Is it time to allow digital compass'

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by pugwash, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Go Blue

    Go Blue New Member

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    Amazing i-phone application.

    MP
     
  2. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    People have a huge misconception; it's not about the price. I don't think the ILCA could care less whether a digital compass cost more or less than a magnetic compass.

    A magnetic compass is just that, a compass that has no other navigational or data collection, no speedo, no VMG, etc it solely gives you a heading. A digital compass will usually have a whole heap of other data available to be displayed and as a result you'll get compass creep as mentioned above. The measurers aren't going to make themselves aware of every digital compass and their capability on the market in order to control their use.

    It would be much better IMO to make the use of all compasses illegal than to go into the situation where you have a sudden flood of technology into the class which was never intended. Even though I use a compass the trick to using it, is not to look at it, just the occasional glance to confirm what you're picking up from what's happening around you.

    The laser is about sailing skill, not who has the latest bit of technology.
     
  3. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    I beg to differ. Cost does factor in to this. When you see a Tacktick around $500, compared to some magnetic compasses that are maybe half the cost and dealing with any importing to other countries, there is an issue of cost.

    Also digital compasses exist that are nothing more than a compass and a countdown timer. They are widly used in many other classes when the rule is in place where you can only use a digital compass that is self powered and can include a countdown timer. That's a Tacktick. I see no reason why that cannot be used. Besides if the class decided that they only allowed a digital compass with a certain set of functions, someone will make one to those specifications and they will get a great market share because they (the measurers) know that the compass is legal. That's also why I say the Tacktick micro is exactly what the class should set their rules to (a countdown timer, tactical compass and normal 360 degree setting). It saves space, cheaper to move around on flights, and you can use it on other boats rather than use the just the laser.

    I also disagree that a compass should be illegal.
     
  4. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Did you actually read my post? I suspect not.

    The issue of cost: This is not why the class authority doesn’t want digital compasses. It doesn't matter if digital compasses are 4 times more expensive or 4 times cheaper.

    Digital compass features: It doesn't matter if some only have limited features, there are others out there that have 20 features and as measurers we'd need to be able to identify those which only have the legal features. To do that, we'd need to have a deep understanding of all the digital compasses on the market, world wide. Just because someone says it only does x, y and z doesn't mean it can't also do a,b,c,d,e,f,g...x,y and z, as measurers, we'd need to be able to identify exactly every feature each compass is capable of and next years model which was legal last year might have extra features that make it illegal. With a magnetic compass, it's pretty simple to tell.

    Sailors in the class are pretty aware of the class rules and it's a constant struggle as it is to get them to sail within the class rules and not try to get some advantage over others. Every time the ILCA gives an inch, you guys attempt to take a mile in the hope that no one notices and you aren't caught. Go to a restricted world championships where the guys are on the circuit and measured regularly and you'll be amazed that the competitors are still trying to get away with the same thing that they were told 3 weeks earlier was illegal, or worse still changing back to the illegal methods after measuring which is only picked up as the boats are launching to go out racing.

    Legality of compasses: I didn't say they should be illegal, just that I would prefer them to be illegal rather than permitting both magnetic and digital compasses. Take away the tool from everyone, rather than opening up a can of worms, which I strongly believe permitting digital compasses would result in.
     
  5. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

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    Youch! Feeling a little burned after the measurement at last week's world's, Alan?
     
  6. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I wasn't there fortunately, it's a thankless task and we're not on a gravy train like the IJ's, IU's and IRO's. I'm really uncertain if I'll apply again for re-accreditation.
     
  7. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Here where I live, if one is clever, f.e. one gets the Silva 103R for about 120 Euro or less, the Tacktic Compass here costs about 3x more (about 300-400 Euro) , compared to the Silva ...

    A Taktick perhaps is a nice "gadget/gizmo" but only for rich sailors, I say. Are most Laserites "rich", if they think to buy something new for the boat? I don't think so....

    Personally, I wouldn't feel good, as a rich competitor, with a Tacktic Compass mounted on my boat, while the rest of the racing fleet not is able to pay the Tacktick (not even being able to buy a in the moment here cheap rolled new Hyde sail).

    To the other side: what a blame for me, if I would be the only sailor in the racing fleet with a Tacktick Compass and others without any compass sail in front of me...

    Also:
    Where would be the fundamental aspect of competing "all with equal equipement"? We know, the Laser is "not new" and has it's disadvantages, compared to modern designed single-helmsman sailing dinghies... But, as long we are racing all the same "old & slow" stuff, only that competitor with the best sailing skills finally wins, independent of the boat and equipment. That makes Lasersailing unique and still winning against most of all other sailingclasses, I guess.


