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Laser Cockpit Autobailer "Not class legal for racing" . . . What?

msanford

New Member
Hi all, Just returned to Lasers after 20 years! Picked-up a boat last month and looking to replace the cockpit autobailer. I noticed on some of the bailers listed, the ad will say "Not class legal for racing". What's up with that? Seriously you show up to a regatta and someone says 'geez your autobailier is not class legal, your out.' What in the world would make one class legal vs not. It either fits in or doesn't. Interested to hear the scoop on this and even other parts. I understand sails and foils needing to measure in, but really hardware like this?

Thanks,
Mark
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Welcome back to an SMOD class! That’s how the Laser is: quite a few of even the ”small” parts are strictly one-design, with a single supplier. It does make life easier as you don’t have to make choices for every little thing. The philosophy is to concentrate on the sailing instead of the equipment.

The problem is that while you were away, a whole market of copycat parts emerged. The sellers of these may use the words ”replacement” or ”replica” or some other euphemism. (”Not class legal” is almost refreshingly honest.). I call them all ”fake”, and strongly recommend everybody to stay away from them.

Of course in all likelihood, no one will come to look at your bailer at a regatta, but that’s not the point. It comes back to the old question, is it ok to cheat if you don’t get caught?

I’m sure someone will tell you, ”non-class legal equipment is ok for CLUB racing”. The problem with that is that actually there is no level of racing where class rules wouldn’t be in force, or the organizer being free to change them.

Nevertheless, there are some genuinely grey areas and other problems to talk about here. If you have any questions (even about single, specific parts), I will do my best to answer them.

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msanford

New Member
I understand. I thought all the controversy was over the maker of the hull (the boat itself). And I realize a lot of the parts in a highly specific one design class would (or should) be regulated like the foils, spars, sails, particular mechanical set-ups on vangs and cunninghams. But just regular "non-performance" parts like pintels, gudgeons, bailiers . . it sounds like proprietary monopolizing to me. Where does it stop? Why not the main sheet, wind vanes, compasses, and every screw on boat? I come from lightnings historically with a couple different makers and most things just need to weigh/measure in at the truly major regattas. That just seems to make more sense to me.

Thanks for helping me understand where everything is now.

Thanks,
Mark
 

Emilio Castelli

Active Member
I understand. I thought all the controversy was over the maker of the hull (the boat itself). And I realize a lot of the parts in a highly specific one design class would (or should) be regulated like the foils, spars, sails, particular mechanical set-ups on vangs and cunninghams. But just regular "non-performance" parts like pintels, gudgeons, bailiers . . it sounds like proprietary monopolizing to me. Where does it stop? Why not the main sheet, wind vanes, compasses, and every screw on boat? I come from lightnings historically with a couple different makers and most things just need to weigh/measure in at the truly major regattas. That just seems to make more sense to me.

Thanks for helping me understand where everything is now.

Thanks,
Mark
Mark:
Save your money and go for the generic bailer; no one is ever going to check or protest you.
E
 
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Emilio Castelli

Active Member
Don't bet on it.
If you're planning on sailing at a world championship and bringing your own boat, then consider buying the class legal bailer.
I don't even think there is any markings on the class legal bailer distinguishable. Same for gudgeons.
Then there are a bunch of other fittings (cleat base, double pad eye, bow eye, mast bottom-top plug, collar, gooseneck, battens and probably many other) that are identical to the class legal ones but don't have "Laser" ("ILCA" now?) stamped on it.
Hull, sails, masts, blades should be class approved; other functionally equivalent fittings should be allowed.
E
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
I thought all the controversy was over the maker of the hull (the boat itself).
Well, that is the larger controversy... which will keep going as long as the former major builder keeps pushing illegal "Lasers" into the market. But for many years, something similar has been going on with most other parts of the boat. It's not always easy to know what is legal and what isn't; but I'm trying hard :D As I said, please feel free to ask about anything class rule-related. Where do you prefer to buy your equipment? Some suppliers are more knowledgeable than others.

I realize a lot of the parts in a highly specific one design class would (or should) be regulated ... But just regular "non-performance" parts like pintels, gudgeons, bailiers ... Where does it stop? Why not the main sheet, wind vanes, compasses, and every screw on boat?
Well. it stops where the majority of active sailors - represented by the class association - wants it to stop. In practice, this happens in the early years of a class, after which fundamental changes aren't very likely to happen. In 2001, the Laser class rules did undergo a major rewrite, which actually gave us a few more "builder supplied" parts in addition to numerous free blocks and lines.

