New sail design

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by 49208, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    This thread is meant to stimulate some thinking - What if the class decided to change the sail design/cloth to fix the current sail's issues. (loose leech, inconsistant sails, short competitive life span are just a few)

    Would you be in favor of such a change ?
     
  2. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Surely "inconsistant sails" is a quality control problem, not a design problem. Maybe we need a letter writing campaign?

    Is the Laser sail's life span shorter than other classes? People at my club who sail Thistles and Interlakes buy new sails every year for racing.

    That brings us to loose leech, which I haven't noticed on my sail (quality control?). But conceding that I just haven't noticed that with my sailing inexperience, are there good reasons to have a loose leech, or is it all bad?

    Merrily
     
  3. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    The inconsistant sails I'm talking about are not a quality control issue per se - it's caused by the cloth spec that is considered to be too broad. So while a one roll of cloth may fall within the specs that the class allows, it may produce a sail that doesn't resemble in terms of performance or durability, a sail made from another roll of cloth.

    As far as life span goes, it's not uncommon to see the serious guys in the class show up at major regattas with new sails. 5 regattas = 5 new sails..


    The loose leech generally shows itself after sailing in high winds for a regatta. It's all bad.


    So, if we have the chance to make a better sail that addresses these issues and others, should we ?
     
  4. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    I'm not sure you are asking the right question... of course we would all like a "better" sail. And "better" anything for that matter!

    What one should really ask, IMHO, is if, within the constraints of the existing boat (so we are not designing a new hull, new rig, etc.), whether there are realistic changes to the Laser sail that can be made which will result in a "better" sail (where I presume "better" mostly means "longer competitive lifetime"?).

    I think it was in 1999 that an attempt was made to make a "better" sail. I believe that what remains of this sail is still in Fred's possesion so he is in the best position to comment. As I recall, it had things like a leach cord, etc.

    This was before my time there, but I believe the WC was not convinced at the time that the cost/benefit ratio made it worth changing. Certainly I know that people continue to look at what can be done to make improvements in the existing sail without causing the price (that some already consider high) to get out of control.

    Tracy
     
  5. rock steady

    rock steady New Member

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    I like the current sail. My sail is about 5 seasons old and heavily used. I can still get three distinct shapes out of it for light, medium and heavy air. Sure I'd like a new sail, but I can still hang in there for boatspeed upwind. I only find leech shake in gusts above 18kts, and this is when I'm dumping main anyway.
     
  6. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    In New South Wales, Australia, one of the world's more competitive districts, a pair of brothers have won the national Youth title, the big-rig Open district (against that year's Open world champ), the big-rig Youths, the Radial Open (against a guy who was 4th at the Open Radial worlds), and the Radial Masters (against a 3 time world champ). The big rig sailor got selection for the worlds and got into the top 25.

    In all those championships (worlds apart) they have only used one sail each - one full sail, one radial sail. OK, it's not Olympic level but it's still shows you can beat world champs without changing sails. Just get one sail for training and club racing and another for championships.

    So it seems to me that the reason sails "don't last" is that people let them flap from the time they start rigging till they've finished changing and chatting, and then they let them flap between races. If you don't flog the sails, they seem to last well.

    People may change sails regularly, but some people will do anything for an edge, and compared to many other classes it's still cheap. My sail's had about a full year (mostly under the previous owner who wasn't all that gentle) and it can still beat most of the world Masters champions it races against, and give the other local world champ a hard fight.
     
  7. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Tracy mentioned a test sail I have.

    The new design sail I have been beating to death since 2000 is one of a few made by Dan Neri or at least under his supervision.
    This summer the sail was used by a 210 pound guy in our Wednesday night series. He is a pretty good sailor who had not sailed on small boats in 20 years. He was sailing on my 1980 fleet building loaner boat while he was searching for a new boat for himself.
    The leech cord is set to the fully released position and it still does some magic. The old boat, even with a big guy on it, points better in light air than any other Laser in the fleet. In fact, when the guy bought his newer boat and he started using a newer but Classs Legal sail, he dropped well back from those front of the pack weather mark roundings he had been enjoying on the loaner boat.

