New standard sail

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by TonyB, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. northwind

    northwind New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It would be interesting to see what people would come up with if there were an 'Open' Laser class where the hull shape and spar length could not be changed but any thing else could. I remember seeing a video once where a guy had some sort of hoop shaped foil instead of a centre board. Full batten, square top sail on a Laser...sounds cool. How about a trapeze?
    Some people want to race level and that's great. The one design class model is important to be sure. So long, of course, that the class makes sure the components are of superior quality and are affordable. Heck, even good value for the money would be nice.
    But some people like to tinker and go super fast. This can be cool too.
     
  2. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    The current problem is that the Intensity et al sails are not made from material that meets the current class specs, the form as a result is altered. The batten pockets on the radial are different from the Laser Radial sail. As for shape, I haven't overlayed one yet, but I doubt the sail dimensions are the same because of the increased stiffness of the cloth would result in a luff that does not match the bend characteristics of the mast sections, as a result intensity are likely to have altered the sail shape to match the mast shape and cloth characteristics. The supplied battens are different to the class legal battens etc.

    So it's really a case of how different do you permit the sails to be for them to still be considered replicas to compete in this particular regatta? Who decides what will be accepted, particularly as you've stated in the NOR that non class sails are permitted.

    I also suspect that having stated that non class legal sais are permitted, you open yourself up to restrictive trade practices and hence legal action by refusing entries from say competitors with Rooster replica sails.
     
  3. sorosz

    sorosz Member

    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    We just finished the Finn Gold Cup at my marina (Plug: site for the 2011 4.7 & Masters Worlds!) and they had two and a half days of measurement for their boats!

    The measurement was pretty elaborate and complicated too, involving not just the lenghth and breadth on mast and hull but the weight and balance points too. The sails also required measurement. It took lots of volunteers to set up and get everyone through the process (and there were only 90-some entries for their world championships). Observing this sure made me glad that we don't have to do that with the Lasers. Oh and don't even mention the costs of their gear - the mast alone is half a new Laser's cost.

    So my thinking is: be careful what we ask for. A "better" sail is a great idea but going down the slippery slope of opening up the sails to different manufacturers would make for some significant changes in how we do things.
     
  4. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Here is a perfect example of scare tactics. Nobody rational is suggesting the market should be opened to all sailmakers to build one at a time specialty sails. The suggestion has been to have the class APPROVE A SUPPLIER OTHER THAN THE BUILDERS.
    The one supplier's product would be easy to identify and just as easy to measure as the current sails.

    Look. Find usual sail. Smile. Go sailing.

    Fact is, the approval of a properly priced high quality durable alternative would remove the incentive to bring cheater sails.

     
  5. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    So why should those of us outside North America be forced to import (roughly $US40 or if the supplier was in the UK about $US80) a sail from the North America, where we could get our own Chinese replica sail sail cheaper from a local "sail maker". I'm sure New Zealand would want their own, as would the UK, Germany etc. So you'll find that their are suddenly need to be 40 or 50 "approved" suppliers.

    Note: Those are real prices for what it cost currently to import a laser sail from overseas to Australia. It is still cheaper than official sails supplied by our own dealers network and builder. Our current North & Hyde sails sails cost repectively $US780 and $US870 and don't come with battens, tell tails or sail numbers as offered with many internet deals from North America.

    Why? If the sailing instructions don't forbid non approved sail, then people will look around for what advantage they can gain and if that means speciality sails, so be it. I actually find it amusing that you can them cheater sails, because I would include any unofficial laser sail in that description, it doesn't matter if Intensity or any other sail maker made them, they aren't class legal.
     
  6. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If somebody starts doing better with an "approved" knock-off then some others will start putting that down to the sail rather than ability. Then rumours will start about better performance and other will go out and buy one because then believe it improved their performance, etc., etc. and the Laser is no longer what I think of as a strict one design.

    Then the rumours might start about the new sail being faster under particular conditions so people would start needing both sails so they can chose depending on the conditions on the day/race. Then those with less money start considering themselves at a disadvantage.

    Of course there are differences between different boats (age of sail, condition of hull, etc.) but these are difficult to eliminate given the technology employed. However, to introduce a different sail would be giving official approval to the end of the strict one design - one of the attributes that makes the class so popular.

    Of course when a new sail is eventually introduced (if ever) then the same will apply but that cannot be avoided and sails (new and old designs) do wear out so over time most will have switched to the new design. During the change over period same rumours will apply but this will be for a limited time.

