What's new

Introducing the New Official Class Sail

CaptainAhab

Active Member
I got a training carbon upper a few months ago. Its made by CSpar in New Zealand its designed exactly in the same way as the Laser carbon upper. Same bend...no break. I got it from Sydney for $400, whereas the typical class legal one is $270. The Sydney guys all use the carbons for training and club races. They save the Laser ones for State, National, and International regattas. We mostly use the iSails down here like the Intensity training sails. Most everyone at the club level has a firm understanding of right and wrong and modify the local rules accordingly.

There is always another way to skin a feral critter...

Has anyone seen the white whale(not Dennis Connor)?
 

CaptainAhab

Active Member
AlanD, I respect you as a long time member of the Laser Universe.

I'm a bit disappointed with such a short reply from such a knowledgeable sailor. I'm from South Australia. I haven't sailed in Sydney. I was told by several people who are in Sydney including the person from who I bought the Cspar carbon upper, that many of the Sydney based Laser sailors are using the Cspar upper. Based upon their comments a decent number of sailors are using them.

Based upon my own experience with the carbon upper, it would verge on being stupid to buy an aluminium one in AU simply to bend it while going for a sail, not even racing. I stand by this opinion, regardless if no one is using them in Sydney.

As you are aware a Laser tested carbon mast, which is effectively the same as the Cspar has existed since 2009, if memory serves me right. So why not use one now while the Laser bureaucracy continue to play with themselves?

I admit that I quickly wrote that ALL of them use the spars. I realize that is obviously incorrect. Fast typing will often get one in trouble.
 

Andy B

Member
Whilst the delay to the sail because of the legal dispute is frustrating I feel I don’t know enough to apportion blame and can only rely on press releases such as this http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2015/02/01/laserperformance-wins-laser-trademark-case/. In my personal dealings with PSE I have found them very helpful, competitively priced and the products to be of a much higher quality than some others.

Making grass roots sailors wait 18 months so 50 sailors can have a regatta is wrong, introduce special rules for this small minority not force a vast user base to buy an inferior product which does not last as long.

Once the new sail is approved MK1 and MK2 sails will be on the race track together so the argument that everyone should have the same equipment simply does not hold water. The strength of the class is not that everyone has the same equipment. It’s that all new equipment is carefully designed to make sure it does not give a performance advantage and all the boats remain well matched and competitive.

LaLi may be able to wait but some of us are at the time of life when every season counts.
 

Deimos

Member
...
LaLi may be able to wait but some of us are at the time of life when every season counts.
$$$$ as well. It isn't cheap buying an expensive sail that lasts no time at all. even though new one might be comparable retail price, at least it will (hopefully) last a bit longer.

Ian
 

torrid

Just sailing
LaLi may be able to wait but some of us are at the time of life when every season counts.
Yes, and sooner or later people will start voting with their feet. It some cases it may be another class like the RS Aero, but more likely it will be some activity other than sailing.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
I was told by an ILCA representative yesterday that it is still PSA who will not sign the release on the new sail and top section.
Their take on it is that PSA is not going to assist someone they are taking to court, by releasing a new product that LPE could sell.
That's how I understood the situation to be earlier, and it still sounds plausible. Probably no one is telling the whole truth, or maybe isn't even allowed to.

It's also plausible that ISAF would hold the new sail back anyway. The Olympics will be sailed with supplied equipment, so it doesn't matter which sails are used at the games as long as they're similar with one another. The way I see it, it's not the 46 olympians that ISAF would be "protecting", but rather the much larger group of hopefuls that haven't qualified yet. There is still more than a year of qualifying regattas to go, and I understand how you want to keep the playing field as level as possible at this time if ever. (Not that anyone would get more than a psychological edge, but that counts, too.)

... some of us are at the time of life when every season counts.
I admit that I am at a stage (and mindset) in my life when a year or two one way or another doesn't feel like a big deal. So if there's one word of advice I can give from this point of view, it's "relax".
 
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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
I admit that I quickly wrote that ALL of them use the spars. I realize that is obviously incorrect. Fast typing will often get one in trouble.
Which is precisely why what you wrote was garbage.

