Intensity Sails

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by Rob B, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm guarding my newer class legal sail like it's gold and I understand not being able to buy what you want. However, I haven't seen any evidence comparing Intensity and class legal sails performance at all. I'm saying it would be an interesting comparison.

    Are there two well-matched sailors out there with a new Intensity and new North or Hyde who want to send us a report?
     
  2. GTChris

    GTChris New Member

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    I agree completely that more comparisons should be done. All I have seen so far is the review from Michael Blackburn, straight off the Intensity site:

    [FONT=arial, helvetica] "I've sailed with your sail in a variety of conditions against some good opposition. I found the sail to perform better than an old legal sail, providing a just a little more height for no loss of speed. This is a similar result to a new legal sail versus an old legal sail. I would say performance of your sail would be quite similar to a new legal sail and is unlikely to be worse and is therefore a great value substitute whenever the legal sail is not needed."

    Review by Michael Blackburn

    Admittedly, not very scientific, and opinions from a lot more experience sailors would be needed for a final judgement. Maybe if we can get some solid evidence, there would be some room to lobby for legalization, or at least use it as leverage towards less expensive LEGAL sails...I'm not trying to buck the system, I respect it completely, but I'm also all for making this sport as accessible and fair as possible.

    After I get my sail, I will try to test against a few sailors while they break in new legal sails, and we'll see what happens; we'll even switch boats. My opinion counts for nothing, but it might settle my own questions....I'll let ya'll know.

    Chris
    [/FONT]
     
  3. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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    As for being a top sailor in the class I fall short of mark by a long (long long looooong) way. I do however have 2 sails about the same age 1 is calss legal and the other is made by Intensity. If I were to say one is faster than the other I would be telling a lie...They are the same. The difference from my point of view is the cost.

    As the bank commercial says "Save your money"
     
  4. GeoffS

    GeoffS Member

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    I don't own an Intensity yet, but based on everything I've heard about them it will be my next purchase.

    When my garage-door opener mangled my best class legal sail I asked around about options. Even the best eBay price for a new sail was twice that of an Intensity.

    I know my local "fleet" won't care what I put on the mast as long as it's not got a grossly obvious speed advantage. I have a standard rant about the relationship between costs and participation in the class, but this is really a thread about the performance of the sails, so I'll leave it for a more appropriate time/place.

    I'm really interested in hearing more from people (and esp. fleets) sailing with Intensity's and class-sails. My biggest question is if there are any differences in how you adjust the controls for the Intensity vs. the class-sail. One of the problems I'm facing is that my "old" and "new" sails significantly different from each other, never minde a new sail, that I'm having to adjust the controls differently than I used to with a newer sail. Since the good fraction of the point of practicing is to internalize all the "mechanical" aspects of sailing, I'm missing out on keeping up that part of my skills by sailing with blown-out sails.

    Cheers,

    Geoff S.
     
  5. 168664

    168664 New Member

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    A speed difference is not the only consideration. Are they the same quality using same weight cloth. Sail a legal sail in 25+ knots and you risk blowing it out. This is not good enough and is an inferior product at a premium price

    In Australia a new legal sail costs AUS$1000. Some people buy a new sail every season or 2, not many can afford to do that.

    This is totally against the objective of a strict one design class where a speed increase is so easily available to the wealthy
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    No. I should have also pointed out that there were Intensity sails in the back half of the fleet as well.

    I was talking to a guy that just purchased a Hyde sail from Colie. He said he was told, (as far as class legal sails go) the Hyde will last longer than a North and you can expect the North to be blown out past its competitive life after only one year of a "well traveled" Laser circuit.

    The Intensity is thought to be a tad heavier than the class sail. I think its on 4 oz cloth compared to 3.8 oz. Folks in our fleet are saying the Intensity sail holds up longer than the class legal North.

    By the way I usually finish in the top 5 at our club and I sail the oldest boat. Would a new hull make me the top finisher?

    I have a strong personal opinion that it is past time for a price break on our class sails. $350.00 should be the going rate with numbers, tell tails, and battens.

    $450.00 and up is insane for a computer cut 71 sq ft piece of 3.8 oz cloth made in sri-lanka. It's not a 3DL roto molded produt for pete's sake.

    I make a motion. The Laser class needs to shop for a source that can provide our existing class legal sails for this price and hold it for 3 years. I'd bet they could find one in a week.
     
  7. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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  8. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    The class would need to completely change the distribution model for the sail for use to see lower prices. Don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

    This has been covered before, but here it goes again.
    Sailmaker builds the sail, sells with a profit margin to Licenced builder. Builder sells sail with a profit margin to dealer.
    Dealer sells sail with a profit margin to end user....

