Laser sail quality and cost

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by 154537, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. 154537

    154537 Member

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    not sure what the status is, but whenever it does happen, it would be a perfect time to (like almost every other racing class) have a free market sail building policy. i dont see how it could possibly hurt sailors to have a competitive free market system, where anyone can build your sail as long as it measures in
     
  2. Josef

    Josef New Member

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    Re: Progress on new sail design ? Laser Tech committee

    Personaly I like how everyone has the use the same kind of sails (assuming that all "lasermade" sails are the same). I like that there is at least one competetive class were you don't have to think about sails.
     
  3. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Re: Progress on new sail design ? Laser Tech committee

    Duuuuuude,

    Have you priced a Laser sail lately?
     
  4. 154537

    154537 Member

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    Re: Progress on new sail design ? Laser Tech committee

    it would be nice if that were true, but its not, they arent all the same.. ie- north vs hyde vs NZ sails, etc

    sorry for the hijack!
     
  5. Josef

    Josef New Member

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    Re: Progress on new sail design ? Laser Tech committee

    So I've been told but I wouldn't put to much faith in peoples (mine or others) ideas about sail diffrences. To be quite honest I think it's all in our heads.

    I don't have any personal experience with the diffrent sail manufacturers but I doubt that there is any diffrence worth mentioning between them. The design of the laser sail is very simple and thus you'd expect pretty much anyone with basic sailmaking knowledge to be able to make them. Of course, there will always be some sails with defects and I suppose certain makers are sloppier than others. Still, the vast majority of sails should be almost identical. Assuming that the sail makers don't intentionaly make them diffrent.



    I'd appriciate it if some admin would move our discussion to a separate thread. Thanks
     
  6. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    From my experience, setting up a Hyde Sail is very different to setting up a North Sail in the standard rigs, the different cloths used do behave differently, but it's been years since I've used a North Sail so I can't tell you how. But Hyde sail to Hyde sail or North to North, there is a little variation in your setting, but it not exactly rocket science to make the appropriate adjustments and you need to make adjustments anyway as the sail ages.
     
  7. Josef

    Josef New Member

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    Oh yes, I forgot to mention the cloth issue. There is quite a bit of variation in the behaviour of the cloth between diffrent batches. The resin threatment that dacron cloth go through is quite hard to control and thus diffrent batches of the "same" cloth can have big variations in stiffness and elasticity. So batches of sails can differ a lot in behaviour. I'd still be supprised if the "avarage" sail still isn't the same from all makers.

    If there is actualy a major cloth quality diffrence they should all be forced to use the same cloth manufactorer (which they probably already do, rebranded as their own of course ;))
     
  8. fracisco

    fracisco New Member

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    Re: Progress on new sail design ? Laser Tech committee

    NZ sails?!? :eek:
     
  9. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    The regional monopolies on sail making for the Laser grossly inflate the price. This is borne out by the fact that Intensity Sails makes some thing nearly the same for less than half the price. The consensus here seems to be that the class sanctioned sails aren't very consistent anyway.

    Here's what I propose:

    • Allow competition between sailmakers on price by granting more licenses to produce.
    • Specify tolerances on sail dimensions, stiffness (measured along leech, luff and foot) and weight. This means that sailmakers will need to test and sometimes reject batches of sail cloth (starting to sound like an actual quality control system) to avoid wasting labor on sub-par materials.
    • Require sailmakers to adopt class-specified quality control procedures (admittedly a foreign concept to Laser hull manufacturers) subject to audit by the class, so that sails don't need to be measured at events any more rigorously than they are now.
    Food for thought: you can buy a new Yamaha dirt bike for the same price as a new Laser. Shouldn't we expect a comparable consistency in quality?
     
  10. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    I fundamentally agree with you, that increased number of sailmakers would bring about competition and a lower price. However, I still wonder about that last part.

    If a sailmaker has to be "pre-qualified" by the class, how large would the pool of sailmakers grow? I think it may increase from the current two to maybe three or four, but not a dozen. I don't know if that would be enough to change the situation.

    And whether sailmakers are "pre-qualified" or there is individual sail measurement at big regattas, it will consome more class resources to enforce. Right now, I believe sailmaker quality is something handled mostly by the builders.
     