    Somewhere in the past I read: The French ILCA head-chief-measurer did secretly permitted us to use a modern maritime-wristwatch (from China or Korea now only cost about 30,- Euro or less) with a small digi-compass as long as not used in major events. In reason: Most of the modern sailing wristwatches, also the cheap ones, in our days don't come without a small digi-compass. This digi-compass in maximum only is usefull to find the correct windward (or leeward) mark, if one is in a leading position. But that small digi-compass of course is useless to recognize any smal windshift.

    Finally: Where would it end, aft such a Tacktick Compass would be class legal? Next step, I would fight to have the same "electronic-bag" on my back (and the same electronic-sunglasses) like Ed Baird (former times: very successful professional Laserite) that did used this "bag" during he was the helmsman of Alinghi at the AC at Spain... Sure that "gizmo" he did use, cost more than 3x of that electronic "vintage" compass like the Tacktic that is invented about 15 yeas ago..., but who cares...


    Ciao
    LooserLu
     
  8. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Perhaps we have lost sight of one of the main reasons for wanting the Tacktick - it's not for any advantage (it's just a compass and a stopwatch after all), it's for those folks whose vision may not be good enough to clearly/easily see the bouncing numbers on the compasses allowed now.

    Anyone who regularly sails with both styles of compass will be quick to point out that they both do the same thing, no more, no less

    Bringing up cost seems silly. We are talking about racing sailboats which by itself already excludes a large portion of the population who can't afford to play the game and where this cost is but a small portion of the whole cost of campaigning - the argument has also already been made that a Tacktick is allowed and used in other classes so for some Laser sailors, it would actually save them money if they race in these other classes. It's also a one time expense, holds it's value reasonably well etc, unlike, for example, having to buy sails.

    Give us a list of approved models and the sailors can/will police it ourselves. We do this already at every event where there is no measurer present. It would certainly be a lot easier to spot someone using a non approved compass as opposed to someone who has re-shaped their blades, recut their sail, or using non builder supplied tubing for their spars (things that actually produce a speed difference, unlike a compass)
     
  9. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Alan deserves a GREAT deal of credit for all his work. I don't always agree with him, or the Class rules, but we badly need people like Alan. They give us the 'official' class perspective and (re)educate the 'experimenters' and 'new idea' people.

    Tracy Usher also deserves kudos. Follows up on issues raised on the Forum and 'defends' the Laser concept of fairness quite well.

    Thanks Alan and Tracy!
     
  10. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    And Clive
     
  11. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Absolutely corect, Alan.

    Sorry, "we" 've forgotten to mention him.

    F.e.: He is kicking the builders butt (worldwide) in place of us "197000", if the result of the Laser production probably loses quality..and additionally, he is doing much more work (behind the curtains) for all sailing Laserites ...

    Thanks a ton, Clive.

    LooserLu
     
  12. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Cost and availability worldwide are probably the final hurdles. The last I saw, the TackTick you reference (compass and stopwatch only - no tactical functions) is going for about $400 US and is significantly more outside of the US and Western Europe and is hard/impossible to get in some regions. Still, as time goes forward the price continues to drop and worldwide availability improves so at some point it would be silly not to allow an electronic compass.

    An irrelevant anecdote... I stopped using a compass this last year... unitl I got to St Margaret's Bay and was trying to sail back to the club through the fog. Now that was an adventure! Visibility of about 20 yards, sailing for 30 minutes in a strange area heading for an unfamiliar shoreline. So, compass was sent out before the start of Master Worlds!
     
  13. johnde

    johnde New Member

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    "The issue of cost: This is not why the class authority doesn’t want digital compasses. It doesn't matter if digital compasses are 4 times more expensive or 4 times cheaper."

    Not what I was told by Tracy Usher - he said it was a cost thing and strongly objected to by various national assoctiations on that basis. I am sure it is possble now to market an electronic compass cheaper than the standard nexus ones, so the cost argument fails in my opinion. The issue for me is being able to read the damn thing in rough weather when glasses are not practical. I've spend many time more than the cost of an electronic compass messing about with sunglass/optical inserts etc. trying to read my Nexus compass. How about a Grand Masters and older rule to allow big digit electronic compasses? Or shall I spend more money going to contacts?

    And who upset Allan lately?
     
  14. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I think you're missing the point. There are other issues involved than cost.

    As for the other question, no one around here. This forums has been dead quiet lately.
     
  15. marvin-miller

    marvin-miller Arrrr...

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    Hmmm... that would just like the $600 OEM sail....:eek:
     

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