Laser sail quality and cost

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

  1. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Probably the answer to both is yes. But the class also takes the one design aspect seriously and as a result, change is slow, particularly when it makes older equipment obsolete.

    People were upset back in 1985/86 when the sail cloth changed from 3.2 oz to 3.8 oz, people had gone out only a few months earlier and purchased sales which were slower in many wind conditions. The original cloth was used for about 13 years and the current cloth for 24 years, any change now will be huge. It's been a huge mistake IMO to leave the sail cloth specs untouched for so long. Any change in cloth will also have a design change, but fundamentally the sail design is OK.

    Personally, I think the sail cloth and maybe some other aspects should be reviewed every 4 years, post Olympics. Make the changes small and regular, so that older equipment is not completely obsolete. Possibly limit all class rule changes occurring on a 4 year basis, as they seem to be changing every year now.

    Pricing is another area where I think the ILCA and builders need to act. The likes of Intensity, Rooster etc need to be priced out of the laser parts market if the class is going to survive in the long term. As a measurer I couldn't tell an official class authorised mast plug from a Rooster mast plug (not that I've seen one in real life) but the (knowing) usage of one whilst racing is not just illegal, but according to the ILCA definition in the handbook,” cheating”, as is any non compliance with the class rules. As I said earlier, there is a s*** fight developing and I feel this will impact on the future of the class. The strength of the class comes from it being a strict one design class with tight controls on the manufacturers.

    To become like other classes which aren't as tightly controlled will have a negative impact. With other classes which aren’t as tightly controlled, older boats become completely obsolete, a laser on the other hand with relatively little cost, an older boat can be reasonably competitive. Further in other classes, there is often a rush by the competitive sailors to use the same equipment as the current National or World Champion, to remain competitive, leading to the not so competitive sailors being left behind, using local sail makers with obsolete designs and equipment. Being able to purchase with relative ease, the same equipment as anyone is a major plus for the class, it eliminates the whole “he’s only quicker than me because he imports his mast from Company A in Germany, sail from Company B in the UK and boards from Company C in the USA.

    The longer the ILCA and builders bury their head in the sand hoping the replica equipment problem goes away, the more harm that will be done, because eventually the replica equipment will become un-policeable and the ILCA will be forced to permit the use of replica equipment (it’s already happening at club level), thus creating a “optimum boat” or limited development class. The ILCA and builders need to address issues of quality with components, primarily sails and the pricing of all the equipment.

    /ramble
     
  2. Kratos

    Kratos Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Nice post, Alan.
     
  3. Kratos

    Kratos Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Again, I want to reiterate that my post above was written in sarcasm, as a response to powergroove's: "nor will I pay class dues to line the pockets of these scammers."

    In no such way was it ever intended to be disrespectful towards Tracy, whom, although I've never met personally, have heard nothing but excellent things about regarding the Laser Class and its advancement/development.

    Again, it was simply a sarcastic response stemming from the post in which powergroove (in my opinion, less than intelligently) called everyone scammers. Eric_R followed with his post, then I followed with the post in question.

    Apologies for the confusion.
     
  4. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Was that an apology or sarcasm?
     
  5. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    38
    It was clearly an apology. Yes, I know you are trying to be funny, Fred, but shut up.

    Yes, Kratos, I've read the posts, albeit hurriedly, but as I've explained before, it's sometimes difficult to get nuances across in writing. And I wanted to make sure, because Tracy is a great guy, and I count him as a friend. Thank you for your satisfactory explanation.
     
  6. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Was that sarcasm?

    He he he
     
  7. Trippin

    Trippin New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    But it also comes with not allowing the price to get to high. One of the problems with a "strict O/D class" is a $4.00 part will cost you $18.00 to buy because its a approved part.

    If you want the class to grow you have to control the cost.
     
  8. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I agree and I think this is where the class is failing at the moment. I was shocked to see such a low turn-out for the UK Nationals (standard rig) this year compared to other classes. Maybe the builders/class is resting on its success, feeling it has a God gven right to large numbers of people paying OTT for parts, or maybe they are just extracting as much as they can out of the class whilst allowing it to decline as they have alternatives. Whatever the reason they do not seem to be helping us, those who spend our time in these little boats.

