Are these class legal?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by jeffers, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. deadrock

    deadrock New Member

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    You and me both. As I said in one of my last editorials, don't look for the situation to change, whatever the outcome of the legal action. The Aussies, Americans, Europeans, and everyone else all have to pay roughly the same margin-rich price. Has anyone wondered why that is? LP and PSA would sell at least twice as many sails if they dropped the price to £300 (and kill off the replica market as well). Yet LP and PSA still persist with their asinine pricing policy. I would buy a new sail every year at £300; I haven't bought a new sail since 2009. I just make do: so, I suspect, do you and thousands like you.
     
  2. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    This is exactly my argument. I would pay that level of money for a new sail every year (or every other year) quite happily.

    I will not pay the £470+.

    What galls me even more is that if you speak to LP they WILL match the price of replicas if you do a bulk order. Why not just make the damn thing price competitive in the first place and then the replica issue will go away as those club that have turned a blind eye to replica sails will no longer turn a blind eye..... (my own club included).
     
  3. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I agree. Measuring things in %ages does not always give a clear picture. So if I pay 6 cents for something but find I can get it elsewhere for only 5 cents I do not worry too much about the 20% mark-up. But if I'm paying $100000 for something 20% would be a much bigger issue.

    Ian
     
  4. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Bought a second-hand boat about five years ago. Had only been sailed twice with an Intensity sail, class-legal sail was still in the plastic. The FIRST I raced with it I capsized in bad location, and the current got me pinned against a moored boat. I had to get towed off, and the mast was drug across an anchor chain. Left some small tears in the luff sleeve that I just put up with.

    For about a year I've been meaning to buy a new sail, but have held off due to the "impending" release of the new design. I think I will finally break down next spring.

    I suspect some sort of deal to be made among the warring parties soon after, and the new sail design will be rolled out.
     
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  5. Cavi

    Cavi Member

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    I honestly feel LP is way too greedy. Beyond that I fully understand that rules are rules and why they exist. But, with small things like the little plate on the deck that holds the two blocks. That has to be LP, Really? You are going t oallow any blocks, but the plate has to be LP. Lets get real.
    One of the posters here declared that he was against anyone using aftermarket parts because they might one day sell their boat to someone who might want to have it class legal. Well, first off, I will go back to the little plate. The aftermarket one is identical, and does not require any mods to use it, so if a future owner wants to be legal he can swap it.
    Now I own a 9181 boat, and I want the newer stuff but I will never race at the level where I would really need to be class legal. With a boat of my vintage anyone who is serious enough to want to race at a level where they will "need "to be legal 100% can go through the boat and replace the one or two items that are not class legal, but don't expect me to shell out the big bucks to play around at home with a boat that I picked up for $1000. If I end up serious enough I would probably end up investing $3000 for a decent boat. Now if someone took a newish boat and started replacing stuff for the copies. It would still be their problem. I would much rather someone buy a 'training "boom and still enjoy sailing than quit sailing because they could not replace the boom when it broke. For alot of kids and adults alike the difference in cost of a sail or a spar might be enough to ground them. If they sell the boat latter, buyer beware. Most likley if the buyer is serious about racing they will know ahead of time the questions to ask and the rules and maybe pass up on a boat that has some parts that were replaced.
    At my local club, they have 3 sunfish, none of which would ever pass for class legal, not even close, but over 100 kids a year learn to sail on them, my son included. Should they complain that someone sold the club a "nonlegal" class boat? He## no. The more kids that learn to sail the better.
     
  6. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    Why not brand these parts as "ILCA" (or have "ILCA License No. xxxxx-xxx")and have the ILCA control the manufacture and sale? Each part is contracted for a limited time, say 4 years, and then must re-bid to the ILCA to get the approval to have the trademark.

    We will then have a lower cost of parts, and a lot of the copied parts will simply go away (or become the official supplier) plus the the ILCA manage it for a standard mark up of 25% or similar. Distribution are via the ILCA website and via the builder's regular channels.