I come from lightnings historically with a couple different makers and most things just need to weigh/measure in at the truly major regattas. That just seems to make more sense to me.
Fellow Lightning sailor here :D It's fundamentally not about making sense or not: the two classes simply hail from very different time periods of dinghy sailing. Before the 1960s, it was taken for granted that boats would be built by anyone, including total amateurs. (Even today, you can build a legal wooden Lightning without a licence of any kind.) Therefore the class rules had to be fairly loose, with large tolerances, and that's still their spirit. Fast forward a few decades, and along with new building materials the sailing public was ready for something much more standardized.

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Chuso007

Member
Legal Sail: +600€
Practice sail: 139€

Same with everything else, so unless you are planning on racing ILCA sanctioned events, go for whatever lets you have fun without feeding the greedy monopolist and waste your money, nobody at club level really cares....
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
If you're planning on sailing at a world championship and bringing your own boat, then consider buying the class legal bailer.
I don't even think there is any markings on the class legal bailer distinguishable. Same for gudgeons.
Then there are a bunch of other fittings (cleat base, double pad eye, bow eye, mast bottom-top plug, collar, gooseneck, battens and probably many other) that are identical to the class legal ones but don't have "Laser" ("ILCA" now?) stamped on it.
Hull, sails, masts, blades should be class approved; other functionally equivalent fittings should be allowed.
E
Come sail at my club in the Laser fleet and I will gladly protest you.
 
I think the discussion on legal or not gudgeons and bailiers is irrelevant. They are cheap in the legal version so even the cheapskates in my club get these, that includes me.

Sails spars blades etc is another discussion. I race so I get the expensive stuff but we would NEVER, ever refuse anyone who shows up in a laser to race at our club. We even have people with m-rigs. More boats== more fun!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Legal Sail: +600€
Practice sail: 139€
New sail: 600 €
Sail used by an Olympic sailor in not more than two regattas and which has plenty of life left for the midfleet guy: 130 €

Much better deal.

... feeding the greedy monopolist
I think this is the attitude that has enabled the fake-part business to exist: the legal-equipment providers aren't seen anymore as being "us" but "them". Of course, LaserPerformance isn't exactly guiltless here.

Just out of curiosity, how would you establish whether a bailer or a gudgeon is class legal or not?
The old ones are identical, w/o any "Laser" stamped on it.
That is a problem. And a fairly new one at that. For most of the history of the class no one probably thought this would be an issue.

Will try to steer clear of your and LaLi's club even though my boat is legal....
You're most welcome to sail at my club in any boat, including former Lasers :D (In fact, not all of our club boats are legal. But they're used strictly for education and training.)

I think the discussion on legal or not gudgeons and bailiers is irrelevant. They are cheap in the legal version so even the cheapskates in my club get these, that includes me.
Agree totally.

... we would NEVER, ever refuse anyone who shows up in a laser to race at our club
Raises the question, how do you define a "Laser" if it's not by the class rules?

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Chuso007

Member
New sail: 600 €
Sail used by an Olympic sailor in not more than two regattas and which has plenty of life left for the midfleet guy: 130 €

Much better deal.
Come on LaLi, you know there are not enough sails like that for even a single club's fleet... And for 130€? The cheapest used sails in good condition (and that means one season, not two races) around here go for about 300€ if you call the right people. This was the last sail on sale on our local "Laser Galicia Market" (includes the North of Portugal) group on Facebook:

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I think this is the attitude that has enabled the fake-part business to exist: the legal-equipment providers aren't seen anymore as being "us" but "them". Of course, LaserPerformance isn't exactly guiltless here
That's not fair, my attitude is the problem? My Rooster sail costed 231€, I seriously doubt manufacture cost was over 60-80€ plus transport and battens.

You can build a legal sail for what? 100€? And you sell it for €650? The problem's certainly not my attitude... "Greedy monopolist" are the sweetest words I can find to describe what I really think,

Same goes for spars and foils which are ridiculously overpriced: €1650 for a composite mast?? You can get a 100% full carbon windsurf mast for 400€, 60% of the price of a laser top section. A "real" boom for a 420 with a decent profile goes for the same price as a "legal" aluminum tube for the laser, I could go lilke this for almost every bit of equipment.
 

walterev

New Member
What is the rule used to protest a sailboat for using a non-approved bailer assembly or mast butt?