    Hopefully the class will act at some point act on the sail and its pricing (though I think the UK retail price has dropped since a year ago) and then maybe there will be some clubs who will stop their "any sail" rule. Some clubs allow specific knock-offs but as that crack has been allowed people then sail with all sorts of different knock-off brands. I believe it is damaging the class and the cause is the failure of the class/builder to address what has been a very clear problem for a long time. They only have themselves to blame but it is hitting us all. I can only hope they pull their fingers out soon and I only hope the class can recover from the damage they have done.

    Ian
     
  7. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Remember what happened with the new radial sail years ago. Some hoarded the old design and many moved onto the new one. If the new sail was the only thing you could get people switched over to the new one so they didn't have to waste their time. It was a completely different design and a new way to tune. I have a feeling we will have tune the new full rig sail differently anyway so people won't fight the switch because they will want to use the new sail if they want to race so they don't need to remember two types of tuning. Those who club race or cruise won't care because they should be as fast as everyone else.

    I don't see the issue. Once that old radial sail hit the market and that was all you can get I didn't see an outcry on people not thinking it wasn't still a one design fleet. You don't see many of those old Mark V sails anyway, it moved through the fleet and that's what we have. It will be the same thing with the new full rig sail. People will get a new one when they want to and move on.
     
  8. northwind

    northwind New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It seems to me that until the current approved manufacturer is forced by the class to make a durable, high quality, and reasonably priced sail, this discussion will never end. I don't understand how one of the biggest one design classes can sit back and take it for so long. Everyone knows a good sail can be made for less, so what's the problem? People, take action!
     
  9. northwind

    northwind New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Interesting to note: The Tasar class has moved to mylar sails and there doesn't seem to be near the outcry about it.
    Also, the Hobie 16 class years ago allowed a combination mylar/darcon sail and no one cried fould there either. There was also little complaint about the cost of either type of Hobie sail construction, and the quality was very good. We raced new against very old and had a great time of it.
    Keep in mind the no mater the condition or cut of the sails, unless you are competing at the highest international level, the biggest impact on performance is the individual's skill level. That's what One design is all about.
    Sail hard, sail smart, get results!
     
  10. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Other classes which are one design have also managed therse changes very well.

    The Blaze class went from a fully battened 10.2 sqm sail to a 9.75 sqm sail in the year 2000.

    Sure there was short term pain while people made the changes (they needed a new sail and a few easy mods to the boat using the exisiting spars).

    This is what the class needs to take, short term pain for long term gain. Although as the Laser is an international class and has Olympic status there are hoops that have to jumped through.....
     
  11. Der_Dude

    Der_Dude Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    You give the impression of somebody willfully misinterpreting and spinning other people's statements in order to discredit their opinion. What Gouvernail said and what many here are saying is perfectly reasonable and not at all what you make of it. It's not about allowing one sailmaker for each country, not about changing the class rules to define specs only and allowing any sailmaker or anything the like. It's only about one slightly different dacron design - nobody here suggested kevlar or mylar or the like - with a decent quality for a reasonable price by one or a few class approved sail makers. That's all. No need to paint it black and predict the end of the Laser class as we know it. The new control lines might prove to be a greater perfomance boost than the new sail design.

    I can't see why we would need more time and effort for measuring boats than we need presently either. LP would simply have to buy a different sail, maybe from different sail makers than the present suppliers. Or, if LP cannot meet the needs of the class, we could buy directly from one sail maker who would guarantee sustained and equal quality.

    Most of us worldwide would probably have to pay something for shipping - just like we are paying for shipping and other distribution costs right now when buying a class legal sail from LP and it's affiliates. Those costs are included in the price of very many consumer goods presently. You pay for shipping costs when you buy pretty much any T-shirt, sock or tie worldwide. Most consumer products are made in Asia, India or Central America.

    If Intensity can make a profit by making a similar and more durable sail that sells for 200 Dollars roughly, plus extras, there's a lot one can afford to pay for shipping until you reach even half of the price of the current official sail.
     
  12. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Here's the thing though, if you make intensity an official sail maker, they then have to join the supply chain. LP buys the sail, sells to dealers and then to us. The cost of the sail goes up to where it is now because of the supply chain.

    We don't know how much a sail costs LP when they buy from the sailmaker so for all we know, that sail sold to LP could cost as much as Intensity sells their sail for to us.
     
  13. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

    Likes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I don't think I'm misrepresenting Gouvernail's comments. I think you are just misunderstanding what I've said, so I'll repeat in a different manner.

    I do not see why if we're opening up the sail market, why one company should be given a monopoly to supply "replica" sails, particularly as they are not the manufacturer and do not have a supply chain outside North America. There are already it seems at least 10 different suppliers of replica sails and more suppliers are likely if there is any official or unofficial opening up of the sail market.

