New sail design - Keep the Dream Alive!

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

  1. dredies

    dredies Member

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    Wow! Have to say I'm pretty surprised by this. At the recent Worlds in Halifax, I heard of very few boats having an issue. The team of measurers was very efficient, and worked their way through the boats thoroughly. I only heard of a couple of cases of infractions.
     
  2. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    It seems this is an annual discussion... in my mind it comes down to this: included in the price of Class Legal sails (and other equipment) is the cost to support the infrastructure that has been built up to supply boats and parts worldwide, to support Laser sailing in general - directly through support of events and indirectly by supporting ILCA - AND, importantly, to provide just enough profit to those hands in the chain to motivate them to continue supporting our game. I'd think it would be hard to argue against the success of this program - 200,000 Lasers in 98 countries sounds like success in the sailing world to me.

    For those advocating doing away with the dealer network, I'd offer that we have an example here and here on TLF of just what that might mean. Look at these threads and remember the story of how it became nearly impossible for South Americans to get boats, parts, sails, etc., after the builder down there went bankrupt - this in the modern internet era! The situation is still not perfect but LP has gone about re-establishing a dealer network throughout South America and it was reported at the World Council meeting, by the South American Vice Chairman, that the situation is definitely improving (though, to be fair, because a major issue is import duties from off-continent, their ideal solution involves a new South American based builder).

    And we should also not forget that the local dealers are often the people who are supporting your local fleet and events, helping to make your sailing happen. For example, I was at a regatta last month where the dealer for the area drove over two hours with a parts van to make sure the event was supported. While he did sell line, parts, gloves, etc., it was the one sail he sold that put him over the top and made it worth his time to make the trip. If the builders do away with the dealers then events like this one will not get any support. Is that what we want?

    The corollary of the above, of course, is that if we don't support our local dealers, like when we buy parts online and not through them, then WE (not the builders) will drive them out of business too.

    Whatever your feeling about the all of the above, in the end the builders have the final say in how they distribute their products. I'd say it would be a long fight to get them to agree to let sailors buy sails directly from the manufacturer and bypass them and their network. So, in the end, I agree with 49208 that the best use of our energy right now is to focus on producing a better quality, more durable sail that doesn't change the game (ie is not significantly faster) and doesn't cost more. Much progress has been made on this project and the builders are currently evaluating two very promising candidates, including one from a different sailmaker (and I'm surprised that Fred didn't comment on one of the prototypes that was seen just before the Master Worlds in Glen Haven). I'm optimistic that we'll have more news on this by the end of the year.
     
  3. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    The single difference between the Harken blocks and Holt-Allen blocks are that the former are ball bearing - there are no differences in dimentions, in particular how close you can get the boom to the deck. There appears to be no advantage to having them, certainly no difference was seen at the recently completed Master Worlds, where there were a mix of the two sets of blocks amongst boats.

    This project was started years ago by Chip Johns at Vanguard in response to sailors whining to him about the cheap blocks on a Laser - "why can't we have real blocks?" So, this is an example of a sailor driven initiative that the builders followed through on.

    The blocks were evaluated, in rapid prototype form, beginning some two years ago. They were tentatively approved by the World Council in Terrigal, in 2008, subject to verification of the production versions, which happened last Spring. As they are builder supplied, this was a change made to the Laser Construction Manual and not subject to a change in the Laser Class rules.

    So, indeed, they are "approved by the tech committee".

    I guess I'm unclear about what misinformation is being spread by ILCA officials.

    The question of what does it mean to be a One Design Class deserves its own thread. The Laser Class takes a different approach from other classes where the aim is to produce, as much as possible, identical boats and make the racing a contest between sailors. This is the same philosophy adopted in several other classes, some examples are Byte, 29er, etc. In contrast, some One Design Classes, for example the Star, lay out the measurements that define the boat, spars, sails, etc., which allows for a certain amount of variation that can make a difference in the boat's speed (and US readers will no doubt be familiar with the huge expenditure made by the US Star Olympians in Qingdao who had specially built a rocket ship in under 5 knots but were enough off the pace in anything more that they didn't even make the medal race). In these classes the boat becomes personalized and, while its still mostly the sailors, it can be a bit about the boat too.

