Olympic status

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#43
Tillerman (well-known blogger) wrote the following on another site:

The panel doing the evaluation are supposed to present their recommendation to the Equipment Committee in May.

After that the Equipment Committee will make a different recommendation to the World Council who will then make a totally different decision that nobody saw coming.

Don't hold your breath.


I am afraid Tillerman may be right...
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#45
Here is a blurb from Day 3 via Google Translate. On the last day they raced the three boats against each other, with the Laser remaining onshore: Evident as the best sailor, reigning Laser World Champion Pavlos Kontides, has an extra gear, regardless of the boat that was the helm. The Cypriot champion won all six races, regardless of the boat he was steering. It must be said that the greatest advantage has been achieved at the helm of the D-Zero, which also confirmed today, thanks above all to the possibility of adjusting the rake of the mast and to use the mainsail carriage, a greater average versatility in upwind. Three races were won by the D-Zero, the others by the RS Aero and Melges 14, always with Kontides at the helm.

it also said the D-Zero won all the women's races regardless of the skipper.

I think Tillerman is right. They will likely select the Finn to replace the Laser, and use either a to-be-designed rig for the women, or bring back the Europe!!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #46
Google translating is fun. For words that obviously mean "rig", you get alternatives like "drilling platform", or even "weapon".

Observations from the pictures: three of the four boats took the "large" and "medium" sizes of their three rigs to Valencia. The D-Zero had a new smaller rig (instead of the former "Blue"), which looked good.

Impressions from the text: it's only natural for an Italian to have a pro-Devoti bias, but still it looks like if one of the boats stood out, it was (as I had anticipated) the D-Zero. It was especially praised for its adjustability; the mast rake adjustment by deck chocks and the actually-working traveller were mentioned several times. The Melges 14 did ok as well, but it wasn't as fast and was repeatedly criticized for an uncomfortable downwind sitting position. The lack of a halyard was a minus, too. The RS Aero sounded as underwhelming on the water as I've found it on land. And the Laser was there to be the Laser.

How the politics will work: the report will recommend one of the boats (possibly the D-Zero) plus a reserve alternative (possibly the Melges 14) to the Equipment Committee, which I don't think has much choice in forwarding that to the November meeting. And then the WS Council will unanimously choose the Laser.

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#47
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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Since you asked... Yes, I did buy an RS Aero a few years ago after sailing a Laser for over 30 years. It has been a very rewarding experience to be in at the start of a new class and contribute, in a small way, to helping it grow. And now the RS Aero is already being considered as a replacement for the Laser in the Olympics. Amazing!

I have to say I was getting a bit tired of sailing the same old boat. Moving to the RS Aero has restored my passion for sailing. Have sailed RS Aero regattas at the Gorge and on Lake Garda. Sailed several of the regattas in the Florida Winter Series this winter and looking forward to racing in the New England Series again this summer.

Sorry to hear of the latest upheaval in Laser world. Hope everything works out for all my friends who still sail Lasers. If you want to find out more about the RS Aero, here is a list of some RS Aero Reviews. You might also be interested in my musings on what it's like to move to a new class.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #48
The WS Council actually voted today at the mid-year meeting! The final results were as expected:

The Laser was selected as the Paris 2024 Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy Equipment, subject to agreement of the Olympic Classes Contract for 2024, following a ballot vote.

Under Regulation 21.1.3 (e), the decision on selecting the Equipment has to be made before 31 December 2019. Council members voted on deferring the selection of the Equipment to the 2019 Annual Conference but this was rejected meaning a decision had to be made in London.

The next step was to vote on the Equipment Committee recommendation to select the RS Aero. Their recommendation was rejected.

The process moved to a ballot and Council members were able to vote on the four boats that were part of the process - the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and RS Aero.

The Laser won in the first round of votes.

For the Men's One Person Dinghy, 36 voted for the Laser and five voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.

For the Women's One Person Dinghy, 37 voted for the Laser and four voted for the RS Aero. The D-Zero and Melges 14 received zero votes and there was one abstention.

