Intensity Sails

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

  1. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I'm quite sure we are in agreement about building class legal sails and the methods that are currently used to keep them that way by the two official suppliers. My reply to Chris123 was in response the his one suggestion a full time measurer...
     
  2. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    If ensuring the sails are the right shape, etc. is the issue, maybe North and Hyde act as "approved" sail makers - buy one of their sails ant it in effect comes "pre-measured". However, allow people to buy a sail from another sail maker (or maybe a list of "associated" sail makers) and the onus is them on the purchaser/sailor/individual to have the sail measured.

    Other classes certainly (used to anyway) put some onus on the individual to take the sail to a measurer and get it measured/stamped. Last time I purchased a Fireball sail (quite a few years ago) some lofts would sort out the measurement (for a fee), others left it to you to sort out.

    Maybe not open the possibility to anybody, but maybe a limited set of "associated" (or whatever you want to call them) lofts. These lofts would have the relevant sections of the "construction manual" (be sworn to secrecy, etc.) but their sails would each need to be individually measured. If they can them "make it work" then great, if not then maybe the question has been answered.

    Above only addresses the measurements issues - not the "desirability" (or other) aspects of the debate.

    Ian
     
  3. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    This measurement concern would carry a lot more weight is the sails from Hyde and North had always been consistent.
    On the one hand, the sails currently being sold and being sold by North and Hyde for the last ten years have been remarkably consistent.
    It is true and a blight on their history that, we have had periods where the sails supplied (especially by North) were less than consistent and actually quite poorly made out of crappy materials. North and the builders did not hesitate to call the crappy sails Laser sails even though they were inconsistent and not like other Laser sails. But that was then and this is now. We all bitched. They cleaned up their act!! The bitching should stop.
    ( unless you want to ask North and Hyde to go ahead and pay their world wide workers at US Rates and provide US OSHA approved working conditions and pay vacations, sick days, hollidays, health insurance, and retirement benefits...I for one would happily pay the necessary price for sails such that those who build my toys could enjoy as decent a life as I enjoy.)

    We do have some influence on the builders but we cannot expect to have that influence continue if we fail to hold up our end of the bargain...

    which is...

    If you guys build consistent Quality Lasers and back them with proper warranty so we can confidently play our game we will support your enterprise and feed your families and send your kids to college etc...

    I believe we should not even consider any other builder right now as the current guys are doing a fine job. The current guys are self policing and pretty much doing exactly as we have asked them to do. ..

    The Laser class especially in North America has proven to be made up of a fickle bunch of weenies who to a man have no loyalty to those who dedicate their lives to properly serving the best interests of the game we all love to play. This sail supplier whining is just like your whining about everything else you fail to appreciate.

    It does not matter how wonderfully any person in the sailing industry meets your demands and takes care of your needs, you continue to ask for more and try to pay less. You have no idea what efforts are expended on your behalf but you are always certain those who serve you are overcharging and probably even stealing from you.
    The facts are pretty simple...As a rule and almost without exception, those serving the sailors make much less in that occupation than the sailors make in their occupations.
    But..

    The sailors have some sort of idiot idea that "working in the sailbat industry is a reward in its own right" and the sailors therefore feel those who work in the sailboat industry should never ever make a decent living.
    Many of you work in occupations from which people actually retire. Some of you have already managed to extract sufficient funds from your customers to live the rest of your life without continuing to work.
    Sorry, I do not see the large numbers of overly wealthy sailmakers and boatbuilders crowding the resorts and putting theeir names on huge buildings in the middle of our cities.
    The problem with the boat business has been and continues to be that our businesses are so fragile and underfunded that they often fail. Failed businesses provide no warranty and no service at any price.
    You can take your slave labor built Intensity brand shit and stuff it right back where it belongs.
    If any of you sailors had an ounce of personal decency you would be campaigning for rules which refuse to allow any sail to be used in any race unless the sail was built by people who were paid honest wages including health benefits, paid vacations, paid holidays, retirement benefits, and safe working conditions.

    No...You guys are WAY to cheap and selfish to fight for the rights of anybody else!!

    The cheapest lowlife scumbag supplier is just fine for you turds.

    Except in whatever occupation it is that YOU or your mommies and daddies do for a living.