    One result of the Laser Class philosophy is that I can travel anywhere in the world and jump into a Laser and its the same as the one I have at home. So, I can go to the Master Worlds and charter a boat and dream of winning (ok, in 3 more years, when I turn 55, I can dream of winning). In contrast, if I want to dream of winning the Star Worlds I better be prepared to ship my boat to the event. And have two brand new suits of sails ready for the regatta, since the first set will be toast by the halfway mark.

    Personally, I don't buy into the monopoly argument. Yes, if you want to buy a Laser, parts and a sail you have to buy what is provided by the builder for your region. But to say that the builders aren't competing is to ignore the larger sailing market. So, ask yourself why you aren't sailing a Byte, Megabyte, Banshee, Force 5, Sunfish or one of a plethora of other singlehanded classes that have tried to unseat the Laser. At the end of the day the builders are supplying a good product for a reasonable price and people are buying it. It certainly doesn't hurt that we have the largest and strongest Class Association in the world, it doesn't hurt that most people in most areas sail Lasers but I'd argue that wouldn't be the case if the builders were not successfully competing against other available options.

    And for sure if the Laser doesn't evolve with time, something will eventually come along that will be "better".
     
  4. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

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    Tracy IIRC, the class needed to vote to approve the Clew Sleeve, even though it ended up being a builder supplied, but didn't need to vote on the blocks.

    I'm unclear on the distinction here, can you elaborate?
     
  5. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    The difference here is that the Class Rules specified how the clew could be tied down to the boom (see 3(g)(i)) and needed to be modified to allow for another option. Similarly for the "new rigging" (though recall that we voted on the concept, not the actual wording of the rules in that case).

    The boom blocks are not specified in the Class Rules, only in the LCM, so changing them doesn't require a modification to the Class Rules, or a vote.
     
  6. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    In terms of "monopoly", I say this - the class and the builders need each other.

    The builders need an active, growing class to provide a market for their product. What other class has 300 boats at its world champsionship? Maybe Sunfish and Optis.

    Likewise the class (namely those sailing the boats) need a profitable builder (and dealers) who is motivated to supply a quality product. As was pointed out, look at the South America situation where nobody could buy boats or parts.

    This symbiotic relationship requires does require that we pay a bit of a premium for parts. So how much is this worth when it comes to a new sail? Is it $50 to $100? Maybe.

    Is it $400? Hell no. I think the situation with current class sail is jeopardizing the relationship between the builder and the class.
     
  7. Der_Dude

    Der_Dude Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to explain.

    [/quote]
    I guess I'm unclear about what misinformation is being spread by ILCA officials.
    [/quote]

    For example, in the Laser World a while back Heini Wellmann wrote that we could not allow other than builder supplied equipment to regattas for reasons of trade mark rights. That, in my view, is at best misleading. Because it supposes that other equipment would be sold under the name Laser. No one with a half a brain for our trade laws would do that and there is no reason why we, the sailors and ILCA members, must use products labeled Laser way - unless we want to. We might just as well race with XYC-branded gear. It's up to us, not about legal necessities. We can put anything on our boats that we like. As long as we agree on the same product or standard, it will still be one design. It might simply be another one.

    Your reasons for having a strict one design class and fostering a strong builder make sense to me. I wish we had builder supplied or rental boats at smaller events throughout Europe. Just imagine to hop on train or plane to sail with your blade bag to sail, say, a regular Master's event. For instance we just had a guy from Vienna here who borrowed a boat. Great.

    However, that does not mean we need to accept any price for the products offered by the builder, that an organisation representing almost 200.000 consumers can not negotiate, does it?

    I agree that we should support our local dealers who take the time to show up at regattas. However, I doubt that happens often outside the U.S. With one supplier in Germany and none in South America, how could one hope for such a service? On the contrary, there are several dealers who regularily show up at Finn regattas for instance, without a monopoly builder and supply chain.

