This is in response to the article in the Summer edition of The Laser Sailor. Please !! Let's try to keep this positive and perhaps limit this thread to just suggestions for positions political or of advocacy contributors might want our NA Class (and maybe the ILCA) to take with respect to parts, replica parts, and all that. So..First off let me make points for that which the article left me believing was Tracy's side of the discussion. When describing where the money goes and defending why Class Legal sails cost $400 more than Intensity sails Tracy left out the money that goes to the ISAF for the buttons and any royalty fees collected by the ILCA. He left me with the impression the entire $400 is being pocketed by the builders. That part of the $400 which is sent to ILCA and the ISAF is not being pocketed by the builders. Second part...Stuff left out of the why Class legal sails ought to be less expensive than anything any competitor could manufacture 1. The sailmakers for class legal sails have a GUARANTEED and PREDICTABLE market. They can take the evidence for same to the bank and borrow money against the predicted and guaranteed production. They KNOW each and every year there will be 10,000 sails to be made. That guaranteed market allows for investment and planned production and planned staffing and all sorts of great things a fly by night wannabe replica sailmaker does not have. 2. The fly by night replica maker MUST spend money to advertise and find purchasers for 100% of its sales. The class legal suppliers have thousands of guaranteed purchases before they even begin to need to do any marketing what so ever. 3. The class willingly forces thousands of customers to purchase legal sails. The replica sailmaker is refused access to the majority of the market simply because its sails are not allowed to participate in most of the events were new sails matter the very most. I believe a good look at the books would reveal our class legal suppliers could ( except for the price of ISAF buttons and whatever royalty is paid to ILCA) sell Laser sails for LESS than any replica builder while taking in a larger percentage of funds above and beyond the cost of doing business. In fact, if that is not the case, I sure would love to know why the stockholders for our builders and sailmakers would tolerate such gross ineffeciency. Regardless of how the exact funding and expense trail shakes out, I sure don't see why the Laser Class members ought to silently tolerate being charged $400 more PER SAIL for a product that is nearly impossible to distinguish from that which is offered by the replica sail sellers. So, here I get myself into the fundamental philosophy part of my reasons for posting this message and starting this thread. I believe the ILCA should serve many roles. There is information all over the web about that which I believe and I am certain many are sick and tired of my constant ranting about "I DON"T LIKE WHERE THE CLASS IS HEADED!!!" BUT>>> The fact is, aside from the organizational aaspects of gathering information about Laser sailing and distributing it to those who might need it, and it's role as the organizing authority that keeps our sport as a clearly defined game...there is the "consumer advocacy union of members standing for our rights against those who would exploit us" part of the Laser Class Association which I find to be less than adequately performed by our current set of "representatives." As Vice President of the North American Laser Class and later when I served as both a Vice President and the paid position NA Executive Secretary, I used to call Vanguard's owner and President Chip Johnsr and say, "Now you know Chip , I want Vanguard to sell a ton of boats and make a ton of money so I can play with the owners of those boats and know there is a great solid company where my friends and I can go to buy more toys and even find warranty service.....BUT..." ..And following BUT would come my "you guys are not serving us fairly" gripe. When Vanguard came out with a set of soft sails, I , as a representative of the membership, would call Chip and do my best to encourage him to tighten his quality control. "I want to tell sailors to go buy your new sails but I cannot tell them to buy rags made of soft cloth that won't even set up right on day one." Chip kndw I sold a lot of boats for him and he listened. We both wanted teh same thing to happen. We wanted millions of people to want brand new lasers. we were untimately on teh same side. We wanted to be able to tell buyers of vanguard's toys, "Vanguiard has a great deal for you" When ther deal; was not there, I took it upon myself as a representative of teh membership to seek a solution." I ant our Clas officers to do a lot more consumer advocasy than I am aware is happening. Simply, I just didn't feel like Tracy's article was slanted far enough to the consumer side of the replica issue. I am positive Tracy knows exactly what he wants!!! I am pretty damned certain he knows what we need. I think Tracy has a lot of clout he could use for the consumer and I would love to see him confidelty wield it. Maybe others don't agree. I was tossed out for some reason and it certainly wasn't lack of organization or lack of class association growth. regardless>>> Were I in a "Laser Class Government " position today I would be telling the builders our position, "We can continue to advocate having builder supplied sails only as long as your prices reflect the help we give you in marketing your products. It is absurd that your sails cost us more than those for which we share NONE of the marketing chores. The class legal sails should cost us less than those made by suppliers for whom we do not guaranee a market. Excuses about your route from rolls of cloth to sails on boats can go only so far. There is simply no acceptable excuse for charging those of us who voluntarily agree to purchase only from you $400 more per sail than those who benefit financially from no such guarantees. It is extremely difficult to convince our membership the difference in price is anything other than greedy businesssmen taking advantage of a situation. Many Laser sailors feel the long term loyalty of the association membership is being used against us rather than being rewarded." As an officer of the association I would currently be asking for a lot of input and political sales efforts from the builders and sailmakers. Somebody neeeds to explain the reaoson for that additional $400 to the individual members. It is time for those who are taking $400 per sail from us to describe to us how that $400 is being well spent and how that spending of that $400 is benefitting us. If there are 10,000 new Class legal Laser sails being purchased every year, the difference between that which we are paying and Intensity's price those same 10,000 sails is FOUR MILLION DOLLARS.. NO wait!! The difference could be more as Intensity would no longer need to purchase advertising in the NA Newsletter and on its website to make customers aware those sails are available. Intensity might furthere lower its prices as it enjoyed theper item savings related to building another 10,000 sails per year. Yes. I do believe our Laser Class Association officers should be doing a tad of asking questions about where that money is going and by doing so advocating for the membership they represent. . If there are $15,000 worldwide members and we could be saving $400 per sail that is $266 per member. It is a big deal. One solution: If the Class sanctioned sail price is to remain at $600 I would be happy to accept free membership for all those who ask and and a $200 check each year for those who attend a minimum of one sanctioned Laser class event in exchange for ILCA support of required use of North or Hyde sails for all Laser sailboat contests. Assuming all 15,000 members sailed at least one event and sales remained stagnant at 10,000 sails. Our builders would have $400,000 to use to manage and distribute the funds. If membership numbers incresed sail sales would certainly increase at a greater rate. And if the $400 per sail sold fund was not sufficient we could renegotiate. As teh sailmakers and builders have been pocketing $4,000,000 per annum for many many years there should be no need to rush to adjust if they dip into their reserves for a few years. I believe that offer to our builders and sailmakers might be a great place to start.