes?


So Iíve challenged those who make the claim but theyíre never willing to show any leg...

Here's a portion of a database that includes a LOT of "leg", in terms of legwork like going to maritime museums and flicking through page after page of championship reports.

https://sailcraftblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/11557/

https://sailcraftblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/so-where-is-the-sport-today/

Those are fairly short term trends but the database goes back to the '60s. It's messy data but shows clear trends. The reason I haven't bothered to clean it up and put it out there is that people who present NO data will nit-pick anyone who has spent many, many, many hours obtaining data. 




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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 10:22pm
Originally posted by Chris 249

In fact the problem isn't cherry picking - it's that in many aspects of discussion about trends in dinghy sailing, one side has lots of evidence and the other side has none at all but will not admit it.


A quote from an article on cycling advocacy - "bringing facts to a culture war is like bringing a spoon to a knife fight" Smile

If facts really held much sway then we'd long ago have started doing something about climate change and the 'war on terror' would be the 'war on sitting on your backside shoving doritos in your gob'. Wink 

I'm not really convinced that even if our wonderful governing authorities had the will, they'd really be know what direction to go (though the Y&Y/RYA seminars are at least a start to the discussion). I seems that sports become popular from grassroots, then once you get governing bodies, elite paid athletes and oodles of paperwork, things are on a downward slide...


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 10:26pm
Originally posted by iGRF

So society may have changed but dinghy sailing hasn't in any way that would attract those necessary new adults in my view.


And - scarily - I agree with GRF...Shocked


Posted By: stonefish
Date Posted: 11 Feb 19 at 10:50pm
Originally posted by iGRF

Heaven help anyone coming from a world with no experience of sailing, what happens to them? For the most part those I've witnessed endure the lower echelon of the laserati. Is there a pathway for fresh adults who've made the decision to sail? Can't say I've noticed one, I guess some clubs do their bit, but there doesn't appear to be any hard and fast formula

This was me two years ago, 41 years old never been in a dinghy before but decided that I wanted to have a go at a fresh sport with a competitive option, living very near to Chichester harbour dinghy sailing seemed ideal.

I was nervous about getting into it, like you say there was no real clear pathway for an adult, I looked around a lot of clubs and almost decided to give up before I even started as there really was nothing much on offer for someone like me wanting to start from scratch.

I visited Dell Quay SC and I have to say it was the club that made a massive difference in me deciding to go for it and stick it out. They offered BOB (Blokes on Boats) social sailing, an introduction to racing course, they had a guest from the RYA come in and give a good overview of the rules, I attended workshops on assistant race officer and race officer training.  The regular guys racing were a huge help, they offered to go out during the week and practice race in small groups or one to one, practice starts, boat tuning etc.. The club runs beginner races for those that haven't won races before. Social media plays an important part in advertising the club, keeping member up to date and arranging stuff informally between like minded members.

I now race as often as I can and I love it, one of the best decisions ever.  If you want to get adults into sailing who have never sailed before forget the formal RYA level 1/2 etc etc courses at the beginning and get the existing club members to meet prospective members. Find out what they want, tailor some informal courses, make it as easy as possible to join and participate. The atmosphere makes a huge difference, friendly, helpful, competitive but not in an overly serious way leave that for class racing and open meetings. Clubs and their members need to change and become more flexible if they want to attract more racers which ultimately benefits those already racing.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 12 Feb 19 at 12:56am
Brilliant Thumbs Up exactly how it should be (and much as it was back in the day). I think many clubs try to do exactly that and, while not all are as successful as Dell Quay obviously are, if they can attract the newcomers in the first place I suspect they will do their best to encourage them. Dinghy sailors are a friendly bunch, mostly.

And welcome to the wonderful world of sailing #stonefish Big smile


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 12 Feb 19 at 9:29am
Originally posted by iGRF

The problem as far as I saw it, was that during the nineties dinghy sailing caught the windsurfing disease which started with what we then called dedicated slalom boards, it then followed an ever increasing trend to the margins of wave and high wind sailing. Dinghies headed in the direction of ever increasing performance and elitism in boats that could only really be enjoyed by experts. This all happened long before I came along and did my bit to moan and highlight it. I'm testament to exactly what's wrong, it's taken me now, over ten years to become a middle of the road club sailor with occasional moments in the sun. Heaven help anyone coming from a world with no experience of sailing, what happens to them? For the most part those I've witnessed endure the lower echelon of the laserati. Is there a pathway for fresh adults who've made the decision to sail? Can't say I've noticed one, I guess some clubs do their bit, but there doesn't appear to be any hard and fast formula, best we do is push the boat out and attract some leisure cruisey types, very difficult to get them racing. Racers come only from the squad fallout and maybe returnees, all steeped in the way it was/is. So society may have changed but dinghy sailing hasn't in any way that would attract those necessary new adults in my view.