    The leech cord sail has not been out in a blow in a year or two. it is probably time to try it and see if it is still impossible to depower and therefore much slower than a regular sail.

    Dan also made at least three other full rig sails. I do not know where they went.

    Also, I think but don't really know, one Radial sail from that bunch was the same basic design and worked like the new Radial sail which is currently being sold.

    other stuff.

    the cloth in the test sail I have is the exact same stuff and cust the exact same as the standard Laser sail North has been building. The only differences were:
    the leech cord.
    The toop of the sleeve was tapered. I think the taper was a bad idea and discussed that taper both in the newsletter and on the old Laser email list a long time ago. Suffice it to say, it not only removes sail area up high it makes the sleeve too small for insertion oif the lower section all the way to the top. If you bust your top section with the tapered sleeve you cannot sail home with the stub.
    the corners were reinforced with round parttches instead of square patches. I think the wrinkles in the stress patterns are slightly different but I cannot comment on bettter or worse.

    Also..By the time I got the sail it had been sailoed hard by others. I cannot make "Brand new" comments about the sail.
     
  8. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    I apoligize for making consecutive comments.

    For a period during the 1980s Haarstick was making the Laser sails in the US. The sails were slightly smaller than the North Sails and made of a material which I BELIEVE was quite diferent.
    The material I THINK was softer but had more noticeable thread. I THINK the sail had more structure and less coating.
    The Harrsticks SEEMED to have a better life span. I use each of my first two for two years and finished at the very front of a major regatta with each sail at the end of its second year.
    I broke out my third brand new Haarstick at a regatta where there were brand new Norths and got my butt kicked.
    I bought a North, resumed my usual position in the fleet and have been buying two or three new sails every year since.

    I sure would love to involve someone who is not financially rewarded by the sale of replacement sails in the design and regulation of the production of new sails.

    On the other hand, if our builders lose the cash flow and profits replacement sails currently provide, and we want the builders to continue to provide us with excellent new boats and warranty service, they have to make a profit somewhere.

    What do you want to pay for?
     
  9. HECS

    HECS New Member

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    "On the other hand, if our builders lose the cash flow and profits replacement sails currently provide, and we want the builders to continue to provide us with excellent new boats and warranty service, they have to make a profit somewhere."

    It's an excellent point. The more profit the manufacturers and designers make from existing Lasers, the less incentive they have to try to bring out new products or make the existing boats less durable.

    You see what happens in the cat and yacht one design classes where you get big builders who don't sell the sails. They promote a class for a few years, then when the sales start to slow they keep the hull production lines going by introducing a new boat that cannibalises sailors out of the old class and turns the old boats into worthless potplant holders.

    The Laser way seems far superior. Just my 0 cent's worth.
     
  10. WestCoast

    WestCoast New Member

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    Sails are one of the few ways we can make a good reliable profit for Laser parts.

    That lets us go out and support the Laser class even more, so while obviously biased in some ways, it is a sort of symbiosis.
     
  11. IntensitySails

    IntensitySails Member

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    The problem is bigger than all of this let's on. The sail cloth is not as standard as in the past so it does not get made in the volumes that it used to be made. Thus the increase in price. Alot of what makes a Laser sail a laser sail is in the finishing of the cloth. This is not the perfect and consistent process many would like it to be.
    The old adage was that the best cloth went to Finn Sails then to Lasers and if it would not pass muster for Lasers it was Sunfish cloth.

    The other issue is that the sail and the soft cloth used are pretty well matched to the spars we use. So if we were to say make a 3DL sail it would not behave like a Laser Sail on the Spars. I agree that a longer lasting sail and a lower cost sail would be great for the class and even for the suppliers. More people may consider replacing their sails if they were not $480!!!
     