    Setting up a distribution network and getting sails manufactured in China and other countries is pretty simple. There is no reason why anyone in any country can't do it. If this was to occur, then companies like Intensity would be likely to be unable to compete with local suppliers, who can ship locally for free, compared to costs of shipping internationally, this is partially why Rooster have offices in Australia and New Zealand who distribute Rooster Products.

    Most people realise that these sails are being manufactured in China and not by the companies supplying them. There is nothing that prevents the Chinese directly supplying these sails over the internet and cutting Intensity, APC, Rooster, i Sails, Insails, Bitz, MSB, Dynamic Sails et al out of the market, supplying sails for probably for significantly less than the existing companies are charging.

    So what happens when you get to a regatta and there are 20 or 50 different replica sails, most from brands you've never seen or heard of? Either you have to measure them or force people to use only replica sails from brands you recognise.
     
  14. TonyB

    TonyB Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Spot on. Replica sails are cheaper largely because their makers are not constrained in the same way the official sailmakers are. It's naive to think that Intensity or any other replica sailmaker could sell their sails anywhere near as cheaply if they were brought into the official fold.
     
  15. 663

    663 Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Why do we need to have LP in the supply chain? Each person in the chain is the cause for the price difference between the class sail and the non class sails. Why do you think North moved it's One Design production to Sri Lanka?
     
  16. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    That's the way the Laser class distribution works, you cannot buy sails directly, they come from LP. They won't remove themselves out of the supply chain. The builder owns the design of the Laser and license others to make certain parts for them including sails. Because of that, they make money on every Laser Specific part made.
     
  17. 663

    663 Member

    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Change the rule to: "The builder-supplied (o-rings) Sail
    may be substituted with non builder-supplied alternatives from supplier X and Y provided the basic function of the (bailer) Sail is unchanged.

    Vote on that...
     
  18. Deimos

    Deimos Member

    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    One question: Who holds the design for the sails ? Because if somebody was to OK a 3rd party that party would presumably need the true sail designs to manufacture from. The specs for an approved sail could hardly be based on "we purchased a few class legal sails and copied them". So there would need to be specifications and tolerances, etc. and then there would need to be somebody doing some sort of QA/compliance checks (on some sort of sample - checking against the design). So this is all additional costs and who would pay for that.

    I wonder how LP would feel about releasing the designs so a 3rd party could manufacture with them excluded from any margins.

    Ian
     
  19. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Notice how there is no section in the rules for the sail except where to apply numbers and such.

    That won't be put to a vote.
     
  20. Der_Dude

    Der_Dude Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    @AlanD:

    I am really surprised at how complicated you make it. It's really rather simple.

    Presently we have 2 manufacturers (North and Hyde), 1 wholesaler (LP) and hundreds of retailers worldwide (Your local store), for what LP says are close to identical sails (everyone knows they're not, there are differences between the North and and the Hydes and they cannot always get the exact same quality cloth over a period of 20 years and do not produce the exact same quality with every sail etc. but for the sake of this argument: let's forget about that for a moment).

    We do not like the product they are selling us. Too expensive for the value that we get, could be had a lot cheaper, somewhat cheaper at least, and surely in much improved quality, without significant performance gain or loss. Replicas have been around for some years now and I have heard exactly no one seriously claim they are better or worse.

    We, the Laser sailors, could, through ILCA, ask any manufacturer to do for us what LP and it's suppliers North and Hyde are currently doing. We could ask one or several companies. Several would make sense if we want to use competition to our advantage. But that does not mean we have to grant the right to supply our class legal sails to all manufacturers out there or for the existing designs, like the Intensity and Rooster replicas. We - ILCA - can chose the one that fits our demands.

    Therefore we - ILCA - could chose one or many worldwide suppliers. We - ILCA - could of course consider the economic situation of the company; we do not want them to go bankrupt on us. We could of course consider whether they seem capable suppliying sails to retailers worldwide in sufficient numbers. We could grant the right to supply our class legal sails under the condition that they sell them through retailers only because we want to support our local stores. We could tell them we want the sail sold with battens and numbers and a free snack or whatever.

    If we don not like the offers they make: turn them down. If the offer says they will only sell at vastly differing prices worldwide due to shipping, turn them down. We are a strict OD, want to stay that way, do not want significantly different efforts for competitive racing in different countries, we want to race with equal equipment. I think that is pretty much consenus in the class. I have heard no one ask for a development class or evening softening the strict OD principle. It's only about who will supply the sails. Not a boat named Laser, not the SMOD spars, SMOD foils etc.

    I have yet to hear one single convincing argument why we couldn't or shouldn't ask others to do better for us than LP is doing currently. We - the ILCA - need not accept the high price and bad quality that LP is offering. We can at least try and get something better than that.

    Maybe in the end the best offer will LP's, using another cloth. Who knows? If we don't ask, we will not get an answer.
     

Share This Page