Very, very true IMHO. Arguably what stopped boat sailing from suffering the same dramatic crash as windsurfing is the resistance from club sailors, clubs and classes. Windsurfing lacked the same structure of strong clubs and independent class associations, and also attracted more early adopters - who will by definition soon go off and adopt something else.

The "lower echelons of the Laserati" approach seems to be working better than any other approach I know of, as far as attracting new adults. The numbers seem to show it, and from an anecdotal point of view my little club has tripled its fleet in about 18 months by concentrating on Lasers. It used to basically be a Laser, a Byte C1 style mini Laser, a Tasar, and two different cats. Now we get up to nine or ten Lasers, two or three cats and a Tasar. The Laser offers a cheap, simple and tough introduction and we get plenty of close and fun racing.

Perhaps one of the real gaps is a dead simple two-person Laser type. Much as I love the Tasar, it's more of a sophisticated machine and not as easy for beginners. I s'pose the 200 comes closest.

To continue the windsurfer analogy, now that just about every brand has realised they went down a blind alley when they only promoted high performance kit and ended up creating "technological overshoot", many of them have banded together to promote the new version of the original Windsurfer, the Windsurfer LT. In considerably less than a year 800 have been sold, orders are pouring in for the northern hemisphere summer, there are events with over 100 starters, and the manufacturers are building a fourth mould to keep up with demand.

Just as windsurfing was the first part of sailing to go down the blind alley of technological overshoot, it could be the first part of the sport to realise its error and return to promoting the simple, accessible, cheap part of the sport as the main course, with the occasional side plate of spicy high speed stuff for those who like it.


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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 12 Feb 19 at 3:25pm
Originally posted by Chris 249

Just as windsurfing was the first part of sailing to go down the blind alley of technological overshoot, it could be the first part of the sport to realise its error and return to promoting the simple, accessible, cheap part of the sport as the main course, with the occasional side plate of spicy high speed stuff for those who like it.

I think the manufacturers were there some years ago by and large. Of the former big 3 only RS still sell a performance boat. A big challenge, perhaps, is to stop existing sailors mocking the entry level boats and making their purchasers feel excluded before they start.


Posted By: Do Different
Date Posted: 12 Feb 19 at 7:59pm
Spot on Jim. There's some right sorry cases out there too ready to make themselves feel big by scorning a newcomer's pride n joy. 
edited for precision 20.48.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 12 Feb 19 at 9:15pm
There have been loads of attempts to create a 2 person Laser. I guess the Laser 2, aptly, was the most successful for a long time, but suffered more than anything else when the asymmetric revolution kicked in. How much of that was Laser itself killing the boat?

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: Old Timer
Date Posted: 12 Feb 19 at 10:07pm
Is the Tasar dumped that heavy wing rotating mast for a carbon pole it would be perfect. 


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 12:06am
The Laser had four sail controls, one sail, and no trap. The Laser II had about 12 controls, three sails, and a trap, and was aimed at experienced teens and young adults. The Tasar was designed as more of a high-tech machine, in terms of construction and rig and hull design. Both the Tasar and the Laser II were also aimed more at strong wind performance than the Laser. As Ian Bruce (who loved the boat, as do I) said that meant that when they took it to Toronto, for example, the huge Albacore fleet found that in a typical twilight race the much-hyped Tasar was no faster than the Albacore. And as a long-term and passionate owner and former class captain, I found it's not as easy to put beginners in a Tasar as in a Laser.

The two-person Laser I was dreaming about would have had no spinnaker, no trap, and very minimalist jib sheet adjustment. It would have been, like the Laser, aimed at short tacking in light winds as well as blast reaching which is where the Laser II excelled, or brisk breezes where the Tasar is a delight. Perhaps it would have been more like a lighter, simple, newer round bilged Ent.

Ian Bruce told me that he was very frustrated that the corporate managers who ran Laser killed off the Tasar after, IIRC, the cash crisis caused by the development of the delightful Laser 28 because he reckoned the Tasar had a great future, but in significant ways it was a very different boat to the Laser.

 


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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 9:04am
Originally posted by Chris 249


The two-person Laser I was dreaming about would have had no spinnaker, no trap, and very minimalist jib sheet adjustment. It would have been, like the Laser, aimed at short tacking in light winds as well as blast reaching which is where the Laser II excelled, or brisk breezes where the Tasar is a delight. Perhaps it would have been more like a lighter, simple, newer round bilged Ent.
 