  11. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    The sailmakers do not set the price to the end user - there are many threads here where this is debunked, but very quickly, both North and Hyde are building the Laser sails in Asia, (different countries, but similar labor costs) and Intensity is purchasing from a major supplier in Asia. Costs for the sails are all similar, except for the royalty button (under $20) and given the purchasing power of the builder you can bet they are pushing Hyde and North for the lowest possible cost.

    As to the sail itself and it's short life span, the sailmakers are building the sails to the specs given to them by the builder (and the "class" to a degree). It's a safe bet that neither Hyde or North would be trying to sell this "model" direct in an open market, both are capable of building much better models for similar costs.
     
  12. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I haven't noticed a difference in the Hyde Sail cloth in all the years I've been using them, which is since the switch to the 3.8 oz cloth. I can't talk about the North Cloth, it isn't popular in our region.

    Again as I've mentioned in other threads, having multiple manufacturers of equipment, including sail cloth is a good thing as it adds security in the event of supplier being unable to supply eg, factory fire. From memory, Hyde purchases their cloth and North use their own cloth, there are two different material sources.

    What needs to occur is an upgrade of the cloth specs. If Intensity or any other copy sail manufacturer actually had to use sail cloth that met the current specs, few people would be willing to pay for copy sails that had a life span as hort as the official sails. The current specs are out of date, leading to sails with shorter life spans than what is acceptable these days. The manufacturers have to specially make cloth 20+ years of date.
     
  13. sinbadtwo

    sinbadtwo New Member

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    Intensity sails are in no way similar to a laser sail as far as quality and performance, Aussie sail makers are now copying the intensity sail and they really perform to a much higher standard than laser sails, where do we stop this ? fully battened hi tech ?.
    we need a strong showing for a one design laser class, and before this gets too far out of hand.
    ps lasers are one of the most affordable sailing yachts in the world today
     
  14. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Very true, I've seen a mylar copy sail and I belive there is a fully battened mylar copy sail out there.
     
  15. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    When I got my first Hyde sail, I was still training with a North sail and I will tell you, there is a difference. In my opinion, a large difference.

    If I had to put a word to it, I would say, with regard to sail controls, etc, the Hyde sail was much "tighter". This was especially noticeable in the cunningham.

    (Before someone points it out: Yes, I am taking into account sail age and wear.)

    North sails also seem to always develop these nasty wrinkles towards the leech when you start cranking everything down. As far as I can remember, the Hyde sail did not suffer from this.

    The longevity of the Hyde sail also appeared to be superior to the Norths.
     
  16. Arnulfo

    Arnulfo New Member

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    Personaly I like how everyone has the use the same kind of sails (assuming that all "lasermade" sails are the same). I like that there is at least one competetive class were you don't have to think about sails or money.
     
  17. Jon Hammond

    Jon Hammond New Member

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    If you don't a want to sail a strict one design boat - go buy something else and then you'll see what great value for money a Laser is.
     
  18. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    Alan, how can it be a "copy sail" if it's fully battened and made of Mylar? A deliberately different sail makes it a new class, just like a Rooster and a Radial are different to a Laser Standard.
     
  19. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    No, they don't set the price to the end user, but they do set it to the retailers. Any monopolist is a market maker. Given that Intensity manufactures and retails a replica for around $250, and presumably makes a profit doing so, we know the sail costs substantially less than that to manufacture. What do you suppose is likelier: that North and Hyde sell the sail to retailers at around $250 and the retailers, who are competing with each other, levy hefty 100% markups, or that it's the sailmakers who hold the monopolies that are bagging the lion's share of the premium?

    I disagree with the notion that North and Hyde wouldn't retail the sails directly out of embarrassment. Everyone knows North and Hyde manufacture the sails. If they were genuinely embarrassed to making them they would stop. But of course they won't because they make so much money out of them. The only thing they might be embarrassed about is how fat the profit margin is on these sails.
     
  20. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    Here's how I see the Laser and its sails. To an extent, it's like the razor and razor blades model. Gillette sells a razor at a loss, but then makes the money back by overpricing razor blades. Needless to say, you buy more blades than razors.

    The price of a new boat doesn't seem too onerous to me, but it's with the sails that we get taken to the cleaners.
     

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