    IIRC there is also a payment to the Laser class in there as well

    Do the dealers and the builder help contribute to keeping the class strong and healthy - IMHO, yes, in many ways

    The fact that there is a non-class approved sail available for $200 may be good for your wallet right now, but is it good for the long term health of the class ? Also, if the dealers and builder were to give up some profit on the sails, don't you think they would have to make it up somewhere else ?
     
  9. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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    I believe there is also a cut for the ILCA as well...Intesity does not have to pay that.


     
  10. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Also, if the dealers and builder were to give up some profit on the sails, don't you think they would have to make it up somewhere else ?[/QUOTE]

    No. This is called competition. However, the class has pigon holed itself by allowing only 2 sail makers to be approved for distribution of the sails. On top of that there's 2 middle men involved?

    Really. What other OD classes have such a convaluted sail distribution process? You take the same cloth, cut it the same size, sew it the same way, stick a class sticker on it, (which this cost goes directly to the class let the builder make money off of the hulls, spars, blades) and bingo one class legal sail.

    It's true that the sails are the "razor blades" of this product. However, I'm a believer in inventory turns. Make them for less and sell more. I'd bet they would see an increase in sales if they dropped $150 off the price of the delivered product. They could do this right off the top or remove the 2 middle sales avenues and the $150 would probably come right out w/no problem or margin loss to the sail maker. Intensity in hand would most likely see a decrease unless they went sub $200 at that point.
     
  11. GTChris

    GTChris New Member

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    I see no reason whatsoever why these non-legal sails hurt the laser class. In order for people to participate in ILCA events, they still need the class legal sails. While I think they're overpriced, I'll go along with it. But why in the world should I blow out an expensive sail just to sail round the buoys on a thursday night? Explain to me how THAT hurts the class. If anything, it gets more people involved, who may someday move up and start sailing in ILCA events, and then they will buy ILCA sails.

    If the ILCA is worried about losing money on royalties, then they should find cheaper builders. They could charge the same royalties, but they would sell a LOT more sails, and would make MORE money. Only ones that lose are the sailmakers that refuse to play the competition game. Welcome to capitalism. It Works. If new legal sails were $350 (perfectly reasonable), I'd buy one per season. I thin a lot of others would, who otherwise sail with used sails. The ILCA doesn't make ANY money off of used sails.

    Chris
     
  12. leftfield

    leftfield New Member

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    Ok then, lets say the class gives in and allows sails from other sailmakers such as Intensity, like some people on this post seem to be suggesting. Sounds like a great idea, right?

    To start with, the class would have to provide measurement diagrams for sailmakers to use. The class would need an influx of measurers with new skills to be able to measure all of these sails. Have you waited in a queue at a major regatta to get your boat and equipment measured lately? Takes a while? How much longer do you think it would take if you had to get the sail measured as well?

    More importantly, all measurements need tolerances - it isn't possible to build sails, boats or anything without a little give and take. But tolerances mean that things can be tweaked slightly and experimented with, to try and gain an extra advantage within the rules. All of a sudden, we would have "fast" laser sails and "slow" laser sails. Do you think that everyone would want one of the fast sails? If everyone wanted one, how much do you think the fast sails would cost?

    Oh yeah - the foils are probably a bit more expensive than they need to be too. I can make them a bit cheaper, can I please make them and sell them? I promise I will make them just like the class legal ones... How about the spars? The hull? Why not just open up the whole thing? It worked for the Finns - they are a one design class that allows different manufacturers. Look how successful that was for them - a competitive new Finn only costs three times what a new Laser costs - how could that not be good for the Laser classs?

    Or maybe this all sounds a bit silly. Maybe you just want to change the class rule a little. Maybe they could say something like "Only class legal sails can be used, but we will also allow those Intensity sails because they are cheaper and Michael Blackburn and a few people on an Internet forum said that they were almost exactly the same as the real ones." Is that what you are proposing?
     
  13. computeroman2

    computeroman2 Member

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    This is totally against the objective of a strict one design class where a speed increase is so easily available to the wealthy
     
  14. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    What I'm saying is our sails are insanely expensive and the program set up to buy them does not make sense. They should allow us to buy direct from the manufacturer. By trimming 2 sources from the food chain it would be easy to take at least $100.00 off of the existing cost. The cost of the Intensity sail is PROOF of this.
     
  15. leftfield

    leftfield New Member

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    Yes Rob, Laser sails are indeed insanely expensive. Those who live in the US are lucky - you can buy a new, legal sail for $500. At today's exchange rate, a new sail would cost you $US800 in Australia. But legalising sails from unlicensed builders is not the solution - it would cause many more problems than it solves.

    The idea that a new sail is a speed increase available only to the wealthy is quite simply nonsense. When did it become the Laser class's responsibility to narrow the gap between rich and poor? Of course I would like my sailing to cost me less - who wouldn't? But expecting the Laser class to challenge the status quo of the capitalist system is a bit much, even for our erstwhile leaders.