The closest I have sailed to that was the Icon. Sadly now fading into obscurity but was a simple boat to rig, easy enough to handle on shore and a very spritely performance for a 2 sailed boat. The only bit of complication was the dangly pole for the jib but most people would be able to work that out fairly quickly.


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 9:27am
Maybe the Laser found a gap in the market that simply wasn't there in the 2 sail double handed market, which in the UK at least, and I suspect in other European countries too, was amply supplied with successful designs.

As for Laser 2s, most that I sailed were 2 sail, 3 string team racing boats. And awful they were...

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 10:52am
Originally posted by stonefish



Originally posted by iGRF

Heaven help anyone coming from a world with no experience of sailing, what happens to them? For the most part those I've witnessed endure the lower echelon of the laserati. Is there a pathway for fresh adults who've made the decision to sail? Can't say I've noticed one, I guess some clubs do their bit, but there doesn't appear to be any hard and fast formula

This was me two years ago, 41 years old never been in a dinghy before but decided that I wanted to have a go at a fresh sport with a competitive option, living very near to Chichester harbour dinghy sailing seemed ideal.
I was nervous about getting into it, like you say there was no real clear pathway for an adult, I looked around a lot of clubs and almost decided to give up before I even started as there really was nothing much on offer for someone like me wanting to start from scratch.
I visited Dell Quay SC and I have to say it was the club that made a massive difference in me deciding to go for it and stick it out. They offered BOB (Blokes on Boats) social sailing, an introduction to racing course, they had a guest from the RYA come in and give a good overview of the rules, I attended workshops on assistant race officer and race officer training.† The regular guys racing were a huge help, they offered to go out during the week and practice race in small groups or one to one, practice starts, boat tuning etc.. The club runs beginner races for those that haven't won races before. Social media plays an important part in advertising the club, keeping member up to date and arranging stuff informally between like minded members.
I now race as often as I can and I love it, one of the best decisions ever.† If you want to get adults into sailing who have never sailed before forget the formal RYA level 1/2 etc etc courses at the beginning and get the existing club members to meet prospective members. Find out what they want, tailor some informal courses, make it as easy as possible to join and participate. The atmosphere makes a huge difference, friendly, helpful, competitive but not in an overly serious way leave that for class racing and open meetings. Clubs and their members need to change and become more flexible if they want to attract more racers which ultimately benefits those already racing.


Well what a refreshing tale this is to read, thanks for posting, Congratulations on finding a great club, wouldn't it be great if their formula could be replicated across the country, with a little ad campaign for them to use in local newpapers to attract adult newcomers.. Wouldn't it be great if there were a joined up marketing initiative between the RYA and the Dinghy business backing such an effort.. Wouldn't it be great if we had someone at said governing body who even thought like this?


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Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 12:54pm
Originally posted by stonefish

  
I was nervous about getting into it, like you say there was no real clear pathway for an adult, I looked around a lot of clubs and almost decided to give up before I even started as there really was nothing much on offer for someone like me wanting to start from scratch.

Great post. So true of starting out in any new sport, let alone one as complicated and obscure as sailing - it doesn't take much of a bad experience or being ignored at a club to make you decide to go and spend your time and money elsewhere. I think too many clubs have a 'sink or swim'attitude to newcomers.

Originally posted by jeffers

The only bit of complication was the dangly pole for the jib but most people would be able to work that out fairly quickly.


I think the dangly pole is far superior to a conventional one. For the newbie crews I've taken out in the Tasar the pole qualifies as 'most hated item' LOL


Posted By: PeterG
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 2:01pm
One of my main reasons for fitting a dangly jib pole was that I frequently sail with relatively inexperienced crews. It took a little time to get properly set up, but now it is it's far easier and quicker for a new crew to use, and there's no chance of one fumbling and dropping it over the side (which happened in the past more than once). And as a bonus if I go out alone I can still boom the jib.

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Peter
Ex Cont 707
Laser 189635
DY 59


Posted By: jeffers
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 3:59pm
Originally posted by DiscoBall



Originally posted by jeffers

The only bit of complication was the dangly pole for the jib but most people would be able to work that out fairly quickly.


I think the dangly pole is far superior to a conventional one. For the newbie crews I've taken out in the Tasar the pole qualifies as 'most hated item' LOL

I agree, the complication being remembering to uncleat the pole at tack time as you used it on all points of sail in the Icon aside from upwind.


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Paul
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D-Zero GBR188
Ex Rooster 8.1 '11'
Ex Laser 167534
Ex Blaze 655


Posted By: Cirrus
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 4:45pm
the complication being remembering to uncleat the pole at tack time as you used it on all points of sail in the Icon aside from upwind.