    Basically I agree with torrid that the relationship is not a healthy one at the moment. If the dealers in Europe can afford to lower the regular price of "the" sail by almost 20 percent for no apparent reason, it seems the margin was more than enough. If I can get a main sail for a much larger dinghy custom made in Poland for the same money as a third world mass produced laser sail, something is way out of proportion.

    Plus the damn things don't even last.
     
  8. marvin-miller

    marvin-miller Arrrr...

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    OK, but you're missing the overall point that I was trying to make. So in your case, due to your chosen place of residence, the sail costs $289 - big deal. That's what you get for living where you do. You'd still be saving $311.00

    If you want to save more, move next door to the sailmaker and get a tax number :D The point is, the cost of the sail is still $400 less - all things being equal.

    Why does a cheaper sail always equate to doing away with the entire dealer network which ultimately results in the Laser's complete and utter demise?

    I mean, are those dealers entire operation dependant on the price of a sail?

    I still say that a sail is a consumable item. It should be viewed as such and priced accordingly along the same lines as, well, lines :):D

    It sounds to me like there's wisdom in that. There's also wisdom in the posts from people who view the price of a sail as supporting the 'trade' with their $$. I agree with both but still, $600 is a lot of money for many folks, and hey, it is a consumable item.

    Can I touch on something here? With respect to the dealers it always seems that the viewpoint is always comprised of companys that only sell Lasers and Laser-related products. This is crazy. Let's use the automotive industry as an example as I'm very familiar with parts and the supply chain etc.

    In the automotive trade the 'dealer' (in this case) is typically the aftermarket parts store. They sell millions of different products from thousands of different companies. All the common items are in stock and all the uncommon items typically get ordered in.

    The automotive parts store does not base it's entire survival on whether or not they carry one specific part. They mitigate their risk by carrying thousands of product lines.

    Now, maybe it's just me but I've never seen just a Laser dealer before. If that were the case, then sure, I guess their life would depend on whether or not they sold a sail. But that's not a business model that will typically sustain a seasonal business. This idea that the entire dealer network is going to self-destruct and implode the moment something happens to the price of a sail is, well, extreme.

    The fact of the matter is that in the automotive industry if a parts store doesn't have it in stock they look it up in a catalog, quote a price and ETA, and then order it as required. If that parts store operated in an area of the world where there was hundreds of Laser sailors with even just a little regular demand, then they'd stock the parts pre-emptively for their customers because they know, sooner or later, it would sell.

    But to continually suggest that the entire dealer network would fall apart if the Laser sail was cheaper is making a mountain out of a mole-hill. This comes back to deeper issues such as business practices at the OEM level and their parts distribution network. It also ultimately comes back to marketing.

    If the OEM's want to sell more boats then the answer is simple - do more marketing. Stop basing so much of your business model on parts profit and start spreading the news.

    I've never seen a Laser ad or promotion outside the sailing world. That's where the marketing should take place. There's a LOT more ways for the OEM to make more money by increasing sales (as opposed to sails) :D:eek::)

    The fact of the matter is this - ANY boat/marine store should be able to be an authorized Laser distributor just by agreeing to keep their catalog on hand in case anyone wants a part or a boat. That's the way it works in the auto industry and there's no point in re-inventing the wheel. The auto industry is decades ahead in this respect, copy it - don't try to create something new when there's an existing model that's several thousand times better! We don't need to re-invent the wheel - there are wheels all over the place and they are just lying there waiting to be picked up. :D

    In the auto industry the name of the game is to get a copy of your parts catalog into everyone's hand - whether it looks like they will order or not. That's how you build out your dealer network. You get everyone and their dog distributing your product - or, at least, giving them the ability such that you can walk into any parts store and order a part or even a new boat.

    I'd like to go deeper yet and suggest something that I think is very revelatory. As mentioned earlier, I don't race! This means that I have a pretty unique view on Lasers and Laser sailing that seems to go against the grain because everything here tends to be viewed from a strictly racing viewpoint.

    There is an enormous bias with respect to Lasers and racing. There's nothing inherently wrong with that other then that it comes at the cost of market expansion and Laser popularity. Why?