  12. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Good point. Remember when the Finn's went to Mylar sails? They sort of did that to match the carbon masts which were built to the specific weight and sailing style of the sailor using the spar. Those spars are also like $4,000.00! Hey, how wrong can things be when we have over 180,000 boats built? I piss and moan about sail cost all the time, but when considering the alternatives out there we still have one of the most cost effective sailing gigs in town.
     
  13. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    It took a while for the sailmakers to figure out how to design a sail for a bendy rig out of low stretch material (dacron/mylar and now kevlar/mylar). It's wasn't really the introduction of the Finn carbon mast that made it possible, but that did make the higher cost of the sail easier to swallow along with the demand for a higher tech sail to go with their high tech, big buck mast. The low stretch sails works just fine on the older alum. Needlespar masts now that the sailmakers have learned what works and what doesn't.

    One of the reasons for bringing this up now is that the current designed sail may not work that well with the carbon/glass upper (Murphs has seen the combo and commented on it in another thread) .

    Yes, I know that upper is only making it's way into the radials in the near future, but it's hard for me to believe that the full rigs will not adopt it after that. So, yes, part of my original question was based on that and the idea that the sail may need to be redesigned to work with the new upper.

    So far based on the responses though, it seems the majority are satisfied with the existing sail.

    Things that make you go hmmm.
     
  14. fishingmickey

    fishingmickey Member

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    Hello All,
    Here's some of thoughts I have about the Laser sail... I'd like to see a better made sail come out, either upgraded cloth/material or process to make the cloth used in construction. One of the reasons for the cost of a Laser sail being high. Is the specifications the sailmakers have to follow. I can't quote them verbatim but I do recall reading that they have to be stacked (a certain number at a time) and hand cut. Which is definately an out of date method of production and slow.
    Gouvernail mentioned in his earlier post that they had tried a sail out that had a leech rope? He mentioned that this sail pointed much better then the standard sail even after much "thrashing" by other testers. I'm sure this probably doesn't amount to a hill of beans when going up against some of the rock stars that can tell which way a shift is going to be before it gets there and superb tactics.
    But not updating process methods and construction methods will make the Laser an out of date boat that will not encourage new entries into the class. I feel they will opt for higher performance boats that are built to last longer and perform better.
    I'm very glad to see the new carbon upper coming out and look forward hopefully in a 2-3 years of its use being approved for full rigs.
    Don't get me wrong the Laser is a great boat and a blast to sail. I will continue to sail it and encourage everyone to come sail and race.
    Sincerely,
    Fishingmickey
    150087/181157
     
  15. 663

    663 Member

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    Does the design the need to point higher or go faster? I would say no. I would say they need to have is more consistent cloth and a longer racing life.

    Wouldn’t everyone would like to have a sail with a longer racing life. Would that be possible without a significant price increase? Is it possible at all? Is the current price reasonable? (It seams a bit high to me, but that’s the price if you want them from only authorized builders)

    While the greige goods used by North Cloth are a more standard (3.8oz) material than the previous 3.2oz, however the finish is still specific for use in a Laser sail. That was the reason for the switch to the 3.8 cloth. The specific finish is what adds to the cost of the sails. If the class sail remains unlaminated Dacron, I would suggest the class mandate a smaller variance in the cloth spec’s of what’s allowed to be used vs. the current tolerances. It’s North Cloth’s financial benefit to be allowed to supply cloth with greater variances.

    From other One Designs that have allowed laminates, to my knowledge that has always increased the racing life of a sail. The other benefit of moving to a laminate would be more consistent cloth. The down side is a cost increase.

    A leech cord in the current and future designs would be nothing but positive. It would improve the life span and minimize variances in the taping of leach section.
     
  16. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Hi,
    Here are some photos of the actual problems of my several Hyde Sails.
    I want to express/add in details, with my own small possibilities, what at the beginning of this threat already has been discussed.