    Can someone propose a better solution?
     
  7. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    Buy some white one sided sticky and stick then to your sleeve. Did that for a practice sail and got a few more years use out of it.

    Most sailmakers have it.
     
  8. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    ILCA does not have that sort of power. Most of the power resides with the builders/rights holders which is why the class is the way it is and why they can dictate what is to happen on a lot of issues. ILCA can request changes but if all the builders and the rights holder do not agree then it will not get through.
     
  9. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    I agree the builders are too greedy but the class is what it is.

    At the end of the day you bought the boat so you can, in theory, do what you like. The problem comes when you come to sell it as you cannot really sell it as a Laser as it does not comply with the class rules. You may also find a rather upset buyer coming knocking on your door (even if the boat is sold as seen).

    Caveat Emptor only goes so far. If you sell something you know to not be genuine (in the UK at least) it is fraudulent and you could end up in court.
     
  10. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    Shame. Though can't help wondering with the legal case, the possibility of 'the system' being re-evaluated / re-created is maybe a little higher than zero.
     
  11. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Why ? It was BK/IB who set up the original class structure, the model for how the boats would be built/sold etc. BK, IIRC, never suggested anything should be changed in that regard, he just wants the payments from Rastegear that he claims are due to him.
     
  12. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    What's needed is a builder that actually cares about the class.
     
  13. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Both the Australian & Japanese builders do care about the class. Pity that the builder inyor region is only concerned about themselves.
     
  14. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    I thought the Japanese builder had their license revoked by BKI as they were also in dispute?
     
  15. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    Agree that the Australian and Japanese builders care about the class. However the same issues still exist in the market down under.

    I bought a self bailer in NZ for NZ$95 (US$81). There were replica ones available for less ($65 from memory), though at that time I thought I was going to be sailing in the nationals so wanted a genuine part. (Turns out I didn't.) The official part came with a card that said it was made in Brazil, and was probably shipped to USA, shipped to Australia then on to NZ, with freight and margins each time it changed hands. Pretty sure that the total cost of manufacture can be achieved at less than US$10, and a less than US$20 could be achieved. The supplier of my self bailer (Dan Slater) agreed - we both shrugged, I paid the $95 and the deal was done.

    I also replaced a Gooseneck for NZ$88 (US$75) - from West Coast Sailing it's US$53.

    Sails at that time were listed as NZ$990 (US$843) from the local supplier (Takapuna Sailing Centre). A new Laser (basic, no turbo vang - again at Takapuna Sailing Centre) cost $10,500 (US $8,943) - these are all 2011/12 prices. Smaller, remote markets like New Zealand can expect to pay higher prices than larger markets closer to manufacture. The same three prices from West Coast Sailing are bailers US$75; Sails US$565; and entire boats US$6065.

    Smaller markets like Australia / NZ have fewer sales to spread the operating costs, so I would expect the cost to be higher in smaller markets.

    I'm not sure that the builder's manual says who can supply parts. The class rules determine what's legal and what's not - for example, changes to the vang system came from the class rules.

    If the parts (including the sail) had an efficient manufacture / distribution then a 10% saving could be made to the overall cost of a new Laser. However the builders must remain profitable - we can't have builders going bust.
     
  16. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    You are correct in that it is the class rules but these do state which parts must be 'builder supplied'.

    So if you buy your bottom vang assembly direct from Holt or Harken (and it will not have the Laser stamp on it if you do this) then it is not class legal as parts like this must come through the builders hands. Why I do not know. It would be more efficient for the builders to license the supply of these parts and allow direct supply the chandlers/dealers (cutting out 1 step in the delivery chain).

    The way the Laser class works is, in a lot of respects, cumbersome. This is partly down to the class/builder/rights holder relationship and partly down to the fact that it is an Olympic class so anything other than a minor change will likely need to happen at the start of an Olympic cycle (new sail and top section).