Not quite true .. You could use it upwind to adjust the back of the sail but this should have only ever been 'slight' and the boat could be easily tacked without  'dumping' it... ie as automatic as could be - set and forget.  Offwind they are fully adjustable to get just whatever angle / tension you want on the jib - and all you needed to do in a gybe was to release a single downhaul line  ... and pull it back on on the other side .. the pole automatically setting to the new side was a feature.  Much much simpler in most ways than a 'regular' jib stick and if explained to a newbie in advance almost foolproof... Pretty much standard practice now on Ents', N12's, Albacores and most other 2 sail racers .. and Icon.  I'm certain it could have been applied on the Tasar but they always seemed  determined to set the class rules in 70's style mixed concrete - so I guess it just won't happen any time soon.  Very low cost, very simple and better.   Pity. Smile ....



Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 4:50pm
Guess it would make a nonsense of the aerodymically efficient rotating rig

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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: Old Timer
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 7:25pm
Originally posted by jeffers

Originally posted by Chris 249


The two-person Laser I was dreaming about would have had no spinnaker, no trap, and very minimalist jib sheet adjustment. It would have been, like the Laser, aimed at short tacking in light winds as well as blast reaching which is where the Laser II excelled, or brisk breezes where the Tasar is a delight. Perhaps it would have been more like a lighter, simple, newer round bilged Ent.
 

The closest I have sailed to that was the Icon. Sadly now fading into obscurity but was a simple boat to rig, easy enough to handle on shore and a very spritely performance for a 2 sailed boat. The only bit of complication was the dangly pole for the jib but most people would be able to work that out fairly quickly.

The Icon early death is a shame but the chopping and changing of builder and not having a big backer didn't help it off the launch pad ... 

Very hard for an small builder to establish a new class these days.


Posted By: Cirrus
Date Posted: 13 Feb 19 at 7:32pm
Guess it would make a nonsense of the aerodymically efficient rotating rig

You might be right ... but maybe not.  If you have not used this system however the advantages and application may not be that obvious.    When I raced Tasars a couple of decades ago a few crews did use the standard jib stick 'off' the opposing jib sheet some of the time allowing them a degree of control in a similar manner to the 'dangly' system.  It worked very well in part but what a faff compared to the fully developed and tested dangly alternatives today !!   When Icon went through development the first rigs were (larger) NS14 rotating ones.  The dangly system worked very well with them but the overall (rotating) rig itself was not as good or as flexible across the wind range in use as hoped - hence the switch to a modest diameter but fixed non-rotating carbon stick.  Bethwaite I think suggested at one point he would have gone for a slim carbon stick himself if they had made sense for the Taser in the 70's.



Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 4:48am
Yes, right up till the end of his life (about three weeks before, if I recall correctly) Frank was advocating a switch to a carbon pole mast. The sticking points were (1) the class had fairly recently gone through some other significant changes (2) the new mast was spreaderless and therefore no one could be satisfied that it could be adjusted for crews of different weights.

One of those who raised the adjustment issue most strongly was a top-class international sailmaker who has been involved in leading edge sailcloth development, which is yet another indication that any inference that people want the rules "stuck in concrete" because they are against development or change per se is incorrect. Most people in most places around the world like their class rules to remain largely unchanged - look at the top classes in the USA, Australia, Germany etc and even in the UK to a large extent. We don't want to break classes apart, make boats uncompetitive, or exclude the owners who cannot afford the upgrade. We don't care if our one design race finishes 30 seconds earlier because we've all spend thousands improving our speed - if we want speed we'd get cats, foilers or kites. The push for this sort of change normally seems to come from people outside a class or in the industry - funny how easy it is to spend someone else's money or make someone else's boat obsolete!





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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 5:08am
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by Chris 249

Just as windsurfing was the first part of sailing to go down the blind alley of technological overshoot, it could be the first part of the sport to realise its error and return to promoting the simple, accessible, cheap part of the sport as the main course, with the occasional side plate of spicy high speed stuff for those who like it.

I think the manufacturers were there some years ago by and large. Of the former big 3 only RS still sell a performance boat. A big challenge, perhaps, is to stop existing sailors mocking the entry level boats and making their purchasers feel excluded before they start.

Whoops, my earlier answer got lost.

Yes, most of the big boat manufacturers realised the issue - the fact that RS, J/boats etc listen to their customers instead of the hype seems to be a key to their success. But much of the rest of the sport - many national authorities, World Sailing, most of the sailing media, many sailors, etc - seem to still be committed to the "make it extreme and they will come" mindset. They do silly things like keep dinghies out of the Youth Olympics in favour of kites, proposing an Olympics where kites, skiffs and foilers dominate, and as you mention, mocking entry level boats. I get the feeling (and of course it could well be wrong) that in windsurfing some of the manufacturers may be leading the way against that sort of thinking in a more explicit fashion.