    Does the above read like I have an attitude about this??

    Maybe I feel freedom and wealth is meaningless unless we also work to spread it to all mankind.

    Before one of you pukes starts in with your " the jobs we are sending over seas are so good the locals fight over them" bullcrap...realize, we can all see through that pathetic moronic and immoral non-sense.
    Whatever you consider a decent life for yourself must be what you consider to be a decent life for your employees and suppliers or you are a selfish piece of crap yourself.

    Got it??

    Was this political enough for you??
     
  4. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    Gouv, I basically buy your two arguments, which I believe I can paraphrase as:

    1. We ought to hold up our end of the bargain -- if the builders are treating us right, we ought to buy their product, and
    2. We should avoid encouraging a "race to the bottom", in which we all insist on rock-bottom prices that can only be offered by cheap lowlife scumbag suppliers who underpay their workers.

    The question of whether or not the builders are treating us "right" is one of degree and is never going to be black and white. For Laser sails, monopoly pricing is in effect. Are the current prices simply that which is necessary to ensure the financial health of the dealers, the builders, the suppliers, and the class? Or is someone taking an "unreasonable" cut? What is "unreasonable", anyhow. Opinions, of course, will vary.

    On the face, some of the prices seem awfully high. It irks me to pay $7.00 for a rubber stopper from my local Vanguard dealer when I could buy it for $1.25 from the hardware store next door. But I suck it up and buy the stopper from my Laser dealer because I understand it costs a lot to stock low-velocity inventory, because I figure that's how I pay for the coaching he gives me when I walk into his store, because I like the fact he's a big supporter of local youth sailing, and because he shows up with a vanload of parts at regattas. As you point out, I don't see a lot of guys becoming billionaires off of the profits on Laser parts, either.

    The question of whether Intensity or North treats their workers better, I have no idea. Both are made in the third world, in countries that do not offer the same kinds of salaries and worker protections that we offer here. Is there a difference between the two? I don't know, and I'd be interested to find out.
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    You are correct in some ways. It's all about margin vs volume. Unfortunatly for us the sailing market is a teeny, tiny, itty, bitty piece of the global economy. For instance Beneteau yachts is considered a mass producer of sail boats, but it's taken them 20 years to build 6,000 boats. On the other hand Carolina Skiff, (a medium sized power boat builder) pumps out 5,500 hulls a year!

    The sailing industry is and always will be an elitist sport. We price ourselves to be that way and as such our growth will remein stunted. Unless some one finds a better way to build this mouse trap.

    Case in point, the cellphone industry. The Motorola Razor hit the market 2 years ago at $600.00 a phone. Now you can get one for like $80.00, (with contract). This is the basic economic model for the electronics industry in general as they ALL contract their manufacturing OVERSEAS to the dark, dank, contract manufacturing prisons, (in your opinion) of the world like Foxconn, Flextronics, Celestica, Nypro and so on. Their customers, (the electronic name brands of the world) hold these manufacturers to a standard that REQUIRES annual cost reductions of at least 4% a year. They don't care where it comes from.

    Are the 1,000's of employees of these institutions all slave labor? Do they hate these positions and are all dying to get back into the rice fields or go sew soccer balls for Nike? I think not and I think you are WAY off base on your theory here.

    COMPETITION has driven the electronics and general consumer market to where it is today. Look at the airlines for christ sake. They got competitive, but they never trimmed the fat out of their operations to meet their reduced margins of competitive air fares, (Southwest excluded).

    All economic models point to the fact that competition is good for the consumer. A lot of people have their panties in a wad now over the US Air hostile take over of Delta Airlines because they feel that air fare will jump up as one more large carrier exits the market narrowing the consumers choice.

    The problem with competition is for the manufacturer to be able to adjust THEIR overhead model to operate and sell their product at a competitive price and thus stay in business.

    Finally, there are very few industries people can still get rich in these days below the VP or CEO level unless it is the medical, law, energy, food related industries. The days of the "golden parachute" is GONE in the US. A lot of that has to do with labor and maunfacturing going overseas, (Asia/India) and companies cutting back to keep their products competitive, (with the exception of the "Get rich" fields mentioned above).

    The US economy, (in many cases) has failed itself by not figuring out how to manufacture goods within our own boarders at competitive prices, (look at the auto industry). Free World Trade has not helped us in this area. Now the consumer is trianed to shop price.

