Even the Laser is not immune

the moth is a rediculous boat ... we have one sailing here at Tinaroo... he spends more time trying to keep the boat upright than tuning and tweaking to get faster ... that boat should be bulldozed ...

I am not a moth expert : My opinion hold little weight.

I do however think that the laser is perfect for the Olympics all it needs is a new top section and a new sail :D
Al Ratone, where are "skiffs very popular"????? In the UK for instance they make up about 1/6 of the crewed dinghies - that's not very popular.

About Cenutrio's point "we are going towards slow, and that pisses me off..... Do not move back to 1970s sailing (heavy and slow), we and technology are way head of that.."

There's another way of looking at it. "Heavy and slow" boats are the ones that are popular, and they seem to be the ones that are becoming MORE popular. Foiler Moths are fantastic, but they are a tiny class. A Class cats are a small class. 18 Foot Skiffs are a tiny class.

The classes that seem to be growing the strongest are cheap, tough, often heavy, often slow. That seems to be the way the sailing world is going.

In some ways, it's easy to see why. Fewer people these days can build or maintain their own high-tech boat. Many people where I am no longer have a place to maintain or build their own boat. 'Round here, we are working longer hours and fewer people can spend the time rigging a high tech boat.

My father was a champion Skiff sailor. He used to spend all weekend sailing and weeknights building new boats. In those days, women would put up with that sort of behaviour. These days, thankfully, they won't. They demand that men spend their time doing other things. That alone is a part of modern life that can shift people to simpler, slower boats.

Even in Sydney, Australia, the place that claims to be home of the Skiffs, the Laser is the most popular boat and it is growing (two of the last three years attracted the biggest-ever national title fleets; the third year the titles were on an island). Even in Australia, skiffs are popular only in one state where a quirk of liquour, gambling and club laws allow big clubs to sponsor the boats, and they are not growing. Even where clubs offer free 18s, 12s and 16s, the fleets are actually shrinking or static.

Once you get away from the one state that allows liquour and gambling to sponsor Skiff clubs, there's only about 35-45 or so Skiffs for some 15 million people, who have all been exposed to TV shows about 18s. This number has not increased in years. In this time, slow singlehanders have become much more popular. The most popular performacne dinghy remains the Australian Sharpie, which is about as far from a Skiff as you can get in a fast dinghy.

Hype aside, the world seems to be moving towards simple boats and classic boats.

PS - it was still really, really dumb to drop the Tornado!!
Nice to hear the Sharpie is remaining popular in Aus - we have three Lightweights at our club in the UK. I still sail a Traditional 12 m2 Sharpie originally built in 1936 and weighing 230Kgs stripped and without the rig. I don't suppose anyone wants to vote for a return of this class to the Olympics do you?
There are still sharpies here in the netherlands, they sail beautifully upwind in light conditions and flat waters, perfect for the kind of lakes they have around here.

Regarding HECS comments, I have my doubts. When I see Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikonen, etc driving F1 Ferraris, McLarens, etc, I acknowledge these guys are just the very best pilots, thus they drive the most challenging machines. In a way I see olympic classes like that.

I do not find appealing to see three big woman sailing a Yngling at 4 knots. I can do that, pretty much everybody can. Even if they beat you (and they will for sure because that's their profession), but still I know I may have a chance. Even in the Laser class I would say that I may have a chance.

However, boards, Tornado's, 49ers, those boats are radical, no chance we may even finish a race over 20 knots. That is excellence.

The fact that we, amateurs, can sail Finns, Lasers, Ynglings, even a Star (sail, not compete) is a drop off because those boats are not challenging enough (even if we are slow). Olympics are about excellence, not average.

You want the most challenging boats to be there. catamarans are the fastest by a mile, they should be there.

For common people -like us-, International sailing classes are enough. But i want inspirational figures in the Games. Those mostly will come from guys capable of racing the unsailable. Foil moths, Tornado's, 49ers, skiffs would do.

People unfamiliar with sailing, TV spectators would appreciate that too. Or at least that is my feeling.

Of course, wind is a requirement. Thus my previous comments about ISAF shooting their own foot by allowing the next sailing event being held in Quingdao were conditions are a bad joke.

Just my two cents.
Cenutrio, F1 is always an interesting comparison. Even before the rule changes that made it impossible to bring in new teams, the numbers of F1 competitors was nosediving. When F1 cars were cheaper, they had to pre-qualify to get a chance to qualify for a race. More recently, they've had empty spots on the grid. Car racing is the playground for one of th world's biggest industries. Car driving is an activity that most of the western world's adults can do - and yet the greatest prize in the sport could not even attract 24 competitors! I'd say it's a terrible model to use to learn from!

Certainly in Australia where I am from, car racing is no bigger as a participant sport than sailing, yet every adult can drive and few adults can sail. I think the same applies in the UK and probably many other countries - the sports where gear develops quickly, the ones that people often point to as a model for sailing, are LESS popular in terms of competitor numbers than sailing. So why follow that route?

