One design, really?

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by pez, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. pez

    pez Member

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    I was about to hijack the intensity sail thread with this but decided not to. I Just want to put some thoughts out there in terms of wether or not the laser is really a one-design class.

    The vang, outhaul and cunnigham upgrades became legal in 2001. Having finally grokked the fullness of same, I have to say that I feel the ILCA's implementation of these upgrades goes against the concept of one-design.

    As I see it, there's two designs. The Laser and the Laser Pro. The ILCA has made two very large mistakes that were either within or without their control... First, the 2001 class-legal upgrades should be required. Second, ILCA should have taken a better approach to making these upgrades more affordable.

    $435 makes a Laser into a Laser Pro. Maybe the right thing to do is to call me a cheap bas****, and that's fine... you're entitled to your opinion, especially if it's one I share. But a 15-20% price difference in one boat to another doesnt suggest one-design.

    A good sailor in a pre-2001 boat will be beaten by an average sailor in a post 2001 boat. That's not what my understanding of the one design concept...

    food for thought...
     
  2. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Maybe you can explain why you feel the upgrades go against the concept of one design. The Laser is one of, if not the most tightly controlled class I'm familar with.

    One of the reasons for allowing the upgrades was due to numerous requests by the sailors themselves who wanted to better functioning controls, not to give anyone an advantage, but to make it easier (ie require less strength and/or technique) and fairer for everyone to make the adjustments.

    Can you explain why you feel the upgrades should be required ? That seems to go against your complaint below about the cost. Why force the upgrade on someone who doesn't want to spend it and doesn't feel they are at a disadvantage if they don't upgrade ?

    The cost difference in the new boats (std vs pro) is about 4%. Your figures are for an converting an old into a new boat. You can do it for less then the 435 you mention, you just need to get a little creative.

    I completely disagree with this statement. IMHO you are buying into the marketing of the upgrade and convincing yourself simply changing the controls will turn you from an average sailor into a good sailor. I have seen this dis-proven time and time again. The controls don't make you any smarter, don't turn you into a better hiker and don't make you any faster. They simply make adjusting the sail easier.
     
  3. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Pez, I haven't seen that to be true at all. There are a number of good sailors at my club with the old rigging. An average sailor can't touch them. It's not the rigging--it's years of racing experience, and they win in a number of classes of boats. This past summer one winning youth sailor said he could compete in any Laser as long as it was dry inside.

    It's also true that you can get creative with the rigging and create some upgrades with off the shelf parts without breaking the bank.
     
  4. 168664

    168664 New Member

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    Better functioning controls are fine, we dont want to keep the boat to a construction and rigging standard that was only achievable back in the 1970s. I would like to see more changes to bring the class into the 21st century, ... like making the hull lighter.
    What bugs me is being forced to buy sub standard sails that have a very limited life. Buy a pro vang system and you have a quality item that lasts forever
     
  5. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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  6. pez

    pez Member

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    49208... I probabaly wasnt clear... I dont feel that the upgrades go against the concept of one-design. I feel that the governing body (ILCA?) that decides such things went against the concept of one design by not making the parts standard on new boats. Similar to wooden dagger boards and rudders... the rules state that such are not legal unless they are original equipment to the boat. Such a rule supports the concept of one-design by attrition. It's not the upgrades themselves, it's the way they were introduced to the class. this speaks to 168664's point that we shouldnt keep the 1970's rigging system

    Merrily, I dont claim to have the experience to know for certain, and maybe the right phrase to use was that the controls make a below-average sailor competitive with an average sailor? Hmm... as long as the inside is dry... that's important? :)
     
  7. GeoffS

    GeoffS Member

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    The thought that the new vang was required to sail at the highest level was pretty surely killed when Robert Scheidt won the Laser Gold medal in 2004 with an upgraded vang using the "old style" blocks: Robert after the Final race (kind of hard to see, but there's no shiny chrome fitting on the mast tang!)

    I'm not sure of the effect on a more average sailor, but I do know I like mine and I'd hate to go back to sailing without it!

    Cheers,

    Geoff S.
     