    When was the last time you paid full price at a department store for clothing??? It's sale after sale to beat last years same store sales dollar.

    Now lets look at what people love to pay for. Service: Fred, you are in the service industry. I know from my years of experience workin in the marine service industry people will pay whatever as long as their service provider does what they say and ON TIME. Problem these days is there's just not that many sail boats around that require or are used enough to need service. However, when you find a good auto mechanic that fits the above parameters you'll pay'em and not bitch about it right? Your Doctor- When he throws up an Xray of your chest on the screen and ther's a spot on it in your lung area guess what? He has an open check book to fix you or to direct you to the person that can right?

    The Bob Perry designed Flying Tiger is testing the "overseas" build for OD sailboats. These are 30 foot racing boats for a bargin price and there are like 100 of them on order? That has to be some sort of record. I've seen pictures of the plant and workers. They all seem pretty fit and happy to me. I have no clue what their wallet looks like compared to the income standards of their part of the world. Do you?

    In my opinion the Sri Lanka made laser sail is a sub par product material wise. We do not get what we pay for here. The damn things only last one good season, (as far as their competitive life is considered above club level). Again, based on what I've seen from Intensity Sails, the laser sail for North is a cash cow. In my opinion North is not getting rich off of laser sailors, but the price of the product is unreasonable when compared to a competitive market as show by the price of the intensity sail. So how about this? Let's let North and Hyde have the ability to research different materials or cloth coatings to see what they can do to increase the life of this product and perhaps reduce the cost? As the incumbent it's always nice to have the opportunity to adjust to meet the COMPETITIVE market and retain your business.
     
  6. scalisip

    scalisip New Member

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    Where is the impetus for North or Hyde to do anything, they have monopoly pricing, unlimited/uncontested marketshare and built-in planned obsolesence. There is obviously $300 worth of markup (150%) being shared by the class and dealerships and the sailmakers. Considering the prices of other OD sails out there of equal(actually much better) material and labor requirements it seems the class is helping someone's bottom line, and not that of the sailors. Seems to me that promoting sailing has succumbed to the bottom line. Clearly a sailor could buy an Intensity sail and use the difference is $$'s to attend say 2-3 more regattas a year.
     
  7. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    (I'm not going to quote everything as it would be unreadable as a fully quote).

    I agree with you in times gone by - in times when there was more of the "fair price for a fair job" ethic. However, these days we are all expected to worship the god of profit. Every year shareholders want more and more. Long gone are the days of a "fair price for a fair product" as it is all about squeezing as much as possible out of what one can. Not about "feeding and housing your family" but about people who already have more than they could ever spend wanting more and more.

    I'm not talking about Lasers specifically here as I have no idea about the profitability of the North/Hyde sails structure and who makes how much against what costs, etc. More a comment about the way the (western) world seems to work these days.

    Until recently I worked for (and part owned) a company and we managed very well. We made a profit, explained that to customers and our ethic was about doing good work for a fair price - a win/win situation with our customers. However, more recently (from about 5 years ago, though it was a gradual shift) the company ethic changed to the main aims being to separate the customer from as much of their money as possible (by virtually any legal means). I don't think my company was unusual in this respect. It just wanted more profit each year (basically greed). After some years of that I decided it was not the way I wanted to lead my life so made some dramatic changes that have extracted myself from the need for ever more profit.

    Anyway, I'm a happy bunny as I ordered my Laser today. Taking a lot of advice given directly to me and indirectly to others - so thanks to all for that (but I'm not going to start a thread about is as I guess many here have already purchased Lasers before).

    Ian
     
  8. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    OK...So I am an anachronism. That's OK.

    Remember when the guys from the sail loft who built Laser sails could afford to and regularly came to our regattas??

    I miss them!
     
  9. hoipolloi

    hoipolloi Member

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    Separate starts for Intensity sails equiped boats. Let the market decide..............
     
  10. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    The following hads been edited for clarity

    I never ceases to amaze me how utterly clueless we can be about the concept of EVERYBODY GETTING EQUAL BOATS SO WE CAN ACTUALLY TELL HOW WELL WE SAIL.
     