If a club holds an open regatta which accepts entries from sailors who register a boat as a Laser, who is responsible for ensuring that the boat meets all class requirements? Or is this all handled down in the back of the boat park?

I have never noticed a direct reference to parts legality in NOR/SI documents. WSC has an ERS document but I have not seen a reference to this either. How is a protest committee supposed to handle a protest alleging use of non-compliant part?
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Chuso, I do think it's a real problem if people view providers of legal equipment as adversaries, and those of cheap imitations as allies. Why that happens is a whole topic in itself, and the actual price tag is just one piece in the puzzle. Availability is another thing, as is how we relate to authorities, perceived or real. (And the more I think of it, the more I believe LaserPerformance is to blame on the current state of things. Before 2008 there was at least roughly one builder/continent, run by people committed to the sport.)

I know I got myself a nice sail for 130 €, and I know that top sailors around the world have tons of fairly little-used sails (and other equipment, but mostly sails) that they don't need anymore, and that somehow they're not very good at marketing them. Can't say I know your local market, or how easy it would be to buy a whole lot of sails at once for a whole fleet.

"Overprice" in general is highly subjective. What I constantly find baffling is that people keep complaining about the prices of Laser equipment, when in reality it's all relatively inexpensive compared to other classes. I've raced Lightnings for the last 15 years; the Lightning jib is about the same size as the Laser Radial sail, and my local sailmaker (no monopolist!) sells them for 970 €. And no one complains about that. The class standard (de facto "monopoly") North sails are probably somewhat less expensive (their website doesn't state the prices).

_
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
How is a protest committee supposed to handle a protest alleging use of non-compliant part?
It's RRS 66.4, Decisions on Protests Concerning Class Rules:

(a) When the protest committee finds that deviations in excess of tolerances specified in the class rules were caused by damage or normal wear and do not improve the performance of the boat, it shall not penalize her. However, the boat shall not race again until the deviations have been corrected, except when the protest committee decides there is or has been no reasonable opportunity to do so.

(b) When the protest committee is in doubt about the meaning of a class rule, it shall refer its questions, together with the relevant facts, to an authority responsible for interpreting the rule. In making its decision, the committee shall be bound by the reply of the authority.

(c) When a boat is penalized under a class rule and the protest committee decides that the boat also broke the same rule in earlier races in the same event, the penalty may be imposed for all such races. No further protest is necessary.

(d) When a boat penalized under a class rule states in writing that she intends to appeal, she may compete in subsequent races without changes to the boat. However, if she fails to appeal or the appeal is decided against her, she shall be disqualified without a further hearing from all subsequent races in which she competed.

(e) Measurement costs arising from a protest involving a class rule shall be paid by the unsuccessful party unless the protest committee decides otherwise.



In practice, the key rule is (b): I don't think any real-world protest committee would decide a class-rule protest without asking the class association (and its chief measurer) first.

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keenbean

Member
It's RRS 66.4, Decisions on Protests Concerning Class Rules:

(a) When the protest committee finds that deviations in excess of tolerances specified in the class rules were caused by damage or normal wear and do not improve the performance of the boat, it shall not penalize her. However, the boat shall not race again until the deviations have been corrected, except when the protest committee decides there is or has been no reasonable opportunity to do so.

(b) When the protest committee is in doubt about the meaning of a class rule, it shall refer its questions, together with the relevant facts, to an authority responsible for interpreting the rule. In making its decision, the committee shall be bound by the reply of the authority.

(c) When a boat is penalized under a class rule and the protest committee decides that the boat also broke the same rule in earlier races in the same event, the penalty may be imposed for all such races. No further protest is necessary.

(d) When a boat penalized under a class rule states in writing that she intends to appeal, she may compete in subsequent races without changes to the boat. However, if she fails to appeal or the appeal is decided against her, she shall be disqualified without a further hearing from all subsequent races in which she competed.

(e) Measurement costs arising from a protest involving a class rule shall be paid by the unsuccessful party unless the protest committee decides otherwise.



