New sail design - Keep the Dream Alive!

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by dyzzypyxxy, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Folks, sorry to dredge this subject up again, but in my experience, rule changes that benefit the builders' bottom line get through to a vote by the members, and those that don't seem to disappear.

    Reason I know this is because there WAS a sail designed and a prototype tested by me, Fred and Eric Faust among others some time around 1999 - 2000. Can't remember. Anyway, it had (surprise, surprise!) bigger reinforcing patches, better batten pockets, a redesigned sleeve and was modified slightly to account for the mast joint - all specifically aimed at improving the competitive life of the sail.

    A point that was missed in the last thread about this is - the 3.8 oz. dacron we are stuck with using for Laser sails (because using a better, stronger, more modern sailcloth would necessitate a whole new mast, among other changes) is going to determine the competitive life of Laser sails no matter how they are cut or reinforced.

    If you went to every sailmaker, and said "design us the most durable, best sail you can using 3.8oz dacron and our bendy, wierd 2-piece aluminum mast" a lot of those guys would smile and shrug and walk away.

    What the Class needs is a new rule limiting the number of sails each sailor may purchase. Many OD classes have this, specifically to keep the playing field level for those who can't afford to buy new sails for every regatta. Isn't this what the Laser Class is all about?

    Anyway, I just wanted to suggest this as an alternate idea, make my point about the limitations of the cloth, and REMIND YOU that you need to keep this subject alive, and keep after your Exec to move it through to a vote. Then VOTE FOR IT!
     
  2. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I like the way you're thinking!

    Let's say we consider a 1 sail per year rule. Some may argue. "What about the guy that sails 12 big events a year compared to the guy that sails 4?"

    I'd argue the guy with more events under his/her belt will have an advantage every time. There is no substitute for experience.
     
  3. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Don't give up too easily on an improved sail! A status report on the two prototypes (one Hyde, one North) currently being tested is due at the Technical and Measurement Committee meeting next month and there should be a report available shortly after. (And I should note that the Hyde prototype did not use the standard 3.8 oz dacron...)

    So, my initial reaction to a sail limitation proposal would be to continue to hope that builders/sailmakers can come up with a better quality, more durable sail that doesn't change the game of Laser sailing - which I think is the best solution. Toward that end, I look forward to the report next month and hope that we can report positive results at that time!

    Still, I think it is well worth the time to discuss the concept of a sail limitation rule as either an alternative or even as an augmentation. I have a little bit of experience in other classes that have sail limitation rules (Etchells, J105, Melges24, Shields, etc.) and, in my opinion, I think sail limitations work very well in local fleets but start to become more difficult to fairly administer at the national or international levels. Some concerns that I can think of that start to surface at the national and/or international levels:

    1) How do you not penalize sailors by virtue of being more active? By this I mean sailors who do more than race just in their local fleet, but also travel to regional, national, or even international events. In Lasers there is a tremendous discrepancy in the amount of sailing done by people at any level and a sail limitation rule needs to recognize this. On the other hand, if the class allows more than one sail to be purchased in a year, at what number do you draw the line where the sail limitation benefit becomes negligible? (And recognize that the answer to this question depends on your activity level!)

    2) Should consideration be given to the typical sailing conditions of the home waters of a sailor? Shouldn't a sailor from a typically breezy venue (hey! that's me!!) be allowed to purchase "more" sails to compensate for the more extreme conditions they will encounter in their local fleet regattas? How do you administer this?

    3) In many of the other top international classes, the way to get around the sail limitation rule is to own more than one boat, and then to carefully manage to boat/sail programs for each. This goes on in the Farr 40's, J105's, Etchells, Melges 24's, etc. I bet we all know a few Laser sailors who already have more than one boat, so its not so much of a hypothetical! I even know one guy who has acquired his own fleet of boats so that he can get more people out sailing in his club's beercan races!

    In addition to the above,
    4) How do you administer a sail limitation system in such a large class?
     
