new laser sail

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by lyclaser, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. Dave Kirkpatrick

    Dave Kirkpatrick New Member

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    No, I am not going to give out numbers. I will tell you that North and Hyde voluntarily use less than half of the spec range that the Laser Class allows for sail cloth.
    As for Brent Benson's statements that the sailmakers use inferior cloth, I hope (and believe) that he is knowledgeable enough to mean "the Class mandated cloth is not generally considered, among sailmakers and cloth manufacturers, to be near the forefront of dacron cloth technology." Indeed, Laser sailcloth is produced only for Laser sails - there are no other sails which use this cloth. If Brent means otherwise, he is ill informed.
    Just as the manufacturers of the hulls strive to build the best LEGAL Lasers, the sailmakers strive to build the best LEGAL Laser sails.
     
  2. Scott B

    Scott B Member

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    To solve this problem, the Laser Class needs to change the specification of the sail. This was talked about several years ago, but was decided that the change would cause unneeded/unfair expense to stay competitive. I never understood that conclusion, since to be competitive you have to purchase a new sail every year anyway.

    We have much improved sail controls, so improved sails are in order.

    BTW, personally, I don't think Vanguard is making that much profit on the sale of sails. Since the cloth is manufactured ONLY for the Laser sail, the low production volume results in higher per foot costs. (Simple economics.)
     
  3. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I'd have to argue the low production theory. There are over 180,000 boats out there. I'll bet at least 2,000 boats, (%0.1111 of existing boats) buy sails every year. At $460.00 per sail that's $920,000.00 in Laser Sail revenue. Used, full rig sails are impossible to find. It takes 195 new Lasers to equal that revenue and I'll bet there is much more profit margin in the "shri lanka" sails than the boats. No sir, yeee. North would not want to lose this contract!
     
  4. Scott B

    Scott B Member

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    Rob,

    You are looking at gross revenue at the retail level. An irrevelavent number.

    To determine North's revenue, you need to know what they wholesale the sails for to the dealers/distributors. To determine their profit, you need to determine their cost of materials and manufacturing.

    While 2000 sails (your number) may sound like a large quantity of sails, at only 76 sq. ft. per sail, that really is not very much (by square footage volume) sail cloth.
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Scott,

    I've been a buyer and planner for department retail for 7 years and in sales for 10+ years now. Every business plan begins with a sales dollar, (revenue) projection. Revenue does drive business. It's the old supply vs. demand model. The more the demand the tighter the control on the supply can be, therefore the more profitable a company can choose to be by increasing margin in their products, (that's why smoe new cars sell for above MSRP when they first come out like the Mazda Miata did years ago). When demand slips you see the fire sales to generate business, (that's called markdowns in retail. usually out of season goods). Some companies choose to reverse that model when there is competition. For instance Wal-Mart, (years ago) used to operate on a gross margin plan of 28%. Their logic was if we can meet our revenue goal, (planned sales) then we can continue to grow on 28% gross margin and put K-Mart out of business. Every store I managed had daily revenue goals, which was #1. #2 came tight labor cost controls as a percentage to the daily/weekly/monthly revenue plan. #3 was markdown dollars/shrink the other margin killers. The plan worked. By 1996 K-Mart was bleeding.

    In the case of North and Laser sails. They have a lock on this business with only one competitior, (Hyde) that charges $100.00 US more for their sail, (only because the US dollar is weak to the Euro right now). I think it is a given that there is nothing special about the North cloth used to make the sails and, again, I'll bet the house on the fact that the labor used in Sri Lanka is cheap and the cost of the Laser sail to North is quite low. Much like the way Nike makes most of their goods, (which I've done business with before as well). Given Norths position for this product in the market place they are FOOLS if they make less than 40% gross margin on every Laser sail.

    My initial estimate of 2,000 sails is not a lot of sails given the amount of boats that are most likely actively racing around the world today. I think my estimate was quite conservative and I think Laser sails are nothing but gravey to Norths annual bottom line. Again, if it's not then someone is mismanaging that part of the North business.

    Another example: I know a local sail maker of a "no name" brand. On a good year he pops out about 65 MC Scow sails a year, plus a few sets of J22 sails, some PHRF headsails and a few other odds and ends stuff out of his little "garage" loft every year. It's rumored that his annual take home is around the $70K mark. Not Bad. Of course he has very little overhead, but he uses the same cloth materials as most other makers, (w/the exception of patented string sails).

