GRP foils?

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Deumel, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Deumel

    Deumel New Member

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    Hi,

    Does anyone have any experience using the new GRP foils? Is there any difference in performance versus the old ones, or why is this change actually taking place? Is this something you guys would consider when buying a new boat, or is it just not worth it?

    This is what I'm talking about: http://www.lasersailing.com.au/shop/product-info.php?pid129.html
     
  2. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Class theology states that there can't be a change in performance. To my knowledge, the change was by the builder, and we (the class membership) have no say in that. Unless you are a budding Olympian, I would just keep on sailing with the board you have. I believe that the GRP boards will find their way to other continents in due time.
     
  3. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Yes, I've used them, they what is supplied with the boats now in Australia and New Zealand.

    The concept of the GRP board has been permitted for a long time, according to some of my old measurement documentation. I'm not sure if a previous supplier of boards actually manufactured them years ago. Maybe for a short time they were manufactured between the timber and foam board eras? The class policy has always been to have at least two suppliers of all laser equipment in the event of one of the suppliers being unable to meet supply, i.e. a fire. For the last decade or so, there has only been one supplier of boards. From my understanding, the Australian builder saw an opportunity to be the second supplier. After researching the possibilities of production and having previous experience in this form GRP manufacturing, the Australian builder opted to go for GRP board, rather than the solid foam board.

    In reality there are no real differences between the boards, all the mechanical and physical properties (stiffness, strength, dimensions, weight etc) all fall within the tolerances set in the builders manual, as do the foam boards. IMO, the as supplied surface finish is slightly better with the GRP boards and they are more resistant to warping the heat. If there was 1/4 boat length in difference between boards (in excellent condition) over an hours race, I'd be surprised. IMO, if you're looking at that small an improvement, you're probably better off doing some more tacking practice.
     
  4. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Which sounds a really sensible policy. People needing replacements/new boats would get really annoyed if none were available due to some crisis and one supplier.

    Ian
     
  5. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Thanks Alan for providing background info on this 'issue'.
     
  6. Deumel

    Deumel New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. As I expected sailors haven't noticed any remarkable difference in performance (otherwise I guess people would talk about this subject more often).

    Has anyone noticed any difference in durability between these two different designs?

    Reason for asking, I had an old (foam) centreboard some time ago which I once managed to break a small piece off when straightening the boat after a capsize. Even though I got it fixed quite well it had a tendency to break easily aroud this fixed area.
     
  7. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    We're noticing less damage to the trailing edge of the GRP boards, but the tip if very brittle and many boats have lost the last 5-10mm from the bottem end of the trailing edge. There have also been one or two that have delaminate, particularly rudders, but the old foam ones also used to crack, so there are pretty much on par.
     
  8. Alysum

    Alysum Member

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    Sorry for intruding but I just wanted to say that I really don't like the look of those new yellowish foils and I cannot understand how that colour has been validated to go with white Lasers. Is it because it's the natural colour maybe?
     
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  9. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    The early GRP boards had a white finish, but they found that the quality of the surface finish wasn't very consistant, the actual resin is white, it wasn't a gel coat. So they changed resin to one more suitable for the actual manufacturing process. The colour obtained is the result of the natural colour of the resin utilised and not foam core. If the boards were subsequently painted, we'd end up with the patch colour scheme observed on the foam boards, which is worse IMO.

    White lasers? Some, they have also made in recent years dove grey, baby s*** brown, pale blue and prior to that white hulls with coloured stripes, fully coloured hulls with BS Brown decks etc. We're just in a white hull phase currently.
     
  10. dredies

    dredies Member

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    The fact that these new foils hold their finish is worth it alone, IMHO. The amount of time wet sanding the other foils to try to keep them smooth is a pain. While I think having a second builder is great, I can't see how these new boards do not contravene the one design principle laid out by the ILCA. It states "If the LCM or the Rules allow options in the fittings, boat parts and material used, then all options must be made available worldwide at the same time and at comparable prices."

    Where do I buy my composite set of foils? At the same time Heini Wellmann prints an article telling sailors not to import from one region to another... Something is wrong here.

    OK - that's the end of my rant.
     
  11. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Would you also prefer to be still sailing with the timber boards? Using your argument, we'd still be using the timber boards. It seems that before the foam boards came along, GRP boards were available and this new builder has gone back to GRP boards using new technology to achieve a high quality product which is simple to manufacture.

    "It states "If the LCM or the Rules allow options in the fittings, boat parts and material used, then all options must be made available worldwide at the same time and at comparable prices."" where did you find this? This is not the Fundamental Rule.
     
  12. dredies

    dredies Member

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    Seems I struck a nerve here...

    I have no desire to get into a battle here, but I will respond to your questions and comments:

    I am not opposed to progress at all, and I do not see how my argument precludes changes. I am stating that if the new boards are allowed for one region, then they should be supplied by the builder to all other regions as well. If the original builder was able to export the foam boards to all regions, there should be no reason that Performance Sailcraft Australia can not supply the world as well, as a second supplier of foils.

    For the record, sailors I have talked to suggest that the timber boards were superior to the foam boards, as they were lighter and stiffer. It is for this reason that rule 14(e) was added to the class rules (preventing sailors from using the old wood boards with a new hull). The advantage of the foam boards was that they were easier to manufacture.