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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 9:19am
There is an RS Vision in the corner of our boatpark, I have never seen it being sailed.  Every month we have a working party and move 50 or so Solos, Lasers, Merlinís and N12ís in order to cut the grass.  Any attempt to move the Vision is halted when we realise its weight ... which is probably why it does not get sailed ... polyethylene is a rubbish material for any sailing dinghies other than Teras or Toppers, and boats like this cannot be relied upon to grow the sport.

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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 9:53am
Hang on, a Tasar or Icon are longer than a Merlin and 30kg lighter. The Vision is longer than a Merlin and 27kg heavier. So the Vision is closer to the Merlin than the Merlin is to an Icon or Tasar. If weight is bad, why bother with a heavy boat like a Merlin, N12 or Solo?  To praise some heavy boats while damning another doesn't appear to be particularly even handed. If light weight counts, why not sail truly lightweight boats instead of MRs, N12s and Solos? If you can excuse the extra weight the MR, N12 and Solo carry, why can't you excuse the extra weight the Vision carries?

One thing that's certainly not going to grow the sport is people belittling the boats that many beginners choose.




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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 9:58am
Beginners choose Merlin or National 12? Maybe they do outside the UK but those are unlikely choices for a newby to the sport - certainly great choices as a second or third boat IMO!

Solo does get chosen a lot I guess, still not sure why apart from lots of people sail them


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H2 #115


Posted By: Chris 249
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 10:26am
I wasn't trying to say that beginners choose N12s, Solos or MRs. The point was that they are all pretty heavy boats, so for David to criticise the Vision for being heavy while praising MRs and Solos appears to be like the pot calling the kettle black. If a Vision is bad because heavy boats are bad then Solos, N12s and MRs are also bad, because they are also heavy boats by modern standards.
If light weight is what counts, then people shouldn't sail MRs and Solos but Icons, Tasars and Aeros.




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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 10:57am
I'm unconvinced that the Vision weighs the same as it does in the brochure! Personally, I think there is a sweet spot for weight. Light enough to move around, heavy enough not to fall over when launched or blow off its trolley in "normal" weather.

I know none of this has anything to do with sailing qualities. Those are in the eye of the beholder, or we wouldn't have a world with both RS300s and Tideways racing.

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 11:02am
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...


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 11:03am
Originally posted by davidyacht

polyethylene is a rubbish material for any sailing dinghies other than Teras or Toppers, and boats like this cannot be relied upon to grow the sport.

I fear you make my point.


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 12:48pm
Originally posted by JimC

Originally posted by davidyacht

polyethylene is a rubbish material for any sailing dinghies other than Teras or Toppers, and boats like this cannot be relied upon to grow the sport.

I fear you make my point.

Jim I had read your post, and I would very much like to concur with the general thrust of your arguement, however if boats are too heavy to pull up the ramp or move around the boat park, they are hardly going to be an attractive option for entry level sailors to fall in love and progress with the sport, either on or off the water.

At least an old GRP Wayfarer or Laser can be resurrected from a boatpark graveyard, and these boats offer the opportunity for sailors to progress, I can't see this with heavy polyethylene training boats on all sorts of levels.






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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 1:18pm
Personal experience and sone considerable anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that many SMODs are significantly heavier than the weight the manufacturer publishes. L2k was a case in point, it gained something like 40kg when they got 'found out' and the quoted weight of 100kg was quietly revised to a much more realistic 140kg. They also, typically, don't specify if the quoted weight is bare hull, hull with fittings, ropes, foils, etc or, even all up (The RS400 does give an all up weight as well as a hull only weight but is the exception.........). At least you know that your new(ish) Merlin hull (with CB and attached fittings) weighs pretty much exactly 98kg.

My gut feeling is that the sweet spot, ready to sail weight, for a singlehander is around 75kg and about 100kg for a two hander but both my boats are somewhat heavier Confused.


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 1:20pm
I enjoy sailing Hartley 15, far superior to Bahia, I would buy a Hartley 15 if I were in the market for a 2 hander.


Posted By: getafix
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 2:46pm
Ha Ha, this thread..... and still they search for the answer in the weeds, while rehearsing all the same old tired "my class is better than your class" arguments from days of old.

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.

The answer might be in asking the customer and prospective customers what they want and actually listening to what they say.... then acting on it.... rather than assuming the current industry and practitioners know best and newbies should do what we think and say to do.


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 3:07pm
I don't subscribe to the "my class is better than your class", but I am a dyed in the wool one-design fleet racer.