I sail boards, cats, formerly Moths and sometimes skiffs and of course amateurs can sail them in 20 knots. My girlfriend, for example, did the Tornado worlds in the open ocean at a windy venue (Sydney) less than two years after she started sailing.

I've sailed against the top guys in Tornadoes, foiler Moths, boards, skiffs and Lasers and personally I find the Laser guys to be just as inspirational.

The undeniable fact is that the slow boats are what is working, in terms of getting lots of people afloat. The fast boats are not working in those terms. Even in places like cat clubs and skiff clubs, where the ethos is all about promoting fast boats, the numbers of fast-boat sailors is pretty small compared to the huge numbers who sail slow yachts and dinghies.

I see your point that we had faster boats at the Games in '76. The interesting point is that just after those faster boats were selected, dinghy sailing went into a decline (as indicated by the contemporary Yachts and Yachting magazane survey of the number of people sailing at national titles). The 10 most popular classes were, on average, faster in the mid '70s than they are today, because boats like the 505 and Fireball were among the most popular designs of all.

And what happened in '76, that peak year of fast dinghies? The sport of dinghy sailing (in the UK and I think in other places) started to decline. While the faster classes remained in the Games, that decline continued. The number of boats at UK nationals then started to increase once more in the mid '90s - about the time that the Laser and Europe arrived in the Games and the FD was dropped and therefore the Olympic classes started getting slower.

Sailing (again, in terms of UK national title attendance which is the best record I can find and is for the world's largest market) is growing strongly once more and it's all lead by slow boats. The most popular skiff type (29er) is only 25th most popular class in terms of UK nationals attendance. The most popular high performance cat is only 48th class, and its numbers are lower than they were 10 years ago.

So when Olympic boats and popular dinghies were at their fastest, the sport declined. When slow boats are dominating the Games and the sport, it is growing. And really fast boats are really popular in very few places and show no wide pattern of growth.

Of course these events may not be linked - but maybe they are. There have been surveys done by Vanguard US (dinghy builder) and by either ISAF or an Australian organisation. They showed that non-sailors did NOT think sailing was slow, or boring - they thought it was too hard, too expensive, and too elitist. So showing people zooming along on skiffs merely reinforces the problems non-sailors see. It gives them an image of sport they cannot do.

I used to teach sailng on Sydney Harbour. At first, I took the yacht along the Skiff course so people could see the 18s. None of the students cared about them - they were a form of sailing so far out of their reach that they just didn't want to know about them. Seeing skiffs just made beginners feel like they could never sail properly.

I'm bugging my cat crew for us to move from F16 to Tornado, because the T is just about the most beautiful boat in the world. The decision to drop cats was a terrible one. However, fast boats are not popular and emphasising them too much is bad for the sport.
HECS - How sad, but you are probably right. Certainly in the hey day of winndurfers at speed trials and amazing video of Naish and all at World Cup wave events it got harder and harde to sell windsurf gear or book people on courses for the very reasons ypou quote and participant numbers took a real dive and have been in decline ever since.

Cenutrio, I have competed against many of the Dutch Sharpie sailors, a great bunch and most would compete very sucesfully at any International Beer Drinking contest!
Thread starter #49
Im not trying to emphasize the multihulls, just save them. Also, why should we have 2 dinghy classes, heavy and light(Im guessing Finn and Laser), and drop one whole aspect of sailing(Multihull's)
I agree that cats arent the most popular boats by sheer numbers, but its an important part of sailing. When Ben Ainslie and the like can win on a Finn and on a Laser, whats the point of having both of those classes at the Olympics.
You guys should see whats going on in the cat forums, heres the link
Power Dave, I also want to save the cats (I LOVE sailing the Tornado) and sure I agree there's no reason to have the Finn in. The Finnsters will talk about how important it is to cater for heavy sailors, but for 40+ years they were quite happy to ignore the need to cater for light and medium sailors so there's an element of hypocrisy there.

I just don't want to see the whole sport hurt by chasing down a route that makes it seem expensive, innaccessible and difficult for the average person to get into.

GBR134, I'm not sure sure that the fact that slow boats are popular is a bad thing. Slow boats are generally cheaper, tougher, easier for new sailors to handle. I became convinced of the dangers of the gee-whiz high-speed route when I saw windsurfing crash, too. I used to compete against Naish etc and as you say, we just changed the image of the sport to make it something that Joe and Joanna Average felt they could not do.
Nice opinions, really thoughtful opinions.

Regarding olympic sailing, I agree that it is slowing down, but I think a large impact is due to western life which is becoming too lazy. Who wants to be cold, tired and miserable when you could be in front of you 50" something screen TV watching wherever sport. Even the Nintendo Wii proves a bit my point, people wants to exercise (lazily), but indoors, on groups, in a tecno kind of way. In a few decades, sailors will become a rare sign. A few crazy ones that still enjoy mother nature no matter how unhospitable it can be.

There's a bit of that.

