Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Rubicon, Oct 10, 2010.
Wow kind of glad I got out of the Laser/sailing game.
This is really becoming a joke.
I've not purchased sail from overseas but with a couple of other things I have found some suppliers don't like shipping abroad because, if there are complications it can get very expensive for them to sort it out. e.g. suppose your sail arrived and you said some of the stitching at the head is coming undone - in their own country its a simple matter of getting a replacement and getting back the faulty one. However, overseas and you get shipping cost issues, import duty issues, etc. On occasions suppliers don't like to admit it is the increased (potential) complications so give "easy" excuses. I used to find it when I lived in France and would on occasions purchase from the UK (so instructions, etc. were in English).
All my career I am sailing with Hyde sails. A few weeks ago in our country (Slovenia - don't ask me where it is) appeared some North sails. They said that their sails are bigger and stronger. I can't believe that this is true. Have you ever compared these two sails one to one. Here in Slovenia North sails are more expensive. But as I read on this forum, they should be cheaper.
Can you comment?
Are you familiar with the expression "the grass is greener"? People will naturally think some they can't get will magically solve all their problems.
How many people actually have sails only for practice. One of the clubs I am a member of has a couple of training/practice sessions per year whilst the other two have none - so opportunities for practice on an organised basis are very limited. do many people just go out an practice with sails they have different characteristics from their race legal sails ?
I suspect that the name "practice" is a polite way of saying illegal (as in not "Class Legal") knock-off sails that mean you are not racing a Laser against others who are - so you are breaking the strict one design class rules !! So why not say that rather than pretending you only use them for "practice".
I am fed up with these holier than thou attitude by people saying that 'practice' sails are illegal, breaking rules, ruining the class etc.
As long as the class rips us off for 76sq ft sails that cost over $550, people will save the official sail for major regattas and use a knock-off for practice and club racing. If Intensity can make a quality product for under $200 including battens and numbers and still make a profit there is something very wrong in the system with Laser and someone is stuffing their pockets with c-notes on each sail.
I can't believe that we all support paying through the nose for official sails that have less than a year of competitive service, maybe it is time the Tea Party Movement attitude is adopted by the members of this class. And before someone says that the official sails are carefully monitored to be exact between them, I went through 3 Hyde sails that varied by 2 3/4" when I fanned the luff and hence made any cunningham adjustment impossible
I have bought my last 'official' sail a couple years ago and it is only sailed on sanctioned regattas. In the end I am sure Laser has noticed a huge drop of new sail sales as most are using a practice sail instead. If Laser priced it at $300 (a $100 more than intensity) I think that people would be buying a real sail instead for both practice and competition and their sales would increase and the question of real or practice would be moot.
Doubtful - the class sail has two problems, cost is only one - durability is the other, and without fixing that (the reason for the new design) they could match the price of the non-class approved sails and still not see their sales go up again
I'm fed up with going out racing each weekend in a strict one design class and ending-up racing against a wide variety of different boats - not handicap but people who don't want to follow class rules. One of the great strengths of the Laser Class is that it is a strict one design.
I am probably going to leave the class this winter because I am fed-up with racing against all and sundry in the same hulls - called a "Laser Class" but few boats complying with the rules. where can you et Laser sailing these days - nowhere local to me because everybody is "practicing".
And chatting to other people out racing Lasers (not knock-offs) some of them are getting pretty hacked-off by it all as well. I suspect that there will be a bit of an exodus from the class unless people start sailing Lasers again. Personally I am looking at changing to a Solo over this year - a class where it seems people out racing follow the class rules.
Edit: In fact one club I am a member of but have not sailed at recently (who allow knock-offs) used to get decent Laser class fleets but now seem down to 3 boats turning up most races with an occasional couple of various others (that is counting anything that even looks like a Laser, whatever gear). Looks like the fleet is "in trouble". (But I cannot say it is because of knock-off gear despite the feelings of many people who sail class legal boats).
In theory you have a point but it is never an equal class as newer boats are stiffer and faster; those that upgraded the vang and the outhaul and cunningham package do have an advantage over those with pre 2001 rigging; those with a carbon fiber tiller have an advantage over the old wood one because the traveler can be tighter and increase the block to block mast bend; i am sure the new fibreglass blades will have an advantage; the new speed blocks have an advantage over the old friction bearings in light air: etc etc etc
I upgraded all those this year including a much newer hull and the difference is staggering, no longer trailing the fleet, so I don't buy this one design BS because there are advantages to be had.
I wouldn't say the difference is staggering. That there is a difference is not debatable but whether that difference would make you quicker is debatable I think.
Not attacking your post in any way but you mentioned all the big changes of the past few years so lets go through them objectively.
New boat v old boat:
Are you racing at the front of your district or national fleet? If yes, of course you will want to give yourself every chance considering the effort you put in and a new boat, doing the training these guys do is a cheap investment and will soon be an old boat and time to flip it for a new one to get new spars and sail.
If you sail on weekends and enjoy your fleet racing, you could sail a 10-15 year old laser if it hasn't gone soft and you could do as well as those around you who are in brand new boats. If the boat is dry and the deck is still good the slight difference in stiffness is hardly going to make a difference.
Pretty cheap upgrade and even cheaper if you just upgraded the deck cleats and pulleys and chose to use the old vang as some top level sailors elected to do for quite a while.