    I submit to you that the key to market penetration and to building the 1,000,000th Laser is to focus not on racing but just on the general fun and healthy aspects of Laser sailing.

    I covered a great deal of that in this post. I know it's long-winded (pardon the pun) but I cannot help but understand that the key to growing out the Laser fleet worldwide, and making it way more profitable for the OEM's lies in understanding, expanding, and getting across a lot of those points in that post to the general public.

    With 200,000 boats of market penetration, spread out over what? 30 years? when viewed demographically, that's abysmal to say the least.

    If the OEM's were stamping out boats left right and center (that being port, starboard and amidships :eek::D) there would be so much profit in the whole thing that making the sail cheaper would be a non-issue. The dealer network would be a non-issue. Laser would have, literally, thousands of dealers around the globe and they would be selling so many parts that they'd stock most all of them and make money on all of them. I'm talking about volume and I think we can all agree that the fleet needs to expand. Expansion is good. Expansion into the general public will only lead to more racers - if that's your thing. But it should not be the focus to the exclusion of the general public.

    If you can, if you have time, please read that post linked above. There's just enough Bravado in it to make it interesting but it represents an entirely different view then one based solely on racing.

    I firmly believe that the key to Laser growth will not be a de-emphasis on racing but a significant emphasis on the other aspects of the Laser coupled with marketing in the real world to non sailors. That's the untapped market and it's so big it makes the racing market look small by comparison.
     
  9. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    There are issue and there are issues, most take 30 seconds - 5 minute to fix, some involve the sailor purchasing new components or finding substitute equipment (usually spars). The few your here about are the ones that get the measurers in a flap and cause real issues.
     
  10. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    I need to re-read what Heini wrote but my recollection is that the issue he was trying to address was not the purchase of replica parts as a violation of the trade mark agreement but, rather, the cross territory sales that were occuring a few years ago. For example, some 4-5 years ago a container of boats from Australia was seized by Italian Customs agents at the direction of PSE as a violation of their trade mark agreement. This turns out to be a rather thorny issue and yet another example of something deserving its own thread.

    Its not really my intention to defend the builders marketing policies - for sure it would be great to be able to go back to the days when I could afford to buy a new sail for every major event. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to have as realistic discussion as possible about the costs involved in Laser sailing, including recognizing that we do pay a bit of a premium for the quality of racing that we get. Of course, we really don't know how the builders set the prices they charge, nor do we know how much is pure profit and how much they can realistically cut without having to make it up somewhere else.

    For example, its been put to me (from someone I believe has some understanding of what is going on) that the entire Laser pricing model is similar to the auto industry: undercut the price of the boat as much as possible to get as many boats out there as you can, then recover your margin by increasing the price for the parts. If that is the strategy, then maybe in this day and age their model is backwards?

    Similarly, on the dealer side, we would need a dealer to open up to explain their side of the business. If I were a dealer I'm not sure I'd want to be opening up on an interent forum... so I can only offer that most work really hard and, at best, seem to be operating on pretty thin margins. So what we might think of as a huge profit margin on something like a sail may not translate into much when taken in the context of their entire business.

    The solution everyone wants to point to is the internet but I'd say that works really only for items that can easily fit in a box and ship via FedEx/UPS and doesn't necessarily need to cross international borders. I'm not aware of this being a workable solution for buying the boat itself since, at least in the US, shipping costs are enormous for something as large and heavy as a boat over any reasonable distance. And the interim solution, if we assume the auto pricing model, of having dealers sell only boats and spars (say) and buy parts, including sails, direct off the internet, doesn't provide any (or much) incentive for the dealers.

    Anyway, in the short term I'm hoping we'll get a better standard sail and help make us feel a bit better about their price.
     
  11. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    For sure dealers sell more than just Lasers. But if they aren't making money with their Laser product line, what is their incentive to promote it?

    Also, at the bottom of this page is an LP ad (or at least when I clicked on the page).
     
