New standard sail

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

  1. harraz

    harraz New Member

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    Simple question here...Does anyone know or have information, links, design plans, etc... of the new proposed Laser Standard sail?

    Thanks!
     
  2. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    There is some two year old info here - http://www.ilcana.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=479&Itemid=47

    The current prototype is different to what's in this article, but this gives an idea of where it's heading.

    What we know is that the new sail will be identical in overall dimensions to the current sail (it needs to be to comply with the measurement diagrams in the class by-laws), but with a different panel layout, better reinforcing, heavier cloth, and a larger window. Beyond that, there isn't any accurate information in the public domain. Just speculation. Rumour is it will probably be available within the next few months.
     
  3. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I’ll try to address Ian and Tony at the same time. I agree Tony, you're being too harsh and your criticising the wrong people anyway.

    I think there is a lot of confusion between the roles of the builder and the ILCA specifically the technical committee. From my understanding the builders essentially look after the hull specifications and the supply chain including the price. But changes in the specifications of boat fittings, spars, boards and the sails are largely controlled by the technical committee. Whilst few specifications would be made without the knowledge of the other group, they are independent of each other.

    I’ve mentioned this several times already, but my belief of why it’s taking so long to get the sail right is because the change is so big. Since the introduction of the 3.8oz standard sail, there have been one change in supplier (from memory as Hardstick(sp?) started making the 3.8oz sails), but there have been no design changes since 1985. On the other hand, the Radial sail which was introduced after the 1985, has had at least 6 design changes, plus the short lived M rig. Basically, the technical committee is busy updating something which is 25 years old and trying to give the new sail similar performance to the existing sail, for this reason, I suspect it’s a difficult task, far more than if the changes were only small like those of the various radial sail changes, where a small change isn’t really going to have a major impact if the technical committee gets it wrong. Hopefully this will be kept in mind, so that an update of the new sail arrives in 4 or 5 years, so that we’re never have to go through such a big and slow change again.

    Tony is correct. The builders are independent of each other, as are the other suppliers of equipment like sails. It takes time for them to agree to changes and from my understanding they only meet once a year at the Masters Worlds as does the Technical committee, but you’d assume there are a lot of emails and phone calls during the year.

    As for information, the ILCA will make an announcement when things are set in concrete. How many years have we been waiting for the carbon top section for the radial, I know they’ve been weeks away from going into production, only to have some new problem arise, where they’ve had to abandon the project and start again. A new sail is in the pipe lines, but it has to be right rather than announce it will arrive on a certain date, only to be delayed for another 6 months.

    In addition, the sail makers will need to have a large supply of them quickly as demand is going to be great. I believe the typical order for new sails from LP is in the order of 1000 so they get the volume discount. A thousand sails take longer to produce than just a week and I’d guess there is a demand worldwide well in excess of 3000 new sails. The new sails aren’t going to be announced until the estimated demand can be for filled.
     
  4. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    (I accept I may be being critical of the wrong people through my lack of knowledge of who decides what - so for "builders" read "whoever is responsible for the sail decision").

    Quite possibly being too critical - just it is very frustrating when each weekend you end up sailing against mostly non-Lasers because of this issue. Frustration is made worse by the fact that this is not something that has sprung-up from nowhere and caught everybody unawares. The builders have been aware of these issues for ages yet shown little sign of being proactive (maybe because of the profit they were making on poor sails ?).

    What makes everything more frustrating is the lack of information. Rumours suggest something is being done but different rumours suggest different things. Rumours have been around for ages so the earlier rumours were obviously not based on fact and so there is a suspicion that without categoric statements in a few years the current rumours will prove to have been baseless. Now there are rumours that even if the builders have something agreed and ready nothing will happen until after the 2012 Olympics. Lots and lots of rumours and total silence from the builders.

    At least if the builders said we are doing <whatever> and will have a solution on sale by <whenever> we could have some confidence.

    I purchased a Laser largely because of the strict one design yet end-up sailing against boats mostly breaking those rules "officially" because clubs think the builders offering is too expensive/poor quality. So my reasons for having a Laser seem to be invalid thanks to the builders inaction - hence my frustration.

    If we are to wait 4 or 5 years for a solution I will be selling my Laser this winter because in practice on the water it is no longer a strict one design. If I am going to sail a boat that allows such variations then I have a far more open choice (I like the Solo so may get one instead).