    This is taken from page 9 of the ILCA 2009 Handbook and is entitled "Protecting the One Design Principle". To me it makes a lot of sense. How logical is it that we should be fretting about people spraying McLube on the end of their boom, when we have sailors sailing with equipment that is made from completely different materials from that available to the majority of the world?
     
  13. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Oh well, we haven't yet received the 2009 Handbook (or at least I haven’t), but that statement hasn't been in previous handbooks. However, each region has traditionally had slightly different equipment supplied with their boats and this equipment hasn't always been available in other regions, e.g. Australia used to get the American Haardstick sails and couldn't obtain the European Hyde Sails, the vang fitting on the boom still varies region to region and a locally manufactured cleats are utilised which may or may not be available outside that region, different materials, constructions etc in all 3.

    As for the boards. I have no real understanding why the boards have not been available outside the Australia and New Zealand, the process is still relatively slow. So maybe PSA have yet to get to the stage where they can mass produce them to supply the rest of the world? Maybe there is something in the licensing agreement restricting those boards breaking the European monopoly? Maybe the ILCA / Heini is blocking PSA from them being supplied outside PSA's region for some reason, there were some early issues quality control which if QC problems were present then restricting them to one region would make sense? I certainly don't have the answer. But I suspect you’re over-reacting, the mechanical and physical properties of the boards currently being supplied all meet the tolerances, so there is no physical benefit for using one board over another.

    Heini request that people don’t import gear from other regions is two fold, first there is a belief at the moment that the PSA boats are better quality than what’s coming out of the other factories, while the manufacturing process as stipulated in the builders manual, there was a time when the PSA boats were really bad, but the current owners have worked hard to improve QC. However, the main issue is concerned with the licenses the builders have to supply equipment and boats within a region, when you obtain equipment from outside your region, then you’re cutting into the profit margins of the license holders and the local dealers whom you would have purchased that equipment from. At one stage the cost of a new Hyde Sail in Australia was $950, but purchasing from the internet including all freight fees and import costs, you could purchase a Hyde sail from overseas for $600 because of the exchange rates 7 months ago. The local dealers/builders do a wonderful job supporting the class and it’s important that their dealership/builders remain profitable or they will go out of business and in the end that is in no ones interest.
     
  14. dredies

    dredies Member

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    My copy of "The Laser Sailor" just arrived today, including the LaserWorld December 2008 insert. I'm happy to see that according to Tracy Usher's report, this is soon a non-issue. "Laser Performance GRP foils will be available to Europe, North and South America in early 2009".

    There's some more exciting news about changes to equipment, including a new centreboard brake, and new Harken ball bearing blocks for the traveller, both to be available mid/late 2009. Can't say I'll miss the Holt Allen blocks :)
     
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  15. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    My own thoughts on this aspect (which is not particularly related to foils) is that, if a supplier provides decent product at a competitive price then people will buy it. I always think that for many things there is a price performance balance that meets what the majority of people want. A fantastic mainsheet block costing $8000 might be excellent but the price will discourage most people. When companies try to enforce exclusivity licenses/agreements it is often because they are not providing what their customers want (i.e. poor quality and/or high prices). When talking about overseas suppliers, those distant suppliers already have their location acting against them (carriage costs and import duty - often nontrivial) but if they are still going to have an impact on the local supplier then clearly the local supplier is “getting it wrong” (often charging excessive prices for “normal” product). In such cases then the import trade should be pressuring the local supplier to become competitive. When companies start moaning about licence agreements, exclusivity in regions, etc. it can be a sign that they have been enjoying ripping-off their customers and want to keep doing it after having been “found-out”.

    There are other considerations and a lot will depend on the circumstances. For example, a builder will normally be investing in advertising, product development, etc. and a “knock-off” company just makes use of this builder investment to avoid similar costs and to be very competitive – something that is not good for the long term. But when the local company is competing against a builder from another region (who has similar costs in their own locality) such considerations are not really relevant. If the local builder is very competitive then they can out-compete the “distant” supplier as well as the other way round. Sort of a free market economy – and agree of disagree with such systems it is the way the world economy is meant to be run these days.

    Ian
     
  16. dredies

    dredies Member

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    We're half-way through the year. Any word on when the foils are going to be shipping?
     
  17. sailingmania

    sailingmania New Member

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  18. pticoad

    pticoad New Member

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  19. dredies

    dredies Member

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    Not a joke, but someone has managed to get the new foils into the US ahead of their release so they are gouging while they can. Note that this is for bothe the centerboard and rudder, but this is still roughly double the price on the old style foils (€449 or $625 US).

    The foils were supposed to be in general release for Europe and North America for early 2009, meaning that this kind of gouging and illegal importing would not be necessary. Maybe our esteemed Technical and Measurement Chairman can weigh in and let us know what is happening.
     
  20. pticoad

    pticoad New Member

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    For my part, I am completely agree with dredies.

    "The Laser philosophy incorporated in the rules is
    that we want to go sailing, not waste time fiddling with boats."

    That's the second sentence of Class rules!!
    Technologies used by builders in the world must be the same as much as possible! Moreaver, in that case, blades can't be buy in any parts of the world! Just in Australia and New Zeland.

    So It's very surprising that's ILCA gave a license to the Australian builder. I am sure, they could have precised what technology could be employed!
    In my opinion, they brake our rules!

    From AlanD:
    Does the study you quote is available somewhere?

    Ant
     

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