  12. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Tracy, it is not an "annual" discussion, in reason it is a "continuing" story. :D
    I asked ("here" ) for the results of the negotiations (as far as there are permitted openly to tell infos here) that have been mentioned in the Laser World Magazine of Dec 2008. And you gave the answer:
    Thanks, I'll be patient and wait till the end of 2009.

    Tracy, with all respect to you, but in is not the full truth. I am not the attorney of South Amarican Laserites (they are clever enough to have their own good attorneys) but, I did got additional informations in that LP-managers did made an unacceptable offer about the future prize for a new Laser at South America. The Marketing Managers of LaserPerformance Ltd. (LP) are from "1st world" and only have the target to earn maximum profit for Devin Kelly (CEO of LP) and the shareholders of Garvel-Securities Industries (or better to say: the shy unknown and hidden real owners of LP Ltd., behind the curtains) he is liable to.
    At South America, the contrasts between some very-very rich people and the big 99% rest of very poor people there couldn't be bigger, but the LP managers not have been able to be aware to this inside of their concrete-heads. Paying nearly the same prize like f.e. George at Vancouver/Portland or Scott from Maine have (by license-contract to LP) to claim of their customers is definitely impossible to pay f.e. for a common medical doctor (working hard every day and night at f.e. a hospital) somewhere at Buneos Aires (or elsewhere at South America) and earning: translated only 500 US$ each month. ...

    To the otherside:
    1.: South American pro-Laserites often are in top10 positions of the ISAF world ranking list (examples: Scheidt, Romero, Alsogaray, Del_Solar and others)
    2.: The Laser at South America, in non-profesional sailing, is a very-very important medium/vehilce in the honorable work to bring poor young fallen inhabitant, living in "Farvelas", away from drugs and crime.

    LP Managers just don't care about this important social aspects, but for their profit-target only, their boss Devin Kelly did give them as the minimum limit, is my own opinion.

    So, the best solution to keep the prize for a Laser low again is: to build her in future again somewhere in South America.

    In this affairs about South America "our" International Class President, Heini Wellman, really did cut a bad figure in that negotiations, all I did hear about. In reaction he was kidded in a TLF-thead and the editor of ths did apologize himself later openly for this kiddings about Heini and Jeff M. For his incompetence way Mr. Wellman did handle the complete South American affair (and in my opinion: also his stupid "secret" interfering into our national Laser class politics in 2008 at GER), I would like to imaginary cast him into our tiny lake from one of our small harbor landig stages ... if he would be here, where I live. But, his luck is, he isn't here and from my side, promised, sure we both never meet in our live.

    However:
    At GER we already successful vote "with our foots and our small wallets and our internet-accounts" against the prizing/marketing-strategy of LP and LP's reaction to this was: Here at GER (and the nations in our neighborhood) the former prize for a folded Hyde Standard (no additional sailbattens, no sailnumbers) was officially 575,- Euro (846 US$). In early 2009 the prize rised down to about officially now 419,- Euro (616 US$) in reason not much such sails have been sold here till the end of 2008, is the hearsay. Its a good sign for a better future. I hope the prize for the kit of the new blocks do in future rise down, too. They are definitely to expensive here (146 US$ / 99 Euro) and several of GER Laserites go and buy them outside of Europe in the moment.


    Beside of this:
    Tracy, if the Masters Worlds ever happen at "Rio De La Plata" (Buenos Aires or Montevideo) we both will be "dr Loser"s best guests, together we drink some delicious cups of hot mate-tea and sure race against each other there, probably in the same fleet.

    Cheers and
    Have Fun

    Lu
     
  13. Zoophyte

    Zoophyte New Member

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    Not withstanding your infinite knowledge of everything, you sure talk a lot (3,700 words in this thread alone and counting…) for a guy that has no interest in Laser racing and has already purchased an Intensity sail.

    Or perhaps he has shares in the aforementioned company ;)
     
  14. marvin-miller

    marvin-miller Arrrr...

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    I was wondering when I was going to catch it for all three of those things :D I knew my time was running out :eek:

    Seriously, I have no interest in Intensity other then using them as an example. In my mind it would be nice to see them rewarded for their efforts instead of being punished but that's only based on a sense of gratitude towards them for addressing a problem in the market and solving it by making a good cheap sail that's even better then OEM. In my books, that's a big thing and a wonderful service to provide.

