New Upgrades proposed by Ed Adams In Sailing World

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Sailing4LIFE, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I still think you are missing the whole concept of the class and changes that have occurred in the class previously. The aim of all previous changes has been to improve the boat, making it easier to manufacture (moving away from timber boards, grab rails etc) or easier to sail (control lines) and occasionally with consumable items (sails) to improve definite flaws (3.2 oz - 3.8 oz upgrade to the sails and a few recuts).

    The changes have never been about making the boat faster or obtain better sailing performance. The reason for this is that it makes all older boats obsolete. Making older boats obsolete will kill the class as people who own them will be no longer competitive against those that do upgrade. The sails is the only area where a significant loss of performance occurs as the boat gets older (assuming the boat is well maintained) and while the cost of sails is high at the moment, sails are a consumable item and would need to be replaced whether you're sailing a 1 year old boat or a 30 year old boat.

    What you're proposing is likely to split the class, lead to a reduction in numbers at regattas and isolate clubs. It will be detrimental to the class.
     
  2. powergroove

    powergroove Member

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    open up the sails to a "box rule" design, making them "premeasred" from the factory and stop the price gouging.

    Do you know how many more competitive boats could potentially come out of the garage if they could afford a new competitive sail at a REASONABLE price?

    Im all for keeping everything elase the same, but the sail has never been a strong point of the boat, and letting other sailmakers buld it to strict set dimensions would hopefully bring the price down...hopefully
     
  3. SStreuli

    SStreuli New Member

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    Alan,

    The sail control upgrades most certainly improved the performance of the boat. Which is why virtually every Laser sailor went out and bought the package or modified their systems to take advantage of the rules. It made it easier to depower the sail in heavy air and easier to adjust the outhaul in all conditions. It made the boat faster around the course? It also made it easier to sail…faster. Sure it was a painful expense, but I've yet to find a regular Laser sailor who thinks it was a mistake?

    As Ed pointed out in his story the boat has changed many times. Most times for the better. These changes would no different, though you could argue against the weight change and I wouldn't fight it. There is a possibility they would split the class, though I think that fear is greatly overstated. The people who race the boat a lot will stick with it. You'll lose the once-a-year folks, but that won't kill the class.
    There's also a possibility that tomorrow someone will launch the next great one-design or that the Olympics will decide that they need a higher-tech boat and the Laser will become obsolete.

    Evolution is a key to any longstanding class. If the Laser doesn't, sooner or later something more modern will take it's place. Then we all lose.

    -SS
     
  4. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    Reducing the hull weight would definitely be a class killer. Most people don't race Lasers because they want performance - they race Lasers because of the simplicity and the big one design fleets.

    If improved technology exists that could make the hull 10 pounds lighter, couldn't that same technology also be used to make the hull much more durable at the current weight? Or would improved hull durability limit the builder's profit too much for them to consider?

    On the other hand, new sails/spars would help build the class. Again, better durability for similar performance and cost is what is needed. It's only a matter of time until we are using composite spars and better sails across all rigs, particularly full rig - it may take a few years to happen, but to me it's inevitable, so we might as well just do it and move on. As long as performance is close to the current rig and costs are under control, the rest is easy.
     
  5. Krycek

    Krycek Member

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    Do you know Ed Adams? What he's done? How hard he is to catch and how GOOD of a laser sailor he is? Google Ed Adams sailing. I suggest you talk about him with a little more respect.
     
  6. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    Add in 'measure the sails at major regattas' and you have a great plan. I am all in favor of this concept, but I fear I am in a very small minority...

    I'm from the Highlander class, they fit the box rule to a T. The class is dying.. and so are many other classes that were the cream of the crop in the 70's. Don't know why, other than cost. A new Highlander is close to 20K, and it's simply not worth that at all. Not even close. Same for coupla other Sandy D designs. Gone ( or close ) because of price. I hope the Laser class outlives me (likely) and is a viable class for my grandsons to enjoy in mid life.
     
  7. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    I mean no disrespect to anybody. I'm simply making the point that if we grouse about something as insignificant as sail mfgr and how many cleats are on a deck, then the concept of changing the mast material to fiber is just off scale in magnitude.