  8. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, a wet boat is a heavy boat is a slow boat!
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I agree that all new boats should be equipped with the new rigging standard. No options for old rigging. Otherwise you should still be able to get the mahogany blades and an Elvestrom or Harstick, (I don't think either are still in business) sails.
     
  10. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Some of the old wood blades were proven to be faster (thicker section and stiffer). It was also hard to get them consistantly the same shape. That was reason enough to do away with them and make the class more one design...People also complained about the maintainence on them.

    I would guess the class is slowly phasing out selling the new boats with the old rigging. Believe it or not, there are still people who buy a Laser just to have sitting on the beach at their house for fun sailing - why should they have to spend more to get the the new rigging ? The old rigging doesn't make you any faster then the new rigging so what's the big deal in offering it ?
     
  11. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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    The new rigging does make you faster than the old rigging hence a lot of people had to spend money on upgrades....or at very least they had to add blocks to the vang. It could be argued that to be truly 1 design no change should have occurred with the possible exception of the glass foils that I believe were brought about to make mass production possible....Saying that NO change should be allowed I believe is a bit short sighted.
     
  12. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I agree with 76489. To the average weekend warrior the upgrades do make us faster. We can depower faster, power back up faster, get better leach tension w/out having to luff the sail, the smaller person can now actually manage sail shape in a breeze, this makes them faster than with the old style rigging. It does not improve your ability to go in the correct direction, but if you're going the wrong way you can get there faster with the better/easier sail controls.

    I also believe we can and should change from time to time. Like with the blades, the new rigging, the new boom sleeve, (which will get approved) and even sail manufacturers over time. Honestly, how many people buy a NEW Laser to day sail off the beach? My money is that those who do don't know what they are buying and after their first sail in breeze over 12 knots that boat will be on the market and purchased by someone who will race it anyway.
     
  13. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I'll admit I thought the new controls made the boat faster when I first starting sailing with them, but I was confusing easier with faster. If anything, what I have since learned is that the gains made by staying hiked out far outweigh the ability to change a control especially when the velocity is changing fairly often. In those conditions what I have changed to is to set the boat up for the lulls and hike harder in the puffs as opposed to constantly making gear changes. I learned this from someone who used the exact same style/technique to sail right past me when I was making adjustments... His writeup is here: http://cedarpointyc.org/uploads/2005_Laser_fall_week7_report.html
     
  14. pez

    pez Member

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    Thats a good writeup... I started this thread just to gauge some opinions... it seems consensus might be difficult to come by... no surprise there...

    Laser76489, I agree with you that NO change is short sighted, but said changes need to be fully adopted... at the crux of my argument is that I feel it's not in the interest of the class for vanguard to offer a one-design boat with two different control systems.

    In effect they are saying that every laser is the same, except where they are different. It's a one design class... now which design do you prefer?

    <shrug>
     
  15. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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    The only reason at all that I can see to offer old and new is to allow the Cottage sailor a lower price...
     
  16. sailskisurf23

    sailskisurf23 New Member

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    one thing that ur failing to consider is personal preference. some ppl actually prefer the old system, its what they are used to. If they feel they can be competetive w/ the old system they shouldnt have to change.
     
  17. sailor327

    sailor327 New Member

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    The phrase "It makes us faster" seems to be being thrown around alot. but the fact is is that it only makes us faster if we know how to use them. It can have the oppisite effect if we don't know how to use them.

    I wonder when SFbayLaser and the Gouv are goin to chime in on this one.:p
     
  18. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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  19. leftfield

    leftfield New Member

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    The ILCA are on a hiding to nothing with these types of issues. If they try to enforce a requirement for builder supplied fittings, they get criticised (see the thread about the proposed new clew sleeve). If they try to give sailors a choice in how they set up the control lines on the boat, they get criticised (like in this thread).

    They are constantly trying to walk the tightrope. On one hand, they are trying to make improvements to keep the boat modern and relevant and interesting. On the other hand they are trying to protect existing boats from obsolescence. I'm actually pretty impressed with the job they are doing. They are sailors too - I'm sure they would love to design a completely new rig, or approve the new rudder that was designed and tested by them a few years ago, and apparently greatly improved the boat's handling. But they generally find a pretty good line between caution and progressiveness.
     
  20. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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