    The first 3 Photo is one of my 171XXX Sail. It has been used one season. There you can see (in the circle) that the seam begins to failure. It is the batten pocket in the meddle of the Sail.
    The next Sail is a Hyde from 2001, that has the same failure (in advanced level), but at the lowest batten pocket. This sail has been used for less than 20 times in all.

    My newest Sail is a rolled Hyde that is from 2004.
    The first photo (1-2004-Hyde) shows a big (closed-)loop of the yarn-thread at the seam upon the window. Such Sail, that here at the German Laserstores costs about 620 Euro (about 690 US-$), should not have such mistakes.

    The next Photo (2-2004-Hyde) shows the result of "the ability of stretch" of the cloth of the 2004-Hyde. The sail will in future get failures at the sharp edges of the goosneck-juction, I think. Or with other words: the Luff-Sleeve is to long [it has been measured and sailed at Kiel-Week 2004 (and only there until now) in the professional fleet]. The sail has been sailed less than 15 times.

    The next photo (3-2004-Hyde) has a beginning failure of the seam at the top. The photo (4-2004-Hyde) shows the same failure, but from the other side of the sail.

    The leech flutter problems can be divined by the photo "Sail-2001- Hyde-in-use" Oct-2005


    This all shows to me, that the builders, and the class mayput more attention to what Hyde is delivering to us all. Especially, if you see what the price is here in Europe. In no other class in that I have sailed competitive several years ago, I have seen such failures at the so called "high quality sails".
    I mean, the Sails are not bad, but the final control, before the sail is delivered to the builders, does not work very efficient, I also say. And for the stretching I can say, that the cloth of our days is maybe a bit to much, the 2001-cloth was/is better in that point of view.

    The sail in general has a high quality stich, I learnt from our sailmakers and compared to the Haarstick Sails, the cloth is by far better (I have 3 other Sails from Haarstick and so, I know what I'm talking about). But the class would be well consulted to speak some hard words (behind the curtains, of course) with Hyde, for that this sailmaker in future pays much more attention to his quality-control in Malaysia.

    Ciao
    LooserLu
    P.S.: this all above do not mean, in future I won't buy a new Hyde. You should know, that the "St. Nicholas" yesterday via email told me, that my new 4.7-Hyde, that I go to donate to my club for the youngsters, is already in delivering and will reach me next week. :)
     

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  17. Cenutrio

    Cenutrio New Member

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    My input on the subject.

    I'm back sailing Lasers in Spain after a 8 year period in the States. I bought some sails (North, ~$480) and some more stuff before returning home.

    Ok, a Hyde sail here in Spain costs ~€700 which is outrageous. Even more when I compare it to the cost of, for example, a Ullman (Zoccoli , Italy)Tornado mainsail which costs around €1500. This is around 25 square meters of fine cloth, multi-panel/radial design. I'm not including here the development costs of producing literally hundred of sails to reach this prototype which by the way won the World's and European's this year.

    My point. I have no problem (to same degree) with Laser parts being poorly manufactured (it is a 35 year old design, I'm ok with it), I have a big concern about quality control (that stuff may be old tech, but I would love no differences in the batches). So, we have a fair one design. Finally, Laser parts should be much, much cheaper. I really think that based on technology, manufacturing process, quality controls and so on, the Laser has become the most expensive olympic boat.

    Another example, I need a new rudder. My brother will buy it for me at Miami (he is racing the Miami olympic week). The cost ~$235 of a rudder that will probably be a bit bended. For that price, I can buy a Marstom tornado rudder amazingly made (not just manufacturing but designing too) that may last a decade of competitive racing.

    Of course, you have to buy them in pairs but I think I was clear.

    A fully loaded laser costs in Spain €7,000....

    I can buy my brother a second hand Tornado fully equipped (last's year 4th in the worlds) with plenty of sails, carbon fiber mast, and lots of everything for €9,000...very depressing.