    So, if North manages the Laser sail business well then it's a great money maker. If not, then they should go ahead and knock off about $75.00 from the current suggested retail, get the price under the $400.00 mark, make a lot of people happy, and consider it a "lost leader" item. They could probably do that now and be just fine anyway.

    Jeez, that was a rant. I'm not a jerk, (but sometimes I play one on TV) I just feel strongly about this topic. Now I need a drink. Then I'm going to work on my boat. Good Night.
     
  6. Glenn W.

    Glenn W. Member

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    Mr. Bush, I mean Mr. Kirkpatrick, Benson meant that the cloth is not what is to be considered "racing sail quality material" Just give us the #s so we all that are so anal and who bought North sails can sleep at night knowing our sails are of the same quality as the competitor. Give the #s with no labels attached so we won't know which company is which. So if the #s are close then it won't matter who makes the sails. To Mr. Benson I apologize if I took any of your posts out of context.
    Glenn
     
  7. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    North and Hyde don't set the retail price of the sails. Hyde doesn't charge $100 more then North either. The local Laser dealer does. You are confusing end user pricing with supplier pricing. Dave has already stated that the reason the Hyde sail is more expensive in the US is because Vanguard does not have as favorable a deal with Hyde.

    Guesses, examples that compare apples to oranges, rumors and bad logic usually lead to incorrect conclusions. North is a supplier to Vanguard, not to you and me, the end users. So how can North knock off $75 from the suggested retail price when North has no control over that ?

    You mention you were/are a buyer. As a buyer isn't your job to get the lowest possible price for the goods from your suppliers ? So if the buyer for Vanguard has done his/her job well, they have already pushed North to cut their price on the sails. It's not all due to Euro vs dollar, the Hyde has always been more expensive in NA.

    How does the price of the Laser sail compare to sails for other classes that are sold the same way (sailmaker to manufacturer to dealer to end user) ?
    How does the price of the class legal laser sail compare to a local sailmaker's practice sail ? What I see listed at APS leads me to believe, much as I don't like it, that we are getting a decent price for the class legal sail based on the number of middlemen between us and the sailmaker. If we want to buy it for less, it looks like the class would have to change the rules so we could buy direct from the sailmakers. I don't see that happening.
     
  8. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Dave and/or any Vanguard employee doesn't have to post here at all, he does so as a courtesy and frankly, I find his contributions here to be very helpful. I'd hate to see him leave because we can't be civil. He answered the query and stated no numbers are coming. Fair enough.

    For me, if I didn't think the North was as good as the Hyde, the next sail I would buy would be a Hyde. If I wasn't sleeping at night because I was convinced it wasn't as good, I would sell my existing sail and get the other one right away. No amount of data spewed by someone would change my mind. Why should it ?
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    You've made some good points here. You're right that guessing and making assumptions does not really help anything. So, if I understand you correctly. Vanguard awards the sail contract to North and Hyde. Then dealers like Layline and APS have to buy the sails through Vanguard to sell to the public. Is that how it works? It would appear that a lot of hands are getting paid. No wonder they are so expensive and Vanguard is in the drivers seat.

    At the end of the day the boats are the razors and the sails are the razor blades. I just think we are getting hosed on the price for what we get, (even though I do like the strict class control on the sail). The same goes for Sunfish, Opti and other boats that follow the same business model. I could go on and on discussing this, but what's the point it's just beating a dead horse. I have my opinion, which I have expressed and I'm sticking to it. Just wait until the carbon top section gets approved. I'll have a good rant for that one too!!

    Now, I have to go and order my new sail!
     
  10. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Hey Rob,
    but don´t order your new sail in Germany, ok. ;-)

    The fact is:
    The new (folded standard) sail would cost you 570 Euro (1 Euro is about 1,20 US$) at the local official licensed "out of the box boat" dealer here .... :-(
    Why is it so much more expensive than in the USA?????


