carbon top section

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by sailor327, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. LarsenCanvas

    LarsenCanvas New Member

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    I've seen a number of broken top sections mainly from corrusion. I've also see bent ones. So this will not be a problem with carbon fiber. I think it will be worth the expense in the long run.
     
  2. ehfaust

    ehfaust New Member

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    Important New Info Regarding Carbon Top Sections

    All,
    I have just returned from the World Council Meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil. During the meeting, we heard a report from Chip Johns, owner of Vanguard, who has been spearheading the development of the carbon top section.

    Within the past few weeks, there was a breakage of one of the test spars being used by a sailor in Europe. According to Chip, this event was a serious setback to the development of the carbon mast, and until the proper testing and evaluation can be completed, plans to release the carbon top section to the market have been put on hold.

    Chip and the other builders have spent tens of thousands of dollars in developing this piece of equipment, and they don't want to release a product that may break. They feel badly about it, but they are doing the right thing by doing further research and testing before a potentially inferior product is released to the general sailing public. There is a chance that the spar that broke had a manufacturing defect, but until such time as they can pinpoint the source of the problem no plans to release the carbon mast to the market are being caried out.

    As a result of these latest developements, it is very likely that all Radial events in 2006 will be sailed with a standard aluminum top section. This will include, specifically, the 2006 Radial Worlds in California. No plans to roll out the new product are currently in the works, and when such plans come about, they will be executed carefully under well publicized procedures.

    That is basically all the information I have about this subject, but I will attempt to address any questions you may have on this forum.

    See you on the water,
    Eric Faust
    ILCA-NA Vice Chairman
     
  3. rock steady

    rock steady New Member

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    Hi Eric, Welcome to TLF and thanks for posting this update.
     
  4. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I have a carbon mast on my Europe dinghy. It's very strong, but it does need extra care; i.e. it must be kept covered when not in use. Sunlight degrades it. This shouldn't be much of a problem. Just throw it under the top cover, for example.

    Too bad there's a developmental setback. I think sailors here are losing sight of the purpose of the carbon mast, to allow lightweight women to sail the Radial at the international level. If the mast is not ready, it will be a setback to the Laser class in the Olympics. Remember that the Europe dinghy was the Women's single handed dinghy in previous Olympics, and if the Radial can't serve as well as the Europe, it may not last beyond 2008.

    Merrily
     
  5. Clive Humphris

    Clive Humphris ILCA Technical

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    I sail a Radial in Victoria, Australia, weigh 67Kg, and wind conditions mean I sail with high vang pressure say about 50% of the time. I sail most weekends in club races, October to April, 2 or 3 significant weekend regattas like Masters and States and a week long summer series. This program would be typical for a reasonably keen racer I believe.

    I have found the upper section to be reliable only with the following maintenance programmme:-
    1. Regular after race high pressure wash of the collar joint to help minimise salt water corrosion.
    2. After a high wind day I normally have to straighten an approx. 50mm tip permanent set to maintain straight.
    3. At the end of every season I end for end the spar, enabling an extra year of life.
    4. I do, of course, always install the pop rivet on the collar to aft so that the pop rivet is on the compression side of the spar.

    I draw the following conclusions from this:-
    1. With my usage on high wind days the aluminium in the collar area is taken beyond the yield point stress level. This leads to metal fatigue and limits the life of the spar.
    2. The reliability of the spar is adequate for me providing I stick to the above programme.
    3. I need to fund a new spar every 2 years.
    4. This experience is particular to my usage and the spar materials I happen to have. Because the design would appear to be marginal it would only take small changes in material temper and/or wall thickness and usage to make the life unacceptable for some sailers.

    Based on this I would recommend that:-
    1. A carbon spar would be a welcome change assuming that the fatigue life is greatly increased and the stiffness characteristics are close to the existing aluminium spar.
    2. As long as the carbon spar is no more than double the aluminium price it would justify itself just on the ecomomics of ownership alone.
    3. The added advantage is less maintenance mucking around.
    4. The stiffness characteristics could be modified at the margin to make the boat more sailable for a slightly lower sailer weight range.

    I hope my snapshot view of this problem helps,

    Clive Humphris
    179407
     
  6. Far away

    Far away New Member

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    Interesting thread. I have to say that I'm skeptical regarding this development. In my view the beauty of the laser is that it was always one of the strictest and most uniform one-design classes. True enough it has it's technological limitations but it was very much a boat of its time and stuck to this basic design as opposed to hopping on every modish bandwagon. The result was a class that guaranteed an identical rig no matter what level you raced at. Unlike many other dinghies there was the reassurance of knowing that the battered old laser in the sailing school had a rig the same as any at the top end of the world championship. I felt this created an ethos of solidarity between the beginner racer and the 'pros'.

    Then comes admission to the Olympics and suddenly a rig that's sold in the tens of thousands for decades is nolonger adequate. New control line arrangements are devised seemingly to make the boat more manageable to sail - missing the obvious irony that having provided endless enjoyment for a generation of amateur sailors the boat has to made 'easier' to sail at the behest of those who should have least difficulty: semi-professional Olympians!