Whilst I moved out of Sydney 2 1|2 years ago to Gosford, about 1 hour from the Sydney CBD, the club I now sail out of, with about 40 lasers, only one person is trialling an authorised carbon section. GSC like MHASC and probably a couple of other major clubs have a strict policy of authorised Laser equipment for club racing. When I left Sydney both clubs I raced at most weekends, one with 40 lasers at one and 25 at the other, no one was using carbon sections. There are probably 300 - 400 lasers racing in Sydney, I'd be quite surprised if there were 50 people using carbon sections in Sydney, a far cry from all or even most.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Why do you say that Wavedancer? Surely clubs and fleets can choose to allow the new sail in local racing… just as they have been allowing Intensity and APS and Rooster sails etc. etc. for the last few years. Wouldn't it actually be a good thing to use the sail in local racing, get experience with it, give feedback to the sailmakers on any issues, before the bureaucrats at ISAF get round to making it official?
Of course, clubs, or perhaps more accurately, Laser fleets can disregard the use of illegal (or not yet approved) equipment. My fleet does and I know of several others along the East Coast of the USA. I don't have a problem with that and my opinion is shared by many others. But there is no doubt that we are not sailing legal Lasers as we strive to be first across the finish line in club/local races.
 

deadrock

New Member
Of course, clubs, or perhaps more accurately, Laser fleets can disregard the use of illegal (or not yet approved) equipment.
Any competitor that uses non-legal kit is subject to protest by any other competitor. There is no provision in the ISAF Rules for a club to over-ride the Class Rules, unless it gets permission from the Class Association. Good luck with that.
 

CaptainAhab

Active Member
At the end of the day common sense usually prevails in regards to legal or semi-legal boats. Everyone knows that so far there is absolutely no competitive advantage to using non class legal parts on a Laser. If there is a true advantage, I would love to hear it.

At the International, National, Regional, and State level only class legal boats are to be used. Those are all Laser sanctioned events and the results directly affect each other.

However, at the Club Level and many small multi class regattas those are in fact not Laser sanctioned events. There fore they can make rule changes as a Club or RO. Often at the Club level they do away with the 2 turns rule and make all penalties one turn.

Every Club is different. There are still a few clubs that have 40 boats on a line every week. Those are the clubs that strictly follow the Laser Association rules. They are very competitive fleets with many of them competing on the regional or national level.

At a beer can race with less than 10 Lasers, two are in excellent condition and the worst two should have been
Franken-boated or scuttled years ago. It doesn't matter to the guys in the legal boats when the non-legal boats are old and tired and are obviously a disadvantage. If one of the boys in a non-legal beater boat takes a bullet or two, everybody else is buying him a beer. I sail at such a club.

I love watching a rock star(I know several) borrow a beater boat with a sail that looks like a prostitute's bed sheet(stains and rust spots and stretched beyond belief) and then proceeds to run a clinic on the locals with the brand new boats all kitted out with the latest and greatest. After the rock star takes a bullet in every race it once again becomes apparent its not about the boat in a class like Lasers. 90% of it is the sailor.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Any competitor that uses non-legal kit is subject to protest by any other competitor. There is no provision in the ISAF Rules for a club to over-ride the Class Rules, unless it gets permission from the Class Association. Good luck with that.
Yes, we know that.
The point that I was making is that there is an unofficial consensus (gentleman's agreement) not to protest one another over this issue in club races among several of the bigger fleets on the East Coast of the USA.

 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
However, at the Club Level and many small multi class regattas those are in fact not Laser sanctioned events. There fore they can make rule changes as a Club or RO. Often at the Club level they do away with the 2 turns rule and make all penalties one turn.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Where did this crazy idea originate? That is, that at a certain level of racing, class rules suddenly don't apply anymore - or even worse, the organizing authority is somehow free to rewrite them?

Every single race where the name of a given class is used is "sanctioned" by that class. Even the lowest-level Laser race is legally an "ILCA event". It doesn't have to be in the ILCA calendar. The line is drawn between racing and not racing, not between different levels of racing.