The deck cleats allowing you to easily adjust the outhaul would make your life a lot easier around the course so yes it is an advantage. This would be high on my list of upgrades if I had an old boat and was wanting to get up to speed.
Wood tiller v Alu tiller v Carbon tiller:
The wood tiller is a bit of a reach as if you are even doing club racing I doubt you would have a wood tiller as they were phased out nearly 30 years ago.
I wouldn't consider the difference between Alu and Carbon to be game changing but I would put it on the list of nice things to have. I doubt you go any quicker than with a well fitted alu tiller but for ease of use both sailing and rigging why not get one. I have a carbon tiller I have used for 10 years or more. Still functions and am currently using it in fact, even though I have a brand new one in its bag in the garage. I also have a alu tiller with the UK gorilla casting that fits old rudder heads and it is a fine tiller. If I was to use it for racing and then blame it for losing I would be grasping at straws I think.
Old foils v new foils:
Straight from the box I will take the new foils. Better finish and that no doubt is reflected in better boat speed.
The old foils with trailing edge thinned down and resprayed and polished, any difference between old and new in speed would be gone. If your foils, be they old or new are free of dings and are smooth, they should be equal to the new ones and once the new foils are bashed around through neglect and use the well maintained old ones will be faster. Properly finished foils will always be quicker than damaged ones. If looking for a reason as to why your not do well here, it is best to look elsewhere.
Only advantage to be found here is great finish right out of the box. Well worth the money in terms of time saved sanding trailing edge etc.
Old v new blocks.
I used the new boom blocks and old holt traveler blocks last year and this year started to use the new traveler blocks. The sheet runs out a bit quicker with the full set of new blocks but other than making the experience of sailing a laser a bit more enjoyable and dare I say modern I doubt it is going to win you any races any time soon. The old blocks still sheet on and run out just fine.
I understand your point that all these changes taken cumulatively make for a much quicker boat but in my experience it isn't the case.
If you were just getting beaten by "that guy" every week and he had a brand new boat and you had a 30 year old boat with a 3.2 ounce sail, wooden tiller, and 3 to 1 vang I agree with you, you may well beat him if you also had a new boat. Is it reasonable to expect to be competitive in that situation no matter the sport though?
I think what is amazing about the laser is that you can sail an older boat and as long as it is well maintained and has the important upgrades such as the turbo kit and a sail that wasn't first sewn together at the time when man landed on the moon you can be competitive with most of the fleet.
Smooth hull, clean foils, a decent sail and well set up simple rigging will put you on equal terms with the majority of the fleet.
Go sail a few afternoons a week and gain more from that than any changes to the boat over the past 3 decades.
Agreed, more races are won and lost based on the quantity of bad tacks, gybes, mark roundings, let alone the ability to sail the boat well upwind or downwind, than how much faster new lasers are because of their upgrades or because the hull is stiffer than an old boat.
If you are sailing a Laser in a mixed boat, Portsmouth handicapped fleet, does a nonclass Laser sail present any question using the official Laser Portsmouth number? I saw a Laser using a nice looking sail built by Quantum, at a light air venue. I would consider sail like that, for racing under Portsmouth handicap, if the sail doesn't disqualify the Laser Portsmouth rating. Anyone know for sure?
If it is not a class legal laser it is not a laser. It looks like a laser and sails like one to a certain extent but it is not one.
An argument could be made that it should have a different handicap which would have to be determined by looking at lots of results etc of that boat racing in a fleet of similarly equipped boats.
The place for replica sails is training not on the race course.
If people don't like that, they are free to go off and start their own class and build the numbers up to the point that they can sail against people from all around the world and have a healthy second hand market to buy and sell their dinghies.
If they are not prepared to do that and want to just hitch a ride on the rest of the laser class why should they get to race against you.
Thanks for the info. I suspected that is the situation, but wanted to know for sure. Does using any non class sail or equipment mean the boat would be disqualified for using the Portsmouth Laser rating, if protested?
That Quantum sail on the Laser hull sure was nice looking, I didn't get to ask the price.
What are your opinions on my Rainbow Panel Official Laser Sail that I got with the boat? Can I still race with them in the Nationals?
What if I were to go to my local laser dealer, buy a new sail , a north that they have in stock, bring it to the Nationals and its measured to be either too small or too big according the the official measures. Do I return it to my dealer, vanguard who sold the dealer the sail or laser performance. Yes I have a sail that is 3 inches shorter on the luff, an different on the leach when compared to several other laser sails?
Sails aren't measured at regattas, at least none I've been to. The class button is all that is needed to pass measurement, and correct numbering size/spacing/width + battens need to pass
Around here guys in the computer business build chips that have millionths of inches as tolerances.
I build keels with milimeters as tolerances and we laugh together about how my sloppy assed work is paid for by them doing theirs.
If your allegation is correct, It's nice to know North has a plus or minus 3 inch tolerance.
That sort of slop won't do on J-24 sails and I am soon going to be buying new sails. I wonder if Quantum and UK have three or four inch tolerances on their sails??
I've been to several NA level Laser events. The sails have never been measured. Only once were my blades checked. That said, my understanding is that the sail is placed on a pre-marked template on a floor. As long as the sail fits "in" that template and does not go outside the template it passes.
The only 2 events I've sailed where sails were measured were the Santana 20 NA's and the J22 Worlds.
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