    And now to the carbon top section. No doubt the marine industry and the pro sailor/designer elite will justify this change as being absolutely indispensible - again conveniently forgetting the past 35 years of stellar success as a popular class. It'll be a matter of urgency to ensure the class's longevity will go the argument, all the while forgetting that the boat's utter simplicity was such an attraction for the ordinary Joe far removed from yacht design and rig theory.

    All the while the distance will grow between those lasers lying down at the sailing school and those in the olympic bubble. The feeling of togetherness and the concept of an incomparably simple one-design becoming ever more diluted.

    What next? Will the future hinge on a carbon boom? Could cutting edge sail cloth be in the equation? I mean that plain white has become awfully tired. Gotta move with the trends, remember gadgets equals sales and simple boats won't sell forever... well, er... another 35 years that is. Then there's carbon fibre foils to think about and what of honey comb construction for the hull. And y'know that hull shape, could we do something there... after all we've changed everything else!!
     
  7. Murphs

    Murphs New Member

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    last time i checked, the radial rig hasnt been around for 35 years

    ILCA has obviously tried a few things to reduce the optimum weight range for the radial rig such as the mk6 sail.

    IMO this is the best solution for 2 reasons

    1. allows lighter sailors (women) to be more competitive across the wind range
    2. new carbon top sections are much more reliable than the old aluminium ones, im on my 3rd top section in two seasons.

    performance sailcraft europe have introduced other boats (laser 3000, 4000, 5000) with all these different new technologies, most of them havent worked.

    the carbon top section isnt being introduced to sell more boats, its being introduced for the reasons ive stated above, so your little rant at the end is quite useless
     
  8. Far away

    Far away New Member

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    Not useless just a different opinion from yours.

    My vent may not have been that clear but my point wasn't that these changes have been introduced to boost sales but that an elite in the class may be creating a divide between boats at the cutting edge of racing and older lasers lying down at the club/sailing school. The bit about increasing sales was simply an ironic argument that they might deploy to rationalise (convince themselves?) such alterations to the boat. It's my view that the laser sells and has sold well just as it is.

    Indeed, I really feel that these modifications might well dampen the popularity of the class - they diminish one of original selling points: a total one-design. Be they lasers in the dinghy park or on the olympic circuit the boats were identical. I always thought that gave a sort of reassurance or even allure to club racers - 'my old rig is no different than the world champion's'.

    With the control line changes and this new carbon top section that old uniformity will have been broken. How many old lasers out there still being sailed have the new control lines or will have a carbon spar? Few, I'd say. The psychology of the total one-design uniting potterer and professional will have been breached.
     
  9. computeroman2

    computeroman2 Member

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    Think about this though.
    first of all, everyone i've talked to is completely embracing the new upgrades. the old systems were really a pain in the neck. My dad tells me stories about how when he was sailing lasers in college, to tighten the vang, you pinched, stood up and leaned on the boom, and took inthe slack. That is not only annoying, but it takes focus off of tactics and racing and puts them on boathandling.

    The carbon spar is ONLY going to be legal for the radial, NOT the standard rig. the radial rig was and is still in development, what with all the changes they've made, and this is just another step in the development of the mature radial. after all, it's only been around since the late 80's, not the 60's.

    On the contrary, alot of people i know say they would get a laser but the controls seem so hard. the new controls make the sail easier to control, which allwos you to put all of your focus on racing, NOT how the hell you're going to get all that vang off at the crowded windward mark. And isn't that what a one-design class is supposed to do any? take the focus off of equipment and put it on racing?
     
  10. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    IMHO, the control line changes were helpful in both the sales side and in bringing old and new faces back into the boat. Where I sail 90% of the boats that race that did not come with the new rigging have upgraded to it. The remaining 10% have at least taken advantage of the changes allowing additional blocks and lines to be added to the control lines.

    I would expect the same sort of numbers with the carbon top section. As already pointed out, it's promising to solve two issues (longevity of the section and body weight) that I hear many that sail in the class complain about.

    Is it the allure of having the same setup as a world champ that compels someone to enjoy their older boat ? Maybe for some and they are not excluded from making the changes to their boats to bring them to the same level of equipment and fitting out.

    I'm trying really hard to come up with a One Design boat that has been around as long as the Laser has that has not allowed any changes over that time period, but I'm drawing a blank.
     
  11. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    For now. It's simply a matter of time before it's allowed for the full rig and 4.7 That's allready the stated plan and only makes sense.
     
  12. Murphs

    Murphs New Member

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    its really ugly on the full rig, the stiff bottom section doesnt work well with such a bendy top section

    unless they redesigned the sail.......
     
  13. abenn

    abenn New Member

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    I don't think the "club sailor sailing an old boat, maybe still with the old rigging" is really going to be worried about whether a carbon top section is introduced. If they are still sailing like this, then they probably aren't really interested in winning the club or regional championships and are happy to just take part in laser sailing and maybe make snide remarks about the guys with all the latest stuff.
    As I understand it, the biggest differential between boats is the newness of the sail and anyone who's really keen probably already buys a new sail every year or so (at a greater cost than whats being suggested for the top section) which puts them at a great advantage relative to those with older sails/gear.
    Full rig sailors should look forward to all the cheap, second hand Aluminium top sections that will be available if radial sailors start buying the carbon ones.
     