    I'm sure Mr Adams is a much better sailor than I.. hell, most any sailor is much better than I in speed, but few have more fun :)
     
  8. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Just because something became easier doesn't mean it is faster. As mentioned elsewhere, a considerable number of the elite sailors didn't fully change their control line systems, Michael Blackburn, Brett Beyer, just from my local scene and there were many others at the 2008 Worlds (Standard Open, Masters, Radial Men’s & Women’s). Those with good technique didn't see the need to change. Now if people doing Olympic campaigns didn't think it gave them a competitive advantage making the boat faster, then the change probably had no impact on the time taken around the course. From personal experience of sailing these boats since the early 80's, my sail settings haven't changed that much as a result of changes or new ways to rig the control lines, although I do admit that the settings have changed because we now sail the boats very differently.

    As for the class becoming obsolete, no doubt it will happen, but the reason why the class is so strong is because so many people sail them. So many people sail them because someone can be just as competitive with an old boat in good condition with a good sail as someone with a brand new boat, even at the elite level. It means that there is a second hand boat market and people will see getting an old boat is feasible low budget entry into the class. The result is a lot of people sail lasers. Suddenly making nearly 200,000 boats obsolete overnight will be something that does make the class unpopular and will lead to a huge drop out of the class. People want to race against their mates with similar gear, they don't want to suddenly find their mate is effectively sailing a different class of boat.

    As for no longer being an Olympic Class, being it on. If anything has damaged the class it's being involved with the Olympics. We used to go to regattas and compete on equal terms with everyone. Now there is an elite bunch and a large bunch of wannabes, that turn up to regattas with the support boats and coaches, who train 6 days a week and are paid to sail, how can a club hack turn up to a regatta enjoy being at the rear end of the fleet after being abused by someone who think that cattle ranges/sheep stations are up for grabs. 90% of people sail lasers because it's fun, they have no ambition of Olympic gold, yet anyone from that 90% are barely tolerated at the more significant regattas. It's time the class takes back the sailing and runs events for the people who actually want to sail the boats because it's fun.
     
  9. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    And I'm sure you're going to volunteer to measurer them. Or are you just wanting someone else to spend their time doing an unpaid service, sacrificing their time of actually sailing the boat?
     
  10. wessel

    wessel Member

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    Alan,

    Was the Laser picked for Olympic duty due to it's low cost and the vast numbers of boats scattered about the planet? This would make it easy for countries without a sailing heritage or sailing program to get set up for little cost. Also, wasn't the Laser a replacement for the Finn because the Finn was getting kinda crazy with the high tech/high cost?
     
  11. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I don't know. I'd assume that it more easily met the IOC's requirements for being sailed on more continents and by more countries, than some of the other classes. In my opinion it was stupid not to have the Laser a Olympic class from the IOC perspective, but traditionally gaining Olympic status has been a death nail for a class. I understand the ILCA had refused the IOC on several previous occasions. precisely for that reason. Tracy would have a better knowledge in this area.
     
  12. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    First off the builder(s) are never going to allow their cash cow to leave their hands (ie, allow us to purchase direct from the sailmaker)

    IMHO our best hope is to get the sail design changed so it lasts at least twice as long as the current design, and keep the price within $50 of the current cost. That's realistic and easily achievable (if the builders wanted to do it ! (cut their yearly profits on sails in half))

    For those that keep suggesting allowing multiple sailmakers in open competition with each other, selling direct, please point out some other large classes with that model where the prices of sails relative to the Laser sail are so much less expsensive. It's certainly not ANY of the other Olympic classes, nor the Opti, Thistle, Lightning, Etchells
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    The thing is, you can always make something better, but the "better" is not always better for everybody. Changes would suit some and not others. In the case of the Laser, changing e.g. hull weight, changing to carbon spars, etc. might suit those who want a more exciting boat, etc. but would kill the class for those of us who find excitement in competing against others on equal terms.

    I think that those proposing the changes (Ed Adams and the SS???) don't understand what the class is about for many. It might not be the best boat ever, but there are loads around, you don't need a new boat to be competitive, any club has a decent fleet, of all the classes, Laser is invariably better turn-out than most other classes (e.g. even in handicap races there are often more Lasers than any other single class), etc., etc.

    On a few specific points raised:

    There are other classes where there is loads of ongoing development, where last year's hull/rig is worthless and for some people it is what they seek. For most Laser sailors it is not what they seek. The boat suits them, the fleets suit them, the high resale value suits them, etc. You always get a few who want to change everything but I suspect they do not appreciate what the class is about. And in the case of a Laser there are a lot of existing owners to "be hurt". And why do we want to be hurt because we already like the boat. Occasional tweaks and occasional improvements that do not impact performance are great as we still compete on equal terms. I really cannot appreciate why when somebody decides they want something different they want to mess-up everything for vast numbers of owners rather than just change to a class that would suit them better without needing them to change the rules to be everything the class in intended not to be.