    Ian
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Hang in there Ian. It's the introduction of the "replica" sails that, (IMO) has brought this matter to a head faster than it ever would have with out. LP is losing money to the replica builders and will continue to do so until they come up w/a better solution than the current 25 year old sail material. I"m impressed with the traffic and number of postings on this thread. Hopefully the right people, (like Alan and Tracy) are reporting our frustrations to the powers that be and our voices will be heard. We just have to keep making noise!
     
  6. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I suppose that is one of the weaknesses I see in the builder/ILCA (whoever). It was always a likely thing to happen (given how old, expensive, short-lived, etc. the sail was). Most businesses (at least those who want to stay in business) analyse risks (SWOT analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

    At least in other classes they may not be strict one design but there are rules and people comply with the rules and whilst e.g. sails might be from different suppliers, they have all been measured and comply with the rules. Whereas in Lasers we have vast numbers of boats racing with gear (sails) that has not been measured, not manufactured to a design, etc. It is a complete free-for-all in a class supposed to be a strict one design !! Even a development class have stricter rules than are being applied to Lasers (at club level).

    In business, a company that lacked such foresight would go bust and nobody would be surprised. (But my comments are directed at whoever has responsibility for the sail, not necessarily the builder).

    Ian
     
  7. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Even at club level it's not necessarily a "free for all". Some clubs, "(including mine) have approved the use of the replicas for club races only. However, it appears there may be a shift in process where some clubs are opening up for even open events. You are correct though. I've noticed a real lack of measurings at even National level open events. At the last Masters NA's I went to one of the front running competitiors was using what are now, (and were then) non-class approved blades. As far as I know no one said a word..... I also think through ignorance a lot of competitors use illegal set ups on their outhauls and cunninghams. Those kinds of things could be sorted out w/boat inspections and pre-race sail and blade checks, but that ads a whole new element to the regatta management.
     
  8. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    A small correction to above. Laser sails are measured in-house at the factories, in addition Cliff is responsible for overseeing each manufacturing facility to ensure that they are following the class specifications. Other Olympic and International classes are moving towards this licensed, in-house measuring arrangement (personally I think they are nuts).

    As for the quality and quantity of measuring, it's a significant part of the reason why I very much doubt I will renew my ISAF measurement status in 2012/2013 when it runs out. The district associations comities aren't interested in supporting us in terms of running measurement, disciplining those that deliberately infringe measurement rules, maintaining the measurers qualifications by paying to do the courses we're meant to do or even having the comity members' own boats being legal. Further, all this replica gear is making the job far too hard and if we miss something other competitors will get upset at me, rather than the competitor using the gear, or the suppliers of this illegal equipment. In the mean time, effectively I stopped measuring at any events. Why should I care when no one else does?
     
  9. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    My sincerest hope is that someone, with sufficient capital, drive, and knowledge to accomplish it, decides building an affordable one person one design racing sailboat is a great idea.

    Perhaps it will be the Laser or perhaps it will be another new design.

    Since the departure of Chip Johns as owner of Vanguard, the North American builder has been useless to the game.

    The door is as wide open as it can be.

    Unfortunatly...no one may feel inclined to walk in.
     
  10. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    I agree. The replica sailmakers have actually done the class a favor.

    Of course once a new "legal" sail hits the market, a new "replica" will be out in probably a matter of weeks. Hopefull the cost differential will not be as great.
     
  11. powergroove

    powergroove Member

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    I have been following this sail thing for a couple of years, and have owned a factory sail, and will own one again, but at this time Im sailing a replica.
    For those years Ive been following this mess I have yet to understand this class association, its builder relationship, and even more important who is responsible for not producing a good sail in a timely fashion.
    Now maybe its the class itself, but just by judging the pro new sail talk here, and I dont think any opposition to a new claas legal sail, then I think its held up somewhere else.
    My point is, whoever is responsible, its time for them to step aside, and as any other strong class would normally do, lets solve this thing so I can buy SAIL and race you guys.
     
  12. Der_Dude

    Der_Dude Member

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    Regarding the lack of measurement, just to put this in perspective: many racers here oppose replica gear categorically and watch their competitors closely. The peer pressure is strong and is probably the reason why I haven't seen any replica gear, certainly not replica sails, at regattas beyond club level. There is no indication to my eyes that the SMOD-concept is not working anymore or that acceptance of that concept is fading.

    What you I do see frequently is older boats with 10 - 20 year old legal sails that are not competitive in anything above 5 knots of wind.
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Possibly I explained badly or we are talking cross-purposes but when I was referring to a "free for all" I was thinking about knock-off sails that are maybe designed or maybe just copied but have no reference to the actual specs (or ignore them). And then, unlike the class sails, are just manufactured and used - never checked. And the only requirement at club level is that they fit on a Laser mast/boom and from a distance look sort of Laser'ish.