In the old days money was the issue. But today, there are boats everywhere, the problem is that people do not sail them. But money is not the issue anymore, at least in western countries. Life is sweet in many ways. It was way harder for the previous generation(s), the ones that built the States in the 50s, or the postworld europeans that completely reshaped the continent. Those were tough guys. I have sailed with many of those around here in the Netherlands in the master Laser class and never heard a single complain no matter how cold or windy, many are over 60 years old. Still sail magnificently.

The problem with slow boats is that although they may be appealing to the masses, are they to the athletes? why t be an athlete when most of them do not require it. It is like a fish that eats its tail...

BTW HECS, my younger sister, a heck of sailor arrived a few weeks back to Sidney, she will be there s a marine biologist postdoc at the Sidney University for a year. Mike Flecher (Flechy) and his wife are helping her with her adaptation, she said they were great hosts (she just moved out to an apartment), anyhow, we all know how tight the sailing community tent to be. If you get to know a spanish young girl called Beatriz, stop by and say hi, tell her that at times you chat with a certain "cenutrio", she will know you are talking about his older brother Carlos ;-)

cheers to you all.

I talk with her through skype daily, but she will be amazed how easily links can be made these days.
I'd have thought that slow boats like Lasers are athletic. I used to do a lot of training with Michael Blackburn, who earned his PhD in Sports Science with a project on the physical demands of Laser sailing.

And while windsurfers are really athletic with all that pumping, that also means that the top sailors are so far ahead of good amateurs that they get less competition from them. That is frustrating for the top athletes and the amateurs.

My girlfriend (ex worlds Tornado crew, now windsurfing) is doing her doctorate in psych at Sydney Uni - she should get your sister into the sailing club!
wow, mistake on my part, I certainly consider the Lasers athletic. I know Finns are too, but more on a heavy sailor kind of way (I would like to see how easily 100+ kg guys can lift their own weight), but Ynglings? no way. 470s so-so, Stars? well Scheidt is gonna bring the level up. But Tornados, 49ers, boards? these guys are by kg the strongest guys in the olympic sailing.

Yeah, they should meet. She is a heck of a sailor, used to be in the Europe preolympic tem with Natalia Via Dufresne back in the 90s, sadly she gave up on olympic sailing although she become a top skipper in First Class and J80s, for a few years now, she is been into kite surfing, she is quite good at that too.

Ross B

trust me, 470's and Stars are athleatic, they are straight leg hiking in both of them, and the skippers on 470's no longer use mainsheet cleats, and thats a huge main!
trust me, 470's and Stars are athleatic, they are straight leg hiking in both of them, and the skippers on 470's no longer use mainsheet cleats, and thats a huge main!
At the top level, all the classes require athletic ability (and athletic ability beyond just "strength," but let's not get into that distinction).

The skipper in a Star is working at least as hard as a Laser sailor in most wind conditions, i.e. straight leg hiking and trimming the main (and think about this, the Star mainsheet has the same purchase as a Laser mainsheet). The crew in a Star is not only getting in and out of a droop hiking position for every tack, but is responsible at least for the running backstays, the jib, the whisker pole, and frequently the fine adjustments on the backstays that control sail shape.

Ross B

the mainsheet on a star is similar to a laser, but it is a double purchase, it has a grose and fine tune, so you have the two tails at your mainsheet block, so I think it has more purchase than a laser

I never been good at figuring out all the purchase ratios, sorry if I'm wrong
the mainsheet on a star is similar to a laser, but it is a double purchase, it has a grose and fine tune, so you have the two tails at your mainsheet block, so I think it has more purchase than a laser

I never been good at figuring out all the purchase ratios, sorry if I'm wrong
Actually, the two mainsheet systems used on Stars are a single mainsheet and a double mainsheet. This single mainsheet starts on the aft end of the boom goes down to the boat, back to the boom, forward to mid boom and down to a ratchet and cleat (just like a Laser). The double mainsheet doesn't stop at the aft end of the boom; it goes through a pulley and goes back forward to mid boom and down to another ratchet and a double cleat. This lets you sheet in faster at the leeward mark and on gybes.

To put it simply for Rossums, the "fine tune" on a Star is the same purchase as a Laser mainsheet. The "gross tune" is 1:1.

Ross B

The double mainsheet doesn't stop at the aft end of the boom; it goes through a pulley and goes back forward to mid boom and down to another ratchet and a double cleat. This lets you sheet in faster at the leeward mark and on gybes.
this is what I was talking about.

DO NOT call me anything other than "Ross"! There are lots of things I can think of that I could call you, but I have restrained myself, I would like it if you would do the same. Thank you.


Just sailing
A lot of these classes you don't HAVE to be an Olympic athlete to sail. However if you are physically fit, you can sail much more effectively (and faster).

It also varies on the role in the boat. I've raced both Lasers and 470s. Sailing a Laser has always been more work for me than skippering a 470. Crewing on a 470 though always left me black and blue.