Laser sail quality and cost

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

  1. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    The sailmakers (North/Hyde) DO NOT sell to the retailer. Once you understand that, the rest of this will make sense..

    The sailmakers sell to the Builder/manufacturer (PSE and PSA). The builder then resells to the dealer/retailer. It's also the builder that controls who builds the sails.

    The builder is not going to buy sails from a sailmaker for much more then cost. Why would they when they could just go have the sails built by China Sails or Dimension if they couldn't buy from North and Hyde at the same price low price.

    You also mis-read what I said about North and Hyde not selling the existing sail in an open market for one design sails. In an open market, you would sell the best product you could, as winning drives market share. That certainly does not describe the sail the manufacturer and class insist on having the sailmakers build and we, the end users have to buy :mad:
     
  2. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    Thank you for correcting me. I didn't know that. In that case it truly is a razors and razor blade model.
     
  3. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    How can Intensity et al, make replica or copy sails when they don't use cloth that are outside the tolerances set by the class technical committee?
     
  4. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Golly whiz whillikers....

    Somebody needs to tell the franchise owners we are bothered by the fact they are making so much money they can almost but not quite pay the suppliers who are cutting off their credit lines.

    If only somebody could convince the US government our Laser builders were too big to fail....
     
  5. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    I think we all agree that an Intensity sail is not a class legal sail. But it is intended to replicate it for the purposes of training. There is nothing to legally stop them from doing this. And I say well done to them for illustrating the absurdity of the current situation. I remember your complaint to Intensity about their use of the sail diagram from the class rules as a supposed copyright infringement. In point of fact, there is no copyright on the rules, at least as published on the web.

    I agree with your point that the longevity of the sail should be improved, possibly by using a better, newer cloth. I think the trick would be to reduce the creep and softening over time of the sail, without significantly stiffening it.

    Lastly, here's a question for you. What are the sail measuring procedures at a major Laser regatta? If they're already quite involved, I'd have no problem with opening up Laser sailmaking to the free market, as it is in other classes, possibly subject to limits on materials.
     
  6. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    You misrepresent my complaint in an old thread. The reproduction of the Laser Sail Plan, like all copying text, pictures, etc, without acknowlegement of the source or potentially there permission then it is a breach of copyright, be it on the internet, written or any other media.

    There is virtually no measuring of sails performed. As long as the sail button is present, the sail does not appear to have been tampered with and the sail numbers are in the correct locations, then the sail is passed. At no stage is a tape measure, templates etc used.
     
  7. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    One thing we always hear in regard to sail price is the cost of the "obsolete spec" sailcloth.

    Given the size of the Laser class and its popularity in racing, I would expect the number of Laser sails sold annually would dwarf any other class. Even with the small size of the sail compared to a much larger boat, the square footage of sailcloth used each year must be huge.

    This would make me think the sailcloth used for Laser sails would automatically have an economy of scale, regardless what what actual sailcloth was used.
     
  8. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    I don't think people are suggesting that the cloth is expensive because it is old, but rather that newer, higher performance (i.e. longer lasting) cloth could be used.
     
  9. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    No doubt you're correct Torrid, but what makes the sails so expensive is the number of people taking a cut on the final price of the sail. There is an economy of scale in the production of the sails, but the cloth production would still be quite small because no one else uses the obsolete cloth.

    Authentic Laser Sails:

    Laser Dealers
    Builders (PSA, PSE etc)
    Sailmakers
    Government taxes and duties
    Shipping Companies
    ILCA
    ISAF (I think they get a cut)
    License Holders

    But Intensity et al probably only has:

    Sailmaker
    Government taxes and duties
    Shipping companies
    Distributer (i.e. Intensity)

    Opening up the market to other sails is just going to increase the cost the new competitors because they won't be permitted to sell direct and will need to go through the builder/dealer network, pay licensing fees etc. Suddenly your $US250 sail will be the $US550.

    While I'd love to have cheaper sails and hence why many in Australia purchase our sails online from the US/UK where the sails are 2/3 the price, I still think the major issue is the quality of the cloth used and it's impact on the longevity of the sails. The sails wouldn't really be considered expensive if they lasted a few years.
     