It's true that the organizer of a regatta can change quite a few racing rules. As anyone who's ever studied the Racing Rules of Sailing knows, there is even a rule-change rule there. For instance, right-of-way rules can't be changed, unlike things like penalties and scoring.

Class rules are something different. They can be changed only by the class association, and in the case of an international class, with ISAF approval. None of a race officer's business. To equate class rules and racing rules is simply a false analogy.
 
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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
LaLi at long last someone has called a spade a spade, excellent.

LaLi is quite correct, any level of racing in Lasers, the boats must be class legal and clubs can't amend this. If a club wants to have an open fleet where Lasers race against similar craft they can, but for an instant think that those other craft are lasers just because some components are Laser class legal.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
At the end of the day common sense usually prevails in regards to legal or semi-legal boats. Everyone knows that so far there is absolutely no competitive advantage to using non class legal parts on a Laser. If there is a true advantage, I would love to hear it..
Hydrofoils. Roster 8.1 rig. Rudders raked beyond 78 degrees. Even lightened and stiffened hulls. All non class legal parts which offer an obvious competitive advantage over the class legal components.
 

Deimos

Member
LaLi at long last someone has called a spade a spade, excellent.

LaLi is quite correct, any level of racing in Lasers, the boats must be class legal and clubs can't amend this. If a club wants to have an open fleet where Lasers race against similar craft they can, but for an instant think that those other craft are lasers just because some components are Laser class legal.
The trouble is that in my experience (4 different clubs) their priority is to get as many boats at the start line as they can. so they tolerate non-legal class equipment. Most still call it a Laser Class (though one club has switched to the "Kirby Torch"). One of the more competitive clubs voted to outlaw non-legal gear (with a year or two "forgiveness" for existing non-legal stuff), but that was changed back before the rule came into effect. There is s much non-legal stuff (mainly sails) around now, non-legal is more common than legal.

Class/builder/ISAF inaction/delays/olympics/whatever has destroyed one of the central strengths of the Laser Class. My disappointment is that I suspect it is too late to recover now because people are so used to buying/seeing non-legal gear and it is unlikely the new sail will be price competitive with 3rd party knockoffs, the situation will continue.

Even with a longer lasting sail (if it ever gets released), it is unlikely to last much longer than 3rd party sails and they will still be significantly cheaper. Had it been released sooner then 3rd party gear would not have become so widespread. But not ... too late (I fear).

Ian
 
Even with a longer lasting sail (if it ever gets released), it is unlikely to last much longer than 3rd party sails and they will still be significantly cheaper. Had it been released sooner then 3rd party gear would not have become so widespread. But not ... too late (I fear).

Ian

I guess that after a while with the MkII sail on the market there will be replica sails made in the same manner. So that aspect of the situation will probably remain. /freddy
 
I guess that after a while with the MkII sail on the market there will be replica sails made in the same manner. So that aspect of the situation will probably remain. /freddy
Maybe if the builders stopped charging three times (or more) of market price for sails and all parts the problem would disappear.
E
 

Andy B

Member
In the UK if you buy in summer when Laser are shipping large quantities of boats you will pay $600 for a sail. Buy in winter and this year the price was $375. It's supply and demand. Look at the quality of the legal part - I bought a lot of 12 sails manufactured over 6 months, by weight the tolerance was better than 0.5%. You have to pay to get tolerances like this and in turn it gives closer racing. The class legal sail also includes dues. It's easy to undercut someone by copying their design to poor tolerances using an unspecified manufacturer. Our class legal sails are of a good quality, tight tolerances and, according to the publicity, produced by suppliers paying a living wage.

Compare the price of a legal sail with other classes. You will find sails in most other classes are between two and three times the price.

It's the same with spars. I weighed spars at my clubs and found most of the replicas were up to 20% down by weight and if you sailed with them they are so soft you could not point. The class legal parts just point higher and sail away from you.
 