But there's still a cloud on the horizon:

Before Council made its decisions on the Paris 2024 Equipment, the Board of Directors updated Council on its current plans for the Olympic Classes Contract. This included the position on implementing World Sailing's Olympic Equipment Strategy (FRAND) agreed by Council in November 2018. In order to provide certainty for MNAs, sailors and teams, the Board will engage in contractual discussions only until 1 August 2019. If by that time no agreement is reached, the Board will report to Council that no agreement has been concluded and Council will then have to select new Equipment for the relevant Event.

(Emphases mine.)

Paris 2024 decisions made at World Sailing's 2019 Mid-Year Meeting

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thieuster

Active Member
#50
Yes, the link works! I spotted it last night but also noticed its length. I've watched a part and will watch the rest of it later. Around 1/3 in, the discussion gets heated.

Slightly off topic: Dutch dealer Sailcenter has been working with fixed prices for years and doesn't allow new 'players on the market' to sell ILCA approved gear for a better price. A few sailors (also a few who're in the crowd on the vid) have complained by the Dutch Government Anti-trust Agency. The Agency was interested to hear facts and see examples of the complaint
 
#51
It gets very heated. I thought the class leadership demonstrated remarkable self-control, and I applaud their willingness to open themselves to direct questioning by a frustrated crowd. Apparently we live in a house divided.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #52
Dutch dealer Sailcenter has been working with fixed prices for years and doesn't allow new 'players on the market' to sell ILCA approved gear for a better price.
That's how the dealer system works - it's in their contract with the builder. I believe that our former national dealer would have wanted to sell stuff at lowered prices at times, but the fixed prices are de facto required, which was a major reason for their quitting the dealership.

I also suspect that any given dealer doesn't have anything to say about appointing other dealers. They wouldn't really compete against one another anyway, having a similar relationship with the builder.

(Watching the EurILCA video next...)

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LaLi

Well-Known Member
Thread starter #53
To those who don't have 65 extra minutes to spend:


Eric Faust: "...a lot of space where the parties are right now"

So no "guarantee" for a 1 August agreement, and because very little time is left, a membership vote is coming up within days. Interesting to see how the rule change will be formulated. ILCA's preference is that the name won't change but the new builders would be licensed by the trademark holder. Name change is (still) a "backup plan".

Jean-Luc's first comment boils down to "I'm trying to do something". Also, whining and useless quibbling about some email message. Shouldn't do this in public.

Italian guy takes up the problem with PSA boats from a few years back. It's an LP distraction vehicle which some people really seem to think has something to do with the issue(s) at hand. "Laser Performance wants to save the class". Oh my.

British guy underlines that the Olympic and ILCA communication issues are separate. Good.

German guy says LP is hard to deal with, but we shouldn't "upset them more" by the "threat" of name change. As if nasty guys turned nice if we only treated them nice. Sure.

Thirty new manufacturers interested! (Of which most will drop out, but still.)

Eric: the class would "probably" survive outside the Olympics, but a lot of activity would "dry up", especially in Asia.

(I have a very hard time understanding Jean-Luc through his heavy French accent.)

Eric repeats again and again that it's the WS that's running the current negotiations. "No one has refused to sit down with LP".

Someone questions current ILCA/WS communication because of the apparent disagreement of WS okaying the name change a couple months back. ILCA went a little too far by saying publicly that WS supports everything they do, and Eric admitted that.

Alessandro Castelli: "since 2013, IlCA has tried to push LP out of the Laser business and favor Australia". For a reason, maybe?Resignations within the ILCA leadership were also called for.

Eric: the Laser class FRAND policy has been developed with the builders since last November, but "only recently has LP realized that it's a real thing".

Someone keeps pushing the "illegal PSA boats" thing. Eric says it actually concerned only about 200 boats over a 6-month period, and it was LP itself that proposed the solution that was used! "It was a good process and improved the quality of our boat".

Composite topmasts were initially built only by Southern Spars because LP didn't find a manufacturer who'd build to the required tolerances.. They now use Seldén.

On the question, "why do you treat LP and PSA differently": PSA responds, LP doesn't. Also, turns out that LP has refused inspection since 2015. Not a recent thing.