  14. computeroman2

    computeroman2 Member

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    Something else i just thought of....Isn't it true that the carbon section will lower the min. weight by 15 or 20lbs, but won't help those at the higher end at all? I thought that in fact, the higher end would want to keep the alum. mast because it is stiffer. So wouldn't that mean something like if you're light, you'll be more competitive? aka. able to focus on racing more and on when your legs are going to have terminal failure due to hiking so long less?
    Which means more good racing?
     
  15. Murphs

    Murphs New Member

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    thats one of the main reasons they introduced the carbon section, helps women be more competitive. heavier sailors would still benefit from the new section but not as much as lighter sailors
     
  16. sorosz

    sorosz Member

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    Are there any photos of the carbon masts anywhere?

    -Steve
     
  17. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    Errr, will someone PLEASE tell Krystal Weir and Kirstin Kosmala that they are not competitive? :)

    Maybe it's just because we've had some light-air regattas, but the Olympic Radial women seem to do well (and I'm assured that Krystal is actually faster in a breeze than in the light). I think the boot will be on the other foot now the Radial is an Olympic class. Even in the Masters, guys in Radials are now up against full-time (or almost full-time) women aiming for the Olympics and fully supported by coaches etc.

    Plus, when a guy wins a division, the top woman gets the women's prize. When a "pro" woman wins a division, the top guy gets zilch. It's not a big deal, but surely it is fact sexist to reward a "pro" woman who gets beaten by a man, but not an amateur male who gets beaten by a "pro" woman?
     
  18. Georg W.F.

    Georg W.F. Member

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    In reply to HECS:
    The female-male discussion brings up many interesting issues. I encourage the effort to bring more women into a sport that is (like virtually every other sport) still male-dominated. New additions such as carbon spars that make the boat easier to sail for lighter (female) sailors can help, separate awards perhaps as well. Yet, we have to think here about the meaning of these awards: are these second-rank awards? Is there a “real” award and an award for the “second sex?” If we hypothetically turn this around: would a man not be insulted if he would be awarded a (second-rank) award after a woman beat him?
    I do think it is a good idea to have different classes, but these classes should not be divided by sex. It is an insult to women to give them an award on the basis of their femininity, while the real competition takes place between males. If we want to respect women as sailors, we will need to treat them as equals, not as secondary competitors.

    G.W.F.
     
  19. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    The carbon top section concept was succesfully sold to me in 2000. The sales pitch had little to do with durability of the aluminum top section vs the carbon top section.
    1. Weight range of the sailors who could compete n Radials. the carbon top section was supposed to improve the weight range by allowing more depowering.
    2. The carbon section could be designed to change the stress on the lower section. As of 2000 the failure rate of Radial lower sections was unacceptable. If the carbon top section could be designed such that the loading on the lower would change, the hope was that the lower sections would not bend. Lower sections are expensive. if sailors no longer were bending lower sections, the new top section would pay for itself.

    Sales pitch was>>

    the carbon section will allow more sailors to compete and it will save money for those who are already competing.
     
  20. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    George, I think you're making a rather large assumption when you assume I'm thinking that the women are second rank sailors. In the Radials here we've had two championships so far this season. The first went to the Women's Radial world champ, who was 4th in the Athens Olympics. The second championships (the Masters) went to a woman who was about 8th at the Olympics. She beat 3 guys who have won Masters worlds in the last two years. The guys haven't had a look in. It's hard to think of women as "secondary competitors" when they are the ones cleaning up!

    The women probably have a major advantage these days, because once they are seen as potential Olympians there is coaching available. If you cleaned up in the Radials as a mature-age male here, you qualified for nothing. Zilch official training. Nada funding for travel to worlds etc.

    In contrast, the women are seen as potential Olympians and therefore (quite rightly) they get official training from the Olympic coaches etc and (I think) funding for travel. That makes them much sharper than the guys (apart from youth who get similar support) and therefore gives them an advantage.

    "Would a man not be insulted if he would be awarded a (second-rank) award after a woman beat him?"

    Only if he's sexist, I think! Fact is, the mature-age Radial male gets basically no support while a woman of similar speed and age gets lots. Therefore the men are now arguably at a disadvantage.

    If anything it's sexist to assume that women still need help in this situation, 'cause they are kicking serious.

    One class (the first dinghy where a woman won the open worlds, I think) do actually call their trophy the "alternate sex" trophy and if a women takes the title, the first guys gets the trophy.

    Actually I reckon it would be better to have an "amateur" trophy, simply for those who don't get funding as part of the Youth or Olympic team. That may go some way towards recognising and giving interest to the sailors who are good but have a life outside sailing and therefore are not quite at Olympic team level - ie sailors who did it on the keen amateur level of the pre-Olympic days.
     

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