    (and when I say "they" I probably mean more than one group of people making money from those who sail Lasers).

    Ian
     
  9. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Do not underestimate the effect of "club sailors" not wanting to compete against the pros, squad members and wannabes, with their coaches, support boats etc is having on the number of competitors.
     
  10. powergroove

    powergroove Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Great ideas Alan, look at things every 4 years.
    IMHO
    Single manufacturer one design is a beast thats needs to be controlled before a monopoly forms and prices out all competitors(illegal in the US BTW).
    My personal opinion is that is what Laser has done, and the class has supported it. Im pretty much a newbie in the Laser, and I have been a paying of the class, with all Laser legal equipment, but I dont like what the class has done. Im all for one design, but SMOD is the problem.
    I would like to be out racing my laser with legal stuff, but for someone who has 3 kids and a budget, the sail is just out of my reach this year, The intensity sail was not. SO my post about not payng dues or racing lasers is because I do not want to labeled a cheat, or a rules beater, this is strictly a finacial situation for me. I will have a legal sail next year, and will again join the class, but my hope is that things will change so the prices will drop before then.
     
  11. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    28
    This is interesting. If you speak to people who are high up in the class (UKLA and ILCA) they say they are tied by the builder. If you speak to the builder they say they are tied by the class. Now someone here is not telling the truth, perhaps they should all sit round a table and thrash it out once and for all. I appreciate this is difficult given how widespread people are with the Laser but the dividends for the vast majority of the class could be profound.

    IMO the class is leaving itself open to the likes of a newcomer who uses the Laser philospohy but gets the pricing right.

    Just my 2p as always.
     
  12. Der_Dude

    Der_Dude Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    You and Alan summed it up pretty nicely. My impression is that serious competition is already eating into the Laser market. I too believe class and manufacturer are hurting themselves with the low cost/low quality/high price - politics. Most Laser sailors would probably accept 10 or 20 percent plus for the legal sail or other pieces of equipment easily. But charging 100 percent more is really hurting the game.
     
  13. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I don't think "single-manufacturer" and "monopoly" are a problem for the class - in general, but definitely not in regards to the sail. There are still other classes out there. If the manufacturer tries to exploit the "monopoly" too much, people will move to other classes. Look at classes that aren't "single-manufacturer". The 470 and 505 come to mind. Those classes get into hardware wars which hardly keep prices down.

    The manufacturer and the class need to solve the sail situation before it starts damaging the class.
     
  14. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    It is interesting - one class I sail has policy where sails are measured (normal ISAF measurer stuff) but the class sets a max price for sails (revised each year). Your sails must me made by an approved supplier and to be approved the sailmaker has to stay at or below the class set price (plus you then need to get your sails measured). If sailmakers don't like the max. price set by the class then they don't/can't make legal sails. In practice the class sets reasonable prices (very very very reasonable compared to Laser sail pricing) and there are a reasonable number of different sailmakers to chose between.

    Ian
     
  15. 154537

    154537 Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    im guessing that the over priced sails are subsidizing the cost of the fair priced boat?
     
  16. 154537

    154537 Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    PS- merrily, dont ever tell fred to shut up. show some RESPECT to someone who has done more for the class and sailing then all of us put together
     
  17. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Full rig (and radial) numbers were down this year due to the timing of the nationals. All the squad guys were away at Worlds/Europeans so you were missing the front of the fleet.
    Personally I think this made it a great nationals. As much as I like trying to keep up with the pros it made the nationals more interesting as it opened up the playing field. Also helped that we had great conditions and race management so the racing was fantastic!
     
  18. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Fred has heard a lot worse than "shut up." I also count Fred as a friend and knew that he would take my comment in the insouciant spirit intended.

    Looks like you have a fan, Fred. Maybe you could get him to lead the Laser Class.
     
  19. pez

    pez Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I'm offended by your gratuitous use of a highly developed vocabulary within a thread that contains the word "politics." I thought the purpose of such a thread was to froth at the mouth pointlessly, and your post making me learn the definition of "insouciant" is clearly outside of that purpose. Froth on...

    :)
     
  20. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    38
    No need to heap opprobrium on me. Not trying to be ostentatious. ;-)
     

Share This Page