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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
A summary of posts 90, 91 and 92 indicates that the (super strict) one-design horse has left the barn and I agree that it will be all but impossible to rein-in the runaway.
I also share the opinion that LP/LPE is (partially?) to blame. But we have gone over that before...
:(
 
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LaLi

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't be as pessimistic as some of you. The fake-part market is not as universal as it appears viewed from the locations of most posters here. (There are sure even more extreme developments in some countries where they build even the hulls independently, but those seem to be run as separate classes and aren't actually called Lasers.)

The thing is, in this corner of the planet no one uses fake Laser parts. Not even recreationally, or when training. I have never even seen a "replica" sail live, ever. That is why a lot of this discussion sounds literally foreign to me. Incomprehensible really, sometimes.

The fundamental problem of LP launching the bi-radial sail ahead of time is that now the legal builder itself is selling a major part of the boat that is illegal. They're making things worse by blurring the lines between real and fake, and they can do it quite effectively with their near-global network.

I don't think I want to contribute to that.
 

misailor28

New Member
A good many people use practice sails except for regatta's worth GP points. With the class sails at $600 USD and their lifespan being relatively short and practice sails available for under $150 USD it's an easy tradeoff even if quality of the practice sails is a little lower. I have a new class legal sail and have no intention of touching it except for a district or other GP regatta. For anything else and going out to sail for fun I'll always use the non legal practice sail.
 

CaptainAhab

Active Member
In the UK if you buy in summer when Laser are shipping large quantities of boats you will pay $600 for a sail. Buy in winter and this year the price was $375. It's supply and demand. Look at the quality of the legal part - I bought a lot of 12 sails manufactured over 6 months, by weight the tolerance was better than 0.5%. You have to pay to get tolerances like this and in turn it gives closer racing. The class legal sail also includes dues. It's easy to undercut someone by copying their design to poor tolerances using an unspecified manufacturer. Our class legal sails are of a good quality, tight tolerances and, according to the publicity, produced by suppliers paying a living wage.

Compare the price of a legal sail with other classes. You will find sails in most other classes are between two and three times the price.

It's the same with spars. I weighed spars at my clubs and found most of the replicas were up to 20% down by weight and if you sailed with them they are so soft you could not point. The class legal parts just point higher and sail away from you.

The alloy and heat treatment of an aluminum spar as well as the obvious size/shape of the section determines its mechanical characteristics. We see this in the Optimist spars everyday. They range from low end 6000 series marine grade to high end 6061 marine grade to 7075 aircraft grade. Its like comparing cheap bicycles to better then the best. The generic Laser spars are probably a lower grade and will take a bend sooner. I wouldn't buy a generic Laser spar, because of that knowledge. That said its not like a Laser upper is worth it, because of a design flaw that prematurely bends them.Carbon uppers(Cspar brand) are the go for practice.

Its pure conjecture that companies like iSails and Intensity are using slave labor to make poor sails and that they are all inconsistant. After using them for two years, I would say the iSails are better than the Laser brand sails. The cloth is more durable and the leech hasn't stretched as quickly.

Keep in mind that Laser is restricted to the sailcloth they changed to in the early 1980's. Dacron cloths have improved since then. I like many people use a training sail and I have a race sail that is on the shelf.

In this part of Australia(and I would assume everywhere in AU)generic sails are as common on the water as real ones at this point in time. People also forget that you get the battens($55) a rolled sail bag($40) and tell tails($5) with an iSails for $200AUD. The brand sails are $670AUD and they come with a folded bag. That's actually $200 vs $770 apples to apples. Unless you are racing in a fleet that requires the branded sails, there is no point in using one in my opinion at this stage of the game. The iSails and Intensity sails have proven themselves. There are more and more generics and who knows about them?
 

Old Dude

Member
LaLi at long last someone has called a spade a spade, excellent.

LaLi is quite correct, any level of racing in Lasers, the boats must be class legal and clubs can't amend this. If a club wants to have an open fleet where Lasers race against similar craft they can, but for an instant think that those other craft are lasers just because some components are Laser class legal.
AlanD,

That is all great in theory and accurate in sea-lawyering terms but is that really what is best for fleet growth at a grass roots level? I can understand your view at an elite level (Olympics, etc...) but not a grass roots level.