    With respect to Lasers and Laser sailing, it just seems to me that you guys make a really big issue out of really small problems - problems that aren't really that hard to solve.

    I'm sorry, I just can't help myself...

    If the legislating body woke up one morning and decided that everyone had to use an Intensity sail it would mean three things;

    1) Everyone would be saving $400 every time they bought a sail
    2) Everyone would have the same sail
    3) There would be no need for measuring.

    Problem solved.
     
  15. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    My $50 sail thought was totally a thinking outside the box consideration.


    if we had a source of $50 rags for lasers and those rags were sturdy enough to make it through a few regattas or a season, , we could simply require their use for sanctioned races and everybody would be ahead....

    Including the builders as laser builders would have a new boom of sales in sails and boats.

    I think there is technology available to build a BETTER laser sail for $50.

    But I can't prove it.
    \Note: I am talking about sails that would be produced for $10...like those tents referenced above.

    maybe my target is a bit low. Perhaps $25 factory door, and a $100 sales price is more reasonable.


    Mostly, I wish we would do a decent job of promoting our game so Walmart would be able to stock our boats for $999 and dollies for $30.
     
  16. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    One common feeling throughout these discussions is that people like the strict one design and would prefer use a Laser legal sail but either can't/wont afford one and even if they can/will afford one many feel a bit ripped-off.

    Why has this situation arisen and why are the Class Association only now looking into alternatives. In business your regularly look at Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats and any such analysis would have identified the sail issues ages ago.

    Maybe somebody in the Class Association sould have been able to foresee problems when the sail cloth used became non-standard production. Maybe somebody in the Class Association should have listened to alarm bells when the 3rd party product started becoming available. Maybe ...

    But why did the Class Association allow the situation get to this stage. It is not as though a change happened and the sail price rocketed and sail longevity collapsed suddenly. Seems what happened is that the 3rd party offerings pointed out to everybody that longer lasting sails could be obtained at far lower cost.

    What seems disappointing is how slow the Class Association has been in reacting and starting to investigate alternatives. I appreciate that changes in ILCA are slow (probably good in some regards) but also appears that reactions have been slow.

    Maybe those responsible for instigating investigations should answer about why they have been so slow to react and thus allowed the situation to have such an impact (i.e. with 3rd party sails becoming widely accepted for club racing and becoming so common). But from what I have seen of the Class Association those responsible for that will feel no "urge" to justify any inaction on their part. So maybe class members should start asking them - after all seems to me they act on the behalf of the membership and should be accountable to the membership. Maybe they have been investigating alternative sails for the last 10 years, maybe not - I have no idea but given the apparent disappointment in the class maybe those responsible should be a bit more vocal. As I understand thing they are elected officials and should answer questions (I appreciate that organisations are not always swamped with people volunteering, etc. but at this point we go very off topic into how workloads are organised in the Class Association, etc. what the workload in investigating alternative sail designs is, if non committee members can be asked to help with specific investigations, etc.).

    And then we come to the business aspect. True that the Laser is exceptionally successful and one can say that "they" must have got something "right". But people change, priorities change, situations change and often you cannot just keep doing what you did 10 years ago because it worked then. Maybe the individuals who "got it right" have recently retired and we now have some banker running things - is everybody still so confidant about the future ?

    Ian
     
  17. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Ian, with due respect, you need to reread the first post in this thread, from Lainie Pardey the former ILCA-NA Vice Chairman, in particular:

    That was only about 6-7 years from the introduction of the current standard sail!

    Mason Pepper, former Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Region championed this continually until he retired in 2004, after which it has been taken up by the TMC. Finally the builders are also onboard, I think really because both LP and PSA are under new leadership and they believe the time is right for the Standard sail to evolve to the next level.

    But also realize that they are selling far more Radial rigged boats than Standards now so this isn't necessarily their highest priority, hence the rather slow pace of progress.
     