  10. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Member

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    Alan, I disagreed with your legal opinion, but I didn't misrepresent what you said.

    Since we should seek to cast light rather than heat on the issues, here's what I learned when I dug around a bit on copyright law. I thought that if a creative work didn't have a copyright notice on it, it didn't have a copyright protection. That was true in the US until 1989 when it became a signatory to the Berne Convention. These days, in almost all countries, the copyright is assumed, although it is greatly strengthened by a proper notice in the format "Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]", where © can substitute "Copyright"

    Here's another question that I've wondered about for some time. My newer, better sail was made, believe it or not, in 1990. It sat in its original packaging until 2007, when my dad gave me the boat and sails. It's new enough to have the 3.8 oz patch on it but not the button. How would a sail like that be treated? Also, my spars which are original to the boat (137443) don't have decals. I assume the spars weren't getting patches back then, but I think they are now. Is that right, and how are old spars like this treated in measurement? (other than being measured, of course!)
     
  11. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Sail without a button: At a major event I'd probably not pass it, we're being told not to accept any sails without the button because there are sails being presented which are non authentic sails being presented, e.g. the sail found in the UK with laser emblem, marked as a laser sail patch. 6-8 years ago I would have accepted the sail as just being an old sail, but Intensity et al, have put pay to that with their copy sails as some of the copies are trying to make out that they are real laser sails with decals etc.

    No stickers on spars: Having the stickers on the spars is still not mandatory, it probably will be one day. At major events in our region, we tend to do a full measure on the spars anyway. Having said that, if the spar doesn't look right (not anodised or anodised in another colour than clear or black), it will be rejected. The better measurers know what equipment is being produced and sold by the builders, both locally and internationally and if it doesn't look right then we treat the equipment with extreme scepticism.

    The more non-authentic equipment on the market, the more equipment that will be closely scrutinised for being authentic and the more equipment that will not get through measurement and some of it will be authentic equipment, that's the unfortunate cost being brought onto the class by replica parts and equipment.
     
  12. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I will add, that it's unlikely that I'll measure anymore boats and I'm very unlikely to request a renewal of my ISAF Measurement Status in 2012/13. I can't be bothered with the s*** fight that is developing in the class and sailing. I am a competitor in the class foremost, I just want to go sailing and not spend my time trying to make it an even match for all competitors or catching cheats, particularly when there is very little reward or acknowegement of your or your teams efforts. The national sailing body and ISAF wants you to attend courses / conferences to obtain certification, but the Laser bodies can't make up their mind over who should pay for it, it's certainly not coming from my pocket.

    In the 2008 World Championship events in Australia and NZ (800+ boat), the majority of boats had measurement issues needing to be addressed (usually minor, but even Tracy was failed from memory) and some competitors immediately afterwards went back to their set up once through measurement.

    For me, it's now somebody else's problem.
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    The thing is that many other classes use the same sail cloth (even though they are different classes, their sails are made of the same stuff) yet (as I understand it), Laser is the only class that uses its type of cloth. Thus, that Laser dwarfs any other class is not relevant because you need to compare e.g. Laser with RSxxx+Fireball+GP14+Solo+Lark+Firefly+.... etc, etc. at which point Laser becomes dwarfed by the total of other classes.

    Also, a lot of people at club racing level are now using knock-offs. They e.g. the UK Laser Std Nationals had less than 50 boats last year (and a mainstream UK sailing magazine lists the 50+ Nationals and Laser Std does not feature), so whilst the Laser is popular at club level (with knock-off sails), at regatta level maybe there are fewer people so fewer new class legal sails sold.

    Personally I dislike the knock-offs as it breaks the strict one design in a big non-trivial way. If it were a choice of racing against 20 boats allowing knock-offs or 5 with class legal gear then I would chose 20 boats but I suspect that without knock-offs we would not see numbers dropping. Quite a few people have both class legal and knock-off sails and keep the class legal for occasional regatta use (maybe their home club meeting once a year) - like wearing your "Sunday best" only occasionally so it lasts.