The types of generic parts and sails that are allowed by some clubs for some grass roots events can fairly be viewed as a good thing if you accept that these deviations do not have an effect on the boat performance for that level of sailor. I think its fair to say most people, die-hard OD or not, would agree these deviations do not impact boat performance (at that level) but do reduce costs to a such a significant extent that it benefits fleet growth or retention.

Why does this have to be black or white? Elite vs club level? Are there not ways for all of us to come out ahead if accepting certain realities and having meaningful dialogue about middle ground?

The proliferation of the generic parts and sails at the club level clearly demonstrates that many clubs and fleet captains do see more benefit from these changes than they issue or risk. Now, you can condemn then for this sea-lawyering violation or you can applaud them for making reasonable small incremental efforts, that are obviously widely accepted by their respective fleets, to grow and retain fleet members.

At some point don't we have to accept that fleet members have voted with their feet and pocketboks?
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
I was going to write a lengthy post debunking the above, but I guess in the end it's just a question of a cultural/ideological/geographical divide between us. Happy to be on this side of it though. It's simpler here.

Tomorrow when the stores open again, I intend to go and buy a new Standard sail. Folded, if available. Should be good for the next two seasons' racing, minimum.

But I still hope that the bi-radial is legal before that.
 
Tomorrow when the stores open again, I intend to go and buy a new Standard sail. Folded, if available. Should be good for the next two seasons' racing, minimum.
You must sail in less than 10 knots most of your two seasons.
A laser sail will last about 50 hours of 20 knots and I'm probably being generous.
Intensity sails last about the same.
New radial should last longer unless someone figures out some radical setting that makes it faster but deforms it faster as well. Time will tell.
I would be happy if they kept the same price as the current sail for the radials. Clearly they are already making money at $ 450. Not holding my breath though...
E
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
You must sail in less than 10 knots most of your two seasons.
A laser sail will last about 50 hours of 20 knots and I'm probably being generous.
To tell the truth, my home waters aren't known to be a high-wind venue. And I plan to sail this year only two three-day regattas (the Nationals and the local Eurocup) plus one or at most two two-day regattas. I will be busy with the Lightning class the rest of the time.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
You must sail in less than 10 knots most of your two seasons.
A laser sail will last about 50 hours of 20 knots and I'm probably being generous.
Intensity sails last about the same.
New radial should last longer unless someone figures out some radical setting that makes it faster but deforms it faster as well. Time will tell.
I would be happy if they kept the same price as the current sail for the radials. Clearly they are already making money at $ 450. Not holding my breath though...
E
No issue at all lasting 2 + seasons. Buy a new sail, for the two seasons only use it at regattas. Next two season use it for club races that are important for you if you want, and in the 5 and 6 season use it in the other club races, and trading. After two years, buy another new sail for regattas and begin the process again. You do not need a new sail for club racing. It means that you have possibly 3 sails in use at any one time, one effectively new, one in good condition and one that has seen better days.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
AlanD,

That is all great in theory and accurate in sea-lawyering terms but is that really what is best for fleet growth at a grass roots level? I can understand your view at an elite level (Olympics, etc...) but not a grass roots level.

The types of generic parts and sails that are allowed by some clubs for some grass roots events can fairly be viewed as a good thing if you accept that these deviations do not have an effect on the boat performance for that level of sailor. I think its fair to say most people, die-hard OD or not, would agree these deviations do not impact boat performance (at that level) but do reduce costs to a such a significant extent that it benefits fleet growth or retention.

Why does this have to be black or white? Elite vs club level? Are there not ways for all of us to come out ahead if accepting certain realities and having meaningful dialogue about middle ground?

The proliferation of the generic parts and sails at the club level clearly demonstrates that many clubs and fleet captains do see more benefit from these changes than they issue or risk. Now, you can condemn then for this sea-lawyering violation or you can applaud them for making reasonable small incremental efforts, that are obviously widely accepted by their respective fleets, to grow and retain fleet members.