  4. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Tracy, what cloth did Hyde use for their prototype? Is it something with similar characteristics to the 3.8 oz. ?

    I do strongly approve of any effort to make a better, more durable Laser sail provided it doesn't necessitate a new mast, or other major changes. If Hyde used different cloth, it's going to take some long-term testing to be sure of this, right?

    I just don't think any sail (especially if it's made with the 3.8 cloth) is going to prevent the top sailors from buying new sails for every big event. IF they have the money, it's worth it to them for the psych value alone. That crackly sound a new sail makes when it's beside you luffing on the start line?

    Top sailors are also going to fly to Europe, Australia and the Worlds each year, where they will sail chartered boats. Presumably if a one-sail-per-year rule was in effect, they would charter the sail that goes with the boat, too. This would save wear and tear on their own sails at home on their two or three Lasers that they probably own. I know a few sailors who had one on each coast, in fact. Maybe more of the top sailors will find it necessary to own a fleet. Oh dear, it's going to be more expensive for them to campaign! I can't seem to muster much sympathy for them.

    As for the sailor who routinely sails in heavier wind, like Tracy, well they'd have to plan pretty well and break out their one new sail at the critical moment for the most important regatta. In your local events, everybody else would be in the same boat (so to speak) very likely using their year-old sails. As long as it's the same for everybody, it does even the playing field quite effectively.

    Administration? Dealers could date stamp each sail when it sells, and write in the sail number of the boat it goes to. Easy for them to send this data to the Class for oversight. Other classes do this already. (we have a Melges and a Flying Scot, both classes who limit sail purchases)

    At big events, it's always a good idea for a Class rep to be there checking, so yes, the date on the sail would be one more thing to look at.

    In my experience, sailors don't cheat unless nobody's looking. It's the Class's job to make sure somebody is looking.
     
  5. Ross B

    Ross B Guest

    when you charter a boat, you bring your lines, tiller/extension, sometimes blades, and sail.
     
  6. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    In my experience you can usually charter the sail as well. Those guys who REALLY want to use a newer sail would very likely pay the price to do that.

    Point is, for the guys with money to "campaign" it's not going to make that much difference to limit sail purchases to one per year. They'll buy two or three boats, and they'll charter boats with new sails.

    For the grass-roots sailor, the majority of Laser Class members, it will make a big difference to level the playing field. Everyone will treasure their newest sail and use the older ones for local sailing (like so many of us do now).

    One-design sailing is supposed to be a test of the best sailors, with equal boats. That's "The Dream".

    If there IS a way to gain an advantage from your equipment, it should be fixed if possible. While the new sail design is a good idea, it's not going to do that.
     
  7. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    This post (in this thread) has a picture of the Hyde prototype along with a link to the article that was in The Laser Sailor. Remember, the charge to the builders is "better quality, more durable but doesn't change the game" which means, among other things, the same mast.
     
  8. Mattcm

    Mattcm Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    IMHO about the whole sail thing, I wouldn't really mind if the sail only lasted one season if I didn't have to pay as much for it. Really we are paying premium price ($1000 in Aus) for what is essentially a sub standard product.
     
  9. 177102

    177102 New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I like the look of the turbo sail but making it the same size (or at least for the same weight range sailor) would be an advantage or else you will automatically get the majority of sailors who are already in lasers offside.
     
  10. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I like the look of the Hyde sail. IMO using a thicker cloth does not significantly change the performance. The Intensity pattern sail is a heavier cloth and performs just as well as the standard sail if not better!

    As lon as it is not too thick of course.
     
  11. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    48
    As far as limiting the number of sails, that would be practical in a smaller class where with one or two major events a year. However the Laser class, ignoring even Olympics-oriented events, has several major events per month all over the world. I think trying to track, manage, and enforce a limit on the number of sails purchased would be a logistical nightmare for the class.

    To me it's kind of like the mandatory US Sailing measurement issue. It's hard enough to find volunteers to run the class and regattas. This would just be one more added burden.
     
