Lasers - Race vs Recreational?

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by JasonG, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. JasonG

    JasonG New Member

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    Hey there,

    Just to be up front I am with an established marine products manufacturing company. I'm not looking to spam or promote my product and won't mention the product name or include any links unsolicited. I am just looking for some information on Lasers and One Design boats generally to determine the feasibility of a new product. I've been told by several people that this was the website to come to. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    About what ballpark percentage of Lasers out there are actually raced and stick to racing specs as opposed to Lasers used strictly for recreational/leisure use?

    Are there any specific rules regarding deck covering/nonskid products? Specifically a light weight eva foam pad applied to the deck with a pressure sensitive adhesive.

    I realize these are "One Design" boats but how much does hardware placement and cockpit location vary from year to year. Would a 1987 really be virtually identical to a 2000? Would it be safe to assume that a deck template I pulled from a 1998 Laser Race would match most other years? Would the cockpit cutout for instance vary more than and inch or so from one boat to the next?

    Thanks, Jason
     
  2. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Difficult one because these days with the cost of genuine parts and supply issues outside the Australian manufacturers region, many boats racing are one "one-design legal". Where I sail over half the fleet use 3rd party sails for club racing. I'm less aware of how widespread 3rd party other parts are as they are a lot less obvious and I don't go inspecting other people's boats. Clubs often tolerate this because they want the boats on the water - although some clubs are starting to tighten-up. Open meetings/regattas do require class legal stuff so people keep a set of class legal gear but use (and wear-out) cheaper and available 3rd partys stuff.

    3rd party stuff is normally sold as "training" so (as far as I am aware) there is no deception involved.

    However, things might be changing once the manufacturer issues are sorted out (as rumoured to be happening) and the new sail is made available (rumoured to be happening). However, both these have been needed for a long long time and rumours are always "imminent" - time will tell.

    Personally I think that once the sail situation is sorted (i.e. something affordable that lasts reasonably) then the 3rd party parts market will slowly reduce. It is really the cost of the poor quality short lived sail that makes clubs tolerate 3rd party, so sort that and they may start tightening up more- but that is my opinion that others may easily disagree with.

    Ian
     
  3. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    Concerning the first question, it would be my opinion that nearly all of the active Lasers are raced. Although there are a fair number of recreational sailors, the vast majority of users are racers. There are also an amazing number of Lasers that sit on club grounds and see neither recreational or racing use. The number astounds me when I go to my club.. there's a pile of boats there that don't see service of any kind year after year.

    If you want a product that will sell that relates to decks, come up with something that fixes the blisters that occur on older boats. When the boats begin to die, the deck gets really soft, and in extreme cases it will de-laminate from the structure underneath. There are 'procedures' that fix this issue, but nothing on the market that's designed for the job.

    The class seriously frowns on 'add ons' of any kind. Yes, you can take a Laser from 1980 and one from 1999 and find the measurements on the deck openings, hardware location, etc to be essentially exactly the same. The rule book points out these measurements, and with the exception of some rigging changes, the boat has been the 'same' since inception. Very minor relocating of some turning blocks and cleats are all that have changed, and the mounting holes for those are essentially the same.

    That being said, when someone snaps off a mast support, there appears to be no issues with a bunch of fiberglass, etc repairing the mast step. This site has probably a hundred posts on that subject, and I have never seen one that says "that's illegal" ... So also there have been posts on fixing soft places and blisters... again with no concern about legality, apparently.
     
  4. cskudder

    cskudder Active Member

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    It's hard to know the numbers across everybody but for what it's worth I'm recreational-only. Sample of 1.

    I thought somebody had a poll going here with the question of racing or recreational. Of course that's hardly reliable, given the unknown of who actually replies and who doesn't.
     
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  5. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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  6. JasonG

    JasonG New Member

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    Thank you very much for the informative replies. I've been taking some time to dig deeper into the sailing forums here and have learned a great deal. I'll keep an eye on this post to see if any more information or opinions are forth coming.

    All the best, Jason
     
  7. Cupcake

    Cupcake PaddleHand

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    Cskudder, I am also a recreational sailor ( for now) sailing in Michigan. Just bought a 1979 boat 2 weeks ago and have sailed it once before starting to fix it up during the fall/winter.

    regards

    Sample of 2.
     
  8. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    I'm also recreational, fwiw. Sample of 3 (c: .. however, I won't 'modify' my boat for any reason unless it's class approved. It kills the $$ value. And I'm cheap.

    If I can find a group to race with, I will do so next year. At least this is what I always say (c:
     
  9. JasonG

    JasonG New Member

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    The more people I speak with about this the more it is becoming apparent that there is a significant number of these boats used primarily on a recreational basis. Since the modification that my product applies is non-structural and easily undone by someone who wants to convert to racing I think there might be a place in the Laser world for it. Even more so it seems with Sunfish and Sailfish.

    Thanks again guys!

    -Jason
     
  10. Bungo Pete

    Bungo Pete Member

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    There is an old adage that states - "One boat sailing alone is one boat sailing alone. Two boats sailing in the same direction is a race, and three boats sailing in the same direction is a regatta."

    At the risk of confusing matters even more, I would consider myself a "recreational racer." I'll race with friends when we all rig and go together; and if the opportunity ariseslocally, I will participate in a regatta. However, at this point, I am not in a position to dedicate the time required to travel and participate in regattas every weekend during a given season. Hope this helps.
     

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