    Yes, sailing costs money. Yes, we pay too much for our sails. Yes, rich people can afford to buy them more frequently. But then they could afford to buy $200 dollar sails more frequently too, couldn't they. There are so many rich people sailing Lasers too. I often have trouble finding a parking spot at my sailing club, what with all the Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes in the parking lot.
     
  16. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    You're still missing my point. Hyde and North can still be the source, but remove the builder and "dealers" from the food chain. Laser class still gets their class money, the customer deals directly with the loft and we save $$$'s. Just like most OD classes.

    The builder still sells the boats, spars, pieces/parts through the dealers and they can keep pushing rigging and gear that gets updated every year. The sailors get a price break on the sails. I think this would be good for the class.

    Arguments to this philosphy?
     
  17. leftfield

    leftfield New Member

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    Rob, I love the idea because it would certainly be cheaper and therefore good for the class, but I can't see it happening. The manufacturer, distributor, retailer food chain is a standard for most types of mass produced goods - cars, food, clothes, sails, whatever. I'm not sure why - I've always assumed that manufacturers want to concentrate on their core business and not worry about the distractions of retailing. For the most part, sails for other classes are custom made, so dealing directly with the loft is necessary.

    It isn't really something the class can mandate but I'm sure that if North and Hyde were willing to sell direct, there would be no objections from the class or sailors - only the dealers would be upset because they would have to find other ways to squeeze us dry :). But at the end of the day, North and Hyde would only do this if the benefits to them outweighed the difficulties. It is certainly a win for the sailors and the class, but where is the win for the manufacturers? More money maybe, but more headaches too. They are both successful businesses, so I am sure that they are smart enough to have considered this type of model, and done their sums and found out that it isn't worth their while. How do we sell the idea to them?

    I suspect that if Intensity's sales continue to grow, they will reach a point where they either have to cease selling direct, or increase the price to cover the increased costs of running fully fledged marketing, sales, manufacturing and distribution operations. With the demand that they have, price rises are inevitable anyway, unless they really are in it just for the love and not the money.
     
  18. 168664

    168664 New Member

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    Maybe they can make a fair profit at their current price. If they sell more it may even lead to cheaper prices since they can buy the cloth in bulk. And there is nothing better than cheap and fair prices to get "word of mouth" marketing for zero increased costs.
    It is much better to sell a maximum number or sails at a reasonable price, rather than a reasonable number at a maximum price, but if you are greedy there is less work in doing it the 2nd way

    Competition is meant to give cheaper prices, but with the duopoly of North and Hyde, collusion to set high prices is always a possibilty. Why in Australia are both brands being sold at exactly AUS$1000

    Quote from dictionary "....Because there are few participants in this type of market, each oligopolist is aware of the actions of the others. Oligopolistic markets are characterised by interactivity. The decisions of one firm influence, and are influenced by, the decisions of other firms. Strategic planning by oligopolists always involves taking into account the likely responses of the other market participants. This causes oligopolistic markets and industries to be at the highest risk for collusion.
     
  19. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    It wouldn't have to be that way at all. The sail could be measured, once, at the sail loft, before the class button went on.
     
  20. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    1. The Laser class is by design not like most other OD classes. Just by reading Part One of the rules, it becomes clear how the class wants to control what is used and how it is purchased.

    2. If the sailmakers sell direct, the builder and dealer lose out on what seems to be a good revenue stream. I would guess that means a price increase on new boats, and all the other builder supplied replacment equipment as well (ie spars, blades) to make up for the lost revenue

    3. You assume the prices of the sails will drop. Why ? If there are only one or two class legal sailmakers to choose from, they will still charge what they think the market will pay. As examples, look at the price of racing Optimist, Club FJ, Snipe and 420 mainsails - and those examples have a more open market competition. How about giving us some examples of racing classes where the racing sail is priced so much lower then the Laser sail (adjust the pricing for sail area differences to be fair)


    Of course I would love to pay less for everything related to Laser sailing, but unless there is a palace revolt, the existing rules are thrown out and probably some additional things that you and I aren't even aware of changed, it's just not going to happen. Plenty of examples to support that- the fact that we can't buy our vangs direct from Harken or Holt, the fact that we have to buy the builder supplied plastic base for the cleats, the fact that the proposed stainless clew sleeve will be builder supplied etc, etc...

    Also, if by paying less, it hurts the builder and/or dealers to the point they can't provide the same level of service they provide today or worse, I don't think that is good for the long term health of the class. Are there other classes around where the builders step up and supply new boats for events such as World Championships, High School and College champs, Olympic Trials (in the US) and then are able to turn around and sell them via their dealer network ?

    I'd much prefer to spend my time and energy on putting pressure on the class to improve the quality, durability and equality of the sail and spars within the existing framework.
     

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