Possible reason why another class has been successful

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by mental floss, May 31, 2015.

  1. mental floss

    mental floss Member

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    From the Lightning Class website:

    What is perhaps unusual in the boat is that the designers, Sparkman and Stevens, gave the Class association not only rights, but ownership of the design and the name. All royalties for many of the boat’s components, including the hull, mast, and sails go to the International Lightning Class Association, who also regulates the design and the Class activities. This fact is probably the biggest single reason for the continued success of the Class. It is also the reason the boat gets but limited “press” in the various journals or shows. Class ownership means limited manufacturer control and fewer paid advertisements.
     
  2. LaLi

    LaLi Active Member

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    As a member of both ILCAs, I could write a long story about this, but maybe this is not the right place. I'll just comment on the above. (Could you please give the link? I read lightningclass.org almost daily but haven't seen that.)

    As I understand it (please correct me if I'm completely wrong), Sparkman & Stephens gave away all rights to the Lightning simply because they didn't think it would be that successful. Well, they didn't know World War II would start a year later, the new enthusiastic class association would do such a good job with the initial marketing, and that the simple wooden construction would be so attractive to amateur builders of the time.

    I have a hard time believing that the success of any boat class has much, if anything, to do with rights ownership. You pick a class because you think it's cool, your friends are in it, and/or it's easily accessible. You may even be the right size for it. A class association? Great, they run this thing that I want to be part of. Ownership of design and name... who cares? If anything, the current legal mess in the Laser class has shown how little such things matter to the average class member. Or any class member.

    And how do you define "success" anyway? I wouldn't call the Lightning very successful as it essentially stopped spreading into new territory already in the 1950s, participation has steadily declined since the 1980s, and there are only two builders left, producing about 30 new boats a year, combined. If that is what class association owning the rights leads to, it is obviously the wrong way.
     
  3. mental floss

    mental floss Member

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    First Time Buyer's Guide.....5th paragraph
     
  4. LaLi

    LaLi Active Member

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    Thanks, never read it... haven't been a first time buyer in a long time:D
     
  5. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    You looking to buy a Lightning? Cool boats, but I don't need the hassle of a bigger boat. Hit me up if you need crew.
     
  6. LaLi

    LaLi Active Member

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    Torrid, I have owned a Lightning for seven years now. I could use a forward crew though, thanks :D I've been mostly crewing myself for the last two years.

    But this thread is about the (I think strange and unfounded) idea that class ownership of a boat's design rights increases its popularity. In the Laser class, of course that would have prevented the current legal situation, but I can't think how it would have increased numbers or spread.
     
  7. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I can't comment on the Lightning, but I can see that the ownership rights can have a significant impact on the class. It is not the ownership that has the effect, but what that ownership might enable and simplify. So the class can be responsive to the needs and desires of the membership.

    I'm sure that people would not start sailing a particular class because of the rights of ownership. It s what the ownership means and what impact it has on the class itself.

    Unfortunately the ILCA has decided not to tell the membership why the new sail has been held-up for so long and when it can be expected to become available (quite why this information is being withheld just beggars belief). There are rumours it is the ISAF, other rumours about it being the builders. I can see how a class that is unhindered by other parties can be more responsive to the needs of those sitting in the boats (what the class should really be about) and thus more appealing.
     
  8. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    I don't know what the Laser Class has been telling people in other parts of the world, but all members of the North American Class were informed by Andy Roy (NA President) why the sail is being delayed in the Spring 2015 issue of the NA Class newsletter. He said PSA has been refusing to sign off on the necessary change to the Laser Construction Manual. He also explained the reason he thought PSA were doing this and asked them to respond if he was incorrect in his characterization of their position. Now, you can say that you have heard different "rumors" from other sources. But please don't say the class has not been telling its members the reason for the delay. There can surely be nothing clearer than what Andy wrote in the newsletter.
     
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  9. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    I was thinking wider that just NA. Lasers are sailed elsewhere. I (and people I sail with) were not aware as to what the Na Class were telling NA members.
     
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  10. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    The global newsletter of ILCA is Laser World which in North America is sent to us as an insert in our quarterly NA newsletter The Laser Sailor. I assume Laser World is distributed to ILCA members worldwide? In the December 2014 issue of Laser World, Tracy Usher ILCA President also addressed the issue of the delay in introducing the new sails. He said it was because the approval of one party to the change to the Laser Construction Manual was still outstanding "for reasons completely unrelated to any technical or economic issues surrounding the sail." At that time he didn't specifically say it was PSA. So it is unfair to say that "the class has decided not to tell the membership why the new sail has been held up for so long." The class officers are using the official publications of the class to tell us what they can.
     

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