    Other classes I have been part of work differently. They may still have a rights holder, builder and class association but the class has a greater deal of control and in a lot of cases, the class own the rights to the design anf the moulds (so no royalty issues to a 3rd party). What muddies the waters is that the ILCA do not own the copyright to use the name Laser and the burst logo, this is owned by the relevant builders or their subsidiaries.

    This is unlikely to change unless the TMs become available on the open market and the ILCA have the means to purchase them on a worldwide basis.

    This would give them, along with BKI a much greater control over the hiring and firing of builders.

    Part of the dispute is over the right to use the name Laser and the burst logo in Europe and NA (which is why a name change has been mooted as a possible solution).
     
  17. Gantt

    Gantt Member

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    The Laser TM is only relevant for the majority of Laser parts if the ILCA make it so via the class rules - with the exception of the hull and the sail. Everything else doesn't have to have the sunburst logo, even though some do and some don't. We can expect the manufactured cost to be less than the non sanctioned part. (List credit to Emilio Castelli)

    Part /Official /No Laser TM /Delta
    Bailer $75.00 $20.00 $55.00
    Bow eye $15.00 $5.00 $10.00
    Deck blocks + plate $64.00 $56.00 $8.00
    Deck cleats $108.00 $40.00 $68.00
    Fairlead $12.00 $8.00 $4.00
    Hiking strap plate $9.00 $1.00 $8.00
    Rudder lift stop $5.00 $2.75 $2.25
    Large traveler block $24.00 $9.00 $15.00
    Small traveler block $17.00 $8.00 $9.00
    Gooseneck $53.00 $18.00 $35.00
    Vang strap $16.00 $7.00 $9.00
    Vang tang $27.00 $13.00 $14.00
    Mainsheet block $22.00 $6.00 $16.00
    Mainsheet block w tang $24.00 $6.00 $18.00
    Total $471.00 $199.75 $271.25

    Sanctioned builders already pay the ILCA for the plaques, so there is already a business relationship there. (Perhaps with small profits from parts, the plaques no longer need to be as expensive?)

    Maybe the case for the ILCA to manage parts as I proposed is stronger than I initially thought.

    ILCA get manufacturers to pitch for 4 year supply contracts at a fixed price. (Starting November 2016)

    So the supply chain for parts would be:
    1) Manufacturer --> ILCA --> Sanctioned builder --> Sailor
    2) Manufacturer --> ILCA --> Sanctioned builder --> Retailer --> Sailor
    AND
    3) Manufacturer --> ILCA --> Sailor

    Where perhaps the margins are:
    ILCA to Sanctioned builders is 5%
    ILCA direct sales to sailors for ILCA members is 25%, and non members is %100.

    And a cost saving may help boost ILCA membership?
     
  18. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    That one has me puzzled. I suspect the Japanese builder was more than happy to continue paying royalties to Kirby, and he didn't really seem to have a dog in this fight. However were he to directly jump on board the Kirby Torch bandwagon, he would be essentially joining sides. Maybe revoking his license was done to give him some cover.
     
  19. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    The daft thing about the situation the class is in is that a builder who cares about the class also serves their own long term interest. It seems that many of the current issues stem from a builder who has only short term interests and wants as much as they can get as soon as they can get it; rather than taking a long term view where the success of the class will also mean their own commercial success.

    Ian
     
  20. whatever

    whatever Member

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    The way the rules work, each builder has freedom to optimize its profits. Assuming the cost to build a boat is fixed (this may not be strictly accurate, but for a first order approximation, it's probably OK). The builder can increase prices, which will increase the profit per boat. However, increased prices will mean less sales. Lower prices will increase the number of boat sales but decrease the profit per boat. Costs are largely fixed by the construction manual.

    So, a lazy builder can probably make almost the same profit by increasing prices and building fewer boats. Perhaps this is the route down which the builders are going.
     

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