  12. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38

    What if you put in an exemption for folks that are a part of the National Sailing Team for their representative country?

    Clearly, those folks are in a much higher level of the game than the regular sailors.

    I agree it's harder to manage, but some times you have to rely on folks being honest. Sure, some won't, but most will be.

    Another way of managing this would be for the retailers to "stamp" sails on the date of sale with some type of class approved stamp. If a question were to come up about your sail then refer to the stamp.
     
  13. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

    Take a fairly poor quality, low durability, low cost sail.

    Take a tight class where, competition at the top of the fleet is really tough and the sailors are close together.

    Add a sail purchase limit, say one-per-year.

    Two possible outcomes come readily to mind

    1. Placement at the top regattas starts being determined by who has managed their sail usage best and shows up with the least-worn sails.

    2. Sailors start spending more time doing prepping and training, and start showing up at fewer "marginal" (e.g. regional, local) regattas, so as to minimize the wear on the sail that they're saving for top level competition.

    I'd look with a very skeptical eye on any rule change that provides an inscentive for sailors not to sail.

    I believe that you'll find that most classes that have sail purchase limits, do not also have a "builder supplied sail" requirement, so the sailors can go to their sailmakers to get the best compromize of speed and durability that meets their particular needs.

    That being said, bring on the improved-durability-non-game-changing-sail. I saw the Hyde at this year's TISC regatta in June.
     
  14. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    I don't think there would be incentive for sailors not to sail in regional or local events. They just might use their "second best" sail in regionals, and their 2-year old sail locally. A limit of one new sail per year doesn't mean you can only own one sail. If you bought a new boat and only had one brand-new sail, I'd suggest you'd be well advised to buy a couple of older sails to practice and race locally with, though.

    At our club, we get the Scots and Melges owners (the two classes I sail now, both of which have sail purchase limits) together and agree to use our old sails for local events. A guy in our club who bought a new Melges actually went out and bought two used sets of sails so that he could race with us on Friday nights.

    As far as the major events all over the world, the use of charter boats with a chartered sail to go with them solves this question.

    Those high-caliber sailors who sail those regattas comprise only about 5% of your Laser Class members. The Class's rules should be written to keep the playing field level for the majority of the members.

    That said, the higher quality, more durable sail would last a lot better through a year's use, so your year-old sail won't be nearly such a rag.

    If the Class votes in the new sail design, AND implements a one-per-year limit on sail purchases, the whole face of laser racing will improve for everyone.

    Except the builders, of course, who will whine and moan because they're not making nearly the profit they were before. At your expense.

    Aw, shucks.
     
  15. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Lainie, I'm afraid I also have to disagree with you on this one. While it is true that many years ago you could charter a boat at, for example, the Master Worlds complete with a sail, it is just not the case anymore. The only regattas I know of where you can charter a builder supplied boat with a sail are the Radial Women's Worlds and the Laser Senior Worlds... and if the builder's had their way you would not be able to do it there either.

    The driving reason behind this is purely economic: the sail is then "used" and it lowers the ultimate re-sale value of the boat.

    At many European events (and a few North American events), sailors often charter from private companies (e.g. SailFit does charters in Florida, SailCoach in Europe) and these are used boats. I'd shudder to think of what a charter sail on one of these boats would look like after a few regattas of use at that level!

    Still, I agree that we're talking a small fraction of sailors and probably these people would just have a small fleet of Lasers so they could get around a sail limitation rule anyway... (like, for example, someone like Philippe Kahn does in the Melges 24 fleet ;) ).

    Aren't you offering the ideal solution here? Let the local fleets institute sail purchase rules if that is what they want to do? Its easy to administer, makes it fair for the people racing in that fleet, etc. Importantly, it doesn't handicap the person who also wants to be more active by racing at a higher level. They can have their local fleet sail and have as many other sails as they want for racing at the various championship events. Importantly, it does not penalize them simply for being more active.

    In any case, I think I need to be convinced that we aren't looking at a solution in need of a problem... Maybe we should run a poll to see just how many sails TLF members purchase every year?
     