To be fair to them, I think RS have got a pretty good grip on what sailors want.  Interestingly they also focus on developong one design racing fleets.

IMO the major change in the last 20 years is the blurring of the lines between "competitive" and "non-competitive" sailing and how this is best managed.  There used to be lots of lakes where the sailing club was a quite separate operation to th (often council run) sailing centre.

I am not sure that this is about the make and model of the boat, but how a club adapts to accomodate both interest groups, and hopefully feed off each other.

I would go further and suggest that Clubs need to embrace other watersports to move forward; people dip in and out of lots of different sports these days and one would hope that there could be a symbiotic relationship that allows for lifetime participation by members, even if they are not sailing for all of that time.


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 3:11pm
Originally posted by JimC

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.

Not necessarily even a faction - just those who sit on the committee. Often they are the keenest people, who live their lives around that class/club/sport which results in being in a bit of an echo chamber.

While they often have the best intentions, they can end up taking decisions that aren't in the best interests of the wider group of participants (or potential participants).


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 3:32pm
Originally posted by DiscoBall

Originally posted by JimC

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.

Not necessarily even a faction - just those who sit on the committee. Often they are the keenest people, who live their lives around that class/club/sport which results in being in a bit of an echo chamber.

While they often have the best intentions, they can end up taking decisions that aren't in the best interests of the wider group of participants (or potential participants).
And AGMs are typically held at National Championships by the sea ...


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 4:00pm
Originally posted by davidyacht

And AGMs are typically held at National Championships by the sea ...

Indeed.

So winged rudders worth more than most class member's entire boats seem like a good idea... Cry




Posted By: H2
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 4:08pm
I was delighted that at our class AGM last year (held at the Nationals and by the sea) that we voted to reduce complexity by limiting the class to one sail maker and one cut of sail!

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H2 #115


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 14 Feb 19 at 4:27pm
Interestingly the RYAís National Class scheme was originally introduced to protect classes from moments of madness by a classes copyright holders or its members

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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date 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.







Posted By: davidyacht
Date 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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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: Riv
Date 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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Now proud owner of Mistral Div II prototype board


Posted By: Chris 249
Date 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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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date 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.


Posted By: Do Different
Date 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.  


Posted By: Rupert
Date 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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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: Cirrus
Date 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.    


Posted By: Chris 249
Date 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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sailcraftblog.wordpress.com

The history and design of the racing dinghy.


Posted By: Rupert
Date 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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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 10:47am
Not one mention of Mirror group news ? The Mirror, Miracle and Mirror 14/16, perhaps a similar combination of a national newspaper and useable boats ?


Posted By: Peter Barton
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 12:34pm
Originally posted by DiscoBall

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...


I would challenge that regards the RS Aero.
- A significant demographic of RS Aero take up is sailors returning to the sport after a break (career, kids...) who were motivated to do so with the RS Aero's performance/reward and lightness but would not have bought back into the previous heavier options.
- Many smaller sailors (small ladies and youths in particular) would not be able to pull a heavier boat up a steep slipway singlehanded or manhandle it ashore and the RS Aero provides a viable option for them.


Posted By: Fatboi
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 1:29pm
To me, sailing is starting to get a bit silly with pricing. 
If you are not bought in to it and start looking at new boats, or if you have got bitten by the bug and then want to start getting competitive and racing want to upgrade to a new boat then it is a huge sum of money! 
RS Aero, nearly £10k
Laser - £6k
OK - £10k
Solo - £9k

Double handed it is crazy - a new RS200 is £13k!!! and Race Feva £6k.

Yes, you can pick up cheaper 2nd hand boats for much less but without the expertise to upgrade them into working machines, I often find they don't work as they should and don't feel like the real specimen and are harder to sail as not set up nicely. 
This is enough to put me off borrowing old boats, but to a beginner they would feel this is normal and the sensation you get from having a well balanced, well set up boat would not exist! 


Posted By: Peter Barton
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 4:28pm
Originally posted by Fatboi

To me, sailing is starting to get a bit silly with pricing. 
If you are not bought in to it and start looking at new boats, or if you have got bitten by the bug and then want to start getting competitive and racing want to upgrade to a new boat then it is a huge sum of money! 
RS Aero, nearly £10k
Laser - £6k
OK - £10k
Solo - £9k


RS Aero 7 is £7,190
Add trolley and cover for £598 and you are good to go.
Link;  https://www.rssailing.com/rs-pricing-uk/?myBoat=RSTERA" rel="nofollow - https://www.rssailing.com/rs-pricing-uk/?myBoat=RSTERA   (select RS Aero)

Where do you get £10k from?
£10k would get you all three rigs and plenty extras - ready for the whole family in a wide range of winds! That is a load more versatility value, if required.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 5:34pm
Still an eye watering amount of money to young people, especially. And to part time dinghy instructors/boot fitters like me.