    I won't start on the top mast section issue...I have bended 2 in the last 3 months.
     
  18. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Centurio,
    if you are in Spain, maybe you have the chance to get your sails from Italy. I have seen (at "www"), that a folded Hyde at "Laser-Direct" in ~Milano online costs about 488 Euro (without costs for delivering).

    Spain and France are on top of the ranking regarding to the level of the prices of Laserparts. Maybe some things for your Laser you "can order" at GB (Ebay.co.uk -> Sporting Goods -> Watersports -> Search there for the word "Laser").

    Its only my personal (unproved) affirmation, but I'm the opinion that one of the main reasons for the high-level-price of Laser sails is, that they are made like in the last millenium. That they are hand made is not a disadvantage, but I guess, there are many (to many) steps to do to produce a peace of Dracon 3.8oz exact in the way the Laser-Builders-Manual demands it. Although it is hand made (the cut is done by a digital cutting machine) by "slaves" from North at the poor island Sri Lanka (and the same for Hyde: Phillipines), there seems to be no qualified sailmaker, that has a heavy hand for bad produced sails at their Saillofts. ;(( "Maybe we do a donation for the boss of North-Sails/Sri Lanka or Hyde-Sails/Phillipines for that they get some new whips to teach their quality-controlers there" ;((
    Another point of view is, that the builders have a sort of politic, that in contries where the standard of living is high (all earn enough money, like in SUI - so, it is expensive in all to live there) the price of Laserparts is high and to the opposite (there, where people are poor, the Laserparts are cheaper to get). The last also is only my personal (unproved) affirmation.
    If the cloth of the Lasersail is changed to a textile of the 21th century and that cloth is glued/sewn togehter in a modern-economic way and in reason of a need, a change of the aluminum mast to a full carbon/fibreglass-mast for the standard-Laser has to be done, what will we get?
    I say: We get something, that already exsits: The Byte / Mega-Byte dinghies from Ian Bruce. Do we need a change of the Laser to a sort of Byte (nothing against that Byte-dinghy, its a fine boat, for young sailors that do not have much weight and the Mega Byte for the Masters with some kilos more at the stomach)?
    Maybe gouvernail can make a poll to that ;) Meanwhile - I enjoy Lasersailing.

    Cheers
    LooserLu
     
  19. Cenutrio

    Cenutrio New Member

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    Thanks for the info LooserLu,
    I've been googling and couldn't find, so far, the italian web site. Can you help and give me some more feedback?

    I agree with most of your statements. Also, I enjoy Laser sailing. It is not just the boat but the fleet too which is extremely competitive. You can go anywhere and you'll find people racing them. This is a blest and gives you a kind of global feeling.

    However, I still think is overpriced. You mentioned some good facts that may induce such prices, However I really think that manufacturer, importers and so on, are just cashing an outrageous amount of money from a very loyal crowd of laser enthusiasts in Love with Kirby's design. Their margins are unheard of.

    Cheers

    Cenutrio
    151396
     
  20. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    Hi 'Centurio'
    This link brings you to the Laser store I mentioned:

    http://www.lasersailing.it

    There, go to the link
    "Ricambi"

    in the new window go to
    "Laser" and there to "vele"

    On the table to the right you find with No."1402" the price for the Standard-Hyde-Sail (including bag, but excluding shipping costs). I don't know, if the prices there are actual or old. Maybe some one other can say something to this. I know, we have Laserites from Italy at TLF. Maybe they have more information. In GER a Hyde (folded) costs 575 Euro, excluding a bag and schipping costs.
    You find the adress of the Laser Center Italy if you scroll down at the lasersailing.it Homepage:
    Laser Centre Italia - la Negri nautica srl, Viale Longarone, 45 - 20080 Zibido San Giacomo (MI)
    tel +39 0290002661-2 fax +390290002234

    Ciao
    LooserLu
     

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