    Ian
     
  14. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    No problems
     
  15. Eric

    Eric New Member

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    Re: New standard sail and knock-offs

    Now that the Cedar Point Laser Fleet, generally acknowledged as the largest and most active Laser Fleet in the world, has approved knock-off sails for their racing (Fall 2010 NOR), this issue of sail price and quality will likely accelerate.

    Personally I have mixed feelings. While I hate to see my old Fleet break RRS 87 and the Fundamental Class Rule, I also hate to see the price of class-legal sails skyrocket with no apparent accountability from the producers.

    Is this a sign that the sailors have had enough, and are taking collective action to re-take their Class, no longer trusting the builders and ILCA? Or is it a further breakdown of Laser sailors no longer caring about the strict one-design premise and a strong Class association?

    Eric
    Suncoast-DIYC Laser Fleet
     
  16. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Eric, FWIW, I think the Newport fleet has kept growing since you moved and are putting more boats on the line then CPYC, while the numbers at CPYC have been dropping steadily over the past three years.

    I believe the dropping of the numbers had a large role in the decision to allow the non-class sail, hoping to draw more people, but I don't think the sail price has been the main cause.
     
  17. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Re: New standard sail and knock-offs

    I'd like to think it is simply a boycott of the inferior product currently being supplied. I know trust in LaserPerformance is eroding quickly and their silence is defening.

    I hope as a class we STILL care strongly about the one-design aspect of this boat we all love so much.

    I believe the ILCA and LaserPerformance, (or whoever the builder at hand is) conduct a difficult dance with each other. The economy is not helping nor was LaserPerformance's decision to test waters with new designs in an already flooded sport boat market during this difficult economy was nothing short of STUPID. In the process their new liabilities have put the core brand products of Laser, Sunfish and Opti's at risk.

    Why anyone would buy a brand and then ignore the customer base that came with it is beyond me, but I see it happen all the time.

    All we can do is hope LaserPerformance gets things sorted out sooner than later.

    BTW, if anyone from LaserPerformance is reading this I'd love to offer my assistance. I have 15+ years of manufacturing sales experience, Independent business ownership/management experience, (including start ups) and obviously a passion for our sport and brand of boats.
     
  18. caerbannog

    caerbannog New Member

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    There's no good news anywhere here ... although continued customer support inaction on LP's part could precipitate a slide toward a new builder maybe ?
    Old adage .... "Take care of the customer, or somebody else will "
    In this case the guys like Intensity, APS etc providing "practice sails" are doing just that.

    btw.... thanks guys, cuz if you didn't I wouldn't have a half-way decent sail to use.

    Back 6 months ago I ordered and paid for a new North Sail. Yeah I know ordering a sail in the spring is risky ..... BUT I STILL HAVEN'T GOT IT YET !!!!

    Over priced, poor quality, non-delivery, non-communication = Inexcusable.

    Did North bail on a low margin market ?..... would think volume would dictate otherwise.
    LP having cash flow, finance issues ?...... seems more likely.

    So now that this matter has been beat to death, what does the ILCA membership do now?
    Has there been poll on this subject in this forum before?
     
  19. sprayblond

    sprayblond Member

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    I would argue that there is more differences between individual lasers made by LP than there is between e.g. optimists made by different builders. E.g. mast step diameter, center board case width, hull weight, centreboard thickness(GRP-ones are thinner) and sails. I think the class would be better off moving away from SMOD and instead have OD with some licensed builders and sailmakers. Then quality builders like Blue-blue, Winner, Nautivela, Lange, Ovington could be licenced. How and if this can be achieved within the current licencing framework is another issue.
     
  20. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    One thing is certain. If the powers controlling laser continue screwing around long enough..somebody will see an opportunity to make a living in the low cost reasonable performance singlehanded racing boat business.

    We have had 40 years to think about how to build a "better Laser" and 60 years to think about a "better Sunfish."

    The only thing that has stopped others from marketing a new and better boat has been an available supply of good enough cheap enough products and a well known "best available game."

    in North America, the condition of the builders, the organization, and the game is remarkably similar to 1990.

    Its probably gping to continue to get worse until someone with deep pockets, a ton of enthusiasm, and some clue about where to apply that enthusiasm comes to the rescue.

    Last time it took the young son of a succesful sailboat designer and promoter with a need to prove himself on his own and an experienced very organized and dedicated class executive manager who was willing to work very long hours for cheap.

    Until North America has an on site personally involved buiilder / copyright owner...I doubt lasers or sunfish will be promoted at all.
     

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