In practice, the key rule is (b): I don't think any real-world protest committee would decide a class-rule protest without asking the class association (and its chief measurer) first.

_
Lali I think you need to relax. It's more about getting numbers on the water than getting giddy over whether their gear is not quite acceptable or not. Personally all my gear is legal but I don't get upset with anyone who's gear isn't. Maybe they can't afford to pay double for everything after all.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
The "class legal parts" has ALWAYS been a part of this class so nothing new there. Due to previous supplier issues, (and cost) the knock off sails and parts has gained traction over the past 10 years.

General rule of thumb is you'll be ok with knock off parts and even sails at the local club level and even in some districts level events. If your goal is to compete at a level higher than that you will need, (and should want) the class legal stuff soup to nuts anyway. A- It's better gear. B- If your serious you're going to invest in a relatively new boat that has all the proper/class legal gear anyway.

If you think you're going to take an 80's hull to the NA's with non-class legal parts for serious competition then you should re-evaluate getting a Laser as you're in for a big disappointment.

Just to be safe reach out to your area district secretary and ask them the district position regarding this.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
If you are at the top of the fleet at the districts with knock off parts someone is much more likely to protest. But from what I have observed, the sailors with knock off parts are not at the front of the fleet, and those parts may be what helped get them on the water. As, or if, they progress, they will have to buy legit parts or people will say something.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the new, legal builders. Will they all keep prices high to maximize revenue? Will one or more offer lower prices to try to sell more volume? Will one or more builders be perceived as selling “faster” stuff and lots of people will pay a premium to buy the perceived faster stuff?
 

DJ1

New Member
To add to this discussion, I would suggest thinking about the big picture. We should encourage more sailors to sail Lasers and by doing so built the local fleets and that will eventually increase participation in ILCA events. Most of the Laser sailing occurs at the local clubs. The goal of most clubs is to encourage people to come out on the water and have fun. If they do, perhaps they will sail more actively, build their skills and the occasional one will want to sail in a sanctioned event. ILCA bylaws describe these as District championships or above. In these events, adherence to the class rules is a must. You have to be an ILCA member and your boat and equipment must be compliant.

However, 90% of the Laser sailors never get this far, they just sail in their local fleet or less formal nearby regattas. In my fleet we don’t care if someone shows up with a Rooster sail, we just want to encourage them to sail with us. Sooner or later, if they catch the bug, they’ll upgrade and buy the proper kit, but meanwhile, they are sailing their boat, which enhances everyone’s experience. The more, the merrier.

The other factor, at least in North America, is that parts availability has been awful in the past several years. At one time or the other, it was impossible to get class legal gudgeons, bailers, battens, booms and sails. So, do you give up sailing or use what is available? I’d vote for staying on the water.

This approach gets a little sticky at sanctioned events. We had a sailor (ILCA member) willing to drive several hundred miles to a District event, but opted out because his boom was broken and the only thing he could buy was a non class legal part. I would have liked to have seen this sailor sailing. He wasn’t hiding anything, wasn’t trying to cheat, he was just trying to compete with whatever he could cobble together. What’s the right answer when you literally cannot buy the parts to keep your boat compliant and on the water? Maybe this will change with the new manufacturers, but to date, it’s still an issue.

In short, I would err toward getting sailors to sail. Especially while ILCA sorts out the distribution channels.
 

Chuso007

Member
I think that, as their doing with the hulls, they should "legalize" more part builders with certain requirements, many of the non-legal stuff: fittings, vangs, bailers, blocks, do not give you any real advantage anyway.

A laser boom is just an aluminum tube (and so are the mast sections) there's no justification to charge double the price for it.
 
The sails are probably the most polarizing thing due to how long they last and the various options available.

I keep an eye out on FB for second hand ex-pro ones but I have seen some recently advertised for £50 less than the normal RRP...doesn't make me want to buy them second hand :D.

I just got a class compliant new radial for a great price but know that when I want to do a proper regatta I will have to fork out for a new legal sail and keep it just for those events. Its the price we pay for getting into those regattas..otherwise people can use what they want locally. Im all for doing whatever it takes to have a bigger fleet to race against every weekend.
 
Logically with over 200,000 lasers built how many of the surviving hulls are ever likely to sail in an "official" event? I suspect the answer is a very small proportion therefore the market for budget price replica kit must be considerably larger than for the premium priced class legal gear.
 
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