Preview: New Laser Rudder

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by rock steady, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

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    People need to buy $500 sails way too often in order to be competitive. Nobody complains. People complained about cost in advance of the control line upgrade. Now everybody loves it.

    Why would they complain about a one time purchase of a completely new rudder that would improve the fundamental sailing characteristics of the boat?

    It might even attract more new sailors to the Class, since maybe the boat wouldn't flip so many beginners on their asses first time out. Don't get me wrong, I love the boat but it does discourage a good many people that they can't just jump into this simple-looking little toy and go tearing around without a certain amount of embarassment and swimming.

    Just my opinion but this is possibly the reason there are SO many Lasers sitting around in garages and barns all over the world. The boat is a beast in disguise.

    180,000-odd Lasers built. How many in regular use? Worldwide Laser Class membership used to be about 20,000 if memory serves. Maybe double that many Lasers actually in use. Where are the other 140,000??

    getting dyzzyier < knew I shouldn't have started, Tracy -all Fred's fault >
     
  2. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    The plastic foam material used in the current blades could be replaced with different plastics whose properties do not include becoming soft at hot car temperatures.

    Sorry, I must continue to believe the primary reason for a new blade comes from a builder who would rather build his own little pieces of plastic than pay a supplier.

    At $100 a blade it costs a million bucks to buy blades for 5,000 boats. I KNOW the builders don't pay $100 a blade but 10,000 multiplied by any dollar amount is a big place to look for a chance to save money...

    and I would expect nothing less if I were a stockholder.

    But I am a consumer!!!!

    If the monopolist suppliers of my toys want to make more money..Fine!!
    Sometimes I need warranty coverage ond bankrupt suppliers give shit for warranty service.

    If they want to mess with my game to accomplish their profit improvements, I will remind them that it is those of us who play the game who feed their Families.
    They have always messed with the game when they felt they needed to do so and for the most part they have avoided damaging the game for profit.
    The described motives for supplying a new design of blade are, to this observer, of questionable veracity.


    I will at least respect them more if I believe they are being honest about their motives.
     
  3. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Nobody complains about buying the class sails because of price ? [​IMG] That's what half the replies in this thread are about.... If you look thru some of the old threads here, you'll see similar complaints about the cost of < insert any builder supplied piece of the boat >

    I'm amazed that any changes occur given the size of the class and the number of people that seem to line up on each side of the [​IMG]
     
  4. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Fabulous!! How long have you been waiting for a chance to use that??
     
  5. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I have it!

    Intensity blades! They would probably be very close to the exact contruction of the current blades, but only $50.00 each!!
     
  6. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Hi Lainie,
    Sorry for the long winded answer as an excuse for poor memory...
    As you probably remember well, Mason Pepper, who served as Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Region until retiring just two years ago, would each year present to the World Council a list of possible improvements to the Laser. Among the items on the list was a new design for the rudder and I'm guessing the prototype you mention above was what he was referring to. I don't know what the sentiment of the WC was in 1999 (or up to 2002), but I know that in the time I have been on the WC that there is virtually no support for a new rudder design. My impression is that most WC members don't even think of the rudder when asked what things could/should be addressed on the boat.
    So, this as background to say that I remember a discussion, several years ago now, about the blades in the context of a new supplier, I remember a discussion about NOT changing the blades but I don't recall an actual vote. Probably there was not a vote since, by sourcing the "same" blades from a new vendor within the context of the LCM, it is really a builder issue and not a WC controlled issue. In any case, given my reference to Mason's list, if there was a vote, given the sentiment of the WC then (and now), it would have gone against changing the rudder design.
    While you make a good point about people just starting out having troubles with the small rudder, I tend to agree with Owyn's sentiment and think that the current rudder actually forces you to "sail the boat right." Perhaps that is one of the reasons that Laser sailors are the best sailors in the world (e.g. every one of the top five at the Star Worlds has a Laser background)? More importantly, I only partly agree with the "everyone will buy one" argument. Any "new" thing will immediately be purchased by the hard core racers IF they **think** it will give them an advantage. But... this hardcore group is, at best, probably around one third (one quarter?) of the actively raced Lasers (Fleet to District level) and an even smaller fraction of the actively sailed boats. Based on TLF, various email lists, discussions at regattas, etc., I get the message that the majority of sailors out there do not look favorably at having to purchase a new several hundred dollar part just to keep up. Even the "new" rigging (and thank you again Lainie for helping to bring that to us!), now some 6 years later, has not been universally adopted (though Robert Scheidt did replace the thimbles in his old school vang with blocks :D ) and you can find threads here on TLF with people asking if they can sail competitively without the upgrades. Very naively, I would think a bigger rudder would increase drag making the boat slower, so a new rudder would not be something you could phase in, you would have to mandate a change date and everyone would need one to continue racing. So, I'm personally not in favor of making a major change to the rudder at this time.
    I don't know what happened to the rudder prototype you mention, nor any proposal for/against it. I'm guessing it was dealt with by the WC before I arrived. What was the feeling at the time you were on the WC?

    Tracy
     
  7. dyzzypyxxy

    dyzzypyxxy Member

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    What was the feeling at the time you were on the WC? Tracy[/quote]

    That meeting in Melbourne in 1999 was the last one I attended, sadly. Ian and Fred went to the next one in Mexico in 2000 as I was at a Trials Qualifier (or was it the Trials?) while the Worlds were going on. Fred? Do you recall any discussion on the rudder design in Mexico??

    I'm making excuses for my bad memory here, in case you wondered. Wish I had all the e-mails that flew around about that discussion.

    Unlike some others, Mason Pepper and I were in agreement that change was not fundamentally a bad thing for the Class, given that changes are made so very carefully and slowly due to the process involved. That list you mentioned had its inception at the 1997 WC meeting in Chile.

    He and I were the movers in getting the control line package passed. We agreed that the rudder should be changed "in future" and that it was a priority item that would make the boat more user-friendly i.e. more sailors would be able to "sail the boat right".

    I'll tell you, it really does - Dennis Olson has the right idea! You should try one of his rudders some time. Yes, it might be slower in light air, but it sure as heck is a HUGE advantage in hiking conditions, especially for short, wimpy hikers like me.

    The goal, big picture as we saw it, was to make it so more people were able to be competitive at the top levels of Laser sailing. Not necessarily what was good for the top sailors, but what would be good for the most people. The control line package did that. So would a proper rudder.

    Jean-Luc and Takao Otani were also in favor of development in general, as I recall. The rest were sort of "followers" ready to be convinced on each item. I'm in the dark a bit, having been "away" for so long - don't even know who's on the WC now.

    Yeah, I was a pain in the a$$ at those meetings, for sure. But I figured they didn't pay for my ticket so I would nod and smile and go along with everything the builders dictated. I think I helped make more thinking happen and I was a consumer advocate no matter how often CJ lowered his eyebrows at me.

    No reflection on you, kiddo, but everybody on the WC needs to ask themselves what they're doing for the average Laser sailor each year.

    Cheers Lainie
     

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