At some point don't we have to accept that fleet members have voted with their feet and pocketboks?
:rolleyes:
 

Deimos

Member
I think there are two aspects to this discussion:

1. The situation we now find ourselves in, where clubs allow pretty well any gear in their Laser Class to help get the numbers at the start line. It may not be a true Laser Class according to the rules, but most clubs call it a Laser Class and in my experience there are often more 3rd party sails than class legal sails. It is what happens, certainly in some areas (I clearly cannot speak of all clubs worldwide !!).

2. Why we are here and how we get out of this and restore a significant aspect of the class (true one design). And I believe it is the issues with the current sail (price and longevity) that have created the situation where 3rd party sails have become effective and popular. The slow reaction by the class/builder/ISAF. People have been complaining for years (just look back over this forum). And despite having a new sail, etc. it still is not available. The situation beggars belief and nobody is being told why we are stuck in this situation. The membership needs to be told where the blockage is so we can do something about it and get the new sail available. And it is the Class Association that should be accountable to the membership and should be telling us what is going on. We (the many many club sailors) are the ones who spend the money that enables the builders, class, sailmakers, etc. to stay in business. Without us there would be no Laser Olympic class (because nobody would be building Lasers). We actually have the power. So if it's a builder blockage, tell us and we'll have an e-mail campaign telling the builders to sort it out or lose out business and their income. If it's the ISAF, then we can flood their inboxes telling the how their elite minority costing are costing the grass roots and damaging the class. But we must be told.

Ian
 
No issue at all lasting 2 + seasons. Buy a new sail, for the two seasons only use it at regattas. Next two season use it for club races that are important for you if you want, and in the 5 and 6 season use it in the other club races, and trading. After two years, buy another new sail for regattas and begin the process again. You do not need a new sail for club racing. It means that you have possibly 3 sails in use at any one time, one effectively new, one in good condition and one that has seen better days.
They last even longer if you don't use them at all....
One good week end of racing on SF cityfront will make your new sail slower.
E
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
One good week end of racing on SF cityfront will make your new sail slower.
E
Agreed!

A world-class (Laser and Star) sailor and sailmaker told me that one weekend regatta with 20 + mph winds and 30 mph gusts would irreversibly damage my sail.
Yes, I was there, considerably behind that world-class sailor (and swimming some of the time).
:(
 
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Tillerman

Member
I believe it is the issues with the current sail (price and longevity) that have created the situation where 3rd party sails have become effective and popular. The slow reaction by the class/builder/ISAF. People have been complaining for years (just look back over this forum). And despite having a new sail, etc. it still is not available. The situation beggars belief and nobody is being told why we are stuck in this situation. The membership needs to be told where the blockage is so we can do something about it and get the new sail available. And it is the Class Association that should be accountable to the membership and should be telling us what is going on. We (the many many club sailors) are the ones who spend the money that enables the builders, class, sailmakers, etc. to stay in business. Without us there would be no Laser Olympic class (because nobody would be building Lasers). We actually have the power. So if it's a builder blockage, tell us and we'll have an e-mail campaign telling the builders to sort it out or lose out business and their income. If it's the ISAF, then we can flood their inboxes telling the how their elite minority costing are costing the grass roots and damaging the class. But we must be told.

Ian
In the Spring issue of The Laser Sailor (North American class newsletter) hitting our mailboxes this week, Andy Roy (NA President) makes it very clear who is holding up the release of the new sail…

"PSA (Australia) although apparently in full support of the new sail originally, has been refusing to sign off on the Laser Construction Manual (LCM) change strictly in a retaliatory move towards another party to the LCM."
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
LP blames ISAF.
ILCA blames PSA.

Conclusion: ILCA and ISAF are out of the lawsuit, while the builders are still bound by court order/agreement to not say bad things of one another.

The immediate reason for the new sail/topmast delay is likely as Andy Roy says, but of course that isn't the whole story.

Would be interesting to hear the PSA view. I doubt that any kind of consumer activity would have any effect, though.
 
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