    But is is evolving - slowly and without impacting performance. I kind of thought that the Laser was already a "long standing class" and as such has already proven that it's "evolution" is adequate to maintain its position. That others want to "hi-tech" does not mean if we don't adopt carbon high performance spars then the class will die - that is just daft.

    But with the sail controls you could continue to use the old ones or upgrade - straight choice and still be the same boat. If you wanted to upgrade a few hundred £/$ - expensive but a lot cheaper than new carbon spars+matching new sail or new hull. There are degrees of "pain" and necessity. Change the hull and I doubt "virtually every Laser sailor" would go out and buy a new hull. Change the spars+sail and I doubt virtually every Laser sailor would go out and buy the new ones to get the improved performance. Fleets would decline (as people get frustrated with losing to "Lasers" with lighter hulls and hi-tech spars, etc. when before on equal terms they were in with a chance). Similarly, those with loads of money who purchased new hulls/spars/everything and started winning would take no pride because they would know inside that the money they spent was what was giving them the improved results. Maybe give the new hulls/equipment a different handicap ? - well many Lasers sailors sail Lasers because they don't like handicap racing. It would kill the class but fortunately those who periodically pop-up with such plans disappear equally quickly.

    Ian
     
  14. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Why ? Most aren't competing on equal terms right now. Anyone with a new sail has an advantage over someone with an older, tired sail. Anyone with a new hull has an advantage over someone with an older more flexible hull. Anyone with straight spars has an advantage over someone with bent spars...

    The suggestions for changes might just make the racing a little more equal for a longer time span over the life of the boat/spar/sail
     
  15. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    IIRC, it was added in to match up with the avg weight of males worldwide. The Finn was/is looked at as requiring a larger then avg male, thereby excluding many countries
     
  16. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Such things are going to happen in any class using any technology. Make a sail that lasts 5 years through any winds in that time and you will still have people using old less competitive sails. Changes to make the racing a little more equal for a longer time are fine, but not at the cost of destroying the vast numbers of boats and fleets that are already out there and being sailed and raced and giving loads of us lots of fun. Fine is somebody wants to start a new class, build a new boat that is lighter, has carbon spars, etc. and see how it sells against the Laser. If such a boat is a good idea them people will flock from the Laser to the new class. I tend to think there are too many classes around duplicating each other and diluting the fleet sizes but enlarging the handicap fleets. But that is my opinion and unsurprisingly has no impact on boat designers/builders.

    Ian
     
  17. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

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    I just can't imagine obsoleting all those existing hulls by introducing a new hull weight.

    But I can imagine ultimately switching over to a carbon mast, for two reasons:

    1. the existing ones keep bending/breaking. The more you do that, the more you're likely to be in favor of a change.

    2. Equalize out the sailor weight range. I heard from another sailor that some 190lb dudes were sailing in the radial class last weekend.
     
  18. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I think Ed's point on the hull weight was to just get it back to where it was originally, while making the hull longer lasting (in a competitive sense). If that upsets the apple cart too much, how would people feel about just making the hull last longer with more modern construction and materials at the same weight as the current hulls ?
     
  19. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    No problems, as long as there is no increase in expense. Having said that, it already occurs., mostly with respect to theresins, foams and fibreglas properties, there is no need to consider carbon fibre hulls etc, it's overkill and will reduce the durability of the hulls. Changing the materials used is discussed and agreed upon between the builders.

    As for getting back to where it was originally, I really don't see the point. I'm not sure when the weight increased, or even if it increased, but assuming it did in the decade before I started sailing lasers regularly, then very few of those boats are still afloat and they probably have gained that much weight with water absorbtion over the years. Further, it's likely that weight increase was associated with making the boat more durable.
     
  20. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    It's a big deal to measure, but done by many volunteers at the Highlander Nationals, for instance. The Chief Measurer is an officer that oversees the whole operation, but the measurment is done by the sailors.. 'judgement by your peers' (c: It's done the evening before the start of the regatta. Cumbersome to be sure. I guess nothing is perfect.

    I understand your resistance to this kind of monumental task. And actually, I am not really promoting it seriously for Lasers, just putting out there that it's a way that more than one vendor can enter a class and provide some competition. There have been some home made sails at national level events in the Highlander Class. Guy eventually built for the class also. He was competitive in both price and sailing, but performance did not routinely approach the North Sails level.
     

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