Eric reminds that the court case that started in 2013 is still going on (or phase 2 thereof), and that itself is making it harder for the parties (LP vs PSA) to agree on things.

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#55
Weird to see the Europe vs ICLA thing popping up. No need for that as we all want the same thing (laser sailing?). To me it seems to be a communication problem first.

I, as a laser sailor and member do not get any information from my national class organisation on this. All i know is what I gather in fora like these and when talking to other sailors that are somehow informed. Also the eurILCA does not keep me posted (i do not count facebook as information!) . There is some info on the ILCA website but that's it.

Is is the task of the ILCA to inform everybody? Or do they inform EurILCA who inform my national class organisation? No matter what I'm not getting any info. How am i supposed to vote?
 

thieuster

Active Member
#56
I spotted the chairman of the Dutch class org. on that video. He was in the audience. Contact the class and tell him about your (correct!) questions and point of view.

Menno
 
#57
Thanks! Does not sound good for an Aug 1 solution..... RS might want to start looking into ramping up production....
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Laser as an Olympic class. I did lend my name to the petition that circulated earlier this year for it to continue as an Olympic class, but with reservations. Achieving Olympic status is a bit like having a tiger by the tail, and I was afraid that losing that status at this time would be too much of a blow. That said, I’m not sure being an Olympic class is good for the long term health of the class.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#58
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Laser as an Olympic class. I did lend my name to the petition that circulated earlier this year for it to continue as an Olympic class, but with reservations. Achieving Olympic status is a bit like having a tiger by the tail, and I was afraid that losing that status at this time would be too much of a blow. That said, I’m not sure being an Olympic class is good for the long term health of the class.
I don't agree. 'Racing improves the breed' is a saying by the founder of Honda. And he was right. A Laser is built for racing and competition. It appeals to men and women alike who want to be the best, the fastest, the one who makes no mistakes. Without a small, dedicated bunch of 'warriors', the class will ultimately die down in mellow-ness and -what we call in Dutch- 'navel-gazing'.

When the Laser is no longer an Olympic class, no young sailor, coming from the Optimist will choose a Laser as his/her next boat. Within 5 yrs, there will be no more 'young blood'. Example: the Dutch Yachting Association ditched the 420 in 2012 and appointed the RS Feva as the boat for the route to a double-handed Olympic medal. 7 years later, there are no 420 sailors anymore in the Netherlands. Really: not a single crew is sailing that boat anymore.
 
#59
I don't agree. 'Racing improves the breed' is a saying by the founder of Honda. And he was right. A Laser is built for racing and competition. It appeals to men and women alike who want to be the best, the fastest, the one who makes no mistakes. Without a small, dedicated bunch of 'warriors', the class will ultimately die down in mellow-ness and -what we call in Dutch- 'navel-gazing'.

When the Laser is no longer an Olympic class, no young sailor, coming from the Optimist will choose a Laser as his/her next boat. Within 5 yrs, there will be no more 'young blood'. Example: the Dutch Yachting Association ditched the 420 in 2012 and appointed the RS Feva as the boat for the route to a double-handed Olympic medal. 7 years later, there are no 420 sailors anymore in the Netherlands. Really: not a single crew is sailing that boat anymore.
Well let’s see. The Laser appeared in the early 1970’s. It entered the Olympics in 1996. That’s roughly two decades of class development and racing PRIOR to the Olympics. When I was racing the boat as a youth in the 80’s almost all the sailors came out of the Optimist class into Lasers. The history of the Laser class as an incubator of talent is well documented. The winners of the Laser worlds and regattas like CORK were legends that we looked up to. All of this was before the Olympics. The Laser does not need the Olympics to be a successful international class.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#60
It's good to emphasise on the class' road to success like you do. And you're right when it comes to the Laser's history. But it's not the way towards the Olympics, it is the road after the Olympics that counts. Besides: really big athletes will - given the chance- try to be successful on the Olympics.

Let's turn it around: name me one boat that stayed successful after it's Olympic career! Europe? Elliot? And all the other boats that are named on the street map of Kiel/Schilksee... None of those boats has survived as a big and thriving class.

M
 
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