    I do wish the sail issues would be sorted quickly as I believe it is damaging the class at the moment.

    (all in my own opinion/experience)
    Ian
     
  14. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    Hi Alan,

    That is a great shame but I can understand your reasoning (and to be fair I don't blame you I would not be a measurer for all the tea in China). It will be a loss to the class. I hope you will still frequent here and give you (in my experience) learned opinion on all things Laser.

    It is surprising given what you have said above about measurement that they do not perform a random check on boats that are at major events and if they are found to have the same measurement issue that was corrected for the initial measurement then the competitors results should be binned.

    It is good to get the antipodean take on things as well as the US and UK opinions.

    Cheers,

    Paul
     
  15. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Typically at Australian championships and higher class events, we do put jigs over spars and boards. But we never measure the actual sails or hulls, they are visually checked, along with the rigging. I understand we probably do a more thorough measurement check than many other regions, but Jean-Luc would like to see what we do uniformerly adopted when the boats aren't supplied. I will admit that if a boat causes me to raise my eyebrows, I keep digging deeper, along with compitors who have got on my wrong side before.
     
  16. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    "sailors went back to the original configuration after measurement"

    Either you filed a request for those sailors to be thrown out of sailing for a couple years for their unsportsmanlike behavior..

    Or your accusations should be retracted and apologies made to us for making stuff up.


    I have a problem with any grouip of people who cheat.

    I have an equal problem with ny group of people who know about cheaters and do nothing.

    I have a HUGE problem with those who generally bad mouth the sailing community while conducting themselves such that they are members of either of those groups.

    If you were a judge / measurer and you saw re rigged boats and did nothing... I consider you to be acting teh role of a lowlife ranked lower than those who cheated. Why??

    Because YOU are supposed to know better!!!

    and you wear a title recognizing you for your decency.

    I am NOT sorry if I offended some OTHER reader.

    I expect better from those who call themselves judges.

    and

    If I thought you were a hopeless scum I would not have bothered to type this note.

    I am pitching for a fix.

    Please modify your behavior.

    You have been a good man in the past..

    I have faith you can do it agan.

    You have stood between cheaters and the game.

    You know how.

    Please don't abandon your core.

    Name names!!!
     
  17. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Pretty greasy and probably not something I would be admitting.
     
  18. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    To Gouvernail

    The trouble is proving that you saw something before. A couple of hundred boats presented at a regatta it's excessively easy to miss something when you spend approximately 5 minutes on each boat. One piece of shock cord tied in the wrong location, a rubber O'ring on a block where it's not meant to be. The measurement form of my choice to use has 100+ points to look for. While I can't necessarily name names, when you see 5 competitors coming through as they are about to launch, from the one team and they all have the same issue it's pretty damn easy to assume you didn't miss it on all 5 boats from the one team during the principle measurement check and they have reverted back to the original settings or did not present their boats rigged in the manner they are going onto the water for the first race.

    The fair solution is to give them the benefit of doubt, get them to change the boats before they go onto the water, recording there sail number and then check them the following day as they go onto the water. If the problem still exists, you then take it to protest.


    To Kratos

    Following on from above, if you see the same people present boats at the next regatta, you're naturally going to be even more careful and thorough with your measuement check. People on this forum have even admitted to doing blatently illegal things, you wouldn't make sure that they weren't doing at a regatta you were measuring at.

    If you want everybody to measured equally, then give me 3-4 hour per boat and I will completely and carefully check each boat 100%. Until that happens, I will measure boats in a reasonable manner to catch most faults and specifically target competitors on certain aspects where they give me cause to concern from there past actions.
     
  19. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    To Gouvernail,

    I don't object to the sentiment of holding a judge to a high standard. I do object to jumping to conclusions and overwrought language. Remember Ribecca? You drove her away with some fearsome threats because you didn't understand the term "psych."
     
  20. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Whatever happened with the "new sail" that was being shown around? Will we see a newer, longer lasting design?
     

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