Are Intensity Sails Faster? Etc.

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Deimos, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: Shaping an Intensity sail

    I have no axe to grind against Intensity sails. I certainly cannot comment on the quality (because I don't have the experience or qualifications to make any judgements in that regard).


    I tend to prefer the class remain a strict one design where people use the same gear and results are down to individual skill rather than gear. It was actually the claim posted by Mr. Intensity sails that his sails were faster that alarmed me (after all, he is the manufacturer). But now as this has been noticed, we seem to now be claiming they are not faster.


    So do we believe the original claim or the later claims ?


    Ian
     
  2. Mawill

    Mawill New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    Intensity,

    I don't have any axe to grind either. It was the post regarding the Sailmakers opinion that alarmed me - prior to that, I really did not think that much about it - there are a few of your sails in my fleet and I did not worry about it - now, not so sure and that is unfortunate.

    As I go through all these threads, there is only one fact:

    1) Class Sails are more expensive that Intensity Sails

    There are a number of opinions:

    1) Laser Sails tend to lose useful life quickly
    2) People need to buy new sails often to remain competitive
    3) Intensity sails are or are not faster than Class Sails

    These are all opinions that can be debated until the cows come home. Exactly that 1 design is supposed to aviod. But seems to me that introducing "Practice" sails leads to the argument as to what is practice and what is not - as noted in the new thread. I would prefer not have to think about it at all, which is why I sail a Laser and not a Finn.

    Apologies if you took offense, none was intended, just posting my concerns and opinions.

    M
     
  3. dougreynolds10

    dougreynolds10 Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    the issue here should not be why intensity is making a "knock off" i think it should be why are we all being ripped off by north sails and Hyde. north sails and Hyde are probably the two biggest sail manufacturers in the world and they have all of the high tech facilities and resources to produce the sails cheaper then intensity sails yet they charge over 300-400 dollars more then intensity and l the sails have a shorter a shorter life. i think that it is a good thing what intensity does because it helps more people get into the sport. i agree that it is a great thing to be a strict one design but i disagree that being a strict one design gives manufacturers the right to create a monopoly and over charge on "class legal" parts, which is something that turns people away from being part of the sport. thats just my opinion maybe I'm missing part of the story or uneducated but the sail is marketed as a practice sail intensity cant control how people use them.
     
  4. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    I think this is getting spread over so many threads now that even I have to work to find it, but... we are not getting "ripped off" by North and/or Hyde. They are producing a sail that probably costs pretty much the same to make as any practice sail on the market. The difference in price comes in the distribution system: class legal sails are builder supplied and sold through the builder's dealer network, adding at least two more layers of overhead and "profit" between the producer of the sail and you, the end user.

    Of course, we also know that both the builders and the dealers are actively supporting sailing at all levels. Their "profit" from the sale of sails is helping them do that.

    It certainly isn't buying them a private jet...
     
  5. Mawill

    Mawill New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    I think that there are 2 seperate issues -

    The price of the Sails is certainly too high and can reasonably be called a 'rip off'. Sorry SFBayLaser, I don't buy the idea that the distribution & dealer cost tacks 360 dollars to the price of a sail. There has to be a hefty profit built in there somewhere - they have a monopoly, they know it, and abuse it. Although I am sure that they all love sailing and are all great people, they are a business, whose ultimate goal is profit and this is a sure fire way to maximise it. They may in the end kill the golden goose however with this sort of pricing structure and in the process screw up the class.

    Having said that, I am still not for the idea of having sails with different characteristics racing on the same course . That seems like a very slippery slope and one that ought to be resisted.

    I would think that we would all be better served by having the class put some pressure on the Makers to lower the cost a bit. But I suspect there are some pretty rigid contracts in place to make sure that the class has little input into that sort of thing. I am sure there are people out there that know a lot more about this than I and would be interested in hearing about what the Class arrangement is with the builders.

    Thanks,

    Matt
     
  6. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    I don't have experience of the sailing business (other than from a user/customer perspective). However, based on the electronic devices (MP3 players, Personal Organisers, etc.) than I can see how that level of mark-up would be expected. In fact, given that Laser sails are probably higher shipping costs and slower moving from a retailers perspective I'm surprised there is not a higher mark-up (though I guess it depends on how Vanguard and Chandler split the amount).