  16. drwatershed

    drwatershed Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    In any case, I think I need to be convinced that we aren't looking at a solution in need of a problem... Maybe we should run a poll to see just how many sails TLF members purchase every year?[/quote]

    I just left a post under the sailing section regarding sails for junior sailors, as a parent purchasing 500$ sails so my kid can race a 4.7 in a class legal event, is way over the top. The price on a "club" sail is reasonable and though I can't get my son in class events with it, is great for getting him sailing and doing some limited racing in club events. So I will continue to buy 0 class legal sails at that price. I own at least 6 used legal full sails most of which are way past their prime but until my kid gains 60 lbs I can't send him out to race with those, (though he is a good swimmer and can right the boat single handed even with the full sail). If the "builders", as we refer to them, want to help us bring kids into the class the price of the 4.7 sail and mast section should really be looked at. IF the club sails can be sold at a profit for what they sell for then we know the builder's are making a killing on the class legal sails, they are entitled to some of that to maintain standards, but they should consider the effect on recruiting new juniors into the class. Clubs and districts should also look at programs to bring radial sails down to new sailor's as well.
     
  17. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Warning..Some people might read the following post and take it a tad too seriously>>>>>

    [​IMG]




    I will listen to this whining about $500 pocket change as long as you are not:

    1. buying new genoas for your keelboat

    2. driving a car with fewer than 100,000 miles

    3. living in a house that cost over $25,000

    4. Working in the Financial world ...anywhere...Those jerks just stole $4000 from my pocket and I was gonna buy a new High Def. TV, fridge and lots and lots of pizza and drinks with that money

    5. making over $20,000 a year

    6. buying "nickle" candy bars for $1

    7. buying "nickle" Cokes for $1

    8. buying "15 cent" MacDonald's hamburgers for $1

    9. buying "25 cent gas" for $4

    10. paying 42 cents to mail a letter


    When I went to Penn State, my bill for tuition room and board for my freshman year was $630. Should I send my kid to get a cheap diploma on line because the numbers are up and I don't comprehend inflation??

    $500 is chump change...get over your 1950s price lists and buy your kid a decent sail.
     
  18. 177102

    177102 New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think its one thing on the other. Make a sail that will last 2 seasons of competeive racing OR bring in a sail limit.

    My choice would be for the first one which is the most in line with keeping this old boat and rig attractive to new sailors and "modern".

    A fully battended main would significantly reduce wear and hold its shape better but I would think that there may be issues with the mast. what about just somethign as simple as what Rooster has done with the 8.1 - A mylar leech is apparently suppose to reduce wear where it will start to flutter. Now I have never seen one of these sails other than pictures so I dont know whetehr this works or not but if it will get us through a full season of high performance racing or two seasons of club racing then it has bound to have advantages to everyone, not just the sail manufacturers and the laser brand.

    my 0.02c
     
  19. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Think about it though, if your son just went into 4.7 they have been sailing optis for years. Think about how much one of those racing sails cost, they were more than a brand new 4.7 sail. You are in fact saving money now.
     
  20. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    The driving reason behind this is purely economic: the sail is then "used" and it lowers the ultimate re-sale value of the boat.

    Still, I agree that we're talking a small fraction of sailors and probably these people would just have a small fleet of Lasers so they could get around a sail limitation rule anyway...

    In any case, I think I need to be convinced that we aren't looking at a solution in need of a problem... Maybe we should run a poll to see just how many sails TLF members purchase every year?[/quote]

    I can supply a problem for our solution pretty easily. Don't you think there are going to be people with a lot less disposable income for the next few years, given the current economic disaster we're facing?

    Dad's going to have a lot more trouble finding $500 for his kid's sail next spring.

    Too bad they don't supply charter sails any more. Are they selling those used charter boats as "new" too?


    I honestly hope some local and District fleets get their heads together and start implementing their own sail purchase limits, because I think it will improve the whole game.
     

Share This Page