But I've no real idea how that compares to a similar product from 1979, say? Comparison of income available to be spent on boy's toys, allowing for inflation?

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 5:57pm
Originally posted by Rupert

But I've no real idea how that compares to a similar product from 1979, say? Comparison of income available to be spent on boy's toys, allowing for inflation?

There are so may more boys toys, that's the trouble.


Posted By: Cirrus
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 6:29pm
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.

Touched a raw nerve there Rupert ...what sort of a dysfunctional club does it take to produce such an unfortunate set of memories ?   I feel very much more fortunate  in my own early sailing years at  Frensham in the 70ís and at Burghfield for most of decades since.  Not always perfect of course but always open, welcoming and enthusiastic .. and with some great socials as hinted previously.  

My point is that it is NOT really about which class is 'best' or whether purist fleet 'class' racing prevails over handicap  ... It is, and should imo, be as much or  more about a clubs atmosphere and approach, openness and enthusiasm for sailing in the round ... including racing (just one aspect amongst many note !).   Knocking other classes, individuals or forms of sailing/racing and being inward looking is doing exactly the opposite and cannot but help contribute to a clubs decline and fall.   The organisation of racing can be good bad or indifferent but is no more important than these other aspects.  ĎGreat racingí at a Ďpoorí club is still never going to Ďkeepí or develop its membership forever.   Classes and forms of racing come and go ... clubs can have a much longer life and so they should  !!  That is imo at least !




Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 6:34pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Still an eye watering amount of money to young people, especially. And to part time dinghy instructors/boot fitters like me.

But I've no real idea how that compares to a similar product from 1979, say? Comparison of income available to be spent on boy's toys, allowing for inflation?

Seem to remember Spud Rowsell saying in the late seventies that one of his fully fitted Merlin Rockets was about the the same price as a Mini ... donít think that a Winder Merlin is much different today.

However back then, I lived at home rent free and all of my income could be spent on my Merlin, now youngsters are saddled with more debt ...


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Somewhere between lies and truth lies the truth


Posted By: rb_stretch
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 7:41pm
Originally posted by Peter Barton

Originally posted by Fatboi

To me, sailing is starting to get a bit silly with pricing. 
If you are not bought in to it and start looking at new boats, or if you have got bitten by the bug and then want to start getting competitive and racing want to upgrade to a new boat then it is a huge sum of money! 
RS Aero, nearly £10k
Laser - £6k
OK - £10k
Solo - £9k


RS Aero 7 is £7,190
Add trolley and cover for £598 and you are good to go.
Link;  https://www.rssailing.com/rs-pricing-uk/?myBoat=RSTERA" rel="nofollow - https://www.rssailing.com/rs-pricing-uk/?myBoat=RSTERA   (select RS Aero)

Where do you get £10k from?
£10k would get you all three rigs and plenty extras - ready for the whole family in a wide range of winds! That is a load more versatility value, if required.


And club deals start from three boats upward, so relatively easy to get them even cheaper. Having bought as a group the Aero was pretty close to a Laser price and should last a lot longer before sails etc. need updating. Overall ownership cost is therefore lower than a Laser and in our club at least, the Aero fleet is bigger and more active than the Lasers.


Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 8:23pm
Cirrus, just putting an alternative perspective! Quite agree it's about the clubs, but not convinced they are less friendly now than they were. Maybe many aren't about dad going racing any more, but about family balance, a bit like the rest of society. But the most successful clubs do appear to have strong racing as well as other threads of sailing.

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Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446


Posted By: By The Lee
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 8:34pm
Likewise as long as you dont buy from LP a new laser is less than 5k


Posted By: Late starter
Date Posted: 15 Feb 19 at 9:47pm
Originally posted by Rupert

Still an eye watering amount of money to young people, especially. And to part time dinghy instructors/boot fitters like me.

But I've no real idea how that compares to a similar product from 1979, say? Comparison of income available to be spent on boy's toys, allowing for inflation?

My first Laser cost £600 in 1978. That was just the boat, didn't include a trolley or cover. Google tells me that equates to £3353 in modern money. That was quite an expensive boat at the club for it's day. as most folk built their own back then, and from memory I think Mirror kits were around £150, perhaps a bit more for something like an Ent. Different era, simpler boats, but yes the sport was way cheaper which might explain why the level of participation was way higher too.