    I agree. If Laser racing is a strict one design then it should be just that. If somebody spends their money on a Laser in order to be able to compete against others using the same gear and then finds out he/she has to compete against others with different gear then I could appreciate them being well disappointed. Its not what Lasers are about.

    Seems to me the "knock-off" merchants are in it for their own profit rather than the good of the class. In fact they are probably acting to the detriment of the class. If they believe they can make better and cheaper sails then there are loads of classes where they could build their fantastic sails which could be used without issues (once measured OK).

    Ian
     
  7. Mawill

    Mawill New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    Hello Ian,

    I also don't know anything about what retailers mark up, and what costs are normal. However, I don't think the markup on expects on electronics can be compared to the markup on Laser sails.

    For example, MP3 players and the like are in HUGE demand by LOTS of people and there is no barrier to any company building a better MP3 player. If the idiot consumer is willing to pay 400 bones today for what will sell for 200 in a year, then that is the consumers fault.

    However, Laser sails are not MP3 players and there are SEVERE barriers to entry into the market (as I am sure mr Intensity will attest to). As such, I don't think that it is responsible for the builders (the ones donating all this money for the good of the sport - note sarcasm) to build in MP3 type markups. At the moment, I also can NOT just choose to buy a cheaper sail (that I can use all the time) because there are rules against it.

    For these reasons, I consider a 150% markup over a similarly constructed product, which I assume has some profit in there as well, to be a rip off.

    Anyway, even though I don't like the price, I will play by the rules. Or as in my case, make do with a 5 year old sail. Do I think a cheaper equal sail would be good - sure - but not one with different characteristics. That is not fair to all those that have just spent the 570 dollars on new class legal sails.
     
  8. mikeyh

    mikeyh New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    Hmm, I doubt any but the super sailors would even notice any difference in the feel of a class sail, an intensity or roster sail for that matter. Personal experience showen me that our top club sailor was able beat all comers even with his flogged out class sail that had lost all the battens on the way around the track.

    I feel that in this fantastic one design class there are lots of important and critical factors need to be performed consistently well that will result in superior boat speed other than a sail alone. As we all know, It's pretty much impossible for anyone to get them all right all of the time and the people who get most of the things right most of the time win.

    What I do notice though is the difference in the price. You go intensity!, if it brings more people into our class by lowering the monetary entry level then yehaar! Oh just for the record, I have a physiological block and I reckon a class sail is faster. Go figure?
     
  9. Debos

    Debos New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    The fact that these knock off artists can make sails at least equal to the class approved sail, with MUCH lower pricing, is clear evidence that Hyde, North and the Class ARE gouging the sailors.

    To add the fact that the class approved sails last a race or two before turning into threadbare bedsheets, must drive individual to seek out alternatives to the monopoly overpriced class sail.

    Of course the Intensity is in it for the money. What do you do for a living?

    North and Hyde are also in it for the money, and are radically overcharging. Either that, or the $300-400 difference in cost between the two sails goes directly to the class, and is effectively an enormous dues payment, every year or two.

    How many dinghy class associations, charge $300-400 each year?
     
  10. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    As I understand it, in the US the sails are manufactured (North or Hyde) who sell them to the builder (making a profit) and have to pay delivery (though in volume this is probably trivial per sail. Builder then sells them (making profit) to the retailer and has to charge delivery (all adding to the end price). Retailer then sells them to the boat owner, making profit as well. Thus, cost of sail in US comprises:
    Manufacturing costs
    Manufacturers profit
    Builders profit
    Retailers profit

    (ignoring all the delivery charges). Quite a few people making money in the chain. Compare that to the "Knock-off" manufacturers:
    Manufacturing costs
    Manufacturers profit

    As others commented earlier in the thread, the costs from manufacturer might not be that different. It might just be the route to market and so many people making their profit.

    Ian
     
  11. Groover

    Groover New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    There are many "strictly" one design classes which I have participated in over the years. Most of which do not require sails to be purchased from the manufacture. Strict one design can still be upheld by the association through the rules and requirements the sails must be constructed to or altered by the sailmaker. Normally, royalties are paid to the association by the sailmaker when the sail is sold, thus eliminating any lost fees to the association. One loft's sails can only be faster than another if flexibility in the design is allowed in the construction under the rules or different cloth or provider of cloth is allowed.

