Olympic status

LaLi

Active Member
Thread starter #1
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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#2
My opinion is probably old news, but the Olympics does a fair degree of damage to both Sailing and in particular Lasers. Lot's of money thrown in by governments, coaching the kids till they burn out and give up sailing for ever, just so that one or two outstanding prospects get the chance to compete for a medal. Sailing to me is more than chasing a medal, it's a lifetime activity. Other than sailing, there are few other Olympic sports where a back marker old or young in a club fleet, can turn up and race on the same course, starting side by side with the current world champion.

The old saying here is make a successful sailing class Olympic and watch it die and that is why the ILCA resisted becoming Olympic for 20+years.

At least in Australia the masters have largely given up going to open events IMO because of the playing field is no longer level because of the amount of coaching, support boats and fly ins to events that put nothing back into the clubs or associations.
 

torrid

Just sailing
#3
All the documentation mentions "ILCA", but we all know the bogeyman in all of this is LP.

While I agree with what AlanD said, I wonder how movitated LP will be to continue cooperating with World Sailing and the ILCA if Olympic status is lost.
 
#4
... and can these companies produce enough boats to make it a fair competition on the road to the Olympics? Everybody can get his/her hands on a Laser. The Melges and D-Zero on the other hand, are hardly seen here in Europe. (The Aero sometimes). A new boat and a 6 yrs 'route to Paris' project needs a lot of material & dealers.

Take the Nacra. Originally a US brand that went belly-up, bought by two Dutch guys who restarted the brand. The result? In general, a Nacra is an affordable boat, but not the 15 (youth boat leading to the Nacra 17) and the 17 itself! These are 3x the price of other Nacra models. Nacra puts tons of money in the project (N'15 sailors can use the boats for next to nothing, but despite being a Dutch brand now, hardly no Dutch youth sailor wants to sail the Nacra because it's becoming too expensive when they switch to the 17.
 

LaLi

Active Member
Thread starter #5
All the documentation mentions "ILCA", but we all know the bogeyman in all of this is LP.
Exactly. None of this would be happening without LP's global dominance (93 % of WS member nations, if my count is right), and its incompetence in adequately serving that market. The whole territorial trademark monopoly system that's been in place since 1983 probably breaks all competition laws anyway. WS isn't against single-manufacturer classes per se, but the spirit (and letter) of these documents isn't exactly encouraging for operators like LP:
http://sailing.org/tools/documents/AntitrustPolicyFinalApproved-[23500].pdf
http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/EQReEvaluationInvitationToTenderFINALPublished-[24054].pdf (see 12.3)

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AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#7
I disagree that a monopoly exists. Anyone can make a single handed boat, a sail that suits etc, there is no monopoly in that sense. We have a self imposed monopoly that we decide to participate in competing in a class of sailing that we only permits equipment supplied by a limited number of suppliers world wide. We could just as easily compete in another class where there is a different supplier or multiple suppliers. It's like saying the Porsche has a monopoly in cars because you can only compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup in a Porsche Carrera, you could equally compete in an different class of motor racing with Ford, GM, BMW or some other manufacturer being the supplier of the equipment used.

A monopoly exist only where there is no alternative and the supplier controls the market, in sailing there are alternatives to the Laser.
 

LaLi

Active Member
Thread starter #8
A monopoly exist only where there is no alternative and the supplier controls the market, in sailing there are alternatives to the Laser.
We're talking about the monopoly within the Laser class. Or rather, it's a set of regional monopolies, but the individual consumer is limited to one choice nevertheless. I have personally tried buying certain Australian parts (which at the time were fundamentally different to the European counterparts) and was refused!

Of course there are alternatives to the Laser... and WS is now taking a good look at a few of those.

Does anyone here have any experience with the "official alternatives"? Tillerman...? (He doesn't even sail a proper course anymore as he's become an aerobian.)

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#9
Interesting reading here: Laser vs Aero vs Melges? That’s Not the Question

This thread made me search for answers and making a guess about the future. Interesting to see that some established Laser-names are busy choosing the Aero-lane along their long-time commitment with the Laser! Steve Cockerill (Rooster sailing) and GBR's Sam Whaley *) are two names that spring to mind.

Interesting is the position of the Dutch RS dealer: Aquavitesse in Bruinisse (another unpronounceable Dutch name, just call it 'Bru', as we do). Aquavitesse is originally a sailing school with a sideline of selling boats... Hardly the company that's capable of 'churning out' large numbers of Aeros in a short period. They simply lack the logistics! Things will change when e.g. their next-door neighbour, the Dutch Hallberg-Rassy dealer, will step in and takes over...

Then the D-Zero... Devoti (with one 'T') is also the Finn builder - has a big dealer network. The Dutch Devoti dealer is located 30 mins from my home and I tend to pay him a visit because they're Sandyline-dealer as well (Sandyline being a European sailing & kayak clothing brand). So I went there on Saturday, testing the water: "Do you have a D-Zero on display?" "Nope! We don't have any of these. There's no demand for that!" We discussed 2024 Olympics and there was serious head-scratching... "Dunno how we're going to deliver those boats, complete with the after-sales components!"

Laser has one dealer over here. And we're all annoyed by the fact that there's a monopoly. And their after sales is bad. So we try to buy stuff in the UK where things are cheaper. A carbon mast is about 15% cheaper in the UK. So various people (including myself...) hop over to the UK and we buy 8 - 10 masts in one go for sailors in the club or team. We chip in and the man/woman who's doing the trip has a 'no cost' trip (diesel, ferry etc). Same goes for sails. On the other hand, we have no shortage when it comes to parts, boats etc. Add to that the fact that over the last few years a lot of World Championships were held in Europe. The result of that is a large 'lake' of charter boats that are for sale now with a 10 - 30% discount.

Melges? Well, they're only sold through the Italian dealership! In short: not something Europeans like! We want a dealer nearby and not in another country. There aren't many Melges 14s around in Holland. Apart from that: when looking at the boat on the website, I can't help thinking about a Dutch dinghy 'Splash' with the same shaped bow. 80% of those Splash-es have had a 'nose job'. The slightest collision leads to a crack/chipped/leaking bow...

In short: when the Laser is ditched for another boat, things are not going to be easy journey on the road to 2024! For now, my money is on the Aero... (better start saving for a new boat!)

Menno

*) No matter what boat will be used in 2024. Remember Sam's name! I think he has a good chance of winning the Olympics for Team GBR in years to come. We met this summer, shook hands and had a little conversation. A really nice guy as well!
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#10
We're talking about the monopoly within the Laser class. Or rather, it's a set of regional monopolies, but the individual consumer is limited to one choice nevertheless. I have personally tried buying certain Australian parts (which at the time were fundamentally different to the European counterparts) and was refused!
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Exclusive distribution rights which is what you're talking about are still excluded from the definition of monopolies. There are still alternatives to them. If anything, the builders, distributors and the ILCA act in a quasi cartel.
 

LaLi

Active Member
Thread starter #11
Interesting World Sailing Council decision (the annual WS meeting is going on this week in Florida): the proposed "mixed one-person" event is changed to an offshore event. 2018 Annual Conference - 2 November Recap

Nothing new about the Laser's Olympic status (it's still subject to "re-evaluation"), but the Finn is now effectively out... after nearly seventy years.

I would have chosen separate male/female events for the kiteboards instead of bringing keelboats back.

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