Posted By: DiscoBall
Date Posted: 16 Feb 19 at 10:05pm
I would challenge that regards the RS Aero.
- A significant demographic of RS Aero take up is sailors returning to the sport after a break (career, kids...) who were motivated to do so with the RS Aero's performance/reward and lightness but would not have bought back into the previous heavier options.
- Many smaller sailors (small ladies and youths in particular) would not be able to pull a heavier boat up a steep slipway singlehanded or manhandle it ashore and the RS Aero provides a viable option for them.


Not convinced that that many people would have sat on the sidelines in the absence of the Aero or Zero. Sounds more like post-rationalisation of their purchase based on the central marketing message for the Aero! Wink 

Ironic that in a sport where the narrative that 'one-design is best' reigns supreme has ended up with clubs filled with handicap menageries. Put the idea of 'one-design' to cyclists or kayakers they argue just as vehemently that it doesn't matter that everyone has different kit because it's the human that makes the difference... Confused

Seems to work for both those sports (and formula 18 seems to work for cats), so why not dinghies? Multi-manufacturer formula classes run with a keen eye to control costs but with review and development of the rules at planned intervals (like the 49ers). Surely a more constructive direction for sailors and manufacturers than the latest round of manufacturer v manufacturer beggar-my-neighbour.




Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 16 Feb 19 at 11:27pm
Multi manufacturer development classes worked well enough in windsurfing too, until the powers that be chucked a spanner in the works by pandering to the manufacturers and made Raceboards a production board only class and the 'garden shed' builders were legislated out of business.

I don't think many clubs would have survived without racing, the whole reason for clubs it to provide some form of organisation, free sailors and cruisers don't need (and in fact most shun) organisation, much like the only windsurfers who join clubs are joining for the racing......


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: Fatboi
Date Posted: 18 Feb 19 at 10:31am
Originally posted by Peter Barton

Originally posted by Fatboi

To me, sailing is starting to get a bit silly with pricing. 
If you are not bought in to it and start looking at new boats, or if you have got bitten by the bug and then want to start getting competitive and racing want to upgrade to a new boat then it is a huge sum of money! 
RS Aero, nearly £10k
Laser - £6k
OK - £10k
Solo - £9k


RS Aero 7 is £7,190
Add trolley and cover for £598 and you are good to go.
Link;  https://www.rssailing.com/rs-pricing-uk/?myBoat=RSTERA" rel="nofollow - https://www.rssailing.com/rs-pricing-uk/?myBoat=RSTERA   (select RS Aero)

Where do you get £10k from?
£10k would get you all three rigs and plenty extras - ready for the whole family in a wide range of winds! That is a load more versatility value, if required.

Hi Pete,

I put together a package that I would want if I were travelling and racing on the circuit. Plus a smaller sail for the blasting days at the club! 

Came out as follows...

The headline of 7k doesn't really ring true...!




Posted By: Old bloke
Date Posted: 18 Feb 19 at 2:28pm
Add in a 5 rig, gets you to 10.6k ,which is pretty well what Peter said.


Posted By: rb_stretch
Date Posted: 18 Feb 19 at 3:02pm
Add additonal sails, spars, trailers etc to a Laser and the price also goes up. Quelle surprise!


Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 18 Feb 19 at 3:13pm
Yep. You could argue that Aero sailors appear more likely to buy 2 rigs than Laser sailors, but very few would find a need for all 3 unless the boat is for multiple sailors.


Posted By: Sam.Spoons
Date Posted: 18 Feb 19 at 4:09pm
Sounds about right, a new Blaze 'ready to sail' is within a pint of £10k, that's without trolly or cover. With two rigs and all those 'essential' extras it's over £13.5k. A 'complete boat' spec Winder Merlin is £14.7k so probably £16-18k with all the bimbles. New boats ain't cheap but boatbuilders have to make a living too I suppose.

But there are plenty of decent used boats out there so you pays your money and takes your choice I guess.


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Spice 346 "Flat Broke"
Blaze 671 "supersonic soap dish"


Posted By: Cirrus
Date Posted: 18 Feb 19 at 6:06pm
List prices are just that in this sector... something to make the almost inevitable discount offers look irresistible when they come along as they will !   'Show deals' and similar are where  most will be tempted to spend their 'hard earned' and always was .....

Comparisons are pointless if you simply go on list ones as discount levels vary enormously.  But the modern epoxy foamed boat does have a very very much longer competitive life and a decent used one really can be a relative bargain with a new sail.   Modern sails ditto btw ....  Back in the day early GRP hulls could go floppy (ie slow) in a few months.  In a few years they also put on the pounds as well !!  As for sails ... well too many were only on the pace for a very short time if pushed.   Much better to buy quality 'used' than cheap 'new'.  Not all will agree but it is just the way I see it.



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