    Personally I would like to buy a sail from my local loft so that I know it is constructed with good craftmanship and if there is issues with the sail they will resolve it. But that being said, I would be happy with any loft's sails if they were offered at a completitive price and lasted at least a season.

    If the class association, which is so focused on ensuring the laser class remains affordable and under strict measurements, would alter the bylaws to allow any loft to produce the sail to the class measurements (altered to allow for better durability), pay a royalty to the class for each sail, and restrict the purchase of a new sail to once a season - then we would have a more closely matched fleet. As it stands now, a better funded program can purchase new sails for each regatta and the requirment to use the poor durability sail only plays into their favor.
     
  12. TheBoathouse

    TheBoathouse New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding we have a winner.......
     
  13. Debos

    Debos New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    The above is probably true, but the fact remains that we must buy overpriced mass produced sails that look bad out of the bag and only get worse, quickly.

    Perhaps a revision of the supply chain in this internet age is possible?

    Couldn't Hyde and or North be allowed to skip the middle men, make a royalty payment to the class for each sail?

    And couldn't the class review the sail specs and construction techniques, to allow an equal sail that would have some longevity?

    None of this is rocket science guys and gals.
     
  14. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    It's not rocket science, but you need to clearly understand how the relationship between the builders (PSE) and the class works.. The builders are under license to produce the class approved boat (including all parts) for the class. As part of that license they are allowed to determine the prices that we, the end user, pay, and they determine the supply chain.


    So, if by some mis-alignment of the planets, the class and builders agree to allow the sailmakers to sell direct to the end user, the builders are going to have to raise prices on everything else "Laser" to make up for the lost revenue. And don't forget the local dealers either - take away part of their revenue and they will have to find other ways to replace the lost revenue
     
  15. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    Unfortunately it would not necessarily have a good effect. In the UK you buy your sails direct from PSE (the builder) and they are a lot more expensive than in the US. Thus, eliminate one set of delivery and profit charges and the price to the customer goes up.

    I think it is an issue of the modern economy - no longer "a fair product for a fair price" but as much profit as possible. Shareholders/owners often clamour for ever increasing profits and they have to come from somewhere.

    Ian
     
  16. Debos

    Debos New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    If the class allows the builders to abuse the class members as you describe, then perhaps the class should start considering other arrangements.
     
  17. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    I presume that when you say "direct from PSE" you mean from www.lasersailing.com, which is the "Laser Centre" in Northhampton. My understanding is that this is a retail outlet owned by PSE. So, I'd expect all their prices to be equal to the dealers... and in any case if they are to support their dealers in such a small geographical area it would not make a lot of sense to undercut them.

    When Vanguard took over Sunfish/Laser they also tried this, for example the "Vanguard Superstore" in Orange County. I don't know for sure, but I think they decided this wasn't working for them and got out of it. Probably someone from SoCal (who, hopefully, is still in their home!) can let us know...
     
  18. 663

    663 Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    I couldn't agree more. We currently get a sail that can't last one day in breeze and have no options about it.

    It's not a production cost issue to make a better sail for the current selling price point. It's just a matter of getting enough members to demand a sail for $600 that isn't junk.

    If the current suppliers aren't willing to change the status quo, we should vote to use a new production/royality/distribution model for Sails.
     
  19. Debos

    Debos New Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?


    What he said!

    But can our class pass rules changes that might reduce the income of the suppliers?

    That remains to be seen.
     
  20. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Re: Are Intensity Sails Faster?

    Yes, I did mean the Northampton www.lasersailing.com. As I understand things in the UK local chandlers do not stock things like sails. The will often stock the smaller parts (blocks and things like the clew sleeve, etc.), but not stuff like sails, masts, etc. Thus, for such products there is not the same dealer network as probably exists in the US and thus not the same competitive aspect. My (limited) experience anyway. With other dinghy classes I've sailed you tend to get the sails direct from the sailmaker.

    I'm not complaining about the price, etc. just pointing out that these days the "fair price for a fair product" ethic has long ago left much of business and these days it is to "extract as much money from the customer as possible". Thus, the various companies will tend to charge as much as they can get away with - reasonable margins for their work and profit are not the consideration they used to be.

    Ian
     

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