  11. Steve_Landeau

    Steve_Landeau New Member

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    I'm sure that the majority wishes to keep the "equality" of Laser racing the same. The issue we are talking about here is spending $550 for a crap sail that is good for one regatta. All else being equal, the skipper with the newest sail is going to win, or at least have a tremendous advantage. Why would anyone continue to preach that this is OK and does not need changing? If someone other than Hyde or North can deliver an EQUALLY fast sail with an IDENTICAL shape, and LAST LONGER, for LESS THAN HALF PRICE, it tells me that someone is taking an unnecessary cut (probably a few someones) out of the pie by the time the sail gets to the user. We have an NCA, and if we really want to change it, WE CAN. We must go through the proper channels, get it on an owner ballot, and vote in a change. This forum is a great place to get a concensus and make a plan, but a million posts here in favor will do nothing until we step up and vote a change. How much does Vanguard, ILCA, and ISAF really need from a sale of a sail? Even if we gave them $5 each (MORE than enough cut of the pie), an Intensity class approved sail would still be less than half price, and would last longer too (as has been said here, I have not proven this yet). Not to mention, at that price, We'd all probably buy two!
     
  12. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    I apologise for saying this again, but.....

    Steve, last District Masters titles I attended, a Master with a 25 year old boat and two-year old sail finished in the top 12% of the fleet, beating two of the three Masters world titleholders who were there, and beating the guy who had won the Worlds the year before in two out or four races and in points before the drop. He did not feel that the old sail hindered him at all, and finished about 40 boats ahead of the person who had sold him the boat because it was "too slow and holding me back".

    In the same District, a couple of brothers have won the Juniors, the Overall big rig (from 127 boats including that year's world Open champ), the National Juniors (from a bunch who have gone on to win Worlds and do America's Cups), the Masters (from the 3 time world champ) and Radials (from the guy who was 4th in the world) and one of them went to finish 22 in the big rig Open worlds at 19. In all the racing required to get those results (in two bursts, many years apart), they had just two new sails. The big-rig champ was lent a pretty dead old boat and used its sail for a couple of seasons, saving his good sail for the champs and not letting it flog. The other used old sails from the university team, and used a good sail for champs, never letting it flog.

    Unless you're training really damn hard and going really fast, maybe the loss of performance with ageing sails isn't as important as other factors?

    Having said that I'm almost thinking about getting an Intensity sail for club racing. At 1/3 the cost, it does make the Laser sail mark-up look a bit excessive.
     
  13. IntensitySails

    IntensitySails Member

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    I have been doing my best to avoid responding and fanning any flames. I have been in business in the US over 21 years in retail and importing. I take issue with the insult in the post from our fellow sailor in Texas that Intensity Sails would be made by "Slave Labor" An irresponsible statement at best.

    I can assure you that the factory and working conditions are up to American standards and the all adult staff live on site, are fed on site and have a medical staff on site. They are paid market wages in China. To state anything else is simply not true.
     
  14. hoipolloi

    hoipolloi Member

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    Like I said, let the market decide.....................:D
     
  15. Steve_Landeau

    Steve_Landeau New Member

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    I decided to order one!:)
     
  16. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    Ok, hands up who is a current member of the class association? If you are a member, then carry on with the discussion. If you're not a member, to be frank, you don't really have any right to an opinion and I find it very annoying that you feel entitled to offer one.
     
  17. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    So, just because you may be taking a year off to run another class and train a bunch of juniors, before getting stuck in to training for the Masters Worlds, you don't get any say at all in the long term future of the class?

    Oh well, I'd better chuck in those plans of doing more volunteer coaching for the club's growing Laser fleet, then.
     
  18. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Well now, that seems like it should be its own thread, something like, Members Only Entitled to Give Opinions. The Laser Class is pretty liberal. I wonder if they'd let me be district secretary without being a class member? Maybe it's my ticket out of here! ;) Some people aren't sure what their class membership gives them. Does it include the right to speak on a public forum?
     
  19. Steve_Landeau

    Steve_Landeau New Member

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    Yep, it's the first thing I did once I bought my boat. My vote counts (and my son's too)!
     
  20. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    I happen to be a class member, but I think your position is misguided. I welcome anyone's opinion. As for actually voting, well, of course, that should be restricted to class members.
     

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