    Oh, I forgot, of course the cost is without postal service, duty and without the Laserstar (about 14 Euro extra) and the letters (each one is 2,1 Euro) ... :-(


    Ooopss, I forgot, of course this is the price for a simple folded Sail - rolled you will have to pay 46 Euro extra...:-( (and postal costs will be much more expensive)


    Now all, take your calculators.... :)


    THIS are the facts, Dave, that Mr. Johns, your boss from the "out of the boxbuilder" has to explain the readers of this thread in NA (or his pendants in the UK or RSA etc for the readers of this thread at the other continents... ) or one of the Mr. "big official´s" from our International Laserclass Association tell us how the rabbit runs.

    But, I´m afraid, this persons from "The Family" have to much shyness, to talk with us, <- this is proved, for me, by the fact, that this "honorable men" do not like to talk here - honestly.

    Dave,of course, you are excused, because you are maybe not really independend because of your job, altough I strong believe you would like to tell us the truth - in a room with no publicity, of course. You try the best to give us answers, there for I thank you.

    And Rob, save your money if+where you can - some day in the near or far future the "carbon rigg-goddies" will come. At the Byte class from Mr. Bruce it is already reality.
    The cost for all (sail + spars) is about 1600 US-$, if I read right. And if "you" are an official classmember there, "you" can order it now for a special price under 800 US-$.

    Now, we can all take our calculators again and do some mathematics...

    I think, the new CII-Rigg for the Byte is not so far away in its design, than a carbon-rigg-design for the Laser will sooner or later get, too, if our boat will try to stay durable in "the club of the olympic sailingboats", is my opinion.

    Oh Rob, I´m realy happy to be a non racer in times like this, you can believe me in that. I can order my sails at my local sailmaker or get a used one from a pro etc.

    By the the way: I have the possiblility to buy something (f.e. a New North Sail, for only 460 US-$) at NY-City. Does anybody know a Laserboat-store DIRECT in NY-City or Jersey-City. The dealers from the list at teamvanguard-website (NY,NJ,CT) are all to far away to reach easy. If someone does know such a store, please send me a private notice here at TLF, thanks)

    Greetings from Europe + Bye-bye!
    Your LooserLu
    (Faust I: Nichts auf dieser Erde hat Bestand / Nothing on earth will be forever...)
     
  11. L-P Gauhtier

    L-P Gauhtier New Member

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    The new CII-Rigg for the Byte is not that great... I tried it last year... I wish PS2000 would do Lasers... one of my coach is Tyler Bjorn.... anyways I'm not too shur carbon mast would be good... simple is always better
     
  12. Murphs

    Murphs New Member

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    what are its disadvantages? from what i see it is extremely good and fast. But then again all i have seen is photos etc from the manufacturer
     
  13. Goonie

    Goonie Guest

    Where are you going? Take it easy!
     
  14. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Thanks Goonie, my words were only dedicated to our Laser Rigg.
    I don´t know anyone, who has tested the CII-rig from that boat, that has its name maybe from Steve Balmer ;)
    But the CII-rigg LOOK´s really fast (that does not mean, that I think this rig IS fast - personally also I don´t have tested it, so all I say is only "subjective"/non-proved and maybe it is wrong).

    The Laser don´t really need a new rigg- and a new saildesign, is my opinion. Although I allways cry about it´s quality, but like someone already said here, there is no really need for a new rigg (if the delivered quality wouldbe like it should) in a 1 design class like the Laser, where all race with the SAME (bad or good) stuff and only the ability to sail (and luck) is important to win.
    That´s the fundamental thought Kirby/Bruce had and no way go around this for me.


    But, aren´t we all a bit like that: Why I should drive an old rusty VW-´68 Beetle, although (I maybe have the money and) I can drive a tuned Porsche-Cayenne turboTD? The good looking girlies etc. will more look to the big fast one, than to that old "lame" stuff (although the old stuff runs and runs and the new porsche every time stands in the garage because it´s defect), that´s the life goes everytime, isn´t it?

    The only reason for new spars (in my opinion) can be, that because of the new XD-control-systems the "old" spars are overtaxed/overstressed - and the new designed stuff does not fit perfect together to the old spars and dracon-sail.

    I´m a little bit old fashioned and over 27 years of sailing, the old rig design I get sad, if I think in any future I hve sail with a Neil-Pryde-laminated windsurver-sail. I personally more like the old styling - that´s why I wrot that from Faust :)
    Bye-bye
    LooserLu
     
  15. Goonie

    Goonie Guest

    Ah okay! Gotcha!
     

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