  18. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Thing is, why has it taken so long to make no progress (i.e. nothing has changed). I appreciate that things move slowly and that this can help in a strict one-design. However, is things were happening in 1999-2000 and we still have no improved sail. If people had recognised the problem then why has nothing been achieved in 10 years.

    Maybe one issue you have identified is that of the builders priorities. People regularly say that "people" must be getting things right for the class as it is so successful. However, priorities change and from what you say is appears the priorities of the builders have changed. Thus, can we trust them to progress the class appropriately. Maybe they are more interested in Radials so will let the Std just "fade wherever" - which says that the future of the class is in the hands of the builders priorities and maybe we are fortunate their priority switched to the Radial rather than e.g.the Vago (because maybe there is more profit/potential there or somewhere else ... - who knows).

    I tend to think the current situation with widespread use of 3rd party sails being used for racing is a complete and avoidable mess that is not helping the class. A solution is not that difficult - but it a solution will not happen on its own. Thus people somewhere have to do something about it. It seems that they are now but I suppose my question is why so late. Maybe a side issue but whoever should have been sorting it but was not needs sorting themselves. If it was the builders job and they could not be bothered then get them to hand responsibility over to somebody that can be bothered. If they (or whoever) don't want to do anything and don't want to let anybody else do anything then it does not send encouraging signals for the long term future of the class.

    (I'm not trying to get at anybody here - just my attitude has always been that if something is wrong/not working properly they you get on and sort it).

    Ian
     
  19. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Perspective changes when you get really really old. Guys who are old farts think ten years isn't all that long.

    Guys who are currently seniors in high school are amazed that anything could take ten years.

    If the ancient sailors who run our game could comprehend how their old age and patience is directly responsible for driving enthusiasm and excitement from the game, they would be eager to find replacements who could take our game into the 20teens.

    Five years ago I was campaigning for Ross for VP. Now he is way too old for the job.

    Think about this. Our yougest US president ever, John F Kennedy said we were going to put a man on the moon and it didn't take ten years to do it.

    George Bush said, "We will be back on the moon by 2020," and most folks think we won't make it.

    The NA Pres and VP have settled down and got married since they took office. ( NO!! Not to each other)

    Any teenager can tell you old married guys are useless and lazy and totally uncreative.

    The only way to keep any dream alive is to pass it to the next generation.

    When Laser sails came out Mary Travers was recording hit tunes.

    If your grandparents have Peter Paul and Mary Albums bought in high school, you are qualified to be a Class officer.

    Class officers for the Laser class should be able to wear Speedos or Bikinis without making small children cry and teenagers barf..

    There is a huge difference between "These sails have been good enough for the last thirty years." and "These stupid old stone age rags totally suck."

    Before any of you class geezer officers says the sails are OK again, Try getting out your old baseball mitt and showing it to a kid who is currently playing ball...

    Your idea of modern equipment is to today's kids as our idea of modern equipment was to Lou Gehrig's mitt.

    Ten years before I first sailed a Laser I had a Pram with a COTTON sail.

    Forty years after that, my Laser sail is about as bad as it was in 1969...just a tad thicker but it wears out just as fast.

    I will be 67 in just over ten years..

    Ten years is forever!!!
     
  20. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    I would beg to differ. In the UK I think LP have seen a significant drop off in the volumes of new sails (all sizes) that they are selling and it is finally starting to hit them where it hurts (in the bank balance).

    Now they are doing something about it but only because they are not making the money they were before.

    I am not sure what would happen if a group of you went to Vanguard (or whoever the current builder is over in the US, it seems to change names every 5 minutes) and asked for a volume discount. Over here LP are offering huge discounts for what is a small amount of work for people. They are still not addressing the longievity issue (in the short term, I know there are new designs floating around) but they are at least trying to address the price issue....

    Perhaps what the class really needs is for IT to become the main driving force behind the rules and not the builder (or for at least a more co-operative approach from the builder). The class would need to get the rights holders on board though (not even sure if this would be possible).

    Until that major (and unlikely) change happens we are stuck with the status quo and we have to push as a class to let the builder know what we want and that we will do things they don't like such as